End of 2022 and beginning of 2023 book roundup

Catchup post about various ebooks recently acquired.

Acquired from Kobo in 2022:

  • Even Though I Knew The End, by C.L. Polk. SF novella. Picked up because C.L. Polk’s books have generally impressed me and I expect this one to be no different.
  • The Spare Man, by Mary Robinette Kowal. SF/Mystery. Which I have already read as of the writing of this post, and which was delightful.
  • The Beautiful Ones, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. Probably more Gothic-flavored fantasy? Nabbed this on general because Silvia Moreno-Garcia Is Awesome grounds.
  • Tread of Angels, by Rebecca Roanhorse. Dark fantasy with a side helping of Western.
  • The Secret Skin, by Wendy Wagner. Described on the cover as “sawmill Gothic”. I’ve read this as of this writing, and ultimately found it unsatisfying–partly because it’s a novella, and IMO too short to really fully develop the plot it was laying out.
  • The Annual Migration of Clouds, by Premee Mohammed. SF.
  • Cradle and Grave, by Anya Ow. Post-apocalyptic SF.
  • The Stars Undying, by Emery Robin. SF/space opera.
  • When Women Were Dragons, by Kelly Barnhill. Not sure whether this qualifies as fantasy, or magical realism, or just historical fiction with fantastic elements? It’s our world only women can periodically transform into dragons, and this novel’s about the upheaval that happens in one family as a result. I’ve read this already and found it pretty delightful as well. Lots of themes along the lines of women being angry at how they are repressed in life.

Acquired from Amazon in 2023:

  • Red Shoes: A Riverhaven Novel, by Satyros Phil Brucato. Urban fantasy. Picked this up since it’s written by one of the extended SF/F community in the PNW.
  • Meru, by S.B. Divya. SF. Picked up because it was on sale via Amazon Prime’s First Reads.

77 total for 2022. 2 for 2023 so far.

Mastodon server roundup

I just did a thread about this on Twitter, but like I said in my previous post, Twitter appears primed to melt down. So I wanted to do this roundup externally to Twitter as well, just in case that thread becomes inaccessible without warning.

As I said in my previous post, I’ve got a Mastodon account now that Dara’s set up an instance of it on a server on our house LAN. And I’m seeing in general that a lot of folks are eyeing Mastodon as a place to flee to if Twitter’s going to implode.

However, Mastodon has a big barrier to entry for new users: it’s decentralized. You don’t just go to a single Mastodon website, open an account there, and sign up. You have to actually find a server to join, and that’s a pain in the ass.

So for anyone who’s Mastodon-curious but intimidated by the prospect of finding a server that doesn’t suck, here’s a roundup post to note the various servers I’m currently aware of.

mastodon.social is the original one operated by the non-profit that created Mastodon to begin with. However, last I checked, this one maxed out its user capacity and isn’t currently taking signups.

mastodon.online is another one operated by the same non-profit.

I have at least two known mutuals on octodon.social, but this one is invite-only.

wandering.shop is also invite-only, but with a focus on SF writers and SF readers. I’ve already found two or three of the authors I’m interested in in their accounts. So even if you can’t join this server you might want to keep an eye on it, if your favorite authors are there.

mstdn.social is a general purpose server. Not to be confused with mastodon.social listed above. I have at least one known friend there.

mastodon.lol is not taking new signups, but bills itself as “A Mastodon server friendly towards anti-fascists, members of the LGBTQ+ community, hackers, and the like.” So if that sounds like a place you want to be, you might keep an eye on them to see if they open up to new accounts. Or if you have a friend already there, ask for an invite.

tech.lgbt says about itself: “This Mastodon instance is for tech workers, academics, students, and others interested in tech who are LGBTQIA+ or Allies.” They are taking signups, but signups require manual approval.

Editing to add 11/6/2022: mastodon.cloud is run by Sujitech, apparently a Japanese startup. I have one known mutual there.

Editing to add 11/6/2022: romancelandia.club, for readers and writers of romance.

Editing to add 11/7/2022: mastodon.art, art-focused instance, specifically disallows cryptoart and NFTs. Not currently open to new users as of this writing, they’re processing their waiting list and ask people to check back.

I will update this post with other servers as I hear about them. If you know of one I haven’t listed here that you’d like to recommend, drop me a comment and let me know!

I now have a Mastodon account

As of last night Dara got an instance of Mastodon running on old hardware we had in the house, mostly because she wanted to see if she could. But also because Twitter appears primed to melt down, now that Elon Musk has taken over and seems hellbent on trashing the place.

We’re basically thinking, a) it’d be nice to have something Twitter-like to retreat to in the event that Twitter does melt down, and b) having something Twitter-like on our own goddamn server, and therefore under our direct control, is a good thing.

So for now we have a Mastodon instance on our house network. We are probably going to keep it. But right now we are not taking new users. The machine it’s on is ancient, and we have got to upgrade it if we’re going to run this thing long-term.

If we do open it to outside users, it will be strictly limited to people we personally know. Either in person, or with a long enough online history.

For now though if you have a Mastodon account elsewhere, you are welcome to follow me at:


Drop me a comment here maybe, if your Mastodon ID is not necessarily one I’ll recognize right offhand, and let me know who you are.

If you do not have a Mastodon account somewhere and you’re interested in maybe making one, because you’re also worried about Twitter melting down, I’m also about to do another post with a roundup of servers I’m currently aware of. Stand by for that.

An I have the day off ebook report

Got the new COVID-19 bivalent booster yesterday, so I’m taking today and tomorrow off in case I have any side effects. So far so good, I’m fine, which means I have the opportunity to dig into my email backlog! So here, have another ebook report!

Acquired for free from Tor.com:

  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune, by Nghi Vo. Book 1 of the author’s Singing Hills Cycle. Offered for free by Tor.com via their occasional freebies program, so I nabbed it.

Acquired from Kobo:

  • The Steal, The Bait, and The Heist, by M.J. Rose and C.W. Gortner. Romantic suspense/heist/caper series, set in the 50’s. Nabbed these because I think I saw them mentioned on Dear Author? Regardless, the concept sounded kind of delightful, and all three entries in the series are available for a low price, so I got ’em.
  • The Four Profound Weaves and The Unbalancing, by R.B. Lemberg. Grabbed these because they are set in the Birdverse, a setting that appears to be explicitly pro-queer and pro-trans, and I feel like I need more of that in my fiction right now.
  • Bindle Punk Bruja, by Desideria Mesa. Urban/historical fantasy. Nabbed this because of reading this excerpt from it on Tor.com.
  • Star Wars: The Princess and the Scoundrel, by Beth Revis. I’d say I got this on the strength of this Smart Bitches guest review, but let’s get real here: it’s a story about Leia Organa and Han Solo, and how the hell could I not pick this up? :D

Pre-orders that showed up from Kobo:

  • Station Eternity, by Mur Lafferty

68 for the year.

Really ought to clean out my inbox more often ebook roundup

Acquired from Kobo:

  • The Stand-In, by Lily Chu. Contemporary romance. This is not a genre I buy a lot of, but I got this one because of a positive review on Smart Bitches, and because I liked that a) it features a bi-racial heroine, and b) the heroine’s in a scenario where she’s asked to be a stand-in for a celebrity, and she actually becomes friends with that other woman. It sounds intriguing, and I also find the cover charming, so let’s do this.
  • The Last Days of the Dinosaurs, by Riley Black. Non-fiction. Bought this because I saw a tweet from the author going around promoting the release, and because it occurred to me that I’d never really known much in depth about the comet that’s supposed to have taken out the dinosaurs. This book will hopefully solve that problem.
  • The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, by Megan Bannen. Fantasy, another one I’m picking up on the strength of a Smart Bitches review. It sounds charming and delightful.
  • The Monsters We Defy, by Leslye Penelope. Fantasy, described on this Smart Bitches review as a magical heist story. Again, sounds delightful!
  • This Side of Murder, by Anna Lee Huber. Mystery. Got this one because it was on sale at the time for cheap, and because I like a period-set mystery. This one’s WWI-era.
  • Becoming Crone, by Lydia M. Hawke. Urban fantasy. Nabbed this one because it’s got a protagonist who just turned 60, and who’s about to discover she has magical powers. And that she’s a Crone–as in, Maiden, Mother, and. Awesome.
  • The Echo Wife, by Sarah Gailey. SF/Thriller/Horror. Nabbed this one finally after hearing quite a bit of buzz about it, and because the concept of a woman discovering her husband’s having an affair with a clone of her is highly intriguing.

Pre-orders from Kobo that showed up:

  • A Half-Built Garden, by Ruthanna Emrys
  • The Book Eaters, by Sunyi Dean
  • Nona the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

New pre-orders placed with Kobo:

  • The Mimicking of Known Successes, by Malka Older. Grabbed this one because basically, “Holmesian SF murder mystery with a sapphic romance” is almost all of my catnip.

60 for the year.