Friday, December 9, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/9/22) - Friday Happy Links!

Happy Friday! For anyone new around here, on Fridays we take a break from the news and have a set of fun/happy links. Though today I must take a moment first and say I'm SO HAPPY ABOUT BRITTNEY GRINER'S RELEASE, which broke about two minutes too late to get into yesterday's links. We'll have a story about that when regular links return tomorrow, of course. On to your usual Friday programming!

Congratulations, Mayor Smith! Jaylen Smith: Arkansas elects youngest black mayor in US (BBC)

The first few eps came out yesterday! Harry & Meghan Doc Sets Release Date at Netflix — Plus, Watch a New Trailer (TVLine)

No snowflakes are the same. These stunning close-up photos are proof. (WaPo)

SO EXCITED: ‘Happy Valley’ Season 3 Teaser Hints at Fresh Drama for Sarah Lancashire (VIDEO) (TV Insider)

Fave Five: New Queer Holiday Romances (LGBTQ Reads)

DAISY JONES & THE SIX: Prime Video Sets March Debut, Releases First Photos (GMMR)

Frankly I should not have even let myself look at this. DANGER. Fug Nation Loves Tartan (And Plaid)! (GFY)

If Books Were Drinks, These Would Be Hot Toddies (NYT)

The Best Holiday Cocktails, According to Eater Editors (Eater)

Ooh, I need to try these: Crispy Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites (Half-Baked Harvest)

And some longer Friday reads...

Come for the foodie nostalgia, stay for the amazing John Lennon anecdote. (I have my mom's copy on my cookbook shelf right behind me!) ‘The Silver Palate Cookbook’ Changed Home Cooking (and Pesto Consumption) As We Know It (Eater)

The Best Crime Novels of 2022 (NYT)

Larkin in Latin (Antigone)

This is an amazing resource: The Ultimate List of Sapphic Holiday Romances (Jae)

A Roundtable Discussion on Christmas Mysteries (CrimeReads)

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/8/22)

Good morning! Today is Thursday. You may notice that I have no links going to the New York Times today, which is fairly rare. It's because their union has requested that readers stand with their 24-hour work stoppage (this past midnight to this coming midnight). For more information on what's going on, just click the first link below. (Also I forgot to find a non-NYT link for this but Aaron Judge!!)

The New York Times is bracing for a historic mass walkout as union negotiations go down to the wire (CNN)

‘It has been machine guns lately’: fighting intensifies in southern Kherson (The Guardian)

I clearly have not been paying enough attention to non-Russia and China international events because this coup attempt felt like it came out of nowhere (TO ME, I mean): Pedro Castillo: Peru's ousted president detained by police in Lima (BBC)

Nancy Pelosi: I’m proud to protect marriage as one of my last acts as speaker (WaPo)

Related: Why 12 Senate Republicans broke from their party to support a same-sex marriage bill (Grid)

Deeply divided New Hampshire House comes together (NHPR)

Good! Ramesh 'Sunny' Balwani is sentenced to nearly 13 years for his role in Theranos fraud (NPR)

‘Expressive times’: Publishing industry an open book in 2022 (AP)

Uber Eats and Chicago Reach $10 Million Settlement Over Deceptive Practices (Eater)

Aww: Last surviving Dambuster, ‘Johnny’ Johnson, dies aged 101 (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

Dispatch from Kherson: Inside Ukraine’s battle to win the infrastructure war (Grid)

China just announced a new social credit law. Here’s what it means. (MIT Technology Review)

Centering the Voices of Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (Sapiens)

That Cardboard Box in Your Home Is Fueling Election Denial (ProPublica)

Reviving the Restoration: How I Choose Locations for My Historical Thrillers (CrimeReads)

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/7/22)

Today is Wednesday and we're starting with TWO pieces of good news. Wild.

Trump’s Company Is Guilty of Tax Fraud, a Blow to the Firm and the Man (NYT)

Warnock beats Walker in Ga. runoff, growing Democrats’ Senate majority (WaPo)

You know it's bad if the CDC is actually saying the word "mask:" CDC encourages people to wear masks to help prevent spread of Covid, flu and RSV over the holidays (CNBC)

Wow: China announces a roll-back of its strict anti-COVID-19 measures (NPR)

Germany Arrests Dozens Suspected of Planning to Overthrow Government (NYT)

The Frightening Implications of Gorsuch’s Angry Questions About State “Reeducation” (Slate)

Emergency shelters gear up for winter as N.H.’s housing crisis continues (NHPR)

Union-busting is bad!! HarperCollins Adds ‘Christmas’ to Jewish Book Title Without Author’s Consent (The Mary Sue)

Good for him, and this is a really good statement, I recommend you click through and read it: Neal Bledsoe Steps Away From Great American Family: ‘My Support for the LGBTQIA+ Community Is Unconditional’ (EXCLUSIVE) (Variety)

World faces ‘terminal’ loss of Arctic sea ice during summers, report warns (The Guardian)

And some longer reads:

The Crimea question: Why Ukraine’s final battle might be the Western alliance’s toughest test (Grid)

More Than Two Years After George Floyd’s Murder Sparked a Movement, Police Reform Has Stalled. What Happened? (ProPublica)

Ashkenazi Jews Have Become More Genetically Similar Over Time (NYT)

What Cargo Cult Rituals Reveal About Human Nature (Sapiens)

Dracula vs. the FBI (CrimeReads)

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

How to get posts by email

Unfortunately, Blogger has taken away their feature that allowed for email subscriptions to blogs. I'm still looking at alternatives for a more newsletter style email, but for now, you can get free email notifications when I post via Blogtrottr. It's very easy and you don't need to create an account with them or anything, and they should email you within about an hour of each post.


1. Go to Blogtrottr.

2. Under Getting Started, you'll see a box to enter the URL of the feed. Enter this link there:

3. Enter your email address in the next box and click the Feed Me button.

4. Check your email - they will send you a confirmation email and you just need to click the link in that to confirm your subscription.

And that's it! It's quite easy but let me know if you run into any issues.

Morning Coffee Link Roundup (12/6/22)

Good morning! I'd moved my daily curated links to a newsletter for a few years, but the service I was using has changed their business model, so I'm back here, at least for now and we'll see how it goes. You can find the new posts via RSS feed/reader or just by going to the front page of this site every morning. I am hoping to get something set up today that will allow the option of email notifications, too - stay tuned. And please let me know if anything in the formatting etc. seems off as I settle in here.

Appeals court halts special master review of documents seized at Mar-a-Lago in major defeat for Trump (CNN)

And some longer reads...

Laws that keep people from voting are bad!! Turnout Was Strong in Georgia, but Mail Voting Plummets After New Law (NYT)

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Book Review: A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang

A Gentleman's Murder by Christopher Huang
Adult historical mystery
July 2018

October, 1924. When the newest member of Eric Peterkin's London club is found stabbed to death in the vault below the club building, Eric throws himself into a quest for the truth. Treading a maze of missing nurses, morphine addiction, and shell shock, Eric soon finds that though the Great War may be over, its shadows still linger; and sometimes, they fester....

I picked this one up because I heard this interview with the author on my favorite podcast, Shedunnit, and what he said about growing up in Singapore as a British Golden Age mystery fan was really interesting. As he discusses in that episode, part of his intention in writing this Eric Peterkin series (I hope it will be a series!) is to put characters who look like him into his favorite genre of books. Eric has a white British father and Chinese immigrant mother, and Huang does a good job of showing how racism affects both Eric's life and that of his sister (as she faces different stereotypes about Asian women and therefore some different dangers than he does as a man), as well as the ways Asian characters are portrayed in the crime novels and films of the time. I love seeing a wider variety of diverse characters in historical fiction, especially when it's done so thoughtfully and deliberately.

The mystery itself here is well-plotted with a good sense of fair play - I was very proud of myself for picking up on certain clues disguised as throwaway bits of dialogue. Huang's descriptions of the world of his characters and the minutiae of their daily lives are a particular strength, as is the way he illustrates the myriad ways World War I changed society in general and individuals in particular, especially in regards to shell shock and the mental health of veterans. That said, my one quibble was with the way addiction was treated - it's generally shown correctly as a disease that here is often a result of the war, either directly (wounded soldiers given morphine) or indirectly (self-medicating because of unaddressed PTSD), but then at certain points it's treated as a vice or moral failing. It's realistic for certain characters to think or talk of it that way, of course, but this odd dichotomy continues in the author's note and I'd have liked it to make clear that this was an incorrect and outdated view.

Overall, though, this is definitely worth a read for Golden Age mystery fans, and I will definitely give Huang's next book a try!

Author's Site | Amazon | Bookshop

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Book Review: The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann

The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann
Adult queer contemporary romance
Berkley Romance/Penguin Random House
April 12, 2022

Thirty, flirty, and asexual Joy is secretly in love with her best friend Malcolm, but she’s never been brave enough to say so. When he unexpectedly announces that he’s met the love of his life—and no, it’s not Joy—she’s heartbroken. Malcolm invites her on a weekend getaway, and Joy decides it’s her last chance to show him exactly what he’s overlooking. But maybe Joy is the one missing something…or someone…and his name is Fox.

Fox sees a kindred spirit in Joy—and decides to help her. He proposes they pretend to fall for each other on the weekend trip to make Malcolm jealous. But spending time with Fox shows Joy what it’s like to not be the third wheel, and there’s no mistaking the way he makes her feel. Could Fox be the romantic partner she’s always deserved?

As an ace spec (asexual spectrum) person who loves romance novels, I read and enjoy plenty of books about allosexual people, and that's always just been the norm - I like sex scenes as long as they seem specific to the characters (not true of all aces, to be clear), and just get kinda bored when they read like just descriptions of what's happening for the sake of it, sometimes roll my eyes a bit when the characters are going on about how sexy the other lead is, especially when it's very focused on specific physical attributes. But mostly it's like dragons or spaceships or all the other things I like fine in books without needing them to exist in my own life. But even though it doesn't bother me in other books, the lack of focus on sexual attraction as the relationship in The Romantic Agenda progressed was so striking, and sort of . . . refreshing? Like "oh yeah, I don't necessarily HAVE to read a bunch of stuff I don't relate to in order to read a love story." (Honestly that sounds too negative about other books but I'm not sure how else to put it. I love other romances too! Obviously!) It was just . . . nice to get that for once, and I got surprisingly emotional about it. News flash: Representation matters.

If the above paragraph made you think "Wait, what are you talking about?" then good news: Kann weaves some great explanations around asexuality (and a few different kinds of ace experiences) into this book without seeming preachy, so I'd definitely recommend it to people who'd like to learn more.

And in addition to all that, The Romantic Agenda included a bunch of things I love in romances, including fake dating (one of the best tropes!!), social media stardom, baking, and really great conversations between the leads. I also liked that it didn't have a Big Bad Thing happen that needed to be resolved at the very end - those can work in romances but I often prefer romances that just . . . skip it. People can work through their feelings and issues and have plenty of plot without a giant misunderstanding or breakup or other relationship crisis.

Kann's writing is funny and keeps things moving while not shying away from serious topics and real introspection, and her characterizations are so vivid and feel like real people with real dreams and problems and occasionally annoying traits. I really enjoyed her YA novel Let's Talk About Love as well, and I will definitely be reading more of her books.

Author's Site | Amazon | Bookshop

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Hello again!

Hello out there! It's been a while! I'm resurrecting this old blog because I want somewhere to post book reviews. I'm not going to commit to a specific schedule, as I'm sure that will just set myself up to fail, so let's just say I'm planning to post frequently. If you'd rather get links to these reviews in a digest email, subscribe to my tinyletter, where I will periodically round up these reviews and maybe some brief thoughts on other books I've read that didn't get their own post.

As far as what I will be reviewing - I read a pretty wide variety, lots of mystery and romance, some YA and fantay and sci fi and whatever else catches my attention. Lots of queer stuff. I'll probably try to focus on reviewing newer releases, but will throw some older new-to-me books in too when I feel like I have something to say about them.

If you have a new or upcoming book you want me to review, send me an email.

If you liked my old link roundup posts here, please subscribe to my free daily link newsletter!

Welcome (back)! Thanks for reading!