tardis' 2019 reading record
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This thread will be much as in the past. Mostly short comments, rather than reviews.
For interest (if any), here are my previous reading threads:
2018 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/279810 (196 books read)
2017 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/245188 (221 books read)
2016 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/210797 (173 books read)
2015 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/185699 (180 books read)
2014 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/163304 (170 books read)
2013 journal: http://www.librarything.com/topic/147262 (185 books read)
My TBR pile is at an all-time high (for me) of 128 books (print) plus a few ebooks.
1. Gardens of the Arts & Crafts Movement by Judith B. Tankard. A Christmas present to myself. A gorgeous, lushly-illustrated book on, well, exactly what the title says. Tankard goes back to the early days of the Arts & Crafts movement, with Morris, Voysey, et al. and then brings it into the present. Love it.
That arts & crafts book sounds like something I'd enjoy browsing. Stopped getting them though, it's so depressing having books inspiring you of the unattainable (no real garden, the one we have needs to function with minimal care as we're only there for 6-8 weeks in a year, and some of those are during winter).
2. Murder by the Book - what does a novel have to do with murder?
3. Before Midnight - an advertising exec is murdered and the answers to a million-dollar contest stolen.
4. The Mother Hunt - a widow is given a baby that may be her late husband's bastard. Who's the mother?
5. The Father Hunt - a girl gets a box full of cash on her mother's death, with a note saying it's "from her father" and wants to know who daddy is.
6. American Hippo by Sarah Gailey. Omnibus edition of River of Teeth and Taste of Marrow, with a couple of short stories thrown in. I had previously read the novellas, so this is sort of a re-read, but worth it. Still fun.
7. Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh & Stella Duffy. Because exhuming an author's unfinished work and finishing it is always a good plan. I can't tell how much of this book is Marsh and how much is Duffy, but it was not up there with my favourite Marshes, being merely okay. Alleyn, for inexplicable reasons, is in New Zealand during the war looking for traitors. He's staying at a hospital, and there's theft and murder so he steps in to solve it.
8. Art Matters by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell. A slim book of Gaiman's talks with charming illustrations. Inspiring.
4 Liaden Chapbooks by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller:
10. Sleeping with the Enemy: Adventures in the Liaden Universe number 22
11. Change Management: Adventures in the Liaden universe number 23
12. Due Diligence: Adventures in the Liaden Universe number 24
13. Degrees of Separation : Adventures in the Liaden Universe number 27
Between one and three stories in each, all illuminating some small portion of the Liaden story. I enjoyed them all.
May all your books in 2019 be worthy of completing. :o)
14. Scardown by Elizabeth Bear. Earth is not doing well. The Canadians and the Chinese are competing to get enough people off Earth to at least save the species. All the Canadian spaceships are named after Canadian cities (e.g. Calgary, Montreal), and the shuttles after Canadian musicians (e.g. Leonard Cohen, Gordon Lightfoot). Really good, although I didn't realize until the end that it was the middle book of a trilogy. Will have to look for the other two books.
Thank you, dear!
16. Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon. A new book in the world of Paksennarion, although Paks herself features but little in it. There are three interwoven stories here, that of Kieri Phelan, now king of Lyonya, Arcolin, who took over Phelan's mercenary company, and Dorrin Verrakai, the only member of that traitorous clan who is untainted by the evil blood magic and becomes the Duke of Verrakai. Very good. Want more!
You are in luck. The series has already been completed with four more books.
17. Water Weed by Andrew Cartmell, based on the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. Graphic novel. Can't get enough of Peter Grant & co. Very good.
18. Ground Rules: 100 easy lessons for growing a more glorious garden by Kate Frey. Bit simplistic, but cheerful and with lots of nice pictures of gardens. Good January garden fix :)
I'm well aware that the road only goes one way, but that also means that I get to borrow her books while my books are safe at home.
She rarely makes it up here, though.
Companion volumes, commentary, role playing games, the films. I went ahead and added it.
29. Limits of Power by Elizabeth Moon. 4th in the Paladin's Legacy series. More of Kieri, Arvin, Dorrin, etc. Enjoyed it.
30. Crown of Renewal by Elizabeth Moon. 5th (final) in the Paladin's Legacy series. See above. Very good, although I'd like more. Moon tied up a lot of loose ends, but there are a few hanging, too.
40. Murder with Puffins (print)
41. Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos (print)
All by Donna Andrews. I'm starting a re-read of the series, as for reasons that I'm not clear on, I need comfort reads. This series amuses me, and doesn't trigger my usual annoyance with amateur sleuths. Although honestly, the nasty little dog, Spike, must be about 25 by now, and poor Debbie-Ann, the Caerphilly County police dispatcher seems to be on duty 24/7. I probably won't binge through the whole series in one go - I've got library books, too.
42. Crouching Buzzard, Leaping Loon by Donna Andrews. Meg is working for her brother's software company because she hurt her hand and can't do her blacksmithing. One of the programmers dies. The title is from some of the fake martial arts moves that Meg is teaching her brother to amuse herself. Also the software company has a live buzzard, who really ought to be at a wildlife rehab facility.
43. We'll Always Have Parrots by Donna Andrews. Meg's boyfriend, Michael is attending a con for a cult TV series in which he plays a saturnine wizard. To suit the jungle feel of the series, the concom have acquired a bunch of assorted parrots, monkeys, and a tiger. The parrots and monkeys have got loose and are running around the hotel. Obviously, Andrews has been to media cons, and the portrayal of the fans is pretty accurate, but not mean.
44. Endgames by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. I think this is the end of the Imager series. It felt a bit like Modesitt was just tired of it and decided to finish it. I like the series, but it never feels quite real. The in-story religion feels fake, and the characters seldom face what feels like real peril or deep emotion. Still, decent enough.
47. The Penguin Who Knew Too Much by Donna Andrews. The local zoo is bankrupt and the animals are temporarily fostered out. Meg and Michael end up with a lot of them, while trying to move into the house.
48. Cockatiels at Seven by Donna Andrews. An old friend drops her toddler off for a short visit with Meg and Michael, but then doesn't come back. Meg goes looking.
49. Six Geese A-Slaying - Meg manages the Christmas parade. Somebody offs Santa.
50. Swan for the Money - Meg is rooked into managing the Rose Show.
51. Stork Raving Mad - The power is out at the college so Meg and Michael are hosting a large number of students. Meg is also 8.5 months pregnant with twins. Chaos ensues.
52. The Real Macaw - the twins are 4 months old and Meg wakes up to find that she and Michael are hosting the former inhabitants of the local animal shelter to save them from being euthanized to save money. The town, it turns out, is well in debt and the "evil lender" is planning to foreclose.
56. The Good, the Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews. Meg and co. go to a nearby town to find her grandmother's murderer and also round up a bunch of feral emus. The emus all have names after famous literary and suffragist figures. Fun.
57. That Ain't Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire. My birthday present from Seanan. For the last few years she's been releasing a new Incryptid novel on or very near my birthday, and I love it. In this one, Antimony Price and friends take on the Crossroads. Fun, funny, and very good. Loved it.
58. The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen. WW1, and bored Emily Bryce finally escapes the clutches of her overprotective parents and volunteers to be a land girl. Good.
59. The Nightingale Before Christmas by Donna Andrews. Meg is managing the decorators participating in a holiday design competition for charity. Fun.
60. Lord of the Wings by Donna Andrews. Halloween in Caerphilly, and they've got a major festival on. Meg is managing security for the event. There's a corpse, of course. And how is the unaffiliated scavenger hunt involved with it?
This is the last of the Elantra books that I own, so there will be a break while I get hold of later volumes in the series. Back the TBR pile for my next read!
70. Marque and Reprisal
71. Engaging the Enemy
72. Command Decision
73. Victory Conditions
All by Elizabeth Moon, and finishing off the Vatta's War series. Of course there is a following series, Vatta's Peace, but I haven't got them yet. A very enjoyable series. A somewhat smaller canvas than milSF like the Honor Harrington series, but also without the endless infodumps. Comparable to and nearly as enjoyable as Tanya Huff's Valor series.
73. Hammered by Elizabeth Bear. The 14th book I read this year (Scardown, >15 tardis:) is the second book in this series, and this is #1. Mildly annoying, since #1 was in my TBR pile as well, and I didn't find it until I was looking for something else the other day. #3 is not in the pile (probably). Anyway, it was good, and fills in some of the things that would have helped #2 be even better, although it was actually pretty good even on its own. I shall have to put more effort into finding book #3.
Edited because I got the author's surname wrong. First name was right, though!
78. Hunting Party by Elizabeth Moon. Knocking more stuff off my TBR pile. Parts of this series have been around for a while, waiting for me to get the first book in the series, which this is. Heris Serrano has resigned from the space service under a cloud and takes a job as Captain for a rich woman's yacht. Very good.
82. Crashing Heat by Richard Castle. Improbable and silly, but enjoyable mystery allegedly from the protagonist of the Castle TV series.
84. Cold Welcome
85. Into the Fire
both by Elizabeth Moon. Ky Vatta goes home to Slotter Key to do some family business and do some other stuff. The first book is where it all starts going horribly wrong. The second is the aftermath which leads into revolution. Very good!
Also, I feel you on the stupid brain thing. Hang in there.
89. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie. This was very good, but I really had to pay attention and read slower than normal, because the narrator's voice, the way it was telling the story to one of the characters, was so odd to me. Odd in a good way. It was absorbing. This may make my "best of 2019" list.
Personally the fact that Durrell evidently learnt to speak the relevant local pidgin endeared him to me rather more than the variety of traveller who simply speaks English loudly and expects the locals to have learnt his language and understand him.
Next are two kids' books that came from Mom's house when she was downsizing.
91. The Secret Railway by Elizabeth Beresford. Three kids clean up an abandoned railway station and in the process become friends and save the day. Enjoyable. First published in 1973 and much of it's time, with disaffected youth louts with a band.
92. The Children Who Lived In A Barn by Eleanor Graham. When their parents' airplane disappears, five siblings are kicked out of their house and move into a barn. Much about making-do and earning money. First published 1938, with the gender roles and such that one would expect - the oldest girl, Susan (and why are so many responsible girls in literature called Susan?), is the caretaker for her siblings, although brother Bob helps a bit.
But some googling reveals that the name came from a real person with that nickname, who was actually named Mavis. (from Wikipedia: This name was the nickname of the real life Mavis Altounyan, taken from Joseph Jacobs's children's story Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse.)
EDA: I checked IMDb and it appears my memory is working this morning. There was a clue in the movie title: “The Horse With No Head; The 100,000,000 franc train robbery.”
It was one of the first films I was ever takento the cinema to see. That is probably why I have a reasonably good memory of having seen it. The french title of the book triggered my grey matter: I have an image of the headless horse in my mind when I think of this movie. I think the end credits rolled over the image of the horse and that imprinted it in my mind.
Thank you for churning up a happy memory for me.
Thank you for that. I was not aware of that feature. I live and learn. :-)
96. The Chimneys of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. Tolly is back at Green Knowe for the Easter Holidays, learning more of its history and past inhabitants and searching for missing jewels. A nice read.
97. A Stranger at Green Knowe by L.M. Boston. On her own for the summer, Mrs. Oldknowe has invited Ping, a Burmese refugee boy, to stay for the summer. Exploring Green Knowe and an escaped gorilla fascinates him.
98. Gone Gull by Donna Andrews. More comfort re-reading, thanks to a very disappointing and depressing result in yesterday's provincial election. Also the paperback of this one just arrived. Meg is working at the Biscuit Mountain Craft Center for the summer, helping her grandmother run it and teaching blacksmithing. There's been an outbreak of vandalism, but that's not as bad as murder.
109. No Country For Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne. Silly, packed with puns, and fun. I actually liked this better than the previous entry in the series, Kill the Farm Boy. A tiny bit of overlap in characters from KTFB, but mainly new series, this time focusing on attacks on gnomes by halflings. Two gnomes fight back, along with a rag-tag group including an ovitaur (like centaurs, but with sheep), an automaton, a gryphon who LOVES eggs (especially in nice fluffy omelets garnished with ladybugs) and umlauts, a dwarf, and a halfling.
>78 tardis: What? Fire Works in the Hamptons? The Hamptons are the towns right across the bay from me. In Gatsby's language The Hamptons are 'East Egg' to my 'West Egg.' (That's where all the celebrity money houses are...) That doesn't sound very promising, but it's got a pretty decent rating here on LT.
>100 tardis: So you recommend the Leckie?
110. The Body in the Wake by Katherine Hall Page. A Faith Fairchild mystery. Faith is a murder magnet, and I don't know why anyone stays close to her except for her cooking. Also the book includes recipes, which is usually not a good sign, but in this case I like the characters and the non-mystery sub plots are enjoyable, too.
113. The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. A novella in the Rivers of London-verse, but set in Germany and featuring the German equivalent of The Folly, in which Peter Grant's opposite number is Tobias Winter. Tobi is sent to Trier and teamed up with a local liaison, Vanessa Sommer, to investigate a body found completely covered in Botrytis cinerea, aka "noble rot" which is found on wine grapes. I enjoyed this very much.
A return to the "old" universe I need to read, though. I love those books.
Do you think I should prioritise to pick it up?
(As a side I disliked both Last Light of the Sun and Ysabel, though I found The Fionavar Tapestry readable enough.)
114. The Condor Crags Adventure by Elinor M. Brent-Dyer. A bit of a departure for EBD. Godfrey Chudleigh is exploring in South America when he's kidnapped and held for ransom. His brother and pals come to the rescue. Some racial stereotyping but a fun enough adventure. In the Fardingales series.
115. White Silence by Jodi Taylor. Elizabeth Cage has a weird gift that she has kept secret since childhood, but inexplicably her husband's weird boss knows she has something special and seems to want to use it (and her). Kind of urban fantasy, kind of gothic thriller. Very enjoyable.
116. Dark Light by Jodi Taylor. Second book about Elizabeth Cage. Elizabeth is on the run and ends up in a village with a year king sacrifice/ceremony. Also good.
117. Lifeboat by James White. An oldie but a goodie. Not from the Sector General series. Medical doctor Mercer is on his way to Ganymede as medic (and glorified steward) on a passenger ship. Totally safe, perfectly simple, until suddenly it wasn't. Very enjoyable.
114. A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay. What to say about this? It's Kay. Deep, elegiac, a rumination on history and memory. It starts with a murder and ranges widely from there. I enjoyed it greatly.
118. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
119. Every Which Way But Dead
120. A Fistful of Charms
All by Kim Harrison. The continuing saga of a rash and impulsive woman not learning anything, continually getting into situations she has trouble getting out of, and hurting her friends. I may finish the series, but they're not keepers.
121. A Plain Vanilla Murder by Susan Wittig Albert. Latest in the China Bayles series. Orchids, academia, murder, kidnapping. Enjoyable despite the herb lore infodumps.
(Heh heh, love how you worked in the name Pulsifer!!)
123. Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse. A sequel to Trail of Lightning, which I really enjoyed. Maggie Hoskie is still hunting monsters, this time a person calling himself the White Locust. Navajo lore, post apocalypse, very good.
124. A Study in Honor by Claire O'Dell. A near-future Sherlock Holmes pastiche featuring Janet Watson (one armed vet of the latest civil war (mainly being fought in the midwest US)) and Sara Holmes, genius and secret government agent (or something). Very good, and very absorbing.
125. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey. Murder in a school for magic teenagers. Ivy Gamble is a PI, hired to solve the murder because the authorities have ruled it an accident. She doesn't have any magic, but her twin sister, Tabitha, does, and Tabitha is a teacher at this school. The two have been estranged for some time. Very good.
Edited to add: It would have helped a lot if I'd read the first book more recently. Took a bit to get back into the story.
129. Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara. Next in the Chronicles of Elantra series. Part of the city is experiencing weird magical effects (real prophecies, rain of blood, etc.) and Something is coming. Kaylen & co. need to figure out what and how (if!) to stop it.
130. Smoke Eaters by Sean Grigsby. A nearish-future (about 100 years on) urban fantasy where dragons have become a problem and firefighters can't deal with them. A special squad called Smoke Eaters kills dragons. Not a bad book, although I take serious issue with the author's portrayal of Canadians.
135. License to Ensorcell by Katharine Kerr. Liked this one better than #134. Also #1 in a series. Nola O'Grady is an operative for a secret agency that combats Chaos. Recently returned to her home town of San Francisco, she teams up with a hunky Israeli Interpol agent to track down a werewolf killer. I liked Nola and her gifts, Ari, the Interpol agent, and Nola's weird and variously "gifted" family. The next two books in this series aren't available at the library, so I'll go with #4, and I may or may not track down the other two.
136. Wanderers by Chuck Wendig. One day a bunch of people just start walking across the US. They can't be stopped or communicated with. Friends and family go along to protect them. Then there's a pandemic. Came with a ton of hype and lived up to it. Apocalypse and post-apocalypse are not my favourite genres, and I admit to being
139. Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley. First novel-length story about Kat Holloway. In a new position, she is drawn into intrigue when a kitchen maid is murdered in the larder. Decent historical mystery.
141. Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley.
More "Below Stairs" mysteries, featuring Kat Holloway and friends/colleagues.
So sue me - I found the descriptions of household management and cooking more interesting than the mysteries. I mean, the mysteries weren't bad, and I liked the characters, but I mostly enjoyed Kat doing her actual job and the interplay with other staff.
143. The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher. Sequel to The Clockwork Boys, which I read last year. A motley crew have to figure out the source and how to defeat a bunch of automatons. Very good.
144. Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines. #2 in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series, and just as much fun as #1. Mops and crew are running from the Krakau and trying to figure out what happened to Earth and humanity, and they meet some awesome Librarians.
145. Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low. Sent to me because I won the second book in the series as an Early REviewer book. I am seriously late with my ER reviews (which is why I'm not requesting anything right now), and haven't quite finished the second book yet. This one was kind of intriguing, but full of unsympathetic characters in a debauched society.
150. The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book by Neil Gaiman. Pretty much what it says. I loved the original book and the TV series, so this was also lovely.
153. Cast in Ruin by Michelle Sagara. In the Chronicles of Elantra series. Kaylin is still having etiquette and magic lessons with dragons, and not enjoying either. The fief of Tiamaris is being invaded by Shadows and has become home for refugees from another world. Very good, but not a standalone.
154. Winking at the Brim by Gladys Mitchell. A good mystery and a quick read. Mitchell's forensic psychologist, Dame Beatrice Adela Lestrange Bradley, is almost a secondary character in this story. The main is her granddaughter, Sally Lestrange, who goes on an expedition to a Scottish loch (not Ness) to help look for a monster. The murder takes quite a long time to happen, but there's no question who the victim will be.
I am trying to avoid starting new, long sequences these days. I am already chastened by the realisation that I will never read the end of the (excellent) Legends of the Condor Heroes.
157. A Tangled Weave by Michael Skeet. Mike is an old friend, so I'm pleased to report that I enjoyed this story as much as the one before, A Poisoned Prayer. It features Robert, a minor (but important) character in the previous book, is shaken out of his dilettante ways when he meets Victoire, an impoverished young noblewoman with a side hustle as a cloth smuggler. Very good.
158. Vanity in Dust by Cheryl Low.
159. Detox in Letters by Cheryl Low.
The latter was sent to me as an Early Reviewer book, and the former is the first book in the series, which the publisher sent me at the same time. Good thing, too, because Book 2 would have been pretty hard to follow without reading Book 1 first. I've taken far too long to get to the review. Compelling reading, considering I disliked the dissolute society and most of the characters. Family drama, a highly stratified society, drugs, politics, magic, dragons. There's clearly at least one more book to come in the series, and I'll probably read it to find out what happens.
162. The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire. Latest October Daye book, and I loved it. Toby and associates accompany the Luidaeg to the Kingdom of Ships to right an ancient wrong. Want more!
163. Lumberjanes: Jackalope Springs Eternal by Shannon Watters, et. al. Graphic novel. Always fun to go back to camp with the Lumberjanes.
164. Terns of Endearment by Donna Andrews. Latest Meg Langslow mystery. Meg's grandfather, uber-naturalist Montgomery Blake, is asked to do lectures on a cruise ship and wangles cheap tickets for the rest of the family. Of course the cruise goes awry. Fun, as always.
168. Ilario : The Stone Golem
both by Mary Gentle. Basically one story in two volumes. Ilario is a true hermaphrodite in an alt-Europe. They want to be an artist, to apprentice to a master of the "New Art" which seems to be a) painting what you see and b) using perspective. Released from slavery as "The King's Freak" in an Iberian court, they travel to find such a master, and also fleeing their mother, who has tried to murder them. Very good.
173. Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep. Sequel to Crown of Shards, and very good. Everleigh Blair is now Queen of Bellona, and playing palace politics and international diplomacy while pining over Lucas Sullivan. The slightly annoying anachronisms (I don't know a better word, but I don't mean out of the right time, but out of place in this world, like kiwi and champagne) aside, I like the characters and it was enjoyable. Looking forward to the third book.
I was curious about Bodard's books. She mentioned this one during the session. Good to hear you liked it.
>226 tardis: I first encountered Murphy through ER, and I've always meant to chase up her works, she's written quite bit since, and it all seem to get positive reviews. Adds to list.
>233 pgmcc: - sounds wonderful, did they reach a conclusion? I suspect it would very much depend on the stated goals for the mission. I didn't get on with Shattered Wings.
>208 tardis: - I wasn't so impressed by the first in that series, but I do mean to read more of her work.
They concluded that the two approaches were complementary as each had it's strengths. As you say, it depends on the mission.
They also concluded that they were terrible panelists as they agreed with each other and did not cause any controversy. The audience disagreed with the latter conclusion.
NB: All errors as a result of working on a smart phone screen.
*arrives promptly to congratulate tardis on her Thingaversary*
177. Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly. Finale of the Amberlough series. Heavy on politics and personal relationships, with nobody coming out looking very good, but I really had to finish it, so I'd recommend it if you like that sort of thing.
>230 tardis: Glad you liked this one. It's on Mount Tooby. Seemed like a good Winter read.
>239 tardis: Happy Thingaversary! Cheese is the best way to celebrate any milestone, IMHO.
And belated happy Thingaversary. Cheese and books!!!
>249 clamairy: I've read a lot of Rhys Bowen - possibly all her books. I find them light-weight but enjoyable. I'm unlikely to re-read them, so I get them from the library, but I always look forward to them.
185. Kopp Sisters on the March by Amy Stewart. Following the loss of her job as a deputy sheriff, Constance Kopp is at a loss. Her sister Norma signs all three sisters (including Fleurette) for a National Service School training camp to help prepare women for US entry into the Great War. Constance ends up running the camp. Side story is of Beulah Binford, a formerly notorious woman who also ends up at the camp in her continuing efforts to reinvent herself. I liked it.
186. It Begins in Betrayal - Inspector Darling gets called back to England because of an investigation into the death of one of the airmen in his crew in WW2. Lane follows.
187. A Sorrowful Sanctuary - A gravely injured man floating in a rowboat on the lake and home-grown Nazis.
188. A Deceptive Devotion - A Russian countess, various spies (British, Canadian, Russian, double agents, defectors, etc.), and Ottawa is still twitchy from the Gouzenko affair.
190. Trouble on the Books by Essie Lang. A cozy mystery set in a bookshop in a castle on an island. The nosiness of the main character stretches credulity, but it was okay. Anyway, it was the middle of the night, I was suffering from insomnia, and I needed a book that I could download to my phone. Gotta love the public library!
191. The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch. I already read this in print this year but this time was the audiobook version, which was just as good. A different reader from the other Rivers of London series books, because the main character is German and white, but he was excellent. I have listened to it twice.
192. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl by Theodora Goss. I do love this series - the members of the Athena Club may be (technically) monsters, thanks to their famous fathers (Moreau, Hyde, Jekyll, Frankenstein, etc.), but they're great characters and it's a fun story. This is the third book, and I'm not sure if there will be more, but I hope so.
194. The Midnight Mayor: Or, the Inauguration of Matthew Swift by Kate Griffin (Urban Magic book 2)
195. The Minority Council by Kate Griffin. (Urban Magic book 4)
Sorcerer Matthew Smith and his passengers, the blue electric angels, come back from the dead and fight evil in book one. In book 2, Matthew becomes the Midnight Mayor of London, and fights more evil. Ditto in book 4. I couldn't get book 3 from the library, but likely more of the same. Sounds a bit dry but actually very good. Wry humour. Although Matthew gets injured a ridiculous amount.
196. Shadow Blade by Seressia Glass. Another insomnia-inspired download from the public library's selection of e-books. Bog-standard urban fantasy, with beautiful kick-ass (but damaged) heroine and sexy kick-ass (also damaged) hero.
197. Rivers of London: Action at a Distance by Ben Aaronovitch and others. Graphic novel. Enjoyable story featuring Nightingale and a friend tracking down a serial killer in the 1950s. As usual, the art is very good.
199. To the Land of Long Lost Friends by Alexander McCall Smith. Latest No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel. At a wedding, Mma Ramotswe sees an old friend that she thought was late and they reconnect. Mma Makutsi re-investigates a closed case. Charlie tries to figure out how to make enough money to marry his girlfriend. Very much as usual for this series - warm, peaceful, and gentle.
201. Chaotic by Kelley Armstrong. Another late-night/early morning library download. Novella in the Otherworld 'verse. A half-demon tabloid journalist has a really bad date, and finds out her employer hasn't told her some things. Good, as usual.
I agree with you about Babylon 5, but hasn't really followed what JMS has been doing since. I had no idea that he had had such a rough start in life.
And The Princess Beard sounds fun!
216. The Duchess War
both by Courtney Milan. Middle-of-the-night downloads. The author has recently been censured by the Romance Writers of America for stupid reasons (apparently they should have censured the complainants, not Ms Milan, who was merely advocating for increased diversity in the genre, although I haven't really delved into the details), and many of the people I follow on Twitter (writers and hangers-on of writers) are supporting her and recommending her books. These are the first two in her "Brothers Sinister" series. Sinister as in left-handed. They're regency romances, with lots of sex, and definitely fantasy, albeit without magic. She lacks the ear for Regency language of, say, Georgette Heyer, but they're really quite fun. I shall likely finish at least this series, and possibly read more of her work.