Monthly roundup – June 2022

So. I love books and I love reading them. I post these collages every month knowing I’m probably the only one who cares about what I’m reading and whether I enjoyed them or not. Maybe someone will see something new and interesting to them and ask questions. Maybe someone will see a favorite and want to talk about it. Maybe I’ll scare off a distant relative. My taste in entertainment is eclectic at best, worrying at worst. I’m sure some of the stuff I read has some folks wondering what is going on in my head, and that amuses me.

As usual, the month went by and I felt like I didn’t get much reading done. Then I started compiling the collage, and…15 books. And most were so good!

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
For Brown Girls with Sharp Edges and Tender Hearts: A Love Letter to Women of Color, by Prisca Dorcas Mojica Rodriguez
Dark Fire, by Ruby Dixon
Sworn to the Shadow God, by Ruby Dixon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Zombie Haiku: Good Poetry for Your…Brains, by Ryan Mecum
Daisy’s Decision, by Ruby Dixon
POLYEMBOLOKOILAMANIA: An Extreme Horror, by Matt Shaw
The Girl Next Door, by Jack Ketchum
Bound to the Battle God, by Ruby Dixon
Wed to the Wild God, by Ruby Dixon

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
The rest.

That’s a lot of three star reads, but three stars is not a bad rating in my book. That just means I liked them but I’m not still thinking about them.

On the agenda for July are two giant tomes, Swan Song and The Dragon Reborn (Wheel of Time #3), the latest addition to Ruby Dixon’s Corsair Brothers series, and maybe some of the Star Trek novels I’ve been collecting. A handful of the kindle editions go on sale every month and my collection has grown quite a bit.

Have you read and loved any of these books? Hated? Leave a comment!

Monthly roundup – May 2022

No real stinkers this month. Once again I didn’t get through the third Wheel of Time book, but I made a decent dent in it. The big standout this month was The Keeper of Happy Endings, which surprised me because historical fiction isn’t my genre of choice. It was really good. I don’t know, maybe I’m getting a little sappy in my old age. Probably the same reason I liked The Space Between Us so much.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
The Space Between Us: Poetry and Prose, by Courtney Peppernell and Zack Grey
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
The Keeper of Happy Endings, by Barbara Davis
Choice, by Jodi Picoult
Fire in Her Dreams, by Ruby Dixon

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Stolen Tongues, by Felix Blackwell
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory, by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Fire in His Chaos, by Ruby Dixon
Fire in Her Eyes, by Ruby Dixon
The Slob, by Aron Beauregard
Goldenrod: Poems, by Maggie Smith
I Live You, Call Me Back: Poems, by Sabrina Benaim
Fire in His Veins, by Ruby Dixon
Yard Work, by David Koepp

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Winterset Hollow, by Jonathan Edward Durham
When She’s Lonely, by Ruby Dixon
The Fifth Survivor: Bacon Nightmares, by Angel Ramon
Anonymous, by Uzodinma Iweala
Ungirls, by Lauren Beukes
The Night Shift, by Alex Finlay

Winterset Hollow is pretty popular in the horror group on Facebook, so popular that there have been several posts by people with fresh tattoos if the rabbit on the cover. I wanted to love it. I usually love the books that are popular there. This one didn’t quite hit the spot for me. I know they can’t all be great, but I guess I had higher expectations for a tattoo worthy book. That said, I did like it.

On the agenda for June is that same Wheel of Time book, the last of Ruby Dixon’s dragon books, and a couple of book club selections. I may even catch up on my ARCs and finish up some drafts.

Mother’s Day

My feelings about my status as a mother have always been complicated at best. When Mother’s Day comes around, I celebrate my mother, not myself. This year I baked her a cheesecake. In a unplanned change of the status quo, when I was choosing a bouquet of flowers for mom, I decided I wanted flowers too and ended up buying two bouquets, mingling them, and splitting them into two vases.

Maybe one day I will publish the companion compartment draft to this post. Today is not that day. Today I celebrate my mom, and in a small way, myself.

Monthly roundup – April 2022

Another month, another collage. Lots of great poetry, horror, and bizarro. Didn’t expect to love the dragons as much as I did, but here I am starting the sixth book. I don’t know what it is about Ruby Dixon, but her books make me feel good. Even the ones about the end of humanity as we know it. Skipped over Wheel of Time again. Maybe May is the month for volume 3.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Fire in His Spirit, by Ruby Dixon
Not a Lot of Reasons to Sing, but Enough, by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament, by S. G. Browne
The Tower, by William Pauley III
There Are Trans People Here, by H. Melt
On My Way to Liberation, by H. Melt
Talia, by Daniel J. Volpe
White Fuzz, by William Pauley III

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Plenitude, by Daniel Sarah Karasik
Annabel Lee, by Edgar Allan Poe
Fire in His Kiss, by Ruby Dixon
Fire in His Embrace, by Ruby Dixon
Fire in His Fury, by Ruby Dixon

⭐️⭐️⭐️:
The Wives, by Tarryn Fisher
Pest, by Matt Shaw

⭐️⭐️:
Mixed Feelings, by Abraham Rodriguez
Run Rose Run, by Dolly Parton and James Patterson

On the agenda for May is the third Wheel of Time book (once again), more dragons, more horror. My TBR is overflowing and grows larger with every book deal newsletter that graces my inbox. I have a couple of book club reads and a handful of NetGalley ARCs to get to this month. Maybe I’ll even get to those library books that I keep extending.

Compartment C – Depression and insomnia

It’s the middle of the night and I find myself getting upset over something stupid. Tears level of upset. Sad. Dejected.

Rejected.

But it’s in my head. Nothing happened to make me feel that way. It’s not logical. It makes no sense. And yet…

And yet the tears fall like rain, the sound drowned out by the thunderstorm that shakes my walls. But like the lightning that accompanies the thunder, the feeling is gone with a flash of light in the dark.

Sleep does not come easy. Again. Ever.

Compartment B – Feeling and not feeling

Do you like me?
Well I hope you do
Cause if you like me
Then I think I’m gonna to have to like you too

I’ve never been a particularly romantic person. I don’t watch chick flicks. I don’t read chick lit. Typical non-smutty romance novels can be entertaining, but I’m not getting warm fuzzies from them.

I get my warm fuzzies and emo tears from so many Futurama episodes. From that one episode of My Name is Earl when Earl figures out that Joy and Randy are each others’ first loves. From books about aliens who like to eat pussy and dote on their human lovers. From hair bands. From poems about Mountain Dew commercials. Memes. Pictures of Fry and Leela couples tattoos.

I don’t know if there is a point to this post. I have been in a mood for a while now. Feeling things, not feeling things. Writing, editing, deleting. Crying. I don’t know how to deal with myself other than writing, editing, and deleting. And leaving some of my compartments safely tucked away in my drafts folder so no one else has to deal with me either.

Daily Prompt

There are many things I could do more of (but probably won’t). I could get more exercise. I could vacuum more often. I could get out of the house more. I could be more efficient at my job. I could read more, I could write more. I could be more.

There are many things I could do more of.

But the first thing that came to mind was that I could reach out to the people I care about more. I could open up. I could talk about my feelings. I could try harder to connect. I could learn to be a person.

I picked up a new book of poetry by Courtney Peppernell and Zack Grey called The Space Between Us today and the very first page I flipped to reminded me of another thing I could do more of (but probably won’t). It’s barely a poem, more a whisper of a feeling. But it hooked me. And now after reading more of the book I’m thinking of things I could do (but probably won’t).

Monthly roundup – March 2022

My March reads. Caught up on all of Ruby Dixon’s blue alien/abducted human stories, and after trying (and disliking) another author’s monster romance, I started Dixon’s dragon series. I didn’t get very far into the third volume of the Wheel of Time. Looks like my one volume a month streak is broken.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Porn Land, by Kevin Shamel
Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings
Bad Guy, by Ruby Dixon
Tender is the Flesh, by Agustina Bazterrica
The Lobotomist’s Wife, by Samantha Greene Woodruff
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️:
Fire in His Blood, by Ruby Dixon
Gone to See the River Man, by Kristopher Triana
Toilet Baby, by Shane McKenzie
White Trash Zombie Gone Wile, by Diana Rowland
When She Purrs, by Ruby Dixon
When She Belongs, by Ruby Dixon
When She Dances, by Ruby Dixon
Worse Guy, by Ruby Dixon
Pretty Human, by Ruby Dixon
⭐️⭐️⭐️:
When She’s Bold, by Ruby Dixon
Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, by Eric LaRocca

On the agenda for April is the third Wheel of Time book, more of Ruby Dixon‘s dragons, poetry, and more horror. And one normal book club book. I have four ARCs with April deadlines and a couple without deadlines. I also have a couple audiobooks obtained from William Pauley III‘s website, Doom Fiction. Quite frankly I’m surprised there were any unclaimed codes. I don’t like to claim codes and then sit on them, so keep an eye out for those reviews. I also want to review a Matt Clarke bookBut first, a book borrowed from my friend and fellow zombie enthusiast, Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament. Check out his blog, Chapin City Blues.

It looks like a big list, but a lot of these were novellas (250 pages or less). Still, it’s a lot. Mostly I read for fun and relaxation, but recently I got it in my head to resurrect this blog and write reviews. So I signed up for NetGalley and watched my favorite Facebook groups for authors offering ARCs. Porn Land was my first one. Fortunately the book was great, so reviewing it and sharing that review was a pleasure. They won’t all be good, but I will be fair.

My rating system is close to the tooltips on the stars on Goodreads. My friend and I were discussing ratings the other night and how a lot of people consider ⭐️⭐️⭐️ to be a low rating. You can look at any book on Goodreads and see 3 star ratings on reviews from people who didn’t have anything good to say the book. However the tooltip on the third star says “liked it”. So when I click that third star, it means I liked the book but didn’t love it. Would recommend, with caveats.

⭐️ did not like it

⭐️⭐️ it was okay

⭐️⭐️⭐️ liked it

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ really liked it

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ it was amazing

While I do follow a star system, I don’t have any real criteria for my ratings. I rate based on how I feel when the book is over. I don’t reserve my 5 star ratings for great works of literature that will go on to be taught in Intro to Lit courses. I dole them out freely to books about people having adventures in porn websites and human women getting it on with sexy blue aliens. I am not a book snob.

Normalcy is square pizza

I have taken a picture like this everyday since I started picking up school lunches at the beginning of quarantine. I get up bright and early because though I’m working from home, I am expected to be accessible during normal work hours. I take a shower and then go pick up school breakfast and lunch from the elementary school down the street. The custodian handing out numbers recognizes me from my daughters elementary school days and greets me with a wave and a nod. The gentleman placing the tray and bag of milk and fruit in my passenger seat tells me he can’t let me go with just one lunch and sets down a second. I thank him, we wish each other a good day, and I go on my way. When I get home, I lay everything out and send my sister a picture. And then I put all the milk in the fridge and get to work.

Truth be told, my kid doesn’t eat most of the things they send home. My folks and I have school lunch for breakfast and I make sure the kiddo at least eats some fruit when she finally gets up. While she doesn’t care for the hamburgers or corn dogs, her face lights up when they send some of her favorites. Usually it’s a breakfast item, but last week it was chicken tenders that made her morning. I know lots of kids don’t like school food, but it’s still a comfort to them. The square pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and little cartons of milk give them a sense of normalcy.

Last school lunch of the year…well, until the summer lunch program begins next week anyway. Thank you @edinburgcisd for providing a little normalcy for the kids. Times are strange and we need every bit we can get.