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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

Currently reading

Against the Paw
Diane Kelly
Progress: 194/352 pages
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World
Abigail Revasch, Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Tara Sands, Listening Library
Progress: 67/473 minutes
The Mystic Marriage
Heather Rose Jones
Progress: 302/426 pages
Ichi-F: A Worker's Graphic Memoir of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant
Kazuto Tatsuta
Progress: 448/553 pages
The Naked Sun
Isaac Asimov
Progress: 20/187 pages
50 Girls 50 and Other Stories
Al Williamson, Frank Frazetta, Gary Groth
Jennifer Foehner Wells
Progress: 58/367 pages

Every Heart a Doorway ebook - Free worldwide, today (4/25) and tomorrow

Every Heart a Doorway - Seanan McGuire

If you've been meaning to read this, you can now get yourself a copy. It's sort of a post-portal fantasy - it's about a home/school for kids and teens who have come back to our world after spending time in some other world (a different one for each person). There is both an asexual character (the main character) and a trans character. I'm iffy about the ace rep, and the ending kind of bugged me, but the overall idea was interesting enough that I'll probably be reading the sequel that's coming out in June.

Books set in real places

Against the Paw - Diane Kelly

I was just talking with a coworker about this book. It's set in Fort Worth, Texas, where my coworker used to live. I had thought maybe the neighborhood where the book's peeping tom was operating was a fictional neighborhood shoehorned into a real city, but my coworker managed to find it on a map. So now I'm wondering if the residents of that neighborhood know about this book, how they feel about the peeping tom aspect, etc. I could see living in a specific neighborhood referenced in a book (particularly a contemporary-set one like this) being both cool and weird.


At the moment, I can only recall reading maybe three books set in places I knew well. Two of those were set in my home town - one dealt with an area of town I didn't know much about, and one made me laugh because the author had clearly also grown up in the same area (we had the same grumpy childhood complaints about having to come up with Halloween costumes that worked well with winter coats).

Check out this nightmare fuel

What If You Had Animal Teeth? - Sandra Markle

I'm working on children's books today and came across this. I haven't actually read it, just flipped through it, but dang some of those pictures! The scariest ones are probably the girl with the shark teeth, that kid on the cover with the rattlesnake fangs, the boy with the crocodile teeth, and the girl at the end with normal human teeth but the creepiest toothy smile ever.

Reading progress update: I've read 194 out of 352 pages.

Against the Paw - Diane Kelly

I like that nothing ever seems to work out for the peeping tom, aside from the fact that he hasn't been caught yet. He's had his peeping ruined by a spray of water directly on his crotch, real women don't all wear sexy lingerie and nighties like the women in his fantasies, and even his attempt at phone sex failed miserably.


If this guy could get caught and the gross misogynistic cop could get fired, I'd be happy. I have a feeling I'm going to have to settle for just the first one of those two, though.

Reading progress update: I've read 160 out of 352 pages.

Against the Paw - Diane Kelly

Blast is Megan's boyfriend's bomb sniffing dog. Brigit is Megan's K-9 partner. Brigit is supposedly on a diet but has so far eaten more on-page in this one book than many human characters eat on-page in an entire series. And now we have this:


"Brigit and Blast polished off the box of crackers in two minutes flat. Remembering that she'd been chastised before for eating people food without permission, Brigit decided it would be best to eliminate the evidence, so she ate the cardboard box, too.


Not bad. Not bad at all."


Okay, so the dog POV bits have been mostly worthless in terms of what they contribute to the mystery (the one exception could easily have been handled by the peeping tom POV that came right after it), but this made me laugh. I'm glad the tone of the book has been pretty light though (other than the creeper POV), or I'd worry more about Brigit accidentally poisoning herself.

Finished my reread of Queen of Roses

Queen of Roses - Elizabeth McCoy

I just spent four months rereading this, mostly while in line at the grocery store and such. My review from back when I first read it in 2014 still stands. The main things I'd add are that the fluffy "dealing with passengers" stuff in the beginning of the book still meshed a bit oddly with the later more action-y stuff. Also, while

the things Loren did still bugged me

(show spoiler)

, I couldn't help it, I still loved that character. I had also forgotten how much I liked R.J. And I still want to read some kind of spin-off or sequel with Loren and Roger. A combination sci-fi and cozy mystery starring those two would be so good.

Reading progress update: I've read 48 out of 352 pages.

Against the Paw - Diane Kelly

I've been having a little trouble with Booklikes this morning. Crossing my fingers that it doesn't get worse.


Anyway, this book. I'm iffy about it so far, for a few reasons.


- I'm not sure I like Megan. She has some annoying blind spots. I raised an eyebrow at a bit about traffic tickets (I don't think it's a stretch to think that a traffic ticket that has typos and other errors might be incorrect in other respects, but Megan feels otherwise). Also, one of her fellow cops is a disgusting sexist pig who is protected by the fact that he happens to be friends with the chief of police. Rather than be angry that this connection is what's protecting the slimeball, she's just disgusted with the slimeball and relieved that she wasn't fired when she tased him (!!!) for making particularly disgusting suggestive comments when they were partners.


- The author uses 3 POVs. First person for Megan, third person for the dog, and third person for the peeping tom. I'm worried about the potential for the dog POV to be too cutesy, but so far there hasn't been enough dog POV for that to be a problem. I have issues with Megan's POV, like I said, but think it's probably a good thing that her sections are in first person - I'd be more annoyed with some of her blind spots if they were present in third person narration. As for the "killer peeping tom" POV, I was not expecting that in a cozy mystery. :-/


It's like clickbait by way of a very grim episode of Welcome to Nightvale

Booklikes-opoly: April 21st

Books finished so far:


Star Surgeon - James White  Salamandastron - Brian Jacques,Gary Chalk  


Bank: $25

Roll: 5






I have quite a few cozy mysteries on my e-reader, but I don't like reading multiple books on my e-reader, so I'd need to finish up The Mystic Marriage first. Either I do that, or I start one of the few cozy mysteries I have in my paper book collection:


Against the Paw - Diane Kelly  A Perfect Square - Vannetta Chapman  


I'm leaning towards Against the Paw, because of the dog.

Reading progress update: I've read 159 out of 159 pages.

Star Surgeon - James White

I had hoped for some interesting medical mysteries, and instead I got a book that was basically a message about war. Definitely not subtle, although it fit in perfectly with Sector General's origins.


I'll probably give it 3 stars for the overall story, although if I focused just on the stuff to do with women (which means mostly Murchison) I'd give it 1.5 stars. 1) I don't think there was a single mention of Murchison in this book that didn't bring up the effect her beauty had on human males, or how nice her curves looked. 2) Men can handle having multiple completely alien minds in their heads, but apparently women experience horrible mental damage if they try to do the same thing. Right...


And oh look, it's a Booklikes-opoly Roll Day!

Reading progress update: I've read 51 out of 159 pages.

Star Surgeon - James White

If I miss out on today's roll, I'll use the time to finish up one of the other things I'm currently reading.


At the moment, Conway and the Monitor Corps are about to help out a nearly immortal alien named Lonvellin who likes to travel to random planets and make things better (I have so many questions and thoughts, but whatever). Lonvellin's newest project happens to be Etan, a planet with natives that look a lot like humans (I feel like I've entered a Star Trek episode) and that react violently towards beings that look differently from themselves.

"Etan was beset with much sickness and suffering and narrow, superstitious thinking, their reaction to Lonvellin being a shocking illustration of their intolerance towards species which did not resemble themselves. The first two conditions increased the third, which in turn worsened the first two. Lonvellin hoped to break this vicious cycle by causing a marked improvement in the health of the population, one that would be apparent to even the least intelligent and bigoted natives. It would then have the Corpsmen admit publicly that they had been acting under Lonvellin's instructions all along, which should make the e-t hating natives feel somewhat ashamed of themselves. Then during the perhaps temporary increase of e-t tolerance which would follow, Lonvellin would set about gaining their trust and eventually return to its original long-term plan for making them a sane, happy and thriving culture again."


Conway thinks this sounds like a "very good plan," by the way. I'm less optimistic. It'd be nice if bigotry were that simple to overcome in real life...

Reading progress update: I've read 12 out of 159 pages.

Star Surgeon - James White

I didn't get much of a chance to read yesterday, so it's iffy whether I'll make it to Roll Day tomorrow, but I'll try.


The patient at the start of this one is potentially a criminal, believed to have eaten his ship's doctor. I might already have some idea of what's going on, due to the spoiler-riddled introduction of the Sector General omnibus I read a while back. Still, it'll be interesting to see how Conway deals with the situation.

Reading progress update: I've read 1 out of 159 pages.

Star Surgeon - James White

Grim picked out my next read for me, and I'm looking forward to it. It's a full Sector General novel, rather than a collection of short stories. I probably won't get to really dig into it for a few more hours, though.


My copy's cover art is a bit different. It has what I assume is a depiction of Prilicla on it, which I hope means that Prilicla has a prominent role in the story. I love that fragile, friendly, and manipulative alien.

Booklikes-opoly: Pick out a book for me to read

Okay, the way I think this works is that I have to read whichever book the first person to comment picks. I haven't read any of these before, although I've read other books in the series for a couple of them and have watched an anime adaptation of another one.


The options:


Baccano!, Vol. 1: The Rolling Bootlegs - Ryohgo Narita 


Baccano!, Vol. 1: The Rolling Bootlegs - Ryohgo Narita - An English translation of a Japanese novel. I've never read it before, but I've seen the anime based on it and enjoyed it. It's set in the U.S. (New York, according to the back of the book) during the Prohibition era. The anime includes people who have been made immortal by a special wine, plus loads of violence.


Only the Ring Finger Knows: The Left Hand Dreams of Him - Satoru Kannagi,Hotaru Odagiri 


Only the Ring Finger Knows: The Left Hand Dreams of Him - Satoru Kannagi,Hotaru Odagiri - Another English translation of a Japanese novel. This one is m/m romance. I read and reviewed the first book in the series late last year. I though it was overall terrible, but entertaining.


Star Surgeon - James White 


Star Surgeon - James White - Sci-fi, part of the Sector General series. It's doctors and medical mysteries in space.


Resenting the Hero - Moira J. Moore 


Resenting the Hero - Moira J. Moore - I think this one might be the longest one of the bunch. It's fantasy with a magical system that involves bonded pairs. There's humor and I think a little romance. Danielle's Reading Adventures liked it.

Booklikes-opoly: April 17th

I managed to finish Salamandastron in time, so it's time for my next roll.


Bank: $23

Roll: 6






Which means yet another roll (with just one dice, I'm guessing) to figure out which task I'm supposed to do.


I roll: 1


1. Let a BL friend choose your book! Post a list of 4 books - first one to comment chooses your next read.
2. Give $5.00 to another player. If you don't have $5.00, roll again!
3. Let a BL friend choose your next ride! Post your plight, and see where the first person sends you!
4. You are in time out for two days. Wait for your chance to roll again.
5. Collect $10.00 for yourself and one other player!
6. It's your lucky day! Read any book for your next turn regardless of the task instructions!
7. Double your dollars on your next read!
8. Read in the wild! Take your book with you and find a place to read that isn't your living room for an hour!
9. Post a picture or a story about a favorite vacation spot!
10. Go to jail. Go to jail. Serve a sentence of 300 pages (or pay the equivalent bail of $3.00), unless there are enough pages in the prison library to spring you!
11. Read for two! The rewards for your next book are doubled - and half of the money goes to another player of your choice!
12. Let the wheel decide - spin the wheel to pick your next "land" and choose any property in the land for your next book!


So if I'm getting this right, I need to pick out four books, post them (blog post or in the Discussion group?), and I read whatever the first person to respond picks, yes?


At the moment, I'm going with "write a blog post," so I'm going to go through my books really quick, pick some out, and my next post will include the options. Hmm...

Reading progress update: I've read 230 out of 356 pages.

Salamandastron  - Brian Jacques

Most of the villains in this book are pretty good at being terrible creatures but can't seem to manage successful villainy. I have no idea how Ferahgo, Farran, and the rest managed to get this far in their lives without being stabbed by their "allies."