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Hey, it’s time for a few things I’ve read and enjoyed recently!

First up, the paired novellas The Red Threads of Fortune and The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang. This pair of novellas can, I gather, be read in whatever order you like, but if you’ve got a thing about reading stories in story-chronological order, start with Black Tides. This is some excellent fantasy. Each volume centers on one of a pair of twins, children of a powerful ruler who gave birth to them in order to pay a debt to the Grand Monastery. They both learn to manipulate the Slack, the force that underlies all nature, but one, Mokoya, can see the future. Sometimes. Oh, also, Mokoya rides a dinosaur. You want to read these. Seriously.

I also scored an advance copy of John Hodgman’s Vacationland. This is autobiographical, and if you enjoy Hodgman’s humor, you’ll enjoy this. I do, and I did. It’s also, in places, quite sincere and not particularly funny, intentionally so. It’s out today, I think. Oh, and if you listen to podcasts but you’re not listening to Judge John Hodgman, you might find it an excellent addition to your regular lineup. Judge John Hodgman always manages to give clear-sighted and compassionate verdicts, despite holding incorrect opinions in the matter of the sandwichness of hot dogs.

When I’m in the middle of a project, I often want something to read that’s fairly light and definitely not the sort of thing I’m working on. I find that often classics work–Jane Austen is particularly helpful to me at such times–but historical romances often work nicely. I’d seen a few folks mention enjoying Spectered Isle by K.J. Charles, and it was a whole five bucks, so I figured I’d give it a go. I enjoyed it! It’s set in England in the 1920s, and, well,

Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.

Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.

Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.

It was a really enjoyable read! And there appear to be others in the same series, or universe, or whatever, so I might very well pick one of them up next time I need an entertaining break.

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