In A Brown Study – 03

in a brown study – A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association.

The Free Dictionary

Back in the day, the color brown was associated with being melancholy, much like the color blue is today. And while my list making posts aren’t always on the depressing side, I think “In A Brown Study” is a cheeky nod to this idiom and my Dark Academia aesthetic.

1. Currently on day thirty one of my cycle, normally they are twenty eight or twenty nine days. I hate when it gets like this. I always feel pent up with too much energy, never knowing where to put it. Probably going to just do a lot of cleaning.

2. It’s almost two in the afternoon, and I still haven’t eaten yet. Ooops.

3. I always forget that Aries season is a huge burst of energy for me. Hello, Aries Rising. Five more days! Also, it makes me want to live in athletic wear. Gotta harness that warrior energy, yes?

4. Keep smelling spoiled milk and I have to say I’m not a fan.

5. Need to update those soon. It’s driving me bonkers.

6. To Substack or not to Substack? I wouldn’t do a paid subscription thing, I just honestly love the way it’s set up.

7. Having the urge to tear everything down again so I can set it up the way I want to. But what are the odds that I will have the energy to set up again after tearing it all down?

8. Damn, I added too much honey.

9. Finally moved that damn thing to the garage! Now I have more space.

10. Must. Stop. Trying. To. Be. Everything.

In A Brown Study – 02

in a brown study – A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association.

The Free Dictionary

The previously titled Moon Femme Musings/Ten Things is now “In A Brown Study”.

Back in the day, the color brown was associated with being melancholy, much like the color blue is today. And while my list making posts aren’t always on the depressing side, I think “In A Brown Study” is a cheeky nod to this idiom and my Dark Academia aesthetic.

1. Today’s gender is fresh coffee and sound blocking headphones.

2. I always feel bad DNFing a book that I was given for review. I am struggling with how to review it because it could work for someone else, but it just doesn’t work for me. I wish website would let you leave a review without having to star rate it. Because anything but a one star is disingenuous.

3. Two Sundays in a row I have listened and taken notes from Chani astrology app for the week ahead. While I may not refer to it all week long, it really helps to get a sense of energy and potential blocks that may happen. I have also created digital collages based off of her altar suggestions, since I don’t have a physical altar set up.

4. I made a packing list for my trip to Texas, but I think I lost it. Now I need to remember all the things I need again. I loathe packing.

5. Deleted.

6. More queer horror stories, please. More problematic queer characters, please. More queer everything, please.

7. Every day is a struggle to keep my social media accounts or just archive and start over. I know platforms die over time, I know new ones pop up, but sometimes I am just tired of constantly shifting and establishing myself in new communities.

8. Midsomer Murders and cat snuggles.

9. Catching two planes tomorrow. Fingers crossed my anxiety isn’t horrible. It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a plane. I’m packing light so that getting through security won’t stress me out as much.

10. It’s not going to feel real until I come back.

Book Review: Sainted In Error by Glenda Winders

Sainted in Error by Glenda Winders
Genres: Literary Fiction, Murder Mystery
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Subplot – Mascot Books
Received as a E-ARC via NetGalley

“What do you wear when you testify against your best friend as she goes on trial for murder?”

Glenda Winders, Sainted in Error

Synopsis blurb from Mascot Books:

Maggie and Cynthia meet as college freshmen and are seemingly destined to be best friends for life. As the years pass, however, Maggie’s marriage and career lift her to success and wealth while Cynthia’s jealousy and untreated mental illness cause their relationship to disintegrate. As the stories of the two women’s lives unfold, Cynthia’s paranoia and anger sour every relationship she has and turn even the people who have loved her most against her, ultimately bubbling over into an event that Maggie never sees coming.

Not a murder mystery in the usual sense, and spanning time and space, Sainted in Error delves into the tenacity of friendship and the damage that the stigma still attached to mental illness can do.

I wish I knew how to categorize this novel. A murder mystery doesn’t seem quite right, even though, yes, there is a murder. But Sainted In Error, goes beyond the typical expectations of murder mystery and as the narration goes back in time in order to see what led to the ultimate unraveling and choice of murder, there are depths and and complicated relationships at the heart of it.

This story introduces Maggie and Cynthia meeting as freshman in college in the early 1970s (the story spans into the early 2000s), watches them both fall in love for the first time, first heartbreaks, finding love again, bringing children into the world, finding careers and life paths. And in between everything is the rupturing and wearing down of a friendship that become toxic, abusive, manipulative, and ultimately, deadly.

What I loved most about this book was Winders ability to show what it is like to have a toxic relationship that spans decades. Though Maggie is telling the story, we see clearly how much Cynthia is a part of it and gets deeply intertwined in it. Even when living in different states, in experiencing different lives, reading the story unfold and seeing how Cynthia pulls Maggie back in, how their friendship gets barbed and twisted over the years, seeing it rupture, examining the emotional shrapnel over time, it’s truly done well.

The hardest part of this book to review is the mental illness and bipolar disorder suggestion. As someone with various mental health disorders, I do tend to overanalyze when mental illness is concerned, and even after taking some time to think about what I want to say, I still can’t formulate the words. It was hard to read. Cynthia was a character I recognize in family members who remain undiagnosed, Maggie’s defense and years long friendship is deeply relatable, and damn is it difficult to watch the consequences play out in this story. At the end of the day, I really am glad to have read this book and will read more by Winders.

I would like to give content warning for racist behavior/slurs against Asian women, ableism regarding bipolar disorder, some fatphobic remarks, some scenes of explicit and implicit domestic violence, and emotional abuse towards friends and lovers.

Thank you to Glenda Winders, Mascot Books, and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for a honest review. Sainted In Error is set to be published today, February 1, 2022.

January Wrap Up

“Do you know how to live three hundred years?” she says. And when he asks how, she smiles. “The same way you live one. A second at a time.”

V.E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

I truthfully have no idea how to write this month’s wrap up post, I feel like I haven’t actually “wrapped up” anything. There are a dozen threads of ideas, three drafts of posts sitting here, at least four books I have started and not finished for this month, so I don’t know what to say, what to celebrate or remark upon.

Also, I am (currently writing this) five days without my anti-anxiety meds and my brain feels incredibly foggy and I am pretty sure I have might have a Benadryl hangover at the moment. But, I’m going to keep writing this post, keep putting one word after the next and hope that something sensical comes out of it all.

Books Read

If you follow me on Twitter, you already know that I have this delightfully fun Running Thread of Books for 2022. I am doing very mini reviews there and over on my Instagram which are kept in the 2022 Reads Highlight.

  • The Last Witch Queen (Book 2: Outlaws of Interra) by Allison Carr Waechter
  • Any Witch Way You Can (Book 1: Witches of the Midwest Mysteries) by Amanda M. Lee
  • The Lightning Thief (Book 1: Percy Jackson & The Olympians) by Rick Riordan
  • The Sea of Monsters (Book 2: Percy Jackson & The Olympians) by Rick Riordan
  • The Titan’s Curse (Book 3: Percy Jackson & The Olympians) by Rick Riordan
  • Sainted in Error by Glenda Winders

Once I finish book five in the Percy Jackson series, I plan on doing a series review post with favorite moments from each book. I don’t want to be terribly spoiler-y but also this series was published from 2005-2009. But! As we are getting a TV SHOW FINALLY, for those folks who weren’t born/old enough to enjoy PJO as the books were released (lolsob, I always forget I’m old), I am hoping the show will kick up more interest in the series again and don’t want to spoil too much.

Posts Written

I am having a hard time deciding what I want to review here or which to keep just to Twitter/IG and GoodReads. My ARCs and NetGalleys for sure will be posted here, but I do want to write more flash fics here and other writings more than just reviews. But, we shall see what happens.

Currently Thinking About

Can you see it? The absolute difference between my withdrawal brain and mostly settled brain. All of the above page break was written three days ago on a difficult symptom day. The rest of this was written with (now yesterday’s) morning coffee and more settled brain.

Today would have been my Grandma’s 76th birthday.

Mentally preparing myself for February 10th, as I am traveling to Texas and will be there for one month.

Instant coffee tastes like impatience and old memories that won’t go away.

Listening to Spotify and wishing there were ethical alternatives, but hearing my dearest Ari say, “there is no ethical consumption under capitalism“.

Paper cuts are the tiniest and most painful. Why?


Tell me how your January treated you.

Highs, low, anything in between. I love glimpses of y’all’s lives. Links to your favorites, your own blog posts, your favorite TikTok.

Do tell, dear hearts.

In A Brown Study – 01

in a brown study – A state of deep contemplation or rumination, as of a reverie, daydream, or meditation. It originally meant a melancholic or depressed mood or state (dating from at least the 1500s), but has since largely lost that association.

The Free Dictionary

The previously titled Moon Femme Musings/Ten Things is now “In A Brown Study”.

Back in the day, the color brown was associated with being melancholy, much like the color blue is today. And while my list making posts aren’t always on the depressing side, I think “In A Brown Study” is a cheeky nod to this idiom and my Dark Academia aesthetic.

1. I have been obsessed with adding English Toffee syrup in my coffee. Also sugar, in addition to my honey. Craving sweet mornings to deal with Steadily Climbing Anxiety and Gently Sinking Depression.

2. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

3. Back in a reading slump. Ughsdhfeuahfeajkfhfh.

4. I don’t like the term “doomscrolling”. I think I keep scrolling because I’m trying to find the good, the joy, the Please Tell Me It’s Okay.

5. Writing fiction is so much more vulnerable than sharing personal non fiction. Because writing fiction is saying, “hi, this the world I live in sometimes, please tell me you like it too.”

6. Sweater vests.

7. 2021 was the year that I discovered that when I meet/get acquainted with new people, I will always assume they are queer until told otherwise. I now just assume that people can read me as queer and fellow queers are like “HELLO, let’s be queer together.”

8. Current obsessions: swans, fairy tales, Greek myths, Happy Color app, Alters Board on Pinterest, rereading old favorites, Merriam-Webster dictionary, the number seven.

9. Fan fics & flash fics.

10. I don’t think I’m going to end up doing a newsletter anytime soon. Just focus on where I am posting now (here, Instagram, and Twitter).

2021 Wrap Up

I am in denial that 2022 is almost here. I swear it’s still 2019. I may post a more serious note about how 2021 has been emotionally, but for now, I want to do a fun wrap up. With links galore! This wrap up entirely focuses on what I’ve written here and what I’ve read. I’ll also share new updated links for ways to continue connecting with me in 2022.

And now we dive in.

Top Three Most Viewed Posts

I’m pretty in awe of how popular my first flash fic was. I really want to continue doing these in 2022 with a bit more regularity. Also, it seems like birthday post are always a good thing. I want to pick some more personal days through the year and share more things. And lastly, y’all loved that couch hopping flash fic.

Top Three Personal Favorite Posts

These are my personal faves for many reasons, most of it to do with how proud I was posting them and showing some accomplishments. For instance, May was the month I read the most books, before November came swinging in. And my favorite flash fic I’ve written so far is one that has been percolating for years. I adapted it to become a flash fic, but the bones of that story have been in my archived writings for years.

Fun Reading Stats

  • I read 59 (as of 12/23) books this year…that’s 16,338 pages total, y’all
  • Shortest book was 12 pages (love me some short novelettes/novellas)
  • Longest book was 535 pages (hello, Jane Eyre)
  • I read 22,445,198 words of FanFic (thank you to Good Omens)
  • I read 17 books in one week (thank you, E. M. Lindsey)

I don’t know how I’m going to beat my fanfics stats next year, or if I want to focus more on writing fanfic. Let’s be honest, I’ll do both. Not sure if I want to share my AO3 yet, we shall see.

Also, I want to read more novellas, more short stories collections, and set my reading goal at 150 books. Mostly because I bought a cute reading journal and it’s set for 150 books. I may include novel length fanfics as part of my book reading goal as well, because seriously. The amount of fics I read this year were between 40K and 150K words.

More Fun Reading Stats

  • 71% books written by queer authors
  • 80% books had queer characters
  • Most read genres were: LGBTQ, Romance, and Fantasy
  • Least read genres were: Manga, Memoir, and Sci-fi
  • Average star rating: 4.3 out of 5

I made it a priority to read queer books and will continue to do so. I want to branch out more in my genres and read more sci-fi. The tracking system on StoryGraph is lovely, but also, some of the books are mislabeled in my opinion. I know I read more mysteries this year than the tracker showed.

Staying Connected

At the end of the year, I tend to go through my newsletters and social medias and delete/unfollow when I know I am not feeling inspiration. So, if this is not a space you want to continue following, no hard feelings at all.

If you do want to stay connected, here are the best ways:

This blog has an integrated WordPress email every time I post something new and can go right to your inbox. (Scroll down the home page to sign up.) There is a lot I want to do here for the coming year and would love y’all to see it.

Instagram is my favorite social media (even if I dislike much of the direction and algorithm issues). I tend to post most often in the IG Stories and try to post on the general feed once or twice a week.

Twitter is another space I’m trying to use more. I use it mostly for book and writing related things. And also to follow my favorite authors.

Tumblr is mostly for my dark academia and fandom loves. I am planning on using it more next year and making book aesthetic post/reviews and such

And lastly, for folks who just want to creep my book habits, GoodReads and The StoryGraph are my favorite.

And this is it for my last post for 2021. See y’all in the New Year!

November Wrap Up

My toes are cold as I write out this intro, the Texas sun is super glaring through my mom’s window, and my Texas Pecan coffee is lukewarm, yet perfect.

I’m still grappling with the idea of it being one month until the end of 2021, I feel behind in many ways and yet exactly at the right place, right time. Please tell me I’m not alone in these weird contradictory feelings.

Now, please clap for me as we wrap up this month and my readings!

Books I Read

My November TBR didn’t go exactly as planned, but holy fuck, I have read the most this month than any other month this year. I read 19 books this month. *insert squealing and flailing limbs*

I read three novellas as I was trying to stick to my Novella November Theme: A Psalm for the Wild-built by Becky Chambers, Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, and Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca. All three were so damn good.

A Psalm for the Wild-Built is a new comfort read for me, it had me in tears in the best way. Nothing But Blackened Teeth was so damn good and so much was packed into it in a way I didn’t expect. Things Have Gotten Worse was difficult but brilliant. I love queer horror that doesn’t require “good queers”, and I won’t lie, I started to dissociate a bit when reading it, so do check out content and trigger warnings. Body Gore/Horror is the biggest one that got me that I wish I would have been more prepared for.

I read exactly ONE holiday romance, wished I would have read more, but that’s what December is for. I was so glad to have been introduced to The Geek Who Saved Christmas by Annabeth Albert on Book Twitter! Christmas romance! The Grumpy One falls in love with the Sunshine One! It’s so dang cute, even if most of the time I was like “Please communicate you disaster queers.”

All of the above were exactly my type of books and then, I don’t know what happened, but I waaaay read out of my normal zone and fell in love with a lot of M/M angsty romance by E.M. Lindsey and read 12 of their books in ONE WEEK.

Books 1-4 of the Broken Chains series and Books 1-7 of the Irons and Works series. The characters were all so damn lovable. My faves were: Backfire and Broken Wings from Broken Chains series; Bio-Mechanical, Stick and Poke, and Scarification from Irons and Works.

I also started Lindsey’s Baum Boxing series, just the first one Below the Belt. All of their books feature gay/bisexual disabled men and FOUND FAMILY. Also, guaranteed happy endings which is why I kept reading.

I’m so ready for summer 2022 as the last book in each series will be out! *squeeeeal*

December TBR

I do really want to read some winter holiday romances for December and found a couple on Kindle Unlimited to read so far. And I promised my friend Rachel that I would read The Winternight Trilogy.

Feel free to leave some recs of holiday books, bonus points if they’re queer!

Writings This Month

I really love the couple of posts that I was able to make and am surprised I even made any. This month is always chaotic, with traveling and just the general vibe of rushing to get things together for the winter. And let’s not even talk about NaNoWriMo…

Coming Soon…I Hope

For those who were interested, I am still planning on getting together a newsletter.

I’m also working on the idea of creating a writing prompt challenge for Instagram that will encourage me to post something every day. Not sure if I want to to do that for January or a different month yet. We shall see.

I will also be sharing more of my WIP on Instagram more, so if you aren’t following me there, now is a good time to do so.

Hope y’all had a lovely November, and I hope we all have an even better December.

Those Kind of Smells – Flash Fic

The house smells like dirty diapers, weak air fresheners, and something burnt. It’s all I can do from using my scarf to cover my nose. But I don’t think that would help sell the image I’m supposed to be giving off. A retired social worker turned private investigator who could handle her shit, not to mention her gag reflex.

Not that there was anyone watching me but the old landlord standing outside waiting to close the room back up. But damn, there were some smells that just got me. Dirty diapers were one of them. There was a reason I told my ex-girlfriend, that kids were not for me. Diapers and endless time to dedicate to their well being. When I honestly didn’t do a bang up job of taking care of myself.

I poured myself into work from an already empty cup…fuck, my therapist’s metaphors were starting to work it’s way into my daily thoughts. Fucking great….and I know I didn’t have much left to give anyone else. I was working on it, but it was going to take some time. Twenty five years of playing savior doesn’t just disappear over night.

And if my therapist was to be believed, being a PI wasn’t going to help matters. But when there’s a kid missing, well, she knows better than to argue with me now.

October Wrap Up

It’s November and I still don’t know how we got here. Something something time is wibbly wobbly.

Last night was a lovely night with a sacred fire, official welcome to the family ceremony, and all the Chinese food. My legs and arms are sore from stacking firewood, but it feels good to work my muscles again. I have a large pile of laundry I need to finally fold and hang up, but I also have books that want to be read today. So, we all know which I will prioritize.

And now, let’s wrap up all the things from October.

Books Read This Month

The Lighthouse Keeper by Alan K. Baker – 4/5 stars.
This book pulled me out of my reading slump. I always forget to go back to settings and tropes that I love when I get stuck. This book had just the right amount of thrill, isolation tropes, and historical flashbacks. It’s based on a true story of the unsolved disappearances of three lighthouse keepers in Scotland 1900.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin – 5/5 stars.
How many times did I cry reading this? I don’t know, I lost count after five. There is just something about watching Clara move through the seasons, embracing her magic, and navigating what it means to be an Ever Witch. I loved Griffin’s portrayal of each season’s magic and how they manifest. It made me want to start journaling again about my magic and the seasons moods. (This was October’s book for the Litulla Book Club.)

November TBR

All the novellas! Sometimes it helps me to have themes for the month and I’ve been craving some shorter reads. Feel free to leave me some recs in the comments! So far on my list:

Writings This Month

I am really proud of the amount of posts this month. That being said, I’m going to try not to hold myself to this amount every month, but I do want to be writing more here as I am becoming frustrated with social media and it’s algorithms and shifts that prioritize videos.

Newsletter – Coming Soon

In other news, I am going to create a newsletter soon. Still not sure whether to use Tiny Letter or Substack, I have mixed feelings on Substack. But sometime this month or December, I will have a newsletter set up.

And now I am going to warm up my coffee for the fourth time and settle in for some reading.

Passing Through – Flash Fic

Mara quieted her travel alarm clock and tossed it into her small duffle bag below her on the floor. She slipped out from under the covers and dressed as quietly as she could. Her second alarm on her old diving watch went off, signaling she had four minutes left. Quickly, but carefully, she folded the blankets she had borrowed and put it back in the linen closet. 

She was a pro at this by now — couch hopping. If it were a sport, she was sure to win a medal. Mara had several years of practice minimizing her presence, erasing any evidence she had been through, condensing her life into a small duffle bag and a sturdy vintage medicine bag.

With a minute and a half to spare, Mara grabbed her bags and stepped outside. Pressing the alarm button behind her. She rolled her shoulders, cracking her neck in the process and heaved a deep sigh. As she took a step toward the street ahead, she heard the alarm reactivate on the Michelson’s winter townhome behind her. 

Who needs B&B’s when Mara was a professional at B&E’s?