Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

#AMonthOfFaves ~ Favorite Books Read This Year

For the month of December, join hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event—a fun way to recap the year that was. They have every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out, and you can join in anytime! More details.

Mon. | Dec. 31 – Favorite Books Read This Year

Favorite Fiction Novel

All the Crooked Saints

All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

This book was a surprise to me, which has probably increased my warm feelings for it. It has all the things that I like in fiction: great setting, characters I want to spend time with, and a interesting enough plot.
My Review

Fiction Novel Runners-Up

A Long Fatal Love Chase
World of Trouble (The Last Policeman, #3)

A Long Fatal Love Chase by Louisa May Alcott is not the best novel ever written. No, really, it’s okay to say that about a classic author’s work. But, I really enjoyed this book. It’s the sort of sensational story that gave novels a gloriously bad name. My Review

I didn’t give Ben H. Winter’s Countdown City and World of Trouble super high ratings, but I realized some time last week that there weren’t anymore Hank Palace tales left and that made me a little sad. I’ll have to reread these books before I say for sure, but Hank might be one of my favorite characters ever. My Review

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Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

More Challenges for 2019

Remember this post, not a week old, and my insistence that I wasn’t going to join more than one official year-long challenge? Yeah, well, I’m weak and the internet is full of good ideas.

Nick’s Chapter-a-Day Read-Alongs

Four books, 365 chapters.

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes – January 1 to May 8
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – May 9 to September 2
  • Lilith by George MacDonald – September 3 to October 19
  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens – October 20 to December 31

All the Details: Announcing the 2019 Chapter-a-Day Read-Along

2019 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Is it okay to join a challenge for something I was going to do anyway? I’m going to say “yes,” especially when it comes to nonfiction.

My goal is to read at least 36% nonfiction, which is about what I averaged in 2018.

I hesitate to set a list, but here are a few titles I’d like to get to in 2019:

  • Laurant: Man of Many Mysteries by Gabe Fajuri
  • Jay’s Journal of Anomalies by Ricky Jay
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick by Mallory O’Meara
  • Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married by Abby Ellin
  • The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James
  • I’ll Be Gone in the Dark One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara
  • In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin by Erik Larson
  • The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder by Daniel Stashower

All the Details: 2019 Nonfiction Reading Challenge

Posted in Female Author, Short Story

#DealMeIn2018, Week 52 ~ “Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color”

“Shape Without Form, Shade Without Color” by Sunny Moraine

Card Selected: 10♠️

The window is slightly open, admitting the cold. I hear the starlings whisper. Don’t you love us? Don’t you want us anymore?

The blurb of this story is “Haunted by starlings in the dark, a young woman spirals into an altered state of consciousness.” And I wonder if “altered state of consciousness” is our twenty-first century way of saying “madness.” Both of these terms are void of diagnosis, though I suppose that the more modern term has less baggage and prejudice associated with it. In a 19th century Gothic sense though, this young woman spirals into madness, which has a certain amount of romance. In 20th century parlance, I suppose one might say “psychotic break.”

It’s a beautifully written piece and, once again, a story that would probably provide more rewards with a second or third reading. This feels to me very much like a fall or winter story. It was a nice way to finish up Deal Me In for 2018.

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

#AMonthOfFaves ~ This Is How We Read

For the month of December, join hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event—a fun way to recap the year that was. They have every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out, and you can join in anytime! More details.

FRI. | Dec. 28 – #AMonthofFaves ~ This Is How We Read and Blogged This Year – eg. Number of books read so far, genre you read the most from, picture of favorite (or most often used) reading location, most read author, % eBooks, hardcovers, paperbacks and/or audiobooks, hint at what your favorite read of the year is (let us guess), types of books you wish you read more of, month you read the most and least). …

Reading Stats

As of 12/28/18, presented with little comment.

Books Read: 59

Average Rating: 3.3 out of 5
DNFs: 17

Unique Authors: 54
New Authors: 32
Most Read Author: Steve Hockensmith (3)

% Fiction: 64%
% Nonfiction: 36%

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Posted in Mixed Anthology, Short Story

The Black Cat, No. 3, December 1895

Welcome to the third issue of The Black Cat and the Black Cat Project!


“The Great Star Ruby” by Barnes Macgreggor

A group gathered late in the evening of the Melbourne Cup discuss the days events, including the opening of the opera house and the woman with the ruby headdress who caused quite a stir. This leads a late-comer to tell the tale of a great star ruby that led to many adventures and some tragedies. This story ends up being much like Macgreggor’s story in issue one, right down to the “savages” and the slight twist ending.

“The Interrupted Banquet” by Rene Bache

Though quite familiar with the street, I could not remember having seen that particular house before.

This is an ominous beginning to a story. Our narrator assures us that he never would have thought to go into the house if the lady he were with hadn’t confidently let herself in. They go upstairs and sit down to dinner. Around the table are a group of strange characters including a man that our narrator thinks is his old friend, Bill, from college. Except Bill has been dead for eight years… The story goes mostly as expected from there. The only other Rene Bache on Google wrote articles for Scientific American. Studied at Yale and Harvard.

This story is by far my favorite of the month

“The Archangel” by James Q. Hyatt

Two guys out hunting are approached by an old codger whose name, he says, is the Archangel. Since every one is being so lazy, the Archangel tells them how he got his name. It seems that in his younger years he lived with a guy named Adolphe. Adolphe was very good at all the cooking and chores, but “Archangel” decided that they(?) should send away for a wife. After receiving no answers to his inquiry for a quite a while, “Archangel” finally got a letter a woman. But this all turns out to be a ruse. The name “Archangel” was given due to an act of mercy.

“Asleep at Lone Mountain” by  H. D. Umbstaetter

A quiet little boy with no name, only a toddler really, is put of a train to Omaha where his father awaits. The little boy is taken under the wing of the passengers and is named Grit. (This is done via auction because the passengers are bored. The the proceeds from the auction go to the boy and his father.) While this story lacks one of Umbstaetter’s usual twist endings, it’s ultimately a sad and slightly pointless story.

“Kootchie” by Harold Kinsabby

A quick, humorous tale about a dog and a cat and their owners. And while looking up Harold Kinsabby (which I probably had done before, this is his second story in The Black Cat), I found out that this name, as well of Barnes Macgreggor, are pseudonyms for H. D. Umbstaetter! H. D. has been padding out his magazine for the first few months!

“Frazer’s Find” by Roberta Littlehale

Littlehale rounds out this issue with a tragic-romantic tale of a man seeking his fortune in the west who finds a youth hiding after an Indian attack. The boy is not quite what he seems, but Frazer shows a tremendous amount of devotion and responsibility even when it wouldn’t be the best for him personally.


No ads. I wonder if the holidays took their toll on this issue. Maybe October isn’t a great month to launch a magazine.

Want to read for yourself?
Here’s the link to Issue No. 3, December 1895

Or find out
More about the Black Cat Project

Posted in Readathons-Challenges-Memes

#AMonthOfFaves ~ Goals & Challenges

For the month of December, join hosts  GirlxoxoTraveling with T and Estella’s Revenge for their annual #AMonthofFaves blog event—a fun way to recap the year that was. They have every day of the event (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) planned out, and you can join in anytime! More details.

MON. | Dec. 24 – #AMonthofFaves Challenges and Goals –  Reading challenges, personal goals, resolutions – how did you do? What are your goals for this month, this season or next year. Check in here.

I’m going to stick to reading goals here because writing and personal goals are a whole other ball of wax.

Continue reading “#AMonthOfFaves ~ Goals & Challenges”
Posted in Female Author, Short Story

#DealMeIn2018, Week 51 ~ “Uncle Abraham’s Romance”

“Uncle Abraham’s Romance” by Edith Nesbit

Card Picked: 2♣️ – WILD card
Found at: Grim Tales @ ProjectGutenberg

“There’s nothing to tell,” he said. “I think it was fancy, mostly, and folly; but it’s the realest thing in my long life, my dear.”

Since this was a WILD card, I figured I’d continue with my reading of Edith Nesbit’s Grim Tales.

Our narrator, age eighteen, sits at her uncle’s knee and waits for him to tell her about his one single romance. While he never married, he often sits and gazes at the miniature of a beautiful woman. Despite what he says, she knows there’s a story there.

Finally, he tells her of a lovely young woman that he used to speak to over the churchyard wall, who didn’t care about his lame leg. Of course, this being a Edith Nesbit story with a churchyard and a mysterious portrait, we can assume that the woman isn’t exactly what she seems (well, if you assumed she was just a lovely, understanding you woman in the first place).

Predictable, but in a satisfying way