Book purchases: this week’s rundown

Writers are often curious as to how readers find their books and what makes them push the buy button or hand money to the cashier. Here’s my receipt from Kobo this week so far:

  • Before I Wake by Kathryn Smith
  • The Rogue Prince by Lindsay Buroker
  • Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
  • Not Another Family Wedding by Jackie Lau
  • Dangerous by Amanda Quick
  • Outcast by Kiru Taye
  • Rock Rift by Elsa Jade
  • End Transmission by Robyn Bachar
  • Lady of Desire by Gaelen Foley

Dangerous and Lady of Desire are both historical romances I borrowed from the library when they first came out and I enjoyed them. They’re now on sale, so I’ll support that. In a similar vein, I loved Kathryn Smith’s historical romances years ago, and this paranormal looks like it could be fun.

Rosemary and Rue and The Rogue Prince have both been recommended to me: the former by a personal friend, and the latter by some SFRB members.

Not Another Family Wedding and Outcast are part of my personal desire to support writers of color, especially in romance.

I read the weekly Veronica Scott new SFFR releases, and picked up Rock Rift and End Transmission, both new releases by authors I like. Rock Rift is a new series in a shared universe that I heard about via the SFRB, and End Transmission wraps up the Galactic Cold War series.

I also bought Nier: Automata – Short Story Long by Jun Eishima from my local bookstore because I’m a super hyper mega fan of the video game.

Long story short cover image, has androids on it
!@#$ Square Enix, as Yoko would say.

I have gotten to the financial point where I don’t have a book budget anymore. If a book fulfills certain criteria, I buy it. I’ve given up the goal of reading every book I buy. There are just too many good books out there!

Nobody suspects a thing…

It’s a new calendar year! I hope to continue as I have. With a few little adventures to New Mexico and New York City in the works.

January and February is when I tend to spend the most time on video games. I think this is because that’s the time of year when I’m low energy but not on Power Save mode yet.

Radiant Historia

2017, Nintendo 3DS

A worthy remake, I hear, though I didn’t play the original. It took me a while to get into it, but then I was sold. The mechanics for moving around in time are fun although I sometimes thought I needed a walkthrough to avoid wasting a bunch of time.

Good music and voice acting, turn-based combat, and an interesting story. That’s what I like from my RPGs.

Octopath Traveller

2018, Nintendo Switch

I’m addicted to Octopath because it’s…well…fun. The characters are reasonable if not remarkable, the music is pleasant if not earwormy, and the combat is well-balanced.

Primrose Azelhart is my favorite character so far because I love myself a tortured heroine. She has waited so long and suffered so many indignities for her revenge…but what will she do once she gets it?

Binge-worthy series for the holidays

Winter (in the northern hemisphere) holidays are coming up: whatever you do or don’t celebrate, you may get some time off to relax. When I have a chunk of time, I love to binge-read a series. Here are some romance and science fiction series I recommend for this holiday season if you haven’t already read them. All of them are complete.

The Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan

brothers sinister box set cover image

Historical romance series set in Victorian England. Features intelligent, complicated characters I can’t forget. Favorite character: Violet Waterfield in The Countess Conspiracy. Some would call her difficult. I find her amazing.

You can buy the whole darn thing as a bundle, too.

The Phoenix Adventures by Anna Hackett

box set cover imagereturn to dark earth cover image

I’ve made it clear that I adore Anna Hackett’s books. Lots of action, monsters, treasures, and other discoveries make the lives of the protagonists very interesting. Favorite character: Nera Darc from Return to Dark Earth. Quiet, deadly, and kinder than she lets on.

Hackett also made a small box set to start you off on the series.

Darkest London by Kristen Callihan

Paranormal historical romance. Callihan presents non-traditional supernatural creatures in a way that always kept me guessing. Watching the characters fall in love was mesmerizing. Favorite character: Hollis Evernight of, well, Evernight. I sympathized with her specific communication struggles.

Paradox series by Rachel Bach

knight cover imagequeen cover image

Feel like some action-packed science fiction with romantic elements that will remind you of Mass Effect? Go read the Paradox trilogy by Rachel Bach. Since there’s only one protagonist, I won’t pick a favorite character, but Devi’s voice is engrossing and I was always rooting for her.

Favorite albums of the year, part II

The year isn’t even over yet, but so far I’ve found more wonderful music that inspires me and keeps me forging ahead in life.

Seventh Wonder – Tiara

Lovers of prog metal, rejoice! Seventh Wonder are back. Science fiction story, virtuosic passages, non-standard time signatures, amazing vocals…it’s fantastic either because there aren’t any surprises or in spite of it. If you like outer space, apocalypse scenarios, or fantastic vocals, you’re in for a treat.

 

Between the Buried and Me – Automata I and II

Between the Buried and Me are a different kind of prog metal than anyone else I can think of. They use swing elements. Or anything they can think of. It feels like the kitchen sink, but it also just works. This year they released two parts of Automata and it’s way too big to fit into my head.

 

Kobra and the Lotus – Prevail II


Just plain good fun heavy metal. Sing along and rock along. Kobra and the Lotus make music that makes me happy and ready to take on tasks I don’t want to.

 

Amaranthe – Helix

Warning: video contains blood. Like a lady in a tub full of it, and then she vamps. A lot. Pun possibly intended.
Poppy metal with dubstep in it. There isn’t anything I find deep in Amaranthe‘s music, but it’s good schlocky fun. Good music for programming when I’ve already had my caffeine for the day.

 

Some humans can’t work with music on. I find it difficult to work without! Maybe someday I’ll write music again.

Favorite albums of the year, part I

I whine about there being many books and little time quite a lot. But it’s also true that there’s a ton of wonderful music (okay, mostly metal) I listen to every year. This year brought me some anticipated progressive metal releases and some pleasant surprises.

Kamelot – The Shadow Theory

Okay, to me this album sounded like a second pressing of Haven– which is my favorite Kamelot album, but I didn’t feel like I learned anything new in The Shadow Theory. The compression in the production is a bit much. But there’s amazing guitar work, synths, and the vocals are fantastic. Add in the cool science fiction story and it’s worth a listen if you’re already a Kamelot fan.

 

Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura

I discovered the band this year, and they already have a special place in my heart. The frontman is my grandmother’s congressperson. Weird and awesome, right? Chthonic¬†show the world the tumultuous 20th century history on the island of Taiwan and that the struggle for democracy is something recent and special. This album makes me hopeful for the future. Also, the music. It doesn’t quite sound like any other band. Worth a listen for anyone interested in traditional Taiwanese music or any kind of metal. Also deserves some distinction for the lone woman in the band not being the singer.

 

Light the Torch – Revival

Howard Jones got eaten by stress and diabetes. Being a vocalist has its own perils because of all the touring, and that the instrument is so delicate. So in the past six years, Jones has apparently gotten control of his blood sugar and is back with Light the Torch. Revival is their third effort (this band was previously known as Devil You Know and changed its name when it changed some personnel). I enjoyed the elements of metalcore, prog, catchy choruses, and of course Jones’s amazing big voice.

 

Angra – Omni

Angra offer something other power metal bands generally don’t: awesome South American folk elements. Bittencourt and co.’s latest offering holds together better than most of their other albums. The band tries a little of everything while still making a cohesive listen.