off the shelf: what I read – November 2021 through March 2022

A long overdue reading round-up. Everything I’ve read from November through March (with arbitrary cake ratings).

Currently reading

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Listening as a re-read 😊

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

My experience with Mariana Zapata has been hit or miss, but I was hooked from the start and glad I’m finally giving it a shot after nearly 2 years on my book wish list.

Rowankind by Jacey Bedford

This is the last book in the Rowankind series, a Georgian era fantasy series. Currently on hold while I read through a recent rush of arrivals from the library…

Read

Any Duchess Will Do by Tessa Dare 🍰🍰🍰

Part of the Spindle Cove series. Really wished the heroine had been a little older given her knowledge of emotion etc. fun read. The kind of tasty morsel I needed in February. The sexy bits were extra spicy for Tessa dare imho and ( ˘ ³˘)β™₯

Baby Mine by Kennedy Fox 🍰🍰🍰

I had this one in my Kindle collection for well over a year or two. What I’m learning is that the Kennedy Fox duo love a baby story. I am not a bebe person. It takes a while to get to the heart of the story and leaves you on a cliffhanger. However, they didn’t lose me, so I’ll be reading the second part sometime soon.

Neon Gods by Katee Robert 🍰🍰

A modern Hades/Persephone? I was sold.

My expectations were high. Sadly, I found it kind of boring and skimmed most of the last two-thirds. Katee Robert is supposed to be super steamy, but I found the story (and the β€œsteam” scenes) pretty meh. Tempted to read Electric Idol because I love the Cupid/Psych myth, but my expectations are low.

The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

Such a treat! I absolutely loved this smalltown witchy romance with a Welsh hero who almost meets my constant search for a Howl type wizard. This is technically a Halloween-themed book, but I think it’s perfect any time you need a magic-filled read.

A Lot Like Adios by Alexis Daria – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

I ordered this from the author’s local book co-op because it included a signed copy and a really cute illustrated keychain. No regrets! The book was a great blend of rom-com antics (hero sneaking around to avoid his parents, runs into father in a compromising situation), and a realistic take on complicated family and friend dynamics. The romance was also πŸ‘Œ chefs kiss

DNF

The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

It didn’t transform my life… also, nothing I hadn’t heard or tried before.

Audiobooks

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen 🍰🍰🍰

Re-read for the last episode of the Podcast. For my thoughts, check out the episode.

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

A β€œre-read” listen. Every time I read this book, I love it more. If you’re a fan of the movie, but haven’t read the book, you’re really missing out (and I say this as a huge fan of the movie). The narrator was perfect and even gave Howl a slight Welsh accent to be true to the book. πŸ₯° Howl and Sophie forever!

Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole 🍰🍰🍰🍰

If you’re into dark fantasy romance, this series is dark and getting darker by the book (just 7? books to catch up to the latest). The first book is my least favorite, but I’m hooked to the audiobooks. The narrator always does a fabulous job at making this steamy paranormal sound extra steamy.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

quiet day diaries: week of January 24

quiet day diaries logo
in which the well runs dry

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday – Sunday

I started so many of these in the last two months and failed to post them. In short, I’m burned out. All my creative juices are flowing towards edits, but my general mood is one of exhaustion, particularly at day job. I’m just managing to work on the stuff I need to check off, not much mental space left for distant goals.

I’m not sure how much longer this feeling will last. It started before the pandemic and has gotten worse since.

In an effort to take control of some aspect of my life, I started a No/Low Buy for 2022 and will be documenting it on my channel.

My 2022 Low/No Buy Rules and Goals
2022 Makeup Inventory

I am also finding new ways to engage in non-spending activities at home.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

we’ve come a long, long way together…

After 4 years, 100+ episodes, and countless laughs, rants, and reading recommendations, the Bluestocking Circle podcast is coming to an end. If you ever gave the show a listen, drop a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!

In the meantime, you can listen to our latest episode on Jane Austen’s Sense & Sensibility, or work your way through our back catalog, which will be available on your podcatcher of choice until Sept. 2022.

After that, we’ll find an alternative archive.

The lady nerds sayΒ so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye.
  1. The Grand Finale
  2. Minisode 50.5: Follow-up & First Impressions
  3. Episode 50: Sense and Sensibility
  4. Minisode 49.5: Follow-up & First Impressions
  5. Episode 49: The Matrix Re-Examined

off the shelf: what I read – May through October [a summer to fall round-up]

I debated posting these, but I DID read a lot of books during the interim and I wanted to get back on track, so why not. These are micro reviews because it’s been months… Mostly impressions and an impromptu rating system of 🍰

Read (listed from most recent)

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters – 🍰🍰🍰

A long delayed read, but worth it. She’s creepy y’all. More so than Affinity and definitely a spooky read if that’s what you’re into.

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt – 🍰🍰🍰

My first Hoyt and likely not my last. This was fun. I think it’s her first novel, if I recall correctly, so it’s a little dated and some phrases made me giggle-snort, but fun time had by all. (The “prince” has the same name as the Boy so that made me giggle-snort 10xs more)

And then it became my summer of Sarah MacLean…

Never Judge a Lady by Her Cover by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰

Lady in pants! I love a lady in pants. I was super excited to get to this one (the big twist in the Scoundrels series), but I think I hyped myself up to hard and I felt a little meh about the heroine after seeing her character in the earlier books.

No Good Duke Goes Unpunished by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

Oh, this was a good one! More angst (gah! I love it!). Lots of groveling. A woman with a past who is skilled at knocking men out, and a man with a reputation for doing the same. Also, see adorable troupe of meddling boys.

Bombshell by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

We’ve reached the Victorians and it’s a hell of a ride. Girl gangs, secret identities, and a spot of explosives.

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

This is the most “controversial” of Sarah MacLean’s books, but I ate it with a spoon! Complex second chance romance (because he done f*cked up) with a LOT of angst. This is my catnip.

TW: miscarriage and cheating.

A Scot in the Dark by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

Ward/Guardian romance with a ward who knows her mind.

Broke Millennial Takes on Investing by Erin Lowry – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

The Broke Millennial series is great if you’re interested in upping your finance game without Business Bro speak or convoluted finance jargon. The different “tracks” make it easy to learn what you need without reading material you know.

The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

The book that started me on this binge… The first in the Scandal & Scoundrel series. Sophie is everything that I love in a “wallflower” heroine – takes charge and isn’t afraid to handle a man (too often, writers use the “I’m a virgin and don’t know what a man is” trope and I HATE it – this book does not do that). Runaway adventure with a touch of second chance.

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

I started reading this and within days I learned that my mom and gran had covid… had to go on a hiatus until they recovered because reading about a dying mother and having a mother in peril was a little too hard.

Nobody’s Baby But Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – 🍰🍰🍰

One of those SEP classics that gets name-dropped on Fated Mates on a regular basis, so I finally had to read it. SEP does not shy away from weird, questionable plots. There’s some serious consent re: secret baby (and how she gets it), but it is what it is. You also get a trio of mountain women eschewing men with a firm hand (and maybe a shotgun).

Flirting with Forever by Cara Bastone – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

A sweet, sort of enemies-to-lovers because of a silly misunderstanding love story between a slightly older woman and an adorable lawyer who wants to help everyone. See also, man with cat πŸ’–

The Queen’s Triumph by Jessie Mihalik – 🍰🍰🍰

The third in the Rogue Queen series. Space opera romance FTW! Also, one of my insta-buy authors πŸ˜‰.

Kiss an Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

This book is bonkers in the best way. It’s older, so beware dynamics and situations that wouldn’t fly today, but it’s such a random, fun read. Broke rich girl forced to marry circus performer by her Russian royalty obsessed father (I told you it’s bonkers).

TW: It came out in the mid-90s, you’re in for some dubious consent moments.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami – 🍰🍰🍰🍰🍰

Vignettes and a very slow, unexpected romance between a salary woman and her former sensei.

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai – 🍰🍰🍰🍰

This may be my favorite in the Modern Love series. Influencer gets catfished by her celebrity crush (or does she?).

Taming Him by Kennedy Fox – 🍰🍰

This one’s on me. I wasn’t expecting a baby plot, so I kind of meh-ed on the latter half of the book. Want to read more of the series though, as cowboys are a thing I didn’t know I needed.

DNF

Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin – πŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ I liked the concept, but it wasn’t for me. Give me this book with adult characters and less Magisterium style churchiness and I’m in.

Audiobooks

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson – 🍰🍰

One of those canonical horror stories you have to read. Read it for the podcast, so you can hear my thoughts here

Episode 48: The Haunting of Hill House The Bluestocking Circle Podcast

In which we break down the horrors of solitude, learn that ghosts will improve most stories, and, as always, expect more murder. All this and more as the Bluestockings discuss the book The Haunting of Hill House.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

in memoriam

of a very good boy

Oreo was my pandemic cat. A sweet street cat who experienced several traumatic infections between 2019 and 2020. He was around 6 years old based on my mom’s neuter records, but we’re not sure the day he was born (his mom brought him when he was a few weeks old).

I adopted him a few months after losing Caramelo in October 2020. I wasn’t ready to adopt a cat, but I didn’t want to risk his having a third infection (they were brutal, turned into massive, hard to treat abscesses, and required surgery), so I brought him home and hoped for the best, knowing that he might be a hospice case.

After so long, I thought he was clear, but his heart was too big. He was so big-hearted, his little body couldn’t keep up. We lost him on October 30th at 3am, a year to the day I adopted him.

quiet day diaries: a catch-up

in which it all goes sideways

This month started on the wrong foot and kept hobbling along. Among the disasters were several incidents involving my job and the place where I work in general, including an active shooter threat in my building, which led to a lot of stress and anxiety as admin tried to keep it quiet to avoid panic on campus. No update yet on who wrote the note, but the threat hangs over us.

This week, I got my covid booster, and it knocked me out. Simultaneously, my tuxedo cat went into a respiratory crisis overnight. As I write this, I don’t know what will happen or what his prognosis will look like. I’m anxious and feeling a terrible sense of dread and deja vu after what happened to my last two cats.

In happier news, I made an update to the writing progress series on my channel

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

quiet day diaries: week of October 4

This week got away from me. There were good days and bad days, a mild migraine that took three days to break (along with the weather), and a nagging sense of dread as I wait for a meeting that may or may not change things drastically for me at work (I’m really hoping for the not). I got a decent amount of editing done, but I think I maxed out this stage of edits and I’m ready to move on. There’s no sense in putting so much energy into individual word choices with such intensity when the draft is going to go through further iterations whether I get a trad deal or take the plunge into small business-dom and self-publish. I’ll give it another quick polish to prep it, but I’m feeling ready to query and try my luck. Once again, it feels like terrible timing with NaNo around the corner and the holidays right after, but there’s never a perfect time to start. I just have to start. First things first, I’ll prep my submission materials and made my list of agents. The rest is out of my hands.

I’m also leaning into the possibility of a NaNo project… I doubt I’ll “win,” but the real win lies in getting the darn thing out of my head and onto the page. I might be taking on too much. I need to avoid burnout, but it would be nice to try. Either way, it’s just a thought at this stage.

I’ve been making more time to take care of my physical self as well. It’s helping my mood and my migraines, but there are lot of complex feelings surrounding my current relationship with my body and my health. I would like to talk my feelings out in a video, but I’m working myself up to it.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

quiet day diaries: week of September 27

Monday

Back to the office and drama is brewing in my inbox… not looking forward to the meeting it’s tangled up in. Super tired today after a night of poor sleep. My evening was not the least bit productive, but a random conversation led to a David Bowie music video binge that took me back to my days trying to view music video clips on a dial up connection because I was so desperate for access to rare videos. Love that musical genius. Miss him always.

Tuesday

Slightly more productive at work at least. My after work writing schedule has been a bust and my goal to wrap up this stage by the end of September is not going to happen (I missed about 12 days of writing this month because of migraines and extra demands at work and home).

Wednesday

Welp. I’m caught in a situation that affects a bunch of jobs in my organization. Hoping this gets handled to everyone’s benefit and doesn’t become a dumpster πŸ”₯.

Thursday

It was supposed to be a quiet WFH day. It turned into a busy meetings and email frenzy day. Really hoping that this situation can be resolved without it turning into a storm.

Friday

And there went my half day, which turned into an over hours day of phone calls and texts about the mess that’s been brewing. It’s been on my mind for days and will continue to linger until it gets resolved (One way or another. Hoping for the least painful option.)

Saturday – Sunday

A very productive weekend. Joined in for the Heart Breathings Double Down Sprints (it always takes me by surprise, though it’s a regular event), and managed to work through 2/3rds of the very long list of “look” phrases I’m replacing with action verbs. I’ve gone through several crutch words, but I left the most used ones for the end… look is not even the worst of the lot, but it’s too often used where a better phrase or word makes for a stronger sentence.

Had ice cream. That was a mistake, but we deal with it (cue the bloating, cramping, and skin issues).

Latest podcast for your listening pleasure

The lady nerds sayΒ so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

quiet day diaries: week of September 20

Monday

Back to the office and randomly selected for covid testing.

Tuesday

Took a half day to watch my grandmother while my mom got her flu shot. It’s become harder for my mom to get time for herself now that my grandmother is full bed-bound, so I stay with her when my mom has to go out. She took the opportunity to have a little Target shopping spree while she was at it.

I may have squeezed too much into my day because my migraine came back full force.

Wednesday

Migraine was terrible this morning. I have to host a meeting tomorrow, so I stayed home to get as much recovery time as possible. It’s likely a combination of post-period hormones and the latest front headed our way. I’ve taken all the things and tried all of my non-drug interventions to no avail; the most relief I get is a few hours between intense attacks. Really hoping this rest day brings it down to a 1 or 2 level. This morning it was a 5/6. (I have a high pain tolerance, my 5 may be another’s 8, but it means I can get around, but feel better in a dark room with little to no movement and don’t feel like driving is a smart option).

Thursday

Staying home certainly helped. Meeting went fine except for a really poorly timed power outage that seems to have messed with something in my laptop and made it sound like someone was drilling in my office. It was pretty bad and but it did resolve after the fact, so I’m hopeful that it won’t happen again (or I can fix it with a reboot).

I vlogged this day as a migraine DITL

Friday

WFH day hurray!

Saturday – Sunday

Not much writing, but there was bubble tea to end the weekend. This week’s migraine hit me hard and I had an extra hard time focusing. Still, some progress is better than none.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast

quiet day diaries: week of September 13

Monday

Out of isolation now that my test results were negative. Back to the office and ready to catch up on all the work that I didn’t have the brain space for last week. It was a genuine struggle to be able to focus between the low-level migraine I was nursing and the sense of unease as I waited for my results, all while acting like everything was ok when interacting with people remotely.

My lymph nodes feel a little swollen after my flu shot, but otherwise no reaction beyond the initial arm soreness.

Tuesday

Started the day with a meeting. I cannot understand why anyone chooses to schedule meetings at 9am or 4pm (especially on a Friday). Those are terrible hours. No one wants to meet at those hours. Stop it, you’re a sadist.

Wednesday

Worked from home today because I had back to back meetings from 10 to 4:30 and I like the flexibility of being able to move around without needing to be locked in my office.

Thursday

A day off to deal with mom stuff. The cats were not pleased, but it made for a nice change of pace. Spend the morning reading, then did some tidying and finished up with a few writing sprints. It was a nice reset.

Friday

off to work, off to take another test. The cycle continues.

Saturday – Sunday

Back to writing and a bout of intense dusting. I even wiped down the walls (an easy task I put off for way too long). Next week, I deep clean the bathroom…

Test came back negative, but the boy has been going through something that may or may not be the panini (I heard someone call it this and I love it). Waiting on his test, but he’s doing ok so far. He helped me deal with some of the cat drama on Thursday, but it was a limited exposure so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Follow me on

twitter | instagram | youtube | pinterest | goodreads | podcast