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Books I’ve Read

(A) means I listened to it.
(RR) means I re-read it.
(P) means I read it on paper.

I link titles to Powell’s Books if they carry them. I will often link to an edition other than the one I read. If Powell’s (or another non-Amazon site) doesn’t have it, I will link to Amazon. These are not affiliate links.

I also put this information into goodreads.com. You can find me there with my gmail address (the.karend). In addition, I’ve been playing around on the StoryGraph beta site and updating there, too. If you’d be okay with me following you, email me. I’m here over there.

< < 2020

January 1, 2021 to Now: (latest finished on top)

Born in Ice, Nora Roberts
Such a cozy romance, albeit with a glam interlude.

Indigo, Beverly Jenkins
I didn’t realize before I started reading this that it’s set in southeast Michigan, so that was a nice surprise since I know those places. Granted, I don’t know them as they were in pre-Civil War times, but still, nice. There are some disturbing events in this one that felt authentic; knowing there would be at least a happy for now ending made those easier to take.

The Deep Dark, Gregg Olsen
One of the stops on our grand tour of Idaho was the museum in Wallace, where there was a model of the Sunshine Mine that piqued my interest, so I picked up this book to read more about the mine and the tragic fire there. I appreciated the view into the Idaho Panhandle in the early 1970s. Some of the mining stuff confused me; I can see why the model was built to help the jury in the trial it was used during understand the layout. Even though I knew how the story would turn out, I was still engrossed by its unfolding in this volume.

The Bride, Julie Garwood
I have no idea how historically accurate this is to what was going on in the Scottish Highlands in medieval times but it was an enjoyable read with a sassy heroine.

Alphabet Weekends, Elizabeth Noble
Of the three interwoven stories here, I liked one (the most romance-y one), wished one had gone in a slightly different direction (the one with the older heroine), and did not like the third (the one that was the least resolved at the end).

Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase
Worked for me. Great heroine. Angsty hero but for reasons that made sense.

Evicted, Matthew Desmond
This was hard to read. That the U.S. is so screwed up when it comes to housing was not a surprise but hearing the personal stories of some of those being screwed over really makes that clear in a way that statistics don’t. I’m glad the author offered some possible solutions but despair that we’ll be able to implement them given the state of politics in this country.

Idlewild, Jude Sierra
Thought I’d get more of a buzz from knowing the Detroit metro area setting. Got a little tell-y for me in a few places.

Because Internet
, Gretchen McCulloch
This was interesting. I’m still not sure where I’d put myself in the taxonomy of internet users the author sets out. Not quite Old Internet Person but not Full Internet Person, either. I did learn to my surprise that my use ellipses in texts marks me as old. I mean, I knew I was old, but didn’t think the ellipses were a giveaway to that.

Priest: A Love Story, Sierra Simone
Oof. I can see why this book upsets so many people. I was okay with it.

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake, Sarah MacLean
I appreciate a feisty heroine and this book has a good one.

Organizing Your Craft Space, Jo Packham (P)
I can’t say that I got any actionable ideas from this but I very much enjoyed peeking into other people’s craft rooms (and chuckling at what the author called “a large amount of fabric” in the quilting chapter).

What I Hate From A to Z, Roz Chast (P)
I liked studying the drawings for little details.

Dark Lover, J.R. Ward (RR)
I was way into this book around a decade ago. Now, not as much. There was a preview of the 19th in the series in the back of this one (do e-books have backs?) that had a line that annoyed the heck out of me. Don’t think I’ll be picking up the series again where I left off, though I might re-read the 2nd book if I come across it when I’m going through boxes of books that never got unpacked from the move, as I remember carrying that one around as a comfort read the summer my dad was dying.

Poorly Drawn Lines, Reza Farazmand (P)
Some of the comics (and essays) were funny. Some were poignant. One (or two) I want to get a print of and hang on my wall where I can see it every day.

Ballerina ,Deirdre Kelly
I recognized some of the names from my ballet period in my youth, but sure hadn’t heard many of these stories before, especially about the early eras of ballet.

Gentle Rouge, Johanna Lindsey
Read this one out of series order so I could listen to the Fated Mates podcast episode about it. I can see why it made the list of “books that blooded us”.

Maid for Love, Marie Force
Some stuff here seemed too good to be true but I rolled with it anyway because why not enjoy good things like happy endings.

For Real, Alexis Hall
I wish I had waited to read this installment, let some time pass between the first book’s age difference couple and this one’s as, BDSM notwithstanding, the dynamic seemed very similar. I still enjoyed it.

The Art of Skiing: Vintage Posters from the Golden Age of Winter Sport, Jenny de Gex (P)
I appreciated the words that went with all the pictures here; learned some early European ski history I hadn’t been exposed to before. Was tickled to see one of the posters we have a reproduction of in here, plus a more modern take on it.

This is Not a Writing Manual: Notes for the Young Writer in the Real World, Kerri Majors
I am not the target audience for this book. I can see how it would be a good resource if I were.

Passing for Human, Liana Finck (P)
Thought this was very clever.

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast (P)
This had some funny moments, and some touching ones, and a lot that hit a bit too close to home for me, having dealt with cleaning out parents’ houses and trying to get them into the right care situations.

Waiting for the Flood, Alexis Hall
What a sweet novella.

Dreaming of You, Lisa Kleypas (RR)
I remembered rather little of this book, which wasn’t bad since I got to enjoy it almost as a new read.

Hate to Want You, Alisha Rai
This was so good. Made me cry happy tears. Definitely want to hear more about this couple.

Ransom, Julie Garwood
Surprised that secondary couple didn’t get their own book (at least I don’t think they did, as the next in the series isn’t them). Also surprised by how the sister storyline resolved.

Glitterland, Alexis Hall
I believed the angst. I wondered if the older hero was in good enough working order.

Sous Chef, Michael Gibny
I keep reading books about chefs. I guess because it’s food adjacent, and I like food. This one was nicely organized and took the time to add a whole glossary of terms that might not be familiar to a read who hadn’t worked in a kitchen (or read a bunch of books about chefs).

Fashionably Dead, Robyn Peterman
Don’t remember how/when/why I put this on my Kindle. Started reading it during one of those times when I couldn’t turn on wifi lest the library police take back my overdue ebooks, so I was trolling through my “Later” collection and found it. It’s almost all first person narration, which is not my favorite, yet I was pretty sucked into it and finished it pretty quickly. I’m sure many would consider the heroine a Mary Sue but I’ve gotten less and less concerned about that sort of thing. Why shouldn’t a female heroine get to have powers and do all the things? It’s fun.

Not Quite a Husband, Sherry Thomas
Not quite a sequel to the earlier Marsden book. Enjoyable nonetheless.

Long Shot, Kennedy Ryan
I’m pretty sure I put this on my TBR list due to one of the Fated Mates interstitial episodes. I didn’t remember anything about it when my hold came up at the library, so was taken aback by the challenging (for me, anyway) content.

The Library Book, Susan Orlean
It took me a while to get through this for some reason I can’t put my finger on.

Then Came You, Lisa Kleypas (RR)
More re-reading here too; this time to refresh myself on the world before I read the next in the series so I’ll be able to better enjoy the Fated Mates podcast about it.

Fugitive Telemetry, Martha Wells
I was so excited to get a new Murderbot book that I failed to notice/realize that it’s not a continuation of the story after Network Effect … not part of The Murderbot Diaries series but listed as a Standalone Murderbot Novel in the “Also by Martha Wells” list at the back of the book. I mean, I still love Murderbot and really liked this book, but I kept hoping to see some hint of what happened to a character I liked from the last installment. Since I didn’t realize this one was set between Network Effect and Exit Strategy, I didn’t realize that character wasn’t in Murderbot’s life yet.

Network Effect, Martha Wells (RR)
Exit Strategy, Martha Wells (RR)
Rouge Protocol, Martha Wells (RR)
More re-reading.

Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory, Martha Wells
This short that I somehow missed until now is not from Murderbot’s point of view, so that was interesting to see them from the outside.

Artificial Condition, Martha Wells (RR)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells (RR)
Re-reading the series before I read the new installment. Still love Murderbot.

The Future of Work: Compulsory, Martha Wells
A very short story from Wired magazine that I’m putting here so I’ll remember I read it. Or rather, will be reminded I read it when I look it up.

The Book of Longings, Sue Monk Kidd
The power in this snuck up on me as I read.

Delicious, Sherry Thomas
Stretches credulity at some points but I liked how it turned out.

Wicked Abyss, Kresley Cole
I’m hoping that when this series wraps up this installment will make more sense in the larger story arc.

The Calculating Stars, Mary Robinette Kowal
This is one of those books I feel like I should have been more engaged with than I was.

The Secret, Julie Garwood
Another historical that probably bears little resemblance to reality but I’m okay with that.

Secrets of a Summer Night, Lisa Kleypas
Realistic for the time period? I have no idea. Enjoyed it anyway.

Beauty and the Mustache, Penny Reid
Hit one of my hot buttons and used “clean” to mean tested negative for STIs. Thought the plot was going to take one turn but it didn’t go that way, so that added interest.

The Marriage Code, Brooke Burroughs
Cute romance. Liked the setting and the angst seemed realistic.

Drowned Country, Emily Tesh
Just as good as the first book, including the surprises in the plot.

Shadow’s Seduction, Kresley Cole
This was a continuation of the last book, so most of the settings felt familiar. Love that there is finally a same sex pairing. Don’t love that the author had to self-publish it.

Inheriting Clutter, Julie Hall
Given that Mr. K and I have only one living parent between us, and we’ve already cleaned out her house so are down to her assisted living apartment and one storage unit, I’m not sure why I felt compelled to read this, but I did. It made me feel good about how well my brother and I worked through my mom’s house/estate; we didn’t have any of the conflicts or problems the book describes. It also had a good reminder that it’s best to give away things while you’re still alive (if you’re not still enjoying them yourself, of course).

Shadow’s Claim, Kresley Cole
This world is so big I’m starting to feel overwhelmed.

The Arrow: A Highland Guard Novel, Monica McCarty
This is the only one of this series that I’ve read (did this based on a podcast recommendation), so maybe that’s why this felt a little flat to me. I’m also not sure I’m on board with the guardian/ward pairing.

Tree of Treasures, Bonnie Mackay (P)
I picked this up off the sale table in the gift shop at The Henry Ford. It’s a book I wish I’d written, with stories about some of the ornaments on the author’s Christmas tree. I have written in my journal about a few ornaments, but so many I don’t even recall their origin stories.

Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh
Reading this felt like a dream: sometimes wonderful, sometimes grim.

No Offense, Meg Cabot
I liked No Judgments so well, I grabbed this sequel from the library as soon as I could. It was equally cozy.

No Judgments, Meg Cabot
It seems odd to say that a novel set during a hurricane felt comforting, but it did.

The Heir Affair, Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
It had been a while since I read the first book, so I’d forgotten some of what went on there that was rather important in this one. This took some turns that I didn’t expect, and like the first one, made me cry at least once. I was a bit disappointed that one of the main villians didn’t get his come uppance, but that’s how real life goes, too.

The Not-Outcast, Tijan
Almost gave up on this one, the very last I got through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. The female half of the first person narrator duo has some sensory processing issues that definitely come through in how she tells the story and at first that made me feel very jangly. I got through it eventually.

The Player, Kresley Cole
Pure fantasy, paranormal in contemporary clothing. Some content was a little difficult for me despite that.

Daring and the Duke, Sarah MacLean
A fitting end to the series, and I loved the epilogue.

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid
Of the books I’ve read so far in 2021, this is my favorite. I wanted to hug some characters and punch others, which means they got to me.

How to Pronounce Knife, Souvankham Thammavongsa
Reading this was like looking at someone else’s photo album. The stories were interesting but I wanted more.

Jew(ish): A primer, A memoir, A manual, A plea, Matt Greene
I had to read this when I saw all the one star reviews from Trump supporters. I might have gotten more out of this if I were more up on British politics but still feel reading this broadened my understanding of Jewish-ness.

Sweet Ruin, Kresley Cole
This book takes the series to places it hasn’t been before and makes the stage larger. I appreciated that there were still some characters and settings I was familiar with to help me integrate these new ones.

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