Reading Log – March 2019

I finished a lot of Michael Connelly this month. The worst part is waiting for the eBook to become available from the library. Let’s just say I have a lot of books on hold!

Also devoured a lot of Laura Lippman, whose Private Investigator protagonist reminds me fondly of Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. Gotta say I’m not hugely keen on the Baltimore setting as it’s an American city I have no interest in, but her writing and plots are strong enough to see me through.

I tried a few other crime writers in March: McIlvanney, Ellison, Peter James. None of them really grabbed me. I think I’m about to admit defeat when it comes to Tartan Noir too. Stuart MacBride & Val Dermid aside, it’s not for me.

My health has continued to be a problem, so I topped off my list with a few Pratchett faves, which are the ultimate in comfort reading. The Night Watch series is probably my all time favourite collection, although I’m partial to the witches and Death as well!

Fifty Years of Wicca by Frederic Lamond
Firechild by Maxine Sanders
A Darkness More Than Night by Michael Connelly
Fifty Fifty by James Patterson and Candice Fox
Suicide Run by Michael Connelly
Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter
The Immortals by J.T. Ellison
Charm City by Laura Lippman
Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb
The Pool of Two Moons by Kate Forsyth
Butchers Hill by Laura Lippman
In Big Trouble by Laura Lippman
The Sugar House by Laura Lippman
Sugar Bowl Series by Sawyer Bennett
Laidlaw by William McIlvanney
The Cursed Towers by Kate Forsyth
Need You Dead by Peter James
All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison
Roma by Steven Saylor
Communing with the Ancestors by Raven Grimassi
City of Bones by Michael Connelly
Baltimore Blues by Laura Lippman
Odin by Diana L. Paxson
The Reversal by Michael Connelly
The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett
Jingo by Terry Pratchett
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
Thud! by Terry Pratchett
Lost Light by Michael Connelly
The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett
The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett
The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko
The Narrows by Michael Connelly
Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
In A Strange City by Laura Lippman
Blood Work by Michael Connelly

40 in total.

Reading Log – February 2019

I’ve been struggling with focus and motivation recently, so I was surprised to see that I finished 34 books in Feb. Mostly novels, particularly books in series’ by authors I enjoy like Michael Connelly & Candice Fox (crime/mystery) or Steven Saylor & Ruth Downie (crime/mystery set in Ancient Rome).

Eden by Candice Fox
Never Never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
The Venus Throw by Steven Saylor
A Murder on the Appian Way by Steven Saylor
Terra Icognita by Ruth Downie
Fall by Candice Fox
Black & Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
Light the Dark by Joe Fassler
It’s OK to Feel Things Deeply by Carissa Potter
A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie
Persona Non Grata by Ruth Downie
Rubicon by Steven Saylor
Meditation by Matteo Pistono
Llewellyn’s Little Book of Meditation by David Pond
Last Seen in Massilia by Steven Saylor
A Mist of Prophecies by Steven Saylor
A Small Weeping by Alex Gray
The Judgement of Caesar by Steven Saylor
They Do It With Mirrors by Agatha Christie
The Last Coyote by Michael Connelly
Angels Flight by Michael Connelly
Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
The Triumph of Caesar by Steven Saylor
Rivals of the Republic by Annelise Freisenbruch
Caveat Emptor by Ruth Downie
School Ties by Tamsen Parker
The Lies You Tell by Ruth Mancini
Semper Fidelis by Ruth Downie
Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie
Vita Brevis by Ruth Downie
Night Horse by Elizabeth Smither
Dragonclaw by Kate Forsyth
Dancing with Witches by Lois Bourne

Reading Log – January 2019

A new year, a new list. Up until a few days ago, I felt like I’d hardly ready anything this month, but apparently I’ve cranked out quite a few novels! Only five non-fic books made my Jan list; the rest was genre fic, mostly mystery stuff. All in all, I finished 32 books in January.

I’m making my way through Michael Connelly’s back catalogue after picking up “The Late Show”, which was published mid-2017. The old stuff is a little dated, but in a very entertaining “L.A. noir in the ’90s” way.

I also stumbled across Steven Saylor’s Roma Sub Rosa novels, which are mysteries set in the ancient Roman Republic. I’ve been a fan of Lindsey Davis’ Falco series for a long time, and Saylor’s mysteries are in a similar vein – but with less humour and a touch more history. I’ve loved historical novels set in ancient Rome since reading Rosemary Sutcliff as a child, and doubled down on all things Roman while studying Classics in high school (and laughing myself silly at Juvenal’s Satires).

Making Money by Terry Pratchett
Woman Most Wild by Danielle Dulsky
Witch by Lisa Lister
A Cold Day for Murder by Dana Stabenow
Weave the Liminal by Laura Tempest Zakroff
Transformative Witchcraft by Jason Mankey
The Thief of Light by Bernard Schaffer
Light Magic for Dark Times by Lisa Marie Basile
Crimson Lake by Candice Fox
Ill Will by Dan Chaon
Redemption Point by Candice Fox
The Raven Room by Ana Medeiros
Lethal Kisses ed. by Ellen Datlow
Hades by Candice Fox
The Late Show by Michael Connelly
The Black Echo by Michael Connelly
The Black Ice by Michael Connelly
The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly
The Poet by Michael Connelly
Mulholland Drive by Michael Connelly
Roman Blood by Steven Saylor
The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka
The Seven Wonders by Steven Saylor
Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor
Wrath of the Furies by Steven Saylor
The House of the Vestals by Steven Saylor
A Gladiator Only Dies Once by Steven Saylor
Arms of Nemesis by Steven Saylor
Catilina’s Riddle by Steven Saylor

Reading List – December 2018

Another year done and dusted. This one was a big reading year, although I didn’t add many titles to the list in December itself – too busy with everything else. I’m not complaining! Lots of work, sunny days, and holiday celebrations took up my time instead.

The yearly total came to 368. Most of those were eBooks borrowed from Auckland Libraries and read on my iPad. A slight majority were fiction, and the vast majority were first-time reads.

The list for December:

Death Message by Kate London
Resolution by Denise Mina
The Spirit Almanac by Emma Loewe
Brightly Burning by Alex Donne
Marked in Flesh by Anne Bishop
Etched in Bone by Anne Bishop
Hexes for the Modern Age by Val Brains
After Z-Hour by Elizabeth Knox
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Witch’s Altar by Jason Mankey and Laura Tempest Zakroff
The Witch’s Book of Shadows by Jason Mankey
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A. White
The King of the Witches by June Johns
Queen of Darkness by Anne Bishop
Blood of a Thousand Stars by Rhoda Belleza
Faith, Issue 1 by Jody Houser
The Hogfather by Terry Pratchett
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

20 in total.

Reading List – November 2018

I managed to squeeze in some extra reading time this month by lugging my iPad everywhere with me. Honestly, Auckland Libraries OverDrive is one of my favourite uses of the internet. It’s free to use once you sign up/in with your library card, and the selection is actually pretty damn good. I make sure to recommend books for them to purchase regularly too.

I received some books on my birthday so this month I have actually read some analogue novels too, but it’s hard to beat the convenience of digital. That being said, I’m not sure it’s done my eyesight any favours.

Lots of crime/suspense/thriller/mystery stuff this month, including some by my all time faves: Tana French & Stuart MacBride (yep, I like my murder mysteries to be really messed up). I’ve also been smashing out a lot of Anne Bishop fantasy, but I’m still undecided on whether I like her or not… The more I read her works, the more I see disturbing gender-essentialist “woman in jeopardy” themes coming through and it’s just not my cup of tea. Even when everything else is good, that kinda thing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

Anyway, on to the list:

The Spirit Ring by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Unsound Issue 1 by Cullen Bunn
Exile by Denise Mina
The Secrets She Keeps by Michael Robotham
Insidious Intent by Val McDermid
The Wych Elm by Tana French
Post Mortem by Kate London
Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
Pig Island by Mo Hayder
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
The Phantom Tolbooth by Norton Juster
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
Tarot by Kim Arnold
Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen
Black Jack by Mari Carr
Junk by Melvin Burgess
The Hoarder by Jess Kidd
21 Ways to a Happier Depression by Seth Swirsky
Weycombe by G.M. Malliet
Death of a Cozy Writer by G.M. Malliet
Death and the Lit Chick by G.M. Malliet
Death at the Alma Mater by G.M. Malliet
Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
Candy Cane Murder by Joanne Fluke
Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke
A Haunting is Brewing by Juliet Blackwell
Written in Red by Anne Bishop
Murder of Crows by Anne Bishop
Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop
Lake Silence by Anne Bishop
Thicker Than Blood by Erin Kelly
Betwixt and Between by Storm Faerywolf
Brazen Virtue by Nora Roberts
The Rising Sign by Jeanne Avery
Dying Light by Stuart MacBride
Flesh House by Stuart MacBride
Broken Skin by Stuart MacBride
Blind Eye by Stuart MacBride
Dark Blood by Stuart MacBride
Shatter the Bones by Stuart MacBride
Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride
22 Dead Little Bodies and Other Stories by Stuart MacBride
The Missing and the Dead by Stuart MacBride
Partners in Crime by Stuart MacBride
Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride
In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride
The Blood Road by Stuart MacBride
Birthdays for the Dead by Stuart MacBride
A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride
The Halfmen of O by Maurice Gee
The New Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
The Wrong Chalet School by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer
He Said / She Said by Erin Kelly

57 in total.

Reading List – October 2018

October is always a busy month for me – and with low mood issues, it’s also been a difficult one. But I still managed to squeeze in 18 books, which I feel good about. It’s quite a collection too. Spec fic (I think I love Jo Walton), romance, crime thriller, fantasy, and the odd non-fic for research purposes.

Short month, so short recap. Here’s the list:

The Just City by Jo Walton
The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz
The King’s Name by Jo Walton
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter
Curse on the Land by Faith Hunter
Flame in the Dark by Faith Hunter
The Celtic Goddess by Trevor Greenfield
The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton
Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
The Twelve Faces of the Goddess by Danielle Blackwood
Rivers of London: Black Mould 1 by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London: Black Mould 2 by Ben Aaronovitch
The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney
Garnethill by Denise Mina

18 in total.

Reading List – September 2018

September was Comic Book month at Auckland Libraries, so I tried a bunch of graphic novels, and found some amazing stories. I liked comics as a kid (particularly X-men and Catwoman) but always kinda wished the stories were longer so I became a fan of collected editions and graphic novels. My first G.N. was “Dragonflight” by Anne McCaffrey – I’d read and loved the series beforehand, so the graphic novel was a wonderful find (at Rotorua Library back in the ’90s). As an adult, I became obsessed with Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” overture, and I’ll admit there are lots of online comics that I regularly ready. So finding “The Wicked + the Divine” and “Locke & Key” had me feeling really lucky this month.

I also started making my way through Naomi Novik’s alt-hist/fantasy “Temeraire” series – dragons in the Napoleonic Wars, what’s not to like. I read the first novel shortly after it was released and really liked it, but for some reason I never picked up the rest. Mistake! They are great, just wholesome fantasy with terrific language.

I also finished a few other series (Rendell, Blizz Chronicles), and started a bunch of new ones by Jo Walton – I’d read “My Real Children” a few years ago when I found it in a pile at Mum’s place, and it was weird in the best way. This month, I got “Among Others” and it was so perfectly attuned to my interests that I didn’t want it to end. After a brief mourning period, I moved on to her alt-history “Farthing” and her Arthurian-esque “King’s Peace” – both trilogies, so yay!

Resilient by Rick Hanson
The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz
Craft by Gabriela Herstik
Witch Child by Celia Rees
Sorceress by Celia Rees
the witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace
World of Warcraft Chronicle Volume 3 by Blizzard Entertainment
First, We Make the Beast Beautiful by Sarah Wilson
Zeus Grants Stupid Wishes by Cory O’Brien
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
Black Powder War by Naomi Novik
Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Empire of Ivory by Naomi Novik
The Pillars of the World by Anne Bishop
The Gods of HP Lovecraft by Martha Wells
Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Beyond the Woods by Paula Guran
Conversations with Spirits by E.O. Higgins
Shadows and Light by Anne Bishop
The House of Gaian by Anne Bishop
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
The Monster in the Box by Ruth Rendell
The Vault by Ruth Rendell
Don’t Know Jack by Diane Capri
Inherit the bones by Emily Littlejohn
Wytches Volume 1 by Scott Snyder
The Wicked + the Divine Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen
A Study in Emerald by Neil Gaiman
Locke & Key Volume 1 by Joe Hill
Among Others by Jo Walton
Farthing by Jo Walton
The King’s Peace by Jo Walton
My Real Children by Jo Walton
What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton
No Man’s Nightingale by Ruth Rendell
The Magic of the Spring Equinox by Danu Forest
Gwyn ap Nudd by Danu Forest
The Wicked + the Divine Volume 2 by Kieron Gillen
The Wicked + the Divine Volume 3 by Kieron Gillen
The Wicked + the Divine Volume 4 by Kieron Gillen
Locke & Key Volume 2 by Joe Hill
Locke & Key Volume 3 by Joe Hill
Locke & Key Volume 4 by Joe Hill
Locke & Key Volume 5 by Joe Hill
Locke & Key Volume 6 by Joe Hill
Ostara by Kerri Connor

49 in total.

Reading List 2018 – August

Well, Jesus fuck me gently with a chainsaw: this month I finished 53 books. FIFTY THREE!

It still counts if much of that was volumes of poetry, right? Actually, I feel like I should get bonus credit for reading poetry. I enjoy it occasionally, when I’m in the mood, but since August 24th was National Poetry Day, I pushed hard to try works from a wide variety of poets (and squeezed in a few of my faves too – I’m looking at you Rupi Kaur and Selina Tusitala Marsh, with heart eyes!), with a focus on including Kiwis, women and people of colour.

The rest was a fairly typical mix of crime thrillers & spiritual stuff, with the odd Spec Fic novel thrown in.

The NZ Book Council released survey reports stating that  86% of adult respondents read/started at least one book in the past year, and gave an estimated average of 35 books read per reader. Honestly, that seems high to me and I suspect it’s because of book nerds like me fuckin’ with the bell curve. Danyl Mclauchlan of The Spinoff floats the idea that people are prone to fibbing in these kinds of surveys, which makes a weird kind of sense too. He says that Wellington Library reported the average number of books borrowed by members in 2017 was about 11 per person, but there’s no mention of how many registered members they have. If I look at my immediate circle of family, not many use the library: me obv., and I know my brother borrows ebooks, and my mum may rarely go (she usually just buys her own books though, or borrows from friends), and after 18 years with my spouse, he did actually get a library card last year – to borrow a grand total of three books.

Anyway, for those who are curious, here’s the big list!

Wheels of Life by Anodea Judith
Cold Granite by Stuart McBride
Before the Storm by Christie Golden
The Witch’s Athame by Jason Mankey
Essential Oils in Spiritual Practice by Candice Covington
Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
What’s a Witch to Do? by Jennifer Harlow
Wicca for Life by Raymond Buckland
Bloody January by Alan Parks
How to Stop Time by Matt Haig
If You Go Down to the Woods by Seth C. Adams
Little Wolves by Thomas Maltman
Magicians Impossible by Brad Abraham
The Murder Book by Jane A. Adams
The Merry Spinster by Mallory Ortberg
Wrede on Writing by Patricia C. Wrede
Writing With Intent by Margaret Atwood
Sometimes the Magic Works by Terry Brooks
Wicca for One by Raymond Buckland
A Little Book on Form by Robert Hass
In Perfect Love by Taliesin Govannon
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Poisoned Apples by Christine Hepperman
Night Sky with Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong
The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich
When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen
Rumi: Bridge to the Soul by Coleman Banks
100 Best-Loved Poems by Philip Smith
The Poetry of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
The Black Unicorn by Audre Lorde
Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke by Rilke
The Best of Best New Zealand Poems ed. by Bill Manhire
Winter Trees by Sylvia Plath
Auckland ed. by Witi Ihimaera
Allen Curnow: Collected Poems ed. by Terry Sturm
Tightrope by Selina Tusitala Marsh
Selected Poems by James K. Baxter
Collected Poems 1951-2006 by C.K. Stead
Mauri Ola ed. by Albert Wendt
Poems 1960-2000 by Fleur Adcock
Al Que Quiere! by William Carlos Williams
A Miscellany by e.e. cummings
yesterday i was the moon by Noor Unnahar
The Silver Child by Cliff McNish
Omega by Stewart Farrar
Sign of the Labrys by Margaret St. Clair
Witchcraft from the Inside by Raymond Buckland
A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
Failure of Moonlight by Rosemary Edghill
Murder by Magic ed. by Rosemary Edghill
Modern Wicca by Michael Howard
Witches of America by Alex Mar
Merry Meet Again by Deborah Lipp

53 (!) in total.

Reading List 2018 – July

July was a bad month for my mood, so my read list mostly consists of the comfort of fantasy and spirituality, although I did manage to pound out a few Ruth Rendell’s too.

Props for Robert Dinsdale’s “The Toymakers”, which is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. Loved it.

I Am Rebecca by Fleur Beale
How to Start a Red Tent by Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost
Simisola by Ruth Rendell
Road Rage by Ruth Rendell
Faerie Tale by Raymond E. Feist
Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon by Lisa Goldstein
Aromatherapy for Women by Maggie Tisserand
Not her real name by Emily Perkins
The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
Tithe by Holly Black
Ironside by Holly Black
Valiant by Holly Black
Harm Done by Ruth Rendell
The Babes in the Wood by Ruth Rendell
The Everything Tarot Book by Skye Alexander
Tarot Court Cards for Beginners by Leeza Robertson
Traditional Wicca by Thorn Mooney
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones
The Amulet by Michael McDowell
Sweep: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan
End In Tears by Ruth Rendell
Not in the Flesh by Ruth Rendell
Witchcraft: A Very Short Introduction by Malcolm Gaskill

25 in total.

Reading List 2018 – June

Still making my way through Ruth Rendell’s Wexford novels. It’s fascinating to watch as both Rendell and her main characters adapt to the changes of time: the first Wexford novel was published in 1964, and the one I just finished, “Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter“, came out in 1992. A lot happened in real time over those ~30 years, but Wexford only ages about a decade (maybe? she’s left it pretty vague) so it would’ve been a challenge to update her characters for more modern audiences without totally changing their personalities. It’s indicative of Rendell’s skill as a writer that she accomplished this so smoothly.

Speaking of writers, I spent June organising a local writers group, which necessitated reading some books aimed at writers as part of my prep. I spent quite a bit of time with Diana Wynne Jones’ writing memoir – “Reflections” – and then had to re-read some of her books so that I could give context to her musings. I will forever be in awe at her mind. It’s always been obvious to me that she was a terrific writer, but then when you read about her story-building process (especially for “Fire and Hemlock” – my God!), you realise she was a wildly creative genius who left the world a better place for having had her in it.

The other observation that reading “Reflections” left me with was when I’m struggling with low mood, reading anthologies is a wise choice – being able to pick up and put down a book at regular intervals seems to improve my concentration and focus at such times. In that vein, I recommend “Te Kōrero Ahi Kā“: a delicious collection of scifi, fantasy and horror submissions from members of SpecFicNZ

Honourable mention goes to Vanessa Cuccia’s “Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure“. The founder of Chakrubs has done an excellent job of writing about sexuality, healing and the use of crystals in this book. It was a beautiful and edifying read.

Murder Being Once Done by Ruth Rendell
Plus+ by Bethany Rutter
Angel Fire by Lisa Unger
The Perfect Cookie ed. by America’s Test Kitchen
Some Lie and Some Die by Ruth Rendell
Shake Hands For Ever by Ruth Rendell
Witch, Please by Misty Bell Stiers
The Workshop Handbook for Writers by Jackie Wills
Medea by Kerry Greenwood
Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
Daily Writing Resilience by Bryan E. Robinson
Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner
Reflections on the Magic of Writing by Diana Wynne Jones
A Sleeping Life by Ruth Rendell
The Game by Diana Wynne Jones
The Power of Three by Diana Wynne Jones
Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
Put On By Cunning by Ruth Rendell
The Witchmaster’s Key by Franklin W. Dixon
Bless This House by Donna Henes
The Merlin Conspiracy by Diana Wynne Jones
Crystal Healing and Sacred Pleasure by Vanessa Cuccia
The Speaker of Mandarin by Ruth Rendell
An Unkindness of Ravens by Ruth Rendell
In the Shadow of the Trees by Elenor Gill
The Writing Group Book ed. by Lisa Rosenthal
Te Kōrero Ahi Kā: To Speak of the Home Fires Burning ed. by Grace Bridges, Lee Murray, Aaron Compton
The Veiled One by Ruth Rendell
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell

30 in total.