What ever happened with those book reviews?

Last summer, I had a moment where I put my book reviews on here. The first book post explains why:

I’ve been taking pictures of my library returns pile and doing little reviews in the captions of my Instagram, which is fun for sharing what I’m reading right now with my mom and friends but it’s not searchable or easy to find later, and Instagram is notorious for mystifying and often racist moderation policies so I worry that I should keep stuff I might want later in places I own. I tried cutting/pasting the reviews on Mastadon but the size limit is too short and half my pictures won’t upload without manually editing them. And I tried using LibraryThing but it’s a lot of work to add each book and cut/paste so I haven’t been consistent there yet either.

But then I stopped, so I just wanted to make a note about what happened.

We decided to up the post limit on Mastodon and I’ve gotten used to resizing photos on my phone, so my book reviews are going there (and sometimes still Instagram and Librarything) for now. I didn’t love how copying the reviews here weekly meant most of my posts here seemed to be about book reviews. Most of my crafts take a least a month to complete , but I read around 4-6 new kid books and 1-3 adult/young adult books or graphic novels per week so it doesn’t take much to overwhelm this blog.

I really love it when other people have monthly round up blog posts of what they’re crafting and what they’ve read on their blogs, so maybe I’ll see if I can manage something like that eventually.

Right now, though, blogging is hard to fit into my schedule and honestly more people read my stuff on Mastodon than here anyhow. So if you want to see new book reviews from me, go to https://social.afront.org/@terri — you don’t have to sign up for anything, and you can even add it into your rss feed reader or whatever. My husband owns afront.org so it’s not going anywhere and if you know me and want an account invite, let me know.

Books: Aug 21, 28, Sept 4, 11

Well… So far moving book reviews to the blog hasn’t been going great, but part of that has been that I haven’t been as consistent even on Instagram. Still, here’s some cut and paste. I’m still not caught up writing reviews because my in-laws have been here all week (including coming to library day!) But this should catch up to what I’ve written at least.

August 21

This week’s books & knitting.

I’ve finished chart B of @romidesigns Fuschia Nouveau Petite for #SpecialSkeinKAL the lighting here doesn’t show off the yarn very well but it’s working up the way I hoped it would!

My last pair for #SocksOnVacay has the heel increases started. I think I’ll get it done before labour day even with the lace to do.

My book: The Twice Scorned Lady of Shadow. Latest in a series. I’m still enjoying the series but I kind of mentally zoned out during the flight scenes to the point where I had to go back because I missed something important. Whoops.

Kid stuff: phonics game might have been more of a hit if my kid weren’t so insistent that numbers are superior to letters.

Kid books were fun but no big winners. I thought the dog in the crow science book might have helped keep his interest but he’s wanted to build stuff at bedtime instead (side effect of hiding inside for the heat is he’s got more energy to burn off at bedtime) so longer comics weren’t too appealing.

August 28

Never got around to posting library books last Sunday, so here they are! Cake pop machine was a winner (though a pain to clean and as you can tell from the proximity of dog nose I had to clean it again) l. Best kids book was Roy Digs Dirt. (Not sure kid got both senses of dig.) Kid wouldn’t let me make any mug cakes because he wanted the orange/pumpkin one (3rd picture) and we didn’t have the ingredients. The estate planning books had two differing theses (“you need a living trust” vs “you don’t but lots of people prefer to have one anyhow”). Grumpy cat was adorable and the stories short enough to share with kiddo

September 4

I’m behind on book reviews so I think these are the ones that were returned Sept 4.

Kid books: I was rather fond of “Go Sleep In Your Own Bed” for perhaps obvious reasons. I think kiddo requested lemmings and brave the most. Since he doesn’t have much sense of time I sometimes tell him something will take about “three paw patrol episodes long” so he actually watched three while waiting for something. Thankfully the disney one was of the “recap an episode” type; I’ve found a lot of their branded books pretty boring.

My book: Homicide and Halo Halo. Second in my new favourite cozy series and it didn’t disappoint. Really appreciated the way the author dealt with the aftermath of the last book. After I had a home invasion in abq someone was kind enough to tell me that ptsd might hit later and although cozy mysteries are generally pretty light, it was a little validating to see that she wasn’t just shrugging it off either.  Also, the dachshund with the beauty queen crown on the cover is adorable.

I also went through an audiobook and a novella but I’ll group them with tomorrow’s returns.

September 11

Library day! Hatch doggy wanted in on the book action so much that I had to lift him off the books so I could put them in the bag.

Kid books: “catch the creeper” book was a bit hard for kiddo, but I appreciated the tiny detailed hand drawn art. Minecraft makes me motion sick so at least this was a way we could enjoy it together! Maximilian Villainous and Kamala and Maya’s big idea were both cute but kiddo didn’t want to read them. Fish book was less interesting but kiddo likes counting so it was ok.

Library of Things: tent building kit was unfortunately a bit more of a hit with the dog (who wanted to chew things) than kid. Bit too finicky and not climbable but a good idea if my kid was more patient.

My books:
Dim Sum of All Fears – another fun cozy. I didn’t find this as creative a mystery as the first in the series but I cared enough about the characters that it didn’t matter.

By the Book – modern book publishing romance based loosely on Beauty and the Beast with some big nods to the Disney version. Really delightful and went out of its way to avoid the more questionable parts of the tale while making nice use of the bones of it.

After Hours on Milagro Street – a #HappyEndingsBookClub pick. A plan, a mystery, a treasure hunt, a ghost, American history… Honestly I was so into the non-romance parts of this book that I probably could have skipped the steamy stuff and still loved it!

Ballad & Dagger – magic! Pirates! Saints! A rabbi! A mysterious sunken island! Politics! Lies! And so much music. I’m so glad I got the audiobook for this one (thanks to Paula for the recommendation) because omg, the reader is amazing. And he even sings!

The Levin-Gad and The Landlady – novelettes in the Tale of the Five world by Diane Duane. The main series is epic fantasy with the first book older than I am, but these stories are new and a delight of “after the big battle” stuff, like pregnancy and lines of succession in a poly royal marriage and how the kingdoms actually get run and what the big changes mean for others.  I’m looking forwards to the next tales!

Books: August 7 & 14, 2022

Two weeks at once!

August 7

Quilt as backdrop even if I didn’t end up starting the embroidery yet. Here’s this week’s library returns and reads, a few days late because I didn’t feel like writing reviews.

My books:

Dyeing Wishes — a knitting plus a bit of magic cozy mystery. Includes a moody ghost, a nameless cat, and muuuurder. I enjoyed it but could have done with less ghost drama so I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the rest of the series.

Knot Again — knitting romance! Waiting for this book is what inspired me to read nearly all of Kwana Jackson’s other books. This one’s the hot Asian knitting firefighter brother + the girl next door who got away. Charity auction action, sexy knitting lessons, friends and family who don’t let them get too much in their heads. Loved it!

The Dead Romantics — a #HappyEndingsBookClub pick. Honestly the cover and title didn’t grab me because I thought it was gonna be more old literary references, but then it was modern romance publishing instead. And there were the crows and the ghosts and the siblings and the town! So good!

Arsenic and Adobo — another one for the diverse cozy list and the best yet! So many interesting suspects/characters, delicious food, expressing love by knowing dietary restrictions, meddling aunties, a hot lawyer *and* a hot dentist, the gay best friend, and the sausage dog! Plus the mystery itself is that perfect blend where you can figure out parts but the reveals still have more story to tell. I think this may be my new favourite cozy series.

Kid reads: violin book cover was too scary so it had to go right into the returns. Stink bug book was a hit what with all the stinking and the “ew stink bug.” Rapunzel was a twist on the tale that definitely appealed to my kid (no prince, she is clever and rescues herself). The rest were good but not re-requested at bedtime like those two.

August 14

Library day! Biggest hit was the wooden sandwich making toy, but kiddo cracked the lid of the plastic box it came in so he’ll be saying sorry to the librarian on duty as we go to see if they can charge us for a new one.

Kid reads:

Doris the Bookasaurus was adorable as she gets her brothers into books. The Little Library was a cute one about building (and a bit about loving making rather than reading) although kid was scandalized by the idea of a library that closed for summer. (And not even a little phased by the librarian using they/them pronouns.) Change the world was lightly preachy but not awful. Spongebob was, well, Spongebob. Kiddo was obsessed for a few weeks and the library has his back, including dvds and the Spongebob switch game shown. He liked the game but the controls/camera are a bit finicky for a little kid so he didn’t get too far. (Not abnormally so, but after our great experience with Mario Odyssey, this felt very clunky.) Multiplayer was a bust: he wanted us to open world together but it only did a boss battle in 2 player mode.

My reads:

Death by Dumpling. Another diverse cozy! I really loved that her dog was named Kikkoman ❤️ It didn’t manage to beat out last week’s mystery for new favourite, but it was really enjoyable, and the mystery had a lot of interesting details. I particularly liked the best friend (and the zodiac cocktails). I’m ordering the next in the series.

Not pictured: Below Zero, another Ali Hazelwood short that I read a few weeks ago and forgot to review so it’s going in now. Cute, but I wanted to punch someone over the “not reporting the broken stair until after someone got hurt” even if it was very realistic to the way that type of problem gets shuffled under the rug. (trying to avoid spoilers, but that’s broken stair as a metaphor, not a literal broken stair). While coming to the rescue at the last second made for a better romance, auuuuuugh.

Books: July 31, 2022

A set of books lies beside a rainbow sweater and a neon rainbow lace shawl.

Playdate sweater has 1.5 sleeves and I sewed the pocket linings in, but then my hands decided sleeve knitting was uncomfortable so it’s taking a break and I’m working on the rainbow shawl which has made it all the way to purple!  I actually have most of a blog post ready to go with the pattern just waiting for me to finish and get pictures and stuff. (Note: I’m posting the book reviews to the blog late this week; the shawl is now finished and the sweater nearly so!)

Playdate pattern by @tincanknits yarn from @passionknits_yarn
Shawl pattern by me, yarn from @knittedwit

My books:

I really liked The Bone Spindle! It’s a fairy tale mashup with sleeping beauty as a prince who needs saving, lots of magic, tragic backstories, and queer romance for one of the main characters. Gonna have a long wait for the next one and that was kind of a cliffhanger ending.

And a knitting pattern book in this batch of library returns: I picked up Curls to see if I wanted to buy it before the author took all her patterns down. I liked the concept but wound up buying Curls 3 since I couldn’t just borrow that one from the library. Haven’t knit anything from it yet but probably one of these days!

Kid books:

These 4 are easy readers so simple sentences and ugh, I do not enjoy this type of book. But kid liked them. I’m glad I don’t have to read the inane one about the princesses and pets again. The Hello Ninja one at least didn’t make me feel like my brain was dribbling out my ears, and I could see why elephant and piggy are so popular with kids.

Books: July 24, 2022

Library day + the sweater has one complete sleeve and I like the rainbow cuff as much as I hoped I would. 🌈

A rainbow sweater and five kids books (named below)

Kid reads:

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds was a big hit with all the details in the drawings plus my kid’s enthusiasm for getting mail. (We even play a game where I deliver packages to his cardboard box house!)

Rudolph is old enough to be a little dated in a “dolls for girls trains for boys” way but he was mostly into it for the winter animals.

Cat ladies was surprisingly delightful in that the ladies seem to be living in some sort of cool old lesbian commune which I’m pretty sure is not what my kid got out of it. But yeah, the ladies are very cool.

Brownie Groundhog and February Fox was sweet and the pictures so cute, though I feel like all these “predator and prey become friends” stories are probably not teaching my kid very useful lessons about animals.

My books:

A Darkness at the Door — book 3 in the world that started with the Goose Girl, but books 2-3 are a different protagonist and I love Rae so much. When she starts to learn to pick locks! The moment with the cane! (Great read for disability pride month.) All the thoughts on justice hit especially hard right now too. And of course, finally getting closure on her story was so good. It’s a darker fairy tale but if you like TJ Kingfisher you should definitely read these books.

Be warned: the US publisher didn’t pick up this last book so I got my copy from Kickstarter but I think you can get it online from the UK publisher. And you *definitely* are not going to want to stop after book 2!

Under one Roof — cute short romance with a recently graduated environmental PhD inheriting half a house with the other half owned by a grumpy lawyer. Ridiculous and adorable.

Books July 17

I’ve been taking pictures of my library returns pile and doing little reviews in the captions of my Instagram, which is fun for sharing what I’m reading right now with my mom and friends but it’s not searchable or easy to find later, and Instagram is notorious for mystifying and often racist moderation policies so I worry that I should keep stuff I might want later in places I own. I tried cutting/pasting the reviews on Mastadon but the size limit is too short and half my pictures won’t upload without manually editing them. And I tried using LibraryThing but it’s a lot of work to add each book and cut/paste so I haven’t been consistent there yet either.

In the meantime, book reviews are going to get duplicated here to archive them where I can search them and I’ll see if that works better. We usually go to the library on Sunday (there’s a joke about my version of church waiting to happen there…) so these are yesterday’s returns and caption below.

A set of books laid out in a square. A child’s hand is visible in the upper right, since my kid helped with book layout.

The most memorable kid read was the Fauci book, which kind of raised my mental critical thinking/propaganda alarms (it’s very clearly “help make your kids feel better about vaccines”) but the message wasn’t bad just… You know that vibe? It’s very common in kids non-fiction, a side effect of the necessary simplification I guess. J and I spend a lot of time saying stuff like “that’s only partially true…” when we read. I did like their little pull quote (second picture).

A picture of the inside of the Fauci kids book. It works a kid and his father together at a table with papers in front of the kid. The page reads “Anytime Anthony struggled with homework, his father reminded him that every problem has a solution.” Then in larger decorative text it says “don’t get discouraged. Don’t run away because you don’t understand the problem. Think about it carefully and try to work it out.”

My books:

Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic probably would have been a hit with my kid but again, he only sat through part of it and I read the rest myself.

The preserves books we got for making strawberry jam last weekend, and that was a success!

Mango, Mambo and Murder — I decided I should try searching for diverse cozy mysteries, and the library had this one on the shelf. I really enjoyed it, and while her MIL is *much* worse than mine I could definitely relate to some of the culture clashes.  Also, I loved that the main character has a kid and manages to juggle childcare and sleuthing realistically.

Cover of F. T. Lukens’ book “In Deeper Waters” which depicts two young men in the rigging of a ship.

In Deeper Waters — queer fairy tale romance. So adorable, and it’s a delight that in this society the boys-liking-boys was not the point of tension, it was all about the magic and bargains with the sea witch and…

Cover of Lyla Lee’s book “Flip the Script” which shows a picture of a young Korean woman holding her finger to her chin with a slight smile on her lips.

Flip the Script — k-drama queer kids changing the world. Very sweet YA romance.