RBOC

  • A 10-15+ person silicon valley startup is different than a smaller established SBIR mill/Consulting company in many ways.  It’s interesting how the processes are much more modern but also there’s a lot less stuff figured out.
  • This company calls for a lot of video meetings, whereas the old one did skype but with the video always off.  DH moved back into the guest bedroom (he also has a desk next to mine in the office next to our bedroom) which has a much better setup for video and we can both have zoom meetings at the same time.  (One day a week, all 4 of us are zooming in different rooms at the same time).  I miss him.
  • DH decided to decorate the guest bedroom to make it more his office and less a guest bedroom (he’s left all the pictures of waterfalls up– my whimsy suggested decorating it like a mid-level hotel room–Gen X does cliché ironically).  His mom got him one of those fake street signs that has his name on it so now the little bathroom hallway that separates the Great room from the guest bedroom is called “[DH’s first name] Rd”.  The guest bathroom is a little alleyway or cul de sac off the main road in this scenario.
  • He bought a standing desk and a new monitor and a new keyboard/mouse setup because the guest bedroom setup isn’t perfect.  He’s contemplating getting a new chair, though I’m actually the one who needs a new chair and he can take my old aeron once DC1 (who I traded chairs with) is back in school.  We’ll see what happens.  Money is a little part of it, but the big thing is me wanting to actually go and *sit* in chairs.  When you’re spending $1K on something you want it to be perfect, or at least not to cause back pain!
  • DH has decided to raise his allowance an additional $720/year for a total of $3,600/year.  Not all of this is going to jetpens for fountain pens and ink.
  • I know the whole point of an allowance is to spend on what you want without anybody judging you or saying no, but I did tell DH that I would not feel comfortable with fountain pens that cost over like $500 being in the house.  So he bought this one to add to what is now a collection (if you have three of something, it becomes a collection). It is substantially pricier than his other two.  But he’s had the other two (and his space pen) for at least 2 decades, maybe more, so I trust him to take care of it.
  • DC2 requested a fountain pen for hir birthday, so zie will be getting a platinum preppy that DH will be installing a converter for hir so zie can use his inks instead of just cartridges.
  • Part of me really wants to buy a fountain pen that matches the iPhone I plan to get just because it matches.  But then I remember that I don’t actually *like* fountain pens all that much (I like paper that makes fountain pens feather) and would not choose a fountain pen over a nice gel pen or rollerball.  Plus I would feel *terrible* losing a $25 pen.  (I think I can handle losing a $5 pen these days.  My beloved Clena is $3.30.)
  • None of those jetpens links are sponsored.  I just like the company.
  • My aesthetic is mostly black, but there’s something appealing about getting a light purple phone.  A touch of whimsey amid the darkness.
  • I have been learning a lot of new pen jargon from watching jet pens videos.  They don’t always explain the terms but I’m starting to pick them up anyway.
  • RBOC two weeks in a row– I think that matches my currently scattered personality.  I really need to do some deep work on two of my papers (my current two important papers) and instead I’m just futzing around on minor things.  Bad bad me.

Dipping back into being high income

With DH re-employed, we’re back to being high income.  (Not 1% high income, but more than anybody really needs high income.)

You will recall I had just started loosening up on spending and was buying travel not connected with a conference, visiting DH’s parents’ house, or a wedding for the first time *ever* and then the pandemic hit taking our 20th anniversary trip to Portland, OR with it.  And then it sounded like DH’s job was going to go away, so I started stockpiling, and then it actually did go away, and my income was back to my take-home pay just about exactly covering our expenses on average (though some lumpy expenses, like summer camp etc. came out of DH’s unemployment and summer money/honoraria for me).  I was careful to buy the on-sale things at the grocery store and didn’t go too crazy with my jetpens habit.

To be honest, I felt more comfortable on just my income.  High income is freeing, but I definitely feel guilt along with it.  And uncertainty– I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing with it all.  Is it stupid not to spend?  Should I be saving?  How much waste is moral?  Should I be buying more ways to save time?  Laura Vanderkam would not approve!

And now we’re back to DH’s take-home being higher than mine (I have more retirement account options) and us being able to live off just his take-home pay.

If we stay here forever, we’ve hit our savings goals.  Our house is paid off.  Our retirement accounts are being maxed every year.  We finally renovated the kitchen.  Our cars aren’t very old.  DC1 will have to pay full-freight for college.  But we’ve also got a LOT saved in a 529 already and although we will probably save more for DC2; we won’t know how much more until DC1 actually goes to college.  It’s not really clear where extra money should go.

That said, we’re in a shakier position than we were before.  DH’s job may not last longer than two years.  We both really want to leave this state and move someplace where the government isn’t actively trying to kill people.  We want to live in a Blue state with high taxes and expensive housing. I’m not sure I can get an academic job, especially one with tenure.  Is there age discrimination in Tech?  I don’t know.  Will DH be able to keep getting jobs?  Probably if he’s willing to move (or if he’s willing to do something outside of his main focus– everyone is shocked at how good a programmer he is)… but will they pay enough to live someplace fancy?  We don’t know.

We would need another 3 million dollars in savings to safely move to one of these fancy blue cities and not worry about employment or health insurance or housing (less with jobs lined up).  That’s a LOT of money.

I asked DH what he wanted to do now that we’re rich again.  He said he wanted freedom most of all.  So maybe we should aim for that 3 million.  I don’t know how long it would take to get it, but the more we put away now, the longer it has to grow and the more freedom we will have if DH’s new company goes under or he gets laid off or I move without a job or etc.

But also he wants fancy J. Herbin fountain pen ink (emerald) and either the Peloton app or that fancy online personal trainer thing Wheezy Waiter is always talking about (he picked the latter, and just bought $300 of dumbbells).  And a workout mat to put in his office ($200!  except then amazon said just kidding it’s actually backordered and he got a cheaper one).  I think we can handle those.  And upgrading my iPhone 7 to a newer model with a working battery (I will do this before school starts in the fall).  And maybe even upgrading my ancient computer (though DH may upgrade his and I’ll take his as a hand-me-down).

But I really need to start some kind of monthly savings plan where I just put money directly into Vanguard instead of letting it pile up in savings where it just kind of stares at me and makes me forget its true value.  (I start saying dumb stuff like, “DH, we could totally just buy this $32K house near your parents so everyone has a place to stay at Christmas.”  Narrator:  We should *not* buy a fixer-upper house in a rural area that we will go to maybe 2 weeks out of the year.)

No questions, just being obnoxious.  Commentary accepted even without questions! 

Link Love

I think I may have attracted a gremlin– I have had SO MANY electronic problems this week(!)  I had forgotten how much they can hurt productivity.  I can’t remember… do I burn sage or throw salt over my shoulder or what?

There was an extra post this week– if you only stop by on Thursdays, check out Wednesday!

Thread on Covid Delta variants. I am so worried about DC2 in the fall… they’re not allowed to require masking even though the kids won’t be vaccinated. It will be middle school with all the changing classes and passing in hallways and so on. I don’t even know if they’re going to be allowed to require school bus drivers to have the vaccine. I wish the vaccine approval for kids could come before school starts. : ( Zie will be 9 so hopefully only a mild case, but who knows what the variant landscape will look like and we still don’t know about long-term effects.

Maybe I should scatter autobiographies of people who grow up Trans.

What is wrong with why we sleep.

 

Ask the grumpies: Alternatives to Amazon

Heavyhands asks:

Thank you for answering my ballpoint pen question last year!  In case you were wondering, I decided on the Dr. Grip and it has been working out really well for me.  Thank you, Grumpy Nation!

My question this time is about alternatives to Amazon.  I know Amazon is a terrible company with monopoly power that treats its workers terribly, and I know I should use them less.  But I had a hard time doing that until recently when all of a sudden I was paying for Prime shipping and not *getting* Prime shipping.  At first I thought it was a mistake (this just happened starting in June 2021, so not a covid thing, but maybe a not wanting to pay workers thing), but after being on the phone with several customer service people and getting a really irritating letter from them saying that Prime shipping has NEVER been getting something in 2 days, it’s always been 2 day shipping after the item is sent (not true!) … it’s now less convenient for me to use them and this might be the push I need to cancel Prime and start supporting other businesses. . . within reason.  I’m not rich and I can’t always afford to pay shipping and handling that costs the same amount as the item does.

So, it’s been hard to figure out alternatives.  Most recently I’ve been trying to find a new Bloom Daily planner and birdseed (since my local grocery store no longer carries birdseed).  I’m out of the habit of knowing where to shop if it’s not Amazon.  What are some alternatives?

Does Chewy.com carry birdseed?  That’s where we’ve been getting our cat supplies if the grocery store doesn’t carry them.  If you buy enough stuff in one order, s/h is free.

Walmart.com is also an evil company, but it does carry Bloom Daily planners.  I feel like it’s not quite as evil as Amazon (but maybe I’m wrong?)  Like, it’s evil, but a lot of the damage was done decades ago when it killed local businesses and now it has to compete with online shopping?  They’re still bad.

I do a lot of shopping at Target and Home Depot.  Also big companies, but I can either get stuff delivered directly to me or to the store.

Etsy sometimes has off-the-wall things that I wouldn’t be able to get anywhere other than Amazon.

Those are big companies.  You can also go the exact opposite direction:  Do you have a Buy Nothing group?  Freecycle?  Craigslist?  Nextdoor?  These won’t help for planners or birdseed, but maybe for things you don’t mind getting used.  For us, these worked well when we’ve lived in cities, but not so well where we live now.

Similarly you can buy directly from the company you’re trying to get the item from.  Though I’m also having the same problem with planners… I’m having a hard time paying $10-$15 in shipping (it varies by the day) to buy a Passion Planner from their website.  If they were in stock on Amazon, you bet I’d be buying from there to save on shipping.  I will eventually buy one sometime in July (they have an August start), but I suspect Amazon will have them in stock by then.  I may buy from the company anyway once DH starts getting paychecks and reimbursements.  (Though yes, we can afford $45 for the planner + shipping even before he gets paid.)

Grumpy Nation:  What are your Amazon alternatives?  Also, have you been having problems with their shipping suddenly being slow?

Twenty One Years

It seems hard to come up with words of praise that I don’t already say every day, because you’re so easy to praise.

Right now you’re playing a one-person role-playing game about a vampire.  Part of that game mechanic is losing memories.  Over the years, I know that’s been happening too.  But here are some flashes.

We met in high school.  And I didn’t think much at first, given you were crushing on another person at the time.  But we kept coming into contact with each other, and eventually fell in love.  I had never been so attracted to anyone in my life and I wanted to be with you, to touch you, to talk with you, more than any other person I have ever met.  We would regularly get in trouble for PDA (public displays of affection), but I regret nothing!

You moping under a staircase.  You at your roommate’s birthday party.  You on a walk for the first time.  You alone with me walking talking about a Gurps game as if it were real.  Kissing my hand. You wanting to start slow. My mom asking if I’m dating that guy (yes).  Standing on a hillside at night looking out at the night with you holding me, suddenly realizing we’re late for check and sprinting (then not getting in trouble!)  Being miserable when we have to part.  Spending hours on the phone.  Calling you after seeing The Fantastiks and your dad being angry it was so late.

In college, we decided to take a break from exclusive dating because we’d seen how much stress the first two years put on relationships.  One of my high school roommates had even gone so far as accepting the same school as her boyfriend had gone to the year prior, only to find out he’d been cheating on her for months.  (She went, but eventually transferred elsewhere.)  I dated several losers who wanted a mother figure, because apparently that’s the kind of person I attract who isn’t you.

Visiting you.  Your tiny room.  Meeting your friends.  Your roommate wearing nothing but boxers all the time and watching 8 heads in a duffel bag.  Amazing summers. Cicadas. Your summer place in a lousy neighborhood. That weekend at your conference, almost missing an econ final because the train back was delayed (but I made it– walked straight from the station to the final and aced it).  You visiting me.  My friends loving your haircut but me hating it (I think I’d be ok if you changed it now, but 20+ years ago, less so!).  Talking to you on the phone, telling you I hate living without you, and maybe we should get married after college. 

We got married.

You smiled. I cried from happiness.  I cry when I’m overwhelmed.  Driving to Canada.  That garlic restaurant.  Niagara Falls looking so nice on one side and so… not… on the other. 

Graduate school was stressful.  But we got through it and grew stronger.

Our tiny first apartment– 10×10.  Buying cheap furniture. We had to close the futon to use the computers.  Moving to a bigger apartment (30×10).  You learning to cook.  Our first anniversary in the rain, coming back sopping wet and so happy.  The chocolate restaurant. Moving to undergraduate dorms.  The students and their craziness, their anxieties, their joys, their electronic explorations.  The Malaysian place. The full day trip complete with rose gardens and strawberry picking that you planned for me.  That BBQ place.  Moving to a bigger apartment. Tiny Little Kitty loved me best and friendly Big Kitty loved you best.  Buying slightly nicer furniture.  Walking to your lab.  Walking home from work through the shops then the flowers.

Infertility sucked, but we got through it.  We got jobs and bought a house, which had more unexpected expenses than we’d planned for.  We had DC1 who was a delight and went on leave to a Paradise while you tried a start-up for a year and took a fancy cooking class.  You became a better cook than I am.  Then we had DC2 and took another leave to another Paradise.

Pregnancy test strips. Driving across country in the middle of the night, trying to find a hotel that will take pets (eventually I got out my phone and called Holiday Inn and they directed us to one). Not being able to afford furniture or a w/d for a few months. You being so amazed at my growing stomach. Giving birth. You with our baby.  So proud of someone who can do so little.  Our children are amazing. 

The past five years have been a complete blur (I blame politics).  Our children are older.  DC1 will be going to college in no time.  You have a new job.  We seriously want to move to a blue state.

Bread.  Youtube videos.  Violin.  Piano.  Registering people to vote.  Protests.  Phone calls.  A year of sleeping in and doing curbside pickup.

No matter what happens in the future, I want to build new memories with you.  I love you so much.  You’re reading a poignant comic book right now that you’re pretty sure I wouldn’t like (you know I don’t like poignant), but in it there’s a weird older couple in their 90s who are still together.  (“How are we weird,” I asked.  “Well, we’re pretty co-dependent,” you said. “But I wouldn’t have it any other way,” you added.)  I want that.  (But I won’t control your olive consumption.)  Another half century with you would be amazing.

Happy anniversary!

 

RBOC

  • Why are plantain chips so good and banana chips so bad?
  • Remember how I told you guys to try adding cardamom in place of cinnamon in various recipes?  Also try Star Anise in your coffee.
  • One of the big problems with black being a major color in my aesthetic is that I tend to lose my black phone on my black desk, especially when it’s underneath my black wallet.
  • I’m currently having one of those irritating weeks where I have like 4 things that are *almost* done but they’re waiting on one last thing from other people for me to finish my bit.  I want to get them done and off my desk and out of my headspace, but I can’t.  And these are all things where people said they’d get me the thing I needed last or earlier this week but none of them did and there’s no updated when I’m actually going to get it.
  • I also have 8 other projects I could be working on instead (and 4 that I *should* be working on) but I just want to get these other things done which is distracting!
  • If you are exercising during a zoom meeting or presentation, TURN YOUR VIDEO OFF.  Seriously, WTF is wrong with you?  Nobody wants to see you bobbling up and down on your treadmill while someone else is talking.
  • Covid cases in our county vary between red-zone and orange zone.  We still have a few deaths every week.  And there’s just less information being reported and more little * noting that numbers provided by the health department don’t add up.   It’s depressing because this is about the point we were at *last* August right before the students came back and we’d just gotten a mask mandate.  Now we have no mask mandate and our vaccination rate has been stalled out at ~40%.  With the students gone we could be doing so much better.  Since when did “only” 2-4 excess deaths each week from something absolutely preventable seem like everything is now fine?
  • Our health department just decided (a few days after that previous bullet) that it is no longer providing pandemic updates.  We had redzone numbers of cases the previous day.
  • NIU virtual camps have been a HUGE hit with DC2.  C++ with DC1 has gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but I guess not everybody has taken a language or two before.
  • I had a huge amount of computer/technology problems this week which reminded me that it’s been a while since I had any and I’m a lot more productive when everything just works!
  • DC1 has been reading the Histories of Herodotus.  Zie keeps telling us about bits and pieces of it.  It really is hilarious– I loved it too when I was about hir age.  It’s crazy about how something so old (well over two thousand years!) can still be so entertaining.  Zie even has a different translation than I did and is enjoying it, so it’s not just the translator taking liberties.  I’m like, I wish we’d made you read Gullivers Travels before this so you could see that they’re from the same tradition.  But alas.
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How to get more citations as a junior scholar (in a social science without embargoes)

With Google Scholar being so easy to access these days (compared to other citation indices that you had to get from the library and look up one article at a time), getting your work cited becomes more important than ever for things like promotion and tenure.

Unfortunately doing good work isn’t enough if people aren’t aware of it.  On top of getting things published in good journals, you also have to get your stuff out there so people know about it and recommend it to other people.

How do you do that?

If you’re in a field that allows you to put up working papers prior to publication, then do that!  You can put it up on SSRN and/or on your own webpage concurrently with sending it to a journal.  (Or sooner!  Though do be careful about having a version you’re happy with posted and make sure you’re not in an area where people steal ideas from each other prior to publication.)

You can also send your paper to people that you cite– people are generally very nice when junior people do this and sometimes they even send back helpful comments and encouragement.

Make sure you cite other people and other important papers– google scholar and other indexes often let people know when they’ve been cited and if your paper looks interesting, they may look at it and keep it in mind the next time they do work.

Make sure you cite yourself, if appropriate.  I had a junior colleague who at one point had more publications than citations.  That should not be!  Not after your first two publications, at least.  Google scholar doesn’t care if citations are self-citations, though some indices do keep track of that.  In any case, citing yourself appropriately means that people reading any one of your papers can find other relevant papers of yours without having to look you up personally.  That means they’ll be more likely to add multiple relevant papers of yours to their next literature review.

Also:  get out there and submit your stuff to conferences.  Even if you don’t get in, the committee will have read your abstract at the very least and might remember it then next time they have a student doing something similar.  Even better is getting accepted and having people see your work in progress.

Have a short elevator pitch for whatever project you’re working on– once conferences are back in person, people like to ask junior people what they’re working on, and if you have a short summary of something interesting, they may remember it and you.

Grumpy Academics:  How do you get more citations?  How do you get your work and your name out there?

Link love

I know many of you are really tired of activism and we all deserve a break after that past 4 years + pandemic.  But… speaking as someone who lives in the South…. We’re going to have more Trump and Trump-like creatures in the future if something isn’t done now.  More Conservative minority killing immigrants and minorities, policing women’s bodies, starving children and worse, if we don’t protect voting rights NOW.  Voting rights have already been curtailed in my state and in many Southern states like mine.  That means people in cities, minorities, people who tend to vote Democratic will be unable to vote or will face enormous barriers to voting in the next election which means that Republicans will have to be even less accountable and can do even more horrific things to these groups, and this year’s legislative session was already a horror show in most Southern States.  I am afraid for my children.

The only thing that can save us now is Federal action.  HR1 passed the house and is now in the senate.  There’s a handful of democratic senators who are refusing to do the right thing and vote it in.  Fortunately momentum is starting to build to pressure them into getting rid of the filibuster and passing voting rights legislation.  We need you to be part of that momentum.  Call your senators.  Post on social media telling people that you did.  Ask other people to do it too.  Remember when we mobilized to save the ACA?  We need to do that now. Please help.

Stirrup queens with (covid-style) math problems.

Ask the grumpies: Time to retire?

CG asks:

How will you decide when it’s time to retire?

#1:  I am always ready to retire.  For me this will come down to money.  I will need enough money to keep myself in books and housing and food.

#2:  I don’t think I will…?  It will probably end up being a combination of life circumstances (like health) and job stuff.   I dunno.  I’m still in the taking it a week at a time mode.

Grumpy Nation:  How will you decide it’s time to retire?

Books! Always books!

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai was really good!  The heroine was super cool and understandable (you know, for a CEO of a major company that she founded) and the hero was a cinnamon bun.  Precisely my kind of pairing.  A lot of good wish fulfillment in this one.  Also a nice take on current events.  Girl Gone Viral wasn’t as good.  Remember that IRL thing where the “meet cute” of a couple of strangers on a plane got video taped and went viral?  She uses that as her base for her plot, only with a coffee shop.  Like the amazon reviews say, the book itself is fine, but the chemistry between the two leads was forced.  I think part of the problem is that the heroine finds the hero annoying to just be in the same room as because he makes little tapping noises while working… which… that’s like a huge turn-off for a relationship and makes it really not believable.  Another problem is the employer/employee to lovers trope which is exceedingly hard to do well (only KJ Charles and I can’t remember the other person have done it well to my recollection).  But really there just isn’t enough interaction between the two early on and then later with the forced Bachelor Nation style interactions (a romantic hay fight?  uncomfortable family dinners in which dirty laundry is aired?) you’re already bored.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky was pretty meh.  It’s a short story set between books and is written in present tense.  The library had it whereas it didn’t have the two full-length novels and I have no desire to read the other two novels., much less buy them.

Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks was surprisingly excellent.  Again, a heroine with problems and a lovely strong Beta hero.  There was some not necessary kidnapping in it– I think the resolution would have been just as good without the trauma.  It looks like the next book might be rape as a backstory, so I won’t get it.

I couldn’t get into The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley.

I enjoyed both The Lady and the Highwayman and The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden.  They’re both “clean” (it even says “proper” on the cover) if you prefer to avoid sex scenes.  The latter I think was better than the former– the Lady and Highwayman dragged a bit in the third act.  The best part of both books were books within books by Mr. King (the heroine of the first book), and in the second book the mini-book by Lafayette Jones (the hero of the second book).

Read Do you want to start a scandal by Tessa Dare.  It was fine.  A decent library read– went down easy, didn’t really make a lasting impression.

The Gentleman’s Guide to Getting Lucky by Mackenzi Lee was not very good.  I can’t remember if I got it free or paid 99 cents, it just wasn’t any good and did not make me want to read the full-length novels.

I’m not sure how I felt about the Bullet Journal Method.  All the examples were definitely aimed at 20-somethings or maybe early 30-somethings.  I was like, well, I guess I’ve already achieved everything except going to Hawaii and in theory, flights are still pretty cheap, I could just go if I wanted to.  But… I don’t want to.  He says not to take other people’s goals, but I would have liked to see some more non-standard ones as examples.  (I have no life goals!  Which is probably good because if I had them I would achieve them at the expense of smaller things I wanted more.)  Still, the idea of the Bullet journal is a good one, but I think I picked up on the parts that are useful to me prior to reading the book.  The second half the book was all about meaning and gratitude and stuff and I was not there for it.  I wish there’d been more examples and more discussion of the different add-ons people have done.  It was weird to have 5 pages of examples from real people and no actual explanation of their systems, just a page about the people.  Like, why did that lady highlight some things? What is that guy’s date system that you say lots of people use now?  (And again, I am stunned by how little some people have to put on their planners– one woman had lots of pretty designs and motivational words but there wasn’t actually much listed other than the occasional playdate.)

I didn’t really like Mal’s story in A Rogue Meets a Scandalous Lady by Jennifer Ashley.  I just didn’t much like the hero.

If the boot fits by Rebekah Weatherspoon was delightful!  A Cowboy to Remember is good too, but I prefer the second in the series.  I’m not sure if I’m going to try the third– the hero in that book seems too angsty and angry in books one and two and I am tired of redemption arcs for angry brooding heroes who try to tell their grandmas they’re not allowed to date (this plot point is in the second book and appears in the blurb of his book).  I don’t care that he has a “softer side.”  But it won’t be out until October so I can see what reviews say before I remember to check for it at the library.

I LOVED Grimoires and Where to Find Them, the latest Shinigami detective book (I guess they’re now called the Case Files of Henri Davenforth) by Honor Raconteur.  They’re just really clever fantasy/police procedurals.  Super relaxing the way they track down clues and hit dead ends and keep working until they figure things out or catch the criminal.  And all the characters are really likeable.

I tried really hard to read Jennifer Ashley’s murder mystery, Death Below Stairs, and it is high quality and good (and I’m sure my mom and #2 would love it) but for some reason I just couldn’t get through it.  I read about halfway and read the last chapter and was done.  It’s a five book series.  There is nothing wrong with it, I just need something lighter and faster, I guess.

I reread Scandal by Amanda Quick and loved it.  I also reread all the KJ Charles Magpie Lord books.

Couldn’t get into A Loyal Companion or An Enchanted Affair by Barbara Metzger.  But I enjoyed rereading A Suspicious Affair and I really liked Saved by Scandal which was a delightfully silly madcap romp.  Valentines was a set of three novellas and the first one was hilarious (the other two pretty meh).  I can’t give anything away, but the service the hero performed the heroine to cement her interest was over the top slapstick and so funny, and the ending was also amusing.

Mistletoe Mischief by Sandra Heath (which I found when looking for another, much better book, with mistletoe and mischief in the title that will show up in the next one of these) was an easy read.  It’s actually similar to that first novella of Valentines in the way that it was funny, though not quite as slapstick– a light farce.

Have I not talked about the latest Courtney Milan?  The Devil Comes Courting was EXCELLENT and you should read it!

What are you all reading?