Sunday Stuff?

Wow. So. It’s been a couple of years, hasn’t it? The pandemic kind of destroyed my attention span – constant stress will do that to you, I suppose. Being chronically ill to begin with makes the pandemic that much more stressful. My household has successfully avoided it so far – mostly by hiding in the house with the exception of my spouse, who does actually need to leave for work, but luckily works in an office with the same people every day who are also taking things seriously.

I’ve still been reading, but at less than half the speed I was when I was actively updating this blog. I easily did 200 books a year in 2018, and around 160 in 2019. I struggled to hit 75 in 2020 and 2021. That’s still a review a week, easily, I suppose, but actually writing out my thoughts (especially when a LOT of those books were, well, escapist shifter romances, lol) has still been a bit beyond me.

So why this post? Well, honestly, I’ve found a new Goodreads alternative, and importing my books and poking around it may have actually gotten me excited about reading again. (It’s called and it’s still in very early development, but it’s VERY promising.) I do have a few books that I’ve wanted to yell at the world about (If you haven’t read Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao yet, GO READ IT HOLY CRAP.)

So I’m not promising anything. But. I might be back soon?

Sunday Stuff

Hi folks! I’ll be returning shortly – possibly as soon as Tuesday, with a Holiday Reads Top Ten Tuesday. My short hiatus was wonderful, but I’m itching to start writing again, and I have books piling up that need to be written about, because I haven’t stopped reading! I have two trilogies that will be getting combination reviews – K. Arsenault Rivera’s Their Bright Ascendancy adult fantasy trilogy (with two women as the core duo/love story!) and Stephanie Burgis’s middle-grade trilogy about dragons and a chocolate shop. I have to finish my duology review for Victoria Lee’s Fever King/Electric Heir, which mistakenly went briefly up last week in its barely-started state – OOPS! I have a couple of Star Wars books loaned to me by a dear friend – one of them being the lead-in to the new movie, so that’s high on my to-read list. I also have a nonfiction set of essays about being a second-generation Cuban-American, and a fun space opera. LOTS of different things to write about!

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving – I spent the actual day lounging around the house with my husband and binging the entire third season of The Dragon Prince on Netflix. (IT’S SO GOOD GO WATCH IT!) Friday we went to a party at a friend’s house – where I got the aforementioned Star Wars books – and Saturday we went to a Thanksgiving Birthday party at another friend’s house and played a lot of board games. I hope everyone had an equally enjoyable holiday!

Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment – it’s a standard check-in, I have one every 3-6 months to check thyroid levels and other things while we mess with meds (oh, the joys of being chronically ill) but I’m a little anxious about it because I was supposed to get my insulin levels DOWN and they went UP instead. Which might explain some of my symptoms. We’ll see what happens!

Sunday Stuff

FINALLY A LAID BACK WEEKEND WITH NO REAL PLANS! Oh my god, I haven’t had one of these since August. AND our houseguest – my spouse’s other partner – has gone home for the weekend, so it’s just the two of us. Houseguest is coming back tonight – they’re still looking for other housing – but I NEEDED this weekend.

Things are getting cold in my neck of the woods – I actually saw a short-lived snow flurry on Friday, and I think we’re supposed to get a small-but-measurable amount of snow this week. That’s still really early for us, but I love snow, so I’m not mad!

I am wrestling with how to write a review for The Fever King and The Electric Heir, the duology by Victoria Lee. They’re involved enough books that I’m not going to read my next ARC – also a heavy topic – before I get this review written, which means I keep reading light fluffy stuff instead of K. M. Szpara’s Docile. I’ve got to get this review figured out.

I’m also going to be working on a book list of books with demisexual characters – I’ve seen lots of ace- and aro- spec booklists, but none that are specifically demi. Given that that’s what I am, and there are several books coming out soon with demi characters, I should make one!

The other two projects I’m working on are a piece for another blog – not sure how much I can say about that – and a piece of short fiction my spouse and I have been musing about. Lots of balls in the air at the moment. Oh, and I should probably actually write up a review for Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments at some point, too. Procrastinating on reviews by reading more books only gives me more reviews to write!

I have a hilarious Top Ten Tuesday coming up this week, so stay tuned for that. I promise it will be great!

Sunday Funday – Baltimore Book Festival

Today is Day 3 of the Baltimore Book Festival, so I’ve been attending panels and meeting authors and been generally quite busy. After this weekend, things finally slow down for me. We went straight from 9 weeks of Maryland Renaissance Festival to our Halloween party to the Baltimore Book Festival, so I’m about ready for a month of sleep. Too bad we’re running right into the holidays!

I also recently learned about Sirens, a conference held in Denver concentrating on women in fantasy and science fiction, and WOW THAT IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS. A good friend of mine attended this year (I think it was her second year? I’m not positive.) and I REALLY want to go next year, but it’s in Denver. So airfare. (And just flying in general. I hate flying.) And the admission cost is kinda steep, too. But 3/4 of the guests of honor next year are authors I love, and I’ve already read a good chunk of both their 2020 reading challenge and their 2020 suggested reading and it’s just – AAAAH THAT’S MY JAM. I just don’t know if I can make it happen.

But back to the Book Festival! My weekend was absolutely made within the first hour I was there on Friday, when I got to meet K.M. Szpara and get an ARC of his debut novel that’s coming out in March, Docile. I’ve been super excited about this book, and the ARC made this weekend a win no matter what else happened. He was an absolute DELIGHT to talk to, too.

I attended five panels on Friday – Virtual and Augmented Reality, World Building (in the context of Romance novels), A Love For All Hearts (Diversity in Romance), Magic Systems in SFF, and Genre-Bending. I think my favorite was Virtual and Augmented Reality; one of the panelists was Elsa Sjunesson-Henry, a deaf-blind woman who made the point that she lives in Augmented Reality because of her adaptive devices. (This point was revisited on Saturday, but I’ll get to that!) Elsa is one of my new favorite people – I’ve read one of her short stories, just bought the two issues of Uncanny Magazine that she edited (again, more on that later) and followed her on Twitter. She’s one of several authors I have total squishes on after the first two days of the Festival! I just want to pick their brains and read everything they’ve written.

Saturday began with a panel on Books That Renew My Love of Reading, which I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to attend. My TBR does NOT need more titles, but it sure has more now! After that was the panel that was the absolute highlight of the day, Disability in Sci-fi and Fantasy. This panel had a FANTASTIC cast, which included the aforementioned Else Sjunesson-Henry, as well as Victoria Lee, the author of The Fever King (which I finished on Thursday night, I’ll be working on a review this week – short answer, it’s EXCELLENT!). Sunny Moraine, Day Al-Mohamed, and A.T. Greenblatt rounded out the panel. These authors were absolute FIRE. The topics ranged from invisible disabilities to what actually COUNTS as a disability (have you changed your life to accommodate something? That’s a disability) to how far representation in SFF has come and how far it has to go. They discussed Cure Narratives, magic hand-waving, and the lack of disabled people in post-apocalyptic narratives. This panel was absolutely the best one I’ve seen in the first two days. If you’ve read many of my Sunday posts, you probably know by now that I have a couple of autoimmune diseases and my husband is autistic, so this panel hit pretty close to home for us.

Saturday we also attended panels on Beyond the Monarchy (which, unfortunately, was all about monarchy, which I thought was odd, I thought it was going to be about other power structures!), Romantic Suspense, and Dark Fantasy and Horror.

I finally picked up the first of Ruthanna Emrys’ books, Winter Tide, which is Cthulhu-esque fantasy, and Bob Angell’s queer science-fiction romance novel, Best Game Ever. (Which isn’t on Goodreads? ACK!) The bottom three books in the cover photo were giveaways.

Today is another full day of panels, with the Blogger panel at the romance stage, and then everything else over at the SFF stage – Comics & Graphic Novels for Adults, YA and MG SFF, Dystopias, News Media in SFF, and Building Queerer Worlds in SFF. I am very excited about that last one, the list of panelists is FANTASTIC. (Also, I looked up the one unfamiliar name on that panel, Alison Wilgus, and realized we talked to them at some length today with no idea who they were, which I find hilarious. They were pretty cool, and I have now followed them on Twitter! I have followed SO MANY new people on Twitter this weekend!)

Last but DEFINITELY not least, I finally got to meet Lisa from Way Too Fantasy in person – we’ve been friends on Twitter since last Book Festival, so it was really neat to meet her for real! We chatted between panels, and I’m hoping to see her again today.



Sunday Stuff

Today is the LAST DAY of the Maryland Renaissance Festival for 2019! It’s unofficially known as The Day of Wrong, and a lot of patrons and participants will do something subtly or overtly -wrong- with their garb to celebrate. For instance, this year, I’m going as a blonde! I’m naturally a brunette, and the last few years I’ve been dying my hair crazy colors. Since I work at a booth, I need to have natural color in my hair, so I let the phoenix colors fade and haven’t redyed my hair recently. I bleached it last week in preparation for re-dyeing it this week, so it’s currently blonde! Which is a weird look on me, and one I don’t really care for, but it works for The Day of Wrong!

This also means things around here will be getting somewhat less stressful soon, since we have our weekends back. We’re having a Halloween party next weekend, and The Baltimore Book Festival is the weekend after that, so we’re still going to be busy for a while. My husband’s other partner will also being staying with us for a couple of weeks, starting next weekend, because they’re starting a new job here in Baltimore. So that will be added stress, but hopefully they will find other housing quickly.

I’m so excited about the Baltimore Book Festival! I’ve been poring through the schedule of events, and there’s even a blogger panel happening on the Romance Writers’ stage! I’m going to have to make a personal schedule of where I need to be when!

That’s about all that’s going on here – the temperature is finally starting to drop. Fall will be here for a couple of weeks and then we’ll quickly be plunged into winter. I can’t wait to see our new house in the snow.

Sunday Stuff

So I think I am going to gradually build the Survival Library lists here on the blog as well. They’ll join the other Book Lists I have, and probably replace the current Homesteading Book List. It’ll be easier to add links to my reviews of each book, and add a little blurb about each one right on the book list. That will be a long-term project.

I’ve also got a really tough review coming up this week – because most of what I want to talk about is the ending of the book because WHO DOES THAT OMG. It’s a massive spoiler so I can’t talk about it. But AAAAAHHHH.

Other than that, it’s been a fairly uneventful week. My copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments arrived, so I’ve been working on getting ready to have my heart ripped out. It’s a not a book I can just read with no preparation, The Handmaid’s Tale left me emotionally wrecked for days.

I’ll be at the Maryland Renaissance Festival this Saturday, working at my friend’s mask booth! This means I probably won’t have a Sunday post one week from today, as I will be absolutely exhausted after Fair.