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Familiar Diversions

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

Currently reading

Patient Zero
Ray Porter, Jonathan Maberry
Progress: 137/887 minutes
Gorgeous Carat, Volume 01
You Higuri
Progress: 40/170 pages
Log Horizon, Vol. 1: The Beginning of Another World
Mamare Touno
Progress: 101/213 pages
Neanderthal Seeks Human
Penny Reid
Progress: 135/319 pages
Princess Prince
Tomoko Taniguchi
Progress: 310/336 pages
FREE: Locke & Key
Tatiana Maslany, Audible Studios, Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodríguez, Kate Mulgrew, Haley Joel Osment, Full Cast
Progress: 91/806 minutes

Reading progress update: I've read 135 out of 319 pages.

Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

There are lots of questions I wish Janie would ask Quinn. He's clearly the CEO of the company Janie is currently working for, and the fact that she hasn't figured that out yet, or even developed suspicions of it, is driving me crazy.


And ugh, Quinn just ordered a meal for Janie without asking whether that's okay with her, and earlier he fixed her a plate of hotdogs and chips at a buffet-style meal, also without asking her.


Despite my complaints, I think I've finally gotten into this book more. Either that, or the Snakes and Ladders game is good encouragement. I want to roll the dice, darn it.

Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 319 pages.

Neanderthal Seeks Human - Penny Reid

I hadn't progressed any since my last update (page 37), so I'm going to make this my first book for the Snakes and Ladders game. Then I'll have at least one book finished in time for Book Bonanza in August.


I'm currently cringing with secondhand embarrassment and remembering why I stalled on this. Janie, shhh, you've told the lady at the diner enough. Please stop, OMG.

Reblogging so that I can be sure to find this again. I plan on taking part, although I don't know that I'll make it very far. It seems fairly simple and fun though. :-)

Hey, Booklikes

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

Reposting with some updated information.


Obsidian Blue and I have been talking about a new game of Booklikes-opoly for this summer, but in the interim, does anyone feel like a quick game of Snakes and Ladders?





Everyone starts on 1. There are two alternative ways to move forward.


1. Read a book that fits the description on the space number as listed below and you can roll two dice to move forward more quickly.


2. However, if you can't find a book to fit the square, don't worry about it. You can read any book, and roll one dice on random.org.  This is to ensure that if a reader cannot find a book to fill the square, no one gets bogged down and can't move on.


All books must be at least 200 pages long. Short stories count, so long as you read enough of them from a collection to equal 200 pages. 


You do not need to hit space 100 with an exact roll. In order to win, you must complete space 100 as written.




1. Author is a woman

2. Genre: mystery

3. Set in the twentieth century

4. Published in 2019

5. Published in 2018

6. Title has a color word in it

7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

8. Author's last name begins with the letters E, F, G, or H.

9. Author's last name begins with the letters H, I, J, or K

10. Author's last name begins with the letters L, M, N or O

11. Author's last name begins with the letters P, Q, R, or S

12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z

13. Author is a man

14. Author is dead

15. Genre: romance

16. Genre: fantasy

17. Genre: horror

18. Set in a school

19. Set in the UK

20. Set in a country that is not your country of residence

21. Set in Europe

22. Set in Asia

23. Set in Australia/Oceania

24. Set in Africa

25. Snake - go back to 5

26. Part of a series that is more than 5 books long

27. Set during WWI or WWII

28. Written between 1900 and 1999

29. Someone travels by plane

30. Someone travels by train

31. Road trip

32. Genre: thriller

33. Set in North America

34. Snake - go back to 1

35. Has been adapted as a movie

36. Set in Central or South America

37. Has won an award

38. Newest release by a favorite author

39. A reread

40. Characters involved in the entertainment industry

41. Characters involved in politics

42. Characters involved in sports/sports industry

43. Characters involved in the law

44. Characters involved in cooking/baking

43. Characters involved in medicine

44. Characters involved in science/technology

45. A book that has been on your tbr for more than one year

46. A book that has been on your tbr for more than two years

47. Snake - go back to 19

48. A book you acquired in February, 2019.

49. Recommended by a friend

50. Has a domestic animal on the cover

51. Has a wild animal on the cover

52. Has a tree or flower on the cover

53. Has something that can be used as a weapon on the cover

54. Is more than 400 pages long

55. Is more than 500 pages long

56. Was published more than 100 years ago

57. Was published more than 50 years ago

58. Was published more than 25 years ago

59. Was published more than 10 years ago

60. Was published last year

61. Cover is more than 50% red

62. Cover is more than 50% green

63. Cover is more than 50% blue

64. Cover is more than 50% yellow

65. Snake - go back to 52

66. Part of a series that is more than 10 books long

67. Set in a city with a population of greater than 5 million people (link)

68. Something related to weddings on the cover

69. Something related to travel on the cover

70. Something related to fall/autumn on the cover

71. Involves the beach/ocean/lake 

72. Involves the mountains/forests 

73. Categorized as YA

74. Categorized as Middle Grade

75. Set in a fantasy world

76. Set in a world with magic

77. Has a "food" word in the title

78. Set in a small town (fictional or real)

79. Main character is a woman

80. Main character is a man

81. Ghost story

82. Genre: urban fantasy

83. Genre: cozy mystery

84. Genre: police procedural

85. Written by an author who has published more than 10 books

86. Author's debut book

87. Snake - go back to 57

88. Comic/graphic novel

89. Published between 2000 and 2017

90. A new-to-you author

91. Snake - go back to 61

92. Reread of a childhood favorite

93. Author's first/last initial same as yours (real or BL handle)

94. Non-fiction

95. Memoir

96. From your favorite genre

97. Title starts with any of the letters in SNAKE

98. Title starts with any of the letters in LADDERS

99. Snake - go back to 69

100. Let BL pick it for you: post 4 choices and read the one that gets the most votes!



See comments to the post for further explanations or to ask questions


When you start on square 1, you need to read a book before you can roll. If your book fills the square, you get to roll two dice. If your book doesn't not fit the square, roll one dice only.


With respect to the ladder squares: You must read a book in order to climb the ladder. Once you finish the book for the ladder square, climb the ladder to the ending square. If you read a book that fits the ending square, roll two dice to move on, otherwise, roll one dice.


For audiobook substitutions, either check the print book to determine if it is more than 200 pages long, or any audiobook that is a minimum of 5 hours & 30 minutes qualifies.





Non-book post: Anime voice actor Vic Mignogna accused of sexual harassment

Warning: the article has detailed descriptions of the accusations.


This isn't really book news, but I figured I'd post it since manga volumes are books and manga and anime fans often overlap.


I just read the article (mostly - I had to start skimming near the end, because it made my skin crawl), and I'm deeply disappointed. He really is huge in the industry - if you've listened to a Funimation dub, you've probably heard him. The one role of his I absolutely loved was Edward Elric in Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.


I'm glad that Funimation seems to be taking this seriously, although it sounds like this has been going on for long enough that it should have been an issue for them sooner.

Disc 9

Going Postal (Discworld, #33) - Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs

"Rattle and flute."


"Trumpet and skittles."


Groat's euphemisms sure are something.

Callander Square (book) by Anne Perry

Callander Square - Anne Perry

Thomas Pitt, a policeman, has been married to his well-born wife, Charlotte, for a relatively short amount of time. Charlotte is pregnant and quite happy with her marriage - she doesn't mind that she and Thomas don't have much money, or that she has to do housework. But that doesn't keep her from meddling in Thomas's work a bit.

Thomas's latest case involves the discovery of two dead infants buried in a wealthy neighborhood. There's no way to tell whether they were stillborn or murdered, although the one that's been dead the longest shows signs of deformities. It's a delicate case: the mother (or mothers?) likely worked or is still working for one of the nearby families. As Thomas questions the various servants, Charlotte and her sister Emily become involved as well.

I haven't read the first book in this series, but it didn't seem to interfere with my enjoyment much. I picked this up during a recent used book shopping trip, due to a recommendation in a comment on a Smart Bitches, Trashy Books post asking for historical romance recommendations involving working class couples. Unfortunately, the first book wasn't available, or I'd have started with that one.

The blog comment indicated that the books were mysteries with romantic elements, which I can sort of see but which set up expectations that Callander Square, at least, didn't fulfill. For example, while Thomas and Charlotte clearly loved each other, they didn't actually spend much on-page time together. I went into this book expecting Charlotte to give Thomas information more regularly than she did. I can't recall if she ever even admitted to Thomas that the "friend" she'd begun helping was actually General Balantyne, who might have had some connection, direct or indirect, to the dead babies. The number of sections from Emily's POV also surprised me.

Also, I didn't remember until after I started reading this that Anne Perry is the mystery author who, when she was 15, participated in the murder of her friend's mother. I'd always previously avoided her books because of that - reading murder mysteries written by someone who has actually committed one seemed...icky. On the plus side, at least there were no explicit on-page murders or "killer POV" scenes.

Anyway, back to the book itself. I really liked the beginning but started to become impatient as I got further in and there seemed to be no progress in the case. True, there were potential scandals galore (exciting!), but if it hadn't been for one particular murder, I doubt the mystery of the buried babies would have ever been solved. One very important detail didn't even come up until the last ten pages or so.

I really wish the book had included a character list/guide, or possibly a set of family trees, because keeping all the names straight was difficult. For a while there, I had a theory about the murderer's identity that involved one character's father, but I couldn't for the life of me remember if his name had ever been mentioned. It didn't help that some of the characters had relatively similar names and/or didn't get mentioned much. I kept on mixing up Carlton and Campbell, for example. And even if I remembered who the characters were and why they were important, I couldn't always remember who their spouses and children were.

Still, I enjoyed all of the various intertwined scandals and was surprised (in a good way?) that things actually worked out fairly well for several of the families, considering. The original mystery, the issue of what happened to the two dead babies, didn't grab me as much, maybe because it tended to be overshadowed by everything else.

One of my favorite things about this book was the way it handled its various female characters. Perry included a whole range of female characters, from annoying and silly to ruthlessly pragmatic. I liked some without reservation, disliked others, and found myself grudgingly respecting a few that I initially thought I'd 100% hate. The one thing nearly all of them had in common was that the men around them underestimated their perceptiveness and the depth of private lives and feelings. Even Thomas occasionally made this mistake, although he was good about listening to and learning from Charlotte, and was never so badly shaken by what he learned as some of the other men.

This was a bit slow for my tastes and didn't have Charlotte and Thomas on-page together as much as I'd expected, but I did enjoy it and plan on reading the next book at some point. I might also go back and read the first one, just to see what I missed.


(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

Reading progress update: I've read 256 out of 256 pages.

Callander Square - Anne Perry

I was right about the murderer but would never have been able to guess the exact motive.


I'm a little surprised that things ended so well ("happily" isn't quite the right word) for a couple of the families, considering the complicated web of scandals they lived under.

Reading progress update: I've read 240 out of 256 pages.

Callander Square - Anne Perry

"The emotional comfort of his home had vanished. He was living with a strange woman he discovered he did not know at all, but who knew him painfully well, and had done so for a long time. It was a very unpleasant feeling indeed."


No names necessary because, honestly, a lot of the husbands in this book are discovering this about their wives, even if they haven't been quite as awful as this particular husband.


I'm still not sure about the identity of the murderer(s). I have a guess, but it's based more on the character's personality than on any sort of evidence or even motive.

Just arrived via ILL

The Midnight Club - Christopher Pike

There's going to be another Christopher Pike reread in my near future. All I remember about this one is that it was one of my top favorite Pike books, once upon a time. Also, it stars a bunch of terminally ill teens, a thing that was my catnip when I was a teen (so many Lurleen McDaniel books, OMG) and that I now generally avoid like the plague.

Reading progress update: I've listened 137 out of 887 minutes.

Patient Zero - Ray Porter, Jonathan Maberry

This is a zombie book starring a ridiculously competent cop-turned-FBI agent (or something - it's complicated). So far it's surprisingly boring, and I've eyerolled so hard during some of the terrorist portions. There's this mad scientist lady who is apparently so alluring that merely glancing into her eyes causes men to lose their common sense. But we're told that it isn't sexual, it's just the power of her personality. But also it is sexual, because she's been screwing at least two men's brains out, her husband and the guy her husband is working with.


::sigh:: I'm not looking forward to the moment she and the main character meet. I'm sure he'll simultaneously loathe her and find her attractive.

Reading progress update: I've read 134 out of 256 pages.

Callander Square - Anne Perry

I have a guess as to what happened with one of the dead babies, but I haven't been able to think of a way the second dead baby could be related. Maybe it isn't. After all, there are at least a couple separate pregnancy scandals going on in the book's present.

Reading progress update: I've read 59 out of 256 pages.

Callander Square - Anne Perry

"Actually I can't remember if her name is Perkins or not, but Augusta always calls downstairs housemaids Perkins, whatever they call themselves."


I barely know them, but I already dislike both General Balantyne and Augusta.

Reading progress update: I've read 25 out of 256 pages.

Callander Square - Anne Perry

I had the day off and, among other things, went book shopping. (Not my best idea - I offloaded a few books but bought more than I offloaded.) I had a leisurely lunch and realized I'd forgotten to bring Log Horizon with me, so I started one of the books I'd just bought.


I picked this up because of a comment on a Smart Bitches, Trashy Books recommendation post about working class couples in historical romance. This is really more of a historical mystery than a romance, although it does star a recently married couple, a police officer and his more well-born wife. Apparently they met in the first book, but the bookstore didn't have that one. So far it seems pretty decent. The bodies of two infants were just discovered, buried in an upperclass area. One died 6 months ago, while the other one had been buried for maybe 2 years. At the moment, the police are questioning all nearby female servants.

Non-book review: Alarmy (Sleep If U Can) - Mission Alarm Clock App

(This is a free app. Although I like all the free features, if it consistently wakes me up for the next week or more, I'll probably pay for it. Paying removes the ads, unlocks a few other features, and would work as a thank you to the developers for creating something that gets me up in time to have tea and ease into my day.)


I've had trouble with getting out of bed on time for years, but it's become especially bad lately. Four alarms, and I tend to only remember hearing two of them. I'm able to turn them all off and go back to bed without it ever entering my brain that there's a reason they were set in the first place. Two of the alarms require me to walk across the room.


I decided I needed to switch things up somehow, but buying new alarm clocks every time I grow immune to the old ones is expensive, and also wasteful if I can't find someone willing to take the old ones. I figured I'd gives apps a shot.


I've only been using it for 3 full days, but so far it looks like the Alarmy app works for me.


You can do a bunch of things with the app, but I'm mostly going to talk about the settings I use.


Alarm volume


The default volume is LOUD. Way louder than I thought my phone's volume could go. I'm glad I checked the alarm preview before using it the first time, because it probably would have given me a heart attack, and disturbed my upstairs neighbor.


There are a variety of loud alarms included, but since I want an alarm that is persistent but not shocking, I went with one of the sounds already included on my phone. You can set Alarmy so the sound starts soft and gradually grows louder. I have mine set to reach the maximum volume I've decided upon in one minute. The next longest time period you can have is over the course of 5 minutes, which gives you a warning that the initial sound will possibly be too soft to hear. Like some other reviewers, I wish there were time intervals between 1 and 5 minutes. An alarm sound that gradually grew louder over 2 or 3 minutes would be great.


The Missions


Alarmy includes a variety of "missions" it can force you to complete before its alarm can be dismissed. The math problems one seemed a bit cruel and potentially impossible for my poor, tired brain, so I went with a mission that required me to scan a barcode.


I happen to have a magnet with a barcode on my fridge. In order to dismiss my alarm, I have to walk all the way to the kitchen, turn the light on (it's too dark in the morning for the scanner to see the barcode, otherwise), and scan the barcode.


Like I said before, I regularly walk across rooms and turn off alarm clocks without it waking me up much, but all of these things combined seem to be enough to get me up. The barcode scanner works well, although it has usually been difficult for my tired self to line it up with the right thing on my fridge. The longer it takes me, the more time I have to wake up enough to realize that going back to bed would be a bad idea.


Things that would be nice


I'd like it if, after dismissing the alarm, a popup appeared with messages about things I needed to do after waking up. I could set reminders in another app, timed to pop up sometime after my alarm, but I'd prefer to do it all in a single app.


Also, one other app I considered has a "checking up on you" feature that I wish this one had. That app checks up on you 5 minutes after you've dismissed the alarm, just to make sure you haven't gone back to sleep. I could see that being a useful thing. If Alarmy ever stops working for me, that's the app I plan on trying next.




So far, so good. I can't guarantee I won't find a way to become immune to it, and it can't do anything about me not getting enough sleep, but I know for a fact that two of the times it got me up this week were times when I'd have usually overslept.


Going Postal (Discworld, #33) - Terry Pratchett, Stephen Briggs

I wanted to relisten to something else, and Stephen Briggs + Terry Pratchett is always nice. This is the best of the audiobooks my library owns that has this combination.

Not book-related: A little spooky

On Saturday someone noticed that one of the windows at work was completely broken. It was an indoor window and would have had to have been broken by someone in the building. From the look of things, it was either done by someone tall or someone who had swung something over their head onto the window. No one noticed during closing procedures on Friday that the window was broken, so either it was broken and somehow no one noticed (it's shatter-proof glass, so it's all still in the frame - when I first saw it I thought the window was covered in foil), or someone was in the building after-hours and broke it. Or at least that was the theory.


We happen to have a security camera pointed in that direction, so a few staff members and campus police took a look at the footage. A little after midnight, well after closing, the window spontaneously shattered.


We used to have a display case that, due to vibrations from the doors at the building's entrance (or something - this is how it was explained to me), had spontaneously shattered a couple times over the years. Maybe this is something similar. It still feels a bit spooky, though.