Happy March. Chocolate now comes in Angry, and Wegmans sells individually wrapped microwaveable potatoes called Micro Potat-oh!s. Both of these things obviously had to be documented, because they are hilarious.

In potentially world-ending news, the cat has decided that she is qualified to write book reviews, and she proved it by trying to help me review Twilight Falls. She means well, I think, but her work still leaves a lot to be desired. It might help if she didn’t insist on typing with her back paws while fully reclined across our desk.

In work-related news, yesterday was National Employee Appreciation Day, and my department ordered pizza! (Remotely and individually, because we’re all camped out in our home offices.) Last time we did this, the pizza bot chose Papa John’s as my closest provider. And Papa John’s is fine if it’s free, but this time was exciting because the bot landed on Pizza Sauce, which is my favorite local pizza place after Pizza Hut.

In I Spend Too Much Money news, I picked up a jellyfish notebook in the line at the organic market of all places. I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it. Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. I needed it like I need air, so now it is here.

And I just this afternoon found out that “Fred” is an even more challenging name than “Carolyn,” and I swear to fucking God I am going to start telling all these drive-thru people my name is Sam.

Long stories short, we are exhausted.

February Reading Stats

Books Finished:

  1. The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden
  2. The League of Lady Poisoners: Illustrated True Stories of Dangerous Women – Lisa Perrin
  3. Evergreen Chase: A Shady Hollow Mystery Short Story – Juneau Black

Books Abandoned:

  1. The Widow Queen – Elżbieta Cherezińska
  2. Jade City – Fonda Lee
  3. Godkiller – Hannah Kaner

Total Pages Read: 867

I really was so hoping I wouldn’t fall in love with The Bear and the Nightingale solely so I could finally unhaul it, but here we are. The book was wondrous, and I will be continuing with this seriesThe League of Lady Poisoners was also wonderful: I really love Perrin’s style of humor, and her illustrations are just beautiful. This is a book I will definitely revisit. I’m thinking about getting it on my Kindle, which I actually have been using the last couple of days (to read the two Shady Hollow short stories, omg my Shady Hollow hangover isn’t getting any better).

And now to address the bloody obvious: where the hell have I been for the last four years? Kindles are delightful. I no joke ordered this thing in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, and it has sat in a drawer practically since it arrived. I am stubborn as a rock and I love my physical copies, but I have finally become fully invested in eReading, and I now have the whole Shady Hollow series on my Kindle. I will be looking to add the Locked Tomb series as well, and probably Eleanor Oliphant and a handful of others I want to be able to tot with me wherever I go. This was a list that originally included Cat’s Eye, but I really hate the new matching covers they’ve come out with for Atwood’s books, and that makes me so, so sad.

One pet peeve: Amazon sure doesn’t make it easy to find out which model I ordered, or which storage capacity I chose. Fortunately, my Kindle handily informed me that it has about 27 GB available for book storage (excluding the space already taken up by my current tiny library), which pleased me greatly. I also found out that I can name the Kindle, and am currently mulling over literary names. The possibilities are endless. Golly, it sure would be nice if I’d done all this four years ago, when the Kindle first dropped into my hands. But would that really have been the same? Rediscovering it at this time and in this place has actually been one lovely, neverending surprise, a four-year-old gift to myself. Maybe I ordered the Kindle prematurely, but I’m glad I did. And, having said that, I now have to confess that I got it into my head on Thursday night that I absolutely needed some special travel accessories (i.e., a Kindle pouch and extra charging cable) for my upcoming trip to LA, and now they’re scheduled to arrive on Monday.

On the other end of the gladness spectrum, I had to resurrect my Books Abandoned list, which I apparently have not done since November 2022. My motivation took a real hit this month when I tried to do a 24-hour (er, more or less) readathon during my annual week-long birthday staycation, only to DNF the two books I was hoping to finish. As for The Widow Queen, I lost patience with her in the first few days of February, and she promptly went into the unhaul box. The other two DNFs are not bad, nor even badly written. But Jade City is the first installment in a ~1,500-page series that apparently spans 30 years, and Godkiller just really did not hook me. Long story short, I got tired of both of them, and they both went back to the library before page 100. I might give Jade City another try at some later date, though that definitely won’t happen this year. Godkiller will not get a second chance, and this kinda breaks my heart because I really did like Skedi.

And here is Circe being completely unsympathetic during the to-DNF-or-not-to-DNF debacle.

Currently Reading

The Complete Sherlock Holmes Collection
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
One month later, I am still on page 15.

These Violent Delights
Chloe Gong
Current rating: 3.5-4 stars. This was another I-hope-I-can-unhaul, but I wanted to at least give it a shot because on this blog we support Asian authors, goddammit, and actually I’ve really been enjoying it. (I know. I come late to every trend.) The writing isn’t amazing, but I wasn’t expecting it to be. More importantly, I really love what Gong has done with Juliette, who is a ferocious firecracker of a woman. Roma is okay, I guess. He hasn’t made much of an impression and I’m currently on page 180, so his prospects aren’t looking too good. Still, Juliette just agreed to set him up with a meeting with her father and the monster plague is far from solved, and I’m hoping he’ll get more interesting as the story develops. The one irritant is the side story with Walter and Paul Dexter, the places where fun goes to die. I’m assuming Paul is the Paris equivalent in the same way that Marshall Seo is the Mercutio equivalent and I’m assuming the Dexters are going to be important later, but I really have no idea where Gong is going with these two nitwits. Possibly their new so-called superdrug is attracting the monsters to Shanghai in the first place? Or maybe they hold the cure, either wittingly or unwittingly? They’re so deliberately goobery that I almost have to suspect that they’re smarter than they seem.

The Fox Wife
Yangsze Choo
Current rating: I am only on page 16 but this is a projected five-star read because I fucking love Yangsze Choo. Yeah, okay, her romances suck, but the romances aren’t the points of her stories. What with this being her third book, I am so very hopeful that the romance will be better than the last two. Right now the titular fox is off to a great start. She seems to be very intelligent and quite spicy, and capable of anticipating danger and taking care of herself in ways that Li Lan and Ji Lin really lacked. I’m also intrigued by this hound-like inspector who is obsessed with fox spirits. All in all, a very promising start. I mean, am I going to argue with a book that gives me lovely visions of stewed pork belly with mustard greens? No.

The League of Lady Poisoners

Shady Hollow got me wanting to do all kinds of un-introvert-like things, such as hanging out casually with my entire town in a coffee shop, attending the annual Apple Blossom Walk (specific to Shady Hollow, and therefore a little geographically undesirable), and going to book talks. Towson is a little bit on the large side for casual whole-town mingling and a good chunk of the population is college students, but the book talk thing I can do and now have done. I am tremendously in love with Snug Books, which is about 15 minutes from my apartment, and am simultaneously so grateful that they are not right next door to my apartment, lord I’d have no money and I’d never get anything done. They’re not large, but their selection is fantastic, and they also frequently host special events, one of which happened to be a book talk and signing for The League of Lady Poisoners.

This was so much fun! I got there an hour early because anxiety and was able to do some casual shopping and snag the best seat in the house (not the closest to the front, but definitely the comfiest chair). I was seriously impressed with the turnout: I hadn’t expected the shop to be packed from wall to wall. Perrin’s talk was hilarious and engaging, and it kept me alert for about 20-30 minutes, which is hard to do these days. I want to go to more book talks, especially if they involve local authors, as was the case with this talk.

If you’re wondering why I have two copies of the book, it’s because I got one signed for Heather, because friends naturally share murder tales with each other. 😀 I am quite proud that I managed to limit myself to three other books, though I did sucker out and buy a couple of bookmarks when I went to the register to ask for a lemonade refill. .___. I swear that store is dangerous.