66 thoughts on “Good Book Thursday 6-15-2017

  1. Not down here it isn’t! Here it’s book-and-hot-chocolate weather, not book-on-the-beach weather. We reached a balmy 10 degrees today (Celsius that is).

    I don’t have any book recommendations sorry, but keen to hear everyone else’s. πŸ™‚ Especially romance! I’ve been reading Herman Hoch’s The Dinner, so I could do with something uplifting…

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    1. I thought about that as I did the different headings for the different months. (There’s a fan in next month’s header.)
      Maybe I should just go back to generic? Must cogitate.

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      1. No, no, don’t worry about it. It’s comforting to think that it’s summer somewhere. And wine o’clock somewhere. I treasure living in a place with distinct seasons, there’s always one to look forward to.

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        1. It’s summer here, but Monday and Tuesday only got up to 10 C. Waaah! Today, it’s up to at least 18 or 20 so far.

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  2. I saw that Deb Blake has a new Baba Yaga novella coming out in a couple of months featuring Jazz from Wickedly Powerful, so I went back to re-read Wickedly Powerful this week and it was as delightful as ever. And now I need to re-read the rest of them.

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  3. Hmmm, this is a qualified recommendation. I just finished “Miss You” by Kate Ederin. It was a women’s fiction (or fiction, if you don’t like the term women’s fiction) about two people who keep missing each other over twenty years and are destined to be together (of course). I don’t believe in fate, but I’m still fascinated by it. I thought “One Day” was better written, but this one has a better ending for romance readers πŸ˜‰
    The romance, was the weakest part, I thought. But I did enjoy watching the other relationships, friends and family ones change over time.

    There’s also a lot of infidelity (On everyone’s part). I just rolled my eyes, but if it bothers you, you should stay away.

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  4. There’s a new Sarah Dessen.

    Trying to pro/con reading it. I love Dessen but it’s usually “white, moneyed teens in beautiful beach town.” I’m quickly losing interest in stories with all that privilege.

    Plus, still bitter Dessen won the Veronica Mars movie contest. πŸ™‚

    (Seriously, though, what’s the point of the contest if it’s based on you paying money? At that point, it’s an auction. So sick of Omaze or whatever it’s called. “But it’s for charity!” “But rich people can be fans too!” Yessss but when the people who already have a leg up get another one, it’s another part of the widening gap between what’s possible for those with money versus those of us who struggle.

    I wonder who won the NPH and George Takei ones.)

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    1. I love Sarah Dessen!!!! I’ve been waiting and waiting for her new book to come out, then I guess I lost track of time because apparently it’s June now and it’s out. HOORAY!
      Thank you for the reminder. Thank you thank you thank you. πŸ™‚

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  5. I might be alone in this but I sometimes read the last few pages of a book if I’m uncomfortable with the first chapter. It was this when I first started to read Kristin Hannah’s Winter Garden. I almost couldn’t get through that chapter, how could a mother be so verbally cruel to her daughters. Yup! That was my trigger to go to the end and went back and started over again. It was so worth it.

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  6. I just read Jennifer Latham’s Scarlett Undercover. It was really fun – a smart, brown (!), teenage, Muslim (!) girl who is a private investigator gets involved in something that could be way out of her league. The character and her culture are dealt with very respectfully and the mystery treads into superstition/fantasy territory but you don’t have to yourself. It was a fun light read.

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  7. Last week one of the books I read was Jamie Harrison’s “Blue Deer Thaw” which caught my attention because the setup sounds so much like Longmire fanfic. It isn’t, and it’s a complex mystery with a lot going on, but part of what’s going on involves a lot of people getting intimate and the main character trying to get out of a job he hates with the woman he loves. It’s the fourth book in a series, but I haven’t read the earlier Blue Deer stories and it stood alone well enough I didn’t feel I missed anything.

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  8. So when I checked out Bookbub yesterday for the Cinderella Deal… er, deal, I wound up downloading nearly half a dozen free books from Amazon. Some of them I obviously got what I paid for, but one of them, A Gift of Ghosts by Sarah Wynde, was too good to put down. It’s a paranormal romance about Akira Malone, a physicist with the “quirk” of seeing and communicating with ghosts, who takes a job in Tassamara, a town full of “quirky” people (including her hot employer), and, of course, plenty of ghosts. The author does a great job of balancing science with supernatural, making the characters feel real instead of cliche, and of not overtelling (though there were a few times where, however admittedly plausible the characters’ desire to avoid certain topics, I wanted to shake them a bit for not discussing it at least a little more). The sequels are definitely on my TBR. πŸ˜€

    Also, after Jenny’s post on Georgette Heyer mysteries last week, I picked up some of them from the library, and read They Found Him Dead earlier this week and found it thoroughly enjoyable. The whodunit plot was weak and honestly seemed more of an afterthought, but the characters and their drama were so interesting I didn’t care.

    Huh, I guess I can thank Jenny for pretty much all of my reading this week, directly or indirectly. Thanks, Jenny!

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    1. You’re welcome, but it was really requests in the comments that made me set up Good Book Thursdays, so you should all give yourself a round of applause. I’m loving this.

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    2. I’m also doing Heyer on Jenny’s recommendation! I’m about halfway through Detection Unlimited because a copy turned up while I was reorganizing my bookshelves. I’d never gotten around to reading it but I’m definitely enjoying it now!

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    3. Ooh, thanks for the heads-up on A Gift of Ghosts. I’ve been meaning to check it out for a while and it’s hard to beat that price!

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  9. I am currently re-reading Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas. It’s just as good as I remember.

    For those interested in reading Georgette Heyer, some of her books are free to borrow through Amazon Unlimited.

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  10. I’m starting my 2nd reading of the latest Nora Roberts book, Come Sundown. Also have Dogs and Goddesses queued up on my Kindle for comfort reading.

    I’m toying with buying the last Kay Hooper book but the last couple of her books have just been really forgettable. I re-read Haunted at least twice before realizing it was a book I’d already read.

    I’m probably going to be starting on my daughter’s Disney Descendant’s books soon. It’s part curiosity on my part and part “what is my 9 year old reading?” My mother read everything we left laying around the house because books should be read. She didn’t censor us either.

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  11. I had read The Nothing Girl by Jodi Taylor earlier this year, and loved it. I tried one of her time travel books, and didn’t like it as well – not surprising as time travel is not my thing. After discussing our favorite bits of The Nothing Girl with two people I had recommended it to, I had to go back and read it again. Just as good as I remembered it.

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  12. I’m recommending the The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. It is steam-punky, fantasy, scifi with really good characters. My only hesitation has been that it came out more than a year and a half ago and the next one isn’t scheduled to come out for at least another year. It doesn’t end with a completely annoying cliff-hanger but I was (and still am) invested enough in the book people that I really, really want the next book right now. Not a romance, but hints at the beginning of something, maybe.

    That said, Jim Butcher is an excellent author best know for his Dresden File books about a very idiosyncratic wizard living in a Chicago dealing with fairies, vampires and other magical folk. I like that series and always read it, but I liked The Cinder Spires more.

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    1. I loved that book! Didn’t expect to, either, although the Dresden Files books are some of my favorites. I’m not a steam punk reader, really, but this one was fabulous.

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  13. After the discussion on Georgette Heyer’s mysteries, it jogged my memory that I’d intended reading These Old Shades. I’ve read quite a lot of Heyer but had missed this one.
    I was totally hooked, and read until 5 am, because I couldn’t find a place where I could put the book aside and finally sleep. She’s expert at pulling you into her story world. That was Monday night, and I’d planned to submit my current WIP on Wednesday, but, yeah, we all know how reading until dawn can mess with work.
    Not at all sorry though.

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    1. I decided to begin re-reading my Georgette Heyer’s again, with all the mentions she’s been getting on the GBT. I was going to go for These Old Shades, but The Reluctant Widow practically jumped into my hand. I’ll put Shades next on the list, but The Talisman Ring and Unknown Ajax are not far behind.

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  14. I am currently working on Silver Silence by Nalini Singh. It is lovely. I always feel so comfortable in her worlds.

    And I also started Splintered by A.G. Howard. It’s a YA spin-off of Alice in Wonderland and it hooked me right away. It’s quite dark. It is billed as dark, but I underestimated the depth of it. Still, very good so far.

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    1. Ooh, I didn’t know this was out. Thanks! I didn’t love her last Psy/Changeling book, which was upsetting as some of the others are among my favourites, so hope this renews my faith in the series πŸ™‚

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  15. Last week I read the first Cormoran Strike novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, aka JK Rowling. I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially because I discovered that it is being adapted for TV with one of my favourite actors, Tom Burke (also Athos from the BBC’s Musketeers series). Am now getting into number 2, Silkworm. Just what I need as a break from marking exams and writing reports.

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  16. Last week I read Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner and I keep thinking about it not so much for the mystery but for the characters especially the main character. She is a detective but a lot of the story is about her personal life and how it interacts with her professional life. She is unhappy in many ways and I want things to get better for her.

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  17. Hi Jenny, a little while ago you mentioned a Michael Gilbert book about aMr. Calder and Mr Behrens, I have that one but you mentioned another about them and I can not remember the title. Can you please tell me asIwant to look for it. Thank you.

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    1. I did an advanced search in Amazon for Michael Gilbert, Calder and Behrens series. First book is Game Without Rules issued in 2011. Second book is Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens issued in 2012.

      Just using my library acquisition skills…

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      1. To Kim/Ginger Betty and Jenny, thank you both very much. I have Now Written the title in my notebook. I will now go and search for the book. I really enjoy good book Thursdays.

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  18. It’s not a book, but one of the chat groups I belong to is doing a read of Richard III. I couldn’t bring myself to read the original play, but I found Ian McKellen’s screenplay of the 1996 (? 1995?) movie, Richard III with all these delightful scene-setting things and McKellen’s memories and comments. FABULOUS read, and now I think I’m up for the original Shakespeare. (I was put off by some of the typography I was seeing, but the MIT version of the Shakespeare play seems to have modernized the typography so there aren’t all those haues and haue nots.)

    Here’s the screenplay from McKellen’s website: http://www.mckellen.com/cinema/richard/screenplay/

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    1. A friend and I began skyping to discuss Shakespeare’s history cycle(s). I enjoyed old favorites like Richard II, Henry IV part one, and Henry V. Henry IV part two was new to me (at least, I don’t remember it from my high school course). I do remember slogging through the three parts of Henry VI way back in my youth, so we didn’t get all the way to Richard III which is a fabulous play. While Ian McKellen’s is the current definitive version, and is brilliant, Richard III can be produced in other powerful ways. One huge problem with reading Shakespeare is that I want to see it in performance. It seems as if only a few plays get staged.

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      1. I always imagined that I had a good imagination, but after I saw the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I came away much humbled (but with a new favorite book!). I needed the cues to enjoy the story, and Austen writes so cleanly, that I couldn’t quite picture what was going on.

        The McKellen screenplay gave me a lot of visuals to work with, and now that I’m re-reading the play from the MIT website, I’m not only making better progress, but I’m having a lot more fun.

        I ordered the McKellen and the Olivier movie from Amazon, so next weekend might be a bloodbath with popcorn (-:.

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        1. I ran sound for the Bucket Productions version of P&P, adapted by Lissa Creola. It was well put together, though the two youngest girls were excised, along with Austen’s overuse of “At any rate”. It went over well, with sold out shows every performance. I’m afraid it didn’t endear me to Jane Austen though, and I didn’t enjoy the movie version of Sense and Sensibility at all. I seem to have a lowered affinity for 19th century British fiction in general, so that may be a big part of the issue. It seems that the English wanted things all neat and tied up with a bow then, so the endings and sometimes even the plot development seems a bit contrived to me. I like a lighter hand with the plot, if there is one, and it’s probably why I lean toward situational instead of plot driven fiction.

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          1. I am boggled. How can you have P and P without Lydia? She’s the chief troublemaker.

            Or do you mean Mary and whatsherface? Kitty? Poor Mary, misunderstood and despised little nerd. Kitty had some good moments, too, but I can understand that some things must be done when you only have two or three hours. (-: And obviously, I don’t have a high opinion of Kitty. I’m sure she turned out fine in the end. Maybe she even got to go to a review with her father by the end of things . . . .

            Yeah, the BBC version really turned me into a super-nerd for P&P. I must read and watch the story at least once a year, sometimes twice. I was amazed at how well P & P & Zombies worked for me. Aside from too many testicle jokes (balls, hur-hur), the story really carried the work.

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          2. Of course it was Lydia as the youngest daughter, because without her there is no Mr. Wickham. That was a great cast and the confrontation scene between Darcy and Wickham was amazing even with minimal staging. (We did it in a nice small theatre space)

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          3. I liked Sense & Sensibility but I have to admit the movie ruined the book for me.

            Once I saw Emma Thompson & Alan Rickman in the same room, it became obvious to me that she deserved him instead of getting stuck with Hugh Grant. And he deserved her instead of that hysterical Marianne.

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          4. What made S&S irredeemable for me, outside of any of the script decisions, was the always faulty casting decision to cast Kate Winslett in any role where she had a speaking part. My dislike of her as an “actress” has made me avoid anything with her in it after suffering through “Romeo and Juliet on a Boat” and the S&S viewing a former partner insisted I watch slammed that home like a duck through an airplane’s windshield. I’ve heard she’s good in Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind, but I’ve never felt up to trying to watch it.

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        2. Let us know what you think of the Olivier.

          In my childhood he was the definitive Shakespeare actor but since I’ve seen Branagh, McKellen & even Gibson, I find Olivier stilted. I’m curious if it’s just me.

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    2. You’ve made me remember a really fun detective novel by Josephine Tey called The Daughter of Time. The detective is in hospital, and bored, and beseeches a friend to bring him things to look at, especially postcards showing paintings. One card she brings him is a portrait of Richard III which starts him on a quest from his hospital bed to figure out why everyone considers him a murderer, which doesn’t seem to match his face.

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjTvbLmkcjUAhWCRD4KHfoyCQcQFggkMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newyorker.com%2Fbooks%2Fpage-turner%2Fthe-detective-novel-that-convinced-a-generation-richard-iii-wasnt-evil&usg=AFQjCNGvMJMovLguRrC9tYRa7QHdo2R7xQ&sig2=cr1QwXqa0bh6x9MpkTtcQQ

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      1. I may have to check it out. One thing you have to say about Shakespeare: he didn’t make Richard III a one-dimensional villain. The fictional guy is smart and seductive — just with very few morals when it comes to killing (which may be how he got to be a successful soldier).

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        1. Well as Tey points out, the person who kept killing heirs was Henry VII, but Shakespeare wasn’t going to say that about Elizabeth Regina’s grandfather.

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      1. *jealous*, but I just got the DVD yesterday, so this weekend I’m going to watch McKellen in Richard III. The very interesting thing will be which do I like better? The screenplay or the play? The visual cues in the screenplay allowed me to contribute a lot as the consumer of art.

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        1. Ian McKellen’s movie of Richard III is especially cool because McKellen depicts Richard’s family (including but not limited to, Edward IV and his wife’s Woodville family) as all completely corrupt (note the time period he chooses)(and the use of cigarettes). Olivier and others fall into the trap of depicting Richard as the sole source of evil. Rather, Shakespeare thought Richard was part of a strain of evil that had to be completely eradicated in order to purify the English monarchy.

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          1. Oh, that’s very, very interesting, Elizabeth. I had a terrible time reconciling Anne’s sudden seductability. Her husband just died. I tried attributing it to smooth, smooth Richard, plus a little greed to keep her position as a wealthy, powerful spouse. But, if you amp this up to a whole lot of greed, then it makes a lot more sense. NOBODY is likable, except the kids, who are barely there anyway. Oh, and I liked Clarence, who is the first to get bumped off (IIRC. I’ve only gone through the story once, and so many, many people get bumped off.)

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  19. I just devoured Seanan McGuire’s new novel(la? The books in this series are short.) Down Among The Sticks and Bones. It’s a prequel to her Every Heart A Doorway, a book about a special school for children like the kids from Narnia, who went on epic adventures in alternate worlds and are now struggling to adapt to being back in ours.

    The original was inventive and complex and dark and wonderfully character driven and made you want to explore all of these worlds for yourself. Down Among The Sticks And Bones delivers on that and is even better, with a stronger narrative voice and a deepening of the universe McGuire’s created. After I finished Down Among the Sticks And Bones I immediately reread Every Heart A Doorway going “Oh my god. Oh my GOD.” the whole way through.

    I definitely recommend reading them in publication order for the full “Oh my GOD” effect.

    Of note: This universe is *incredibly* diverse in terms of ethnicity, gender orientation, gender presentation, sexuality, and more. For instance, the main character in Every Heart A Doorway is asexual. This is explained in the books as “people who don’t quite ‘fit’ in the world they’re living in are more likely to find Doorways”. I know people who have cried while reading these books because they almost never see themselves positively depicted in fiction, if at all. McGuire writes this so deftly and so well it makes you sit back and go “Wait… why isn’t everything else like this?” Aside from the length, and the fact that the 3rd book isn’t coming out until next year, there is nothing I don’t love about this series.

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    1. I’m definitely going to have to check those out. She’s been on my mental TBR list for years. I read one or two other books years ago and liked them, but then wandered away.

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  20. This is a “good book, but not for me, but might well be for others” recommendation. Devon Monk’s “Death and Relaxation.” I thought it was going to be urban fantasy with some romance, and, for me anyway, it was romance with some urban fantasy. It’s well done, but I prefer more fantasy, less romance, so it was just meh for me. Someone who prefers the opposite ratio would enjoy it more, I think.

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    1. I loved Devon Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series (starting with Magic to the Bone), and while there is a strong romance that develops throughout the series, it felt more urban fantasy overall than romance to me. So if you liked the writing style just not the ratio, and haven’t read anything else by the author, you might want to check out that one.

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  21. Totally off topic, but doing a paper edit of a writ I’m submitting to the court and it’s all cause of Jenny.

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  22. Two things: first, in the lightest of light reading, I came across a heroine who reached out a hand and plucked a random book from the shelf. A smile curved her lips when srecognized the cover of a beloved Jennifer Crusie novel. . . . happy to lose herself in the story and fall in love with Cal as Min did.

    Second, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone bring up the Gil Cunningham mysteries by Pat McIntosh, beginning with THE HARPER’S QUINE. They’re set in 1490’s Glasgow, and a delight. Suggest reading them in publication order, as they are pretty chronological.

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