This is a Good Book Thursday: May 10, 2017

I’ve bought some new books through Book Bub and recs here, but I haven’t read any of them yet.  I’m obsessing on political reporting and the Justice League movie (so bad), trying to figure out what matters and what doesn’t about the Trump show and why, if Justice League has the exact same plot as The Avengers, one was so good and the other so bad, instead of reading good books.  Must fix that.

What have you been reading?

92 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday: May 10, 2017

  1. Re Justice League vs The Avengers or DC vs Marvel currently seems to be that I honestly believer Zach Snyder really has no understanding of the fact that part of the appeal of superheroes is a bit of fun and optimism amidst the drama and fighting bad guys, he can’t plot for toffee, he is of the “big set piece fights with splosions and buildings being destroyed replace the need for plot and character development” school plus he needs his colour vision checked and he seems to actively hate Superman. Hand the reins to Patty Jenkins and we might get some decent DC films. Sorry, that was a bit ranty. I hate what he has done with Superman and Batman. Batman was never my fave superhero but he deserves better than Snyder. I sat through BvS on a plane just to get the few bits at the end of Diana kicking everyone’s butt but haven’t been able to bring myself to do Justice League yet despite the appeal of Momoa in tight Aquaman costume and more Wonder Woman.

    I just read the second instalment of Murderbot which was very good and the latest in Jody Taylor’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s which was likewise very good. Also read Crazy Rich Asians and the second one in that series recently which were good pure soapy fun.

    8+
    1. My book club is reading Crazy Rich Asians and I got it from the library but haven’t had a chance to start it and its due today, requested and un-renewable, coffee as yet unopened!!!! TRAGIC!! But I’m glad to hear it’s soapy fun. That’s what I’m wanting these days despite my lack of time.

      I haven’t seen any of the DC movies except Suicide Squad, which was worse than I expected despite terrible reviews… I haven’t even had the courage to see what Snyder’s done to my beloved Batman (Affleck’s casting was enough to turn me off, honestly). But I think you’re right on about the hope-and-humor in between giant exploding robot punches. I even love Captain America, which I was NOT expecting–he came off as too Good to be interesting (which is why I prefer Batman, who is obviously nuts, to Superman, who seems very earnest and dull) but they’ve done such a good job characterizing him as someone with a strong moral compass rather than a dutiful rule-follower that I’m all in.

      4+
      1. Affleck does the best he can with a terribly-written role. God, the writing in Justice League was bad.

        3+
      2. My daughter loves the women of DC. Actually, it’s the Girls of DC because DC is pushing books and Lego sets with them in it.

        So we’ve seen WW. I was thinking about watching Justice League this weekend. Maybe we’ll go see Infinity Wars instead.

        I think too – Marvel is making good to great movies with the Avengers that appeal to families, for the most part. DC isn’t. Marvel is working with Xbox to make games that include all their characters. DC is sticking to Batman for Xbox, it feels like. Hello, my daughter wants female superhero games. Please and Thank you.
        But Marvel is doing a great job of building a future base with the kids. DC, not so much. At least in my household.

        1+
        1. I think WW was great for girls, such a tough, strong female hero, but Black Widow and Scarlet Witch have so much more personality. The DC movie universe is full of grim people who make plans without much personality (except for The Flash and Aquaman, who really stand out in JL because of that). They’re very dignified and very tired and very . . . depressed? They have Baggage and they hug it to them closely. The Marvel people have baggage, too, but they’re not particularly interested in it until it pops up and kneecaps them. I love the way Loki thinks he’s gotten to Black Widow through her baggage in The Avengers and then realizes she’s used it to trick him into revealing his plans. The way she cowers before him until he slips up and then straightens, calm and cool and thanks him for the information, she’s been in charge all along. I know WW isn’t as devious as Natasha, but anything beyond “I’m good and pure and strong and it’s my fault Steve died” is just not on the screen.
          Meanwhile Marvel’s bringing up Captain Marvel to save the day in fourth Avengers and if they have any brains at all they’ll get Ms. Marvel on the screen, too. And evidently the Black Widow movie is getting some serious traction. Wonder Woman did a lot of good there, showing that female superheroes could bring in the bucks.

          5+
          1. There’s a cartoon Avengers that we DVR for my son. There’s an episode Where Miss Marvel is just feeling insignificant and the Capt. talks her through it. It’s light but deep at the same time.

            I’m not sure I want a full on Black Widow movie. The only backstory I want to see is the bit with her and Hawkeye in Budapest, which I believe is when he’s supposed to kill her and doesn’t.

            But I desperately want a short video starting when she and Capt. show up at Falcon’s house and ends with the roof scene where she shoves that guy off.

            0
          2. I LOVE THAT ROOF SCENE. That smug bastard telling Cap that he’s too good a person to shove him off a roof, and Cap says, “Yep,” and steps aside and there’s Natasha. Winter Soldier is just a great, great movie.

            I don’t want any of that angsty backstory (I blame Whedon for that and for that stupid Hulk love story), but I’d like to know what she’s doing between saving the world gigs. Hawkeye is not a fave, but that may be just because I don’t like the actor. I love the interrogation scenes she’s done, the one with the Russians in the warehouse where she’s tied up and they don’t realize she’s interrogating them, and then that great scene with Loki where he thinks he’s making her cry and gloats his way into giving her the intell she needs. The guys are all so up front, but Natasha is DEVIOUS.

            Actually the love story I want is her and Cap, that kiss on the escalator was good, but it’ll never happen.

            4+
      3. Yes, I wasn’t expected to love Cap as much as I have come to. He and Thor are my fave male Avengers now (and T’Challa is winning a place) whereas in the beginning I loved Iron Man best. I still like Iron Man because RDJr is great but ‘man child who won’t get help for his obvious PTSD even though he is super smart and rich’ is way less appealling right now than honourable guys who learn and stand up for what’s they believe in. If they kill off either Thor or Cap in the next Avengers movie I will be heartbroken.

        6+
      4. Batman as currently portrayed is just way too emo for me. As Jenny says, Affleck does his best but the material is dire. My current fave Batman is LEGO Batman because he starts out like Snyder-bat on steroids but has to learn to be different 😀 that’s part of my problem in the Snyder DC verse, the characters don’t seem to arc at all. Whereas they have all changed and learned and made hard choices and paid for them somewhat in Marvel. And still cracked good jokes and formed a family.

        3+
    2. Snyder also has an insane love of infodump and no concept of how to build a team. Justice League was terrible except for The Flash and Aquaman; even Wonder Woman got knee-capped by not-really-scene after not-really-scene that was infodump exchange including one terrible moment of infodump over flashback. One of the worst written movies I’ve ever watched, plus as you said, bad plot (ripped off from the Avengers, just done so poorly that it’s unwatchable), ridiculous lighting, flattened characters . . . I could go on. Actually I did, but it was a too-long post full of ranting, so I deleted it. Can’t believe DC spends billions on that crap while it still can do insanely wonderful things like Legends on TV. Idiots.

      7+
      1. I only watched the movie for WW and Jason Momoa. (Yum.) Going to see Avengers this weekend and expecting to be maybe not happy with it, give what people have said about the tone. We’ll see.

        0
        1. You are not alone, my friend will watch Jason Momoa in anything. I sometimes think they made Conan the Barbarian for her 🙂

          The Amazons fight scene was pretty good and I thought the Flash deserved his own movie. There were a few good moments and great dialogue here and there, I can’t remember the villain and the name of the cyborg team member and more importantly I did not believe Ben Affleck was Bruce Wayne, he could just about pull off Batman.

          Yeah that movie had problems, still want a sequel after they fix.

          1+
          1. Cyborg is Victor Strong which I know because I looked it up for my rants. I had to look up Aquaman’s name, too: Arthur Curry. The others are legend: Bruce Wayne, Clark Kent, Diana Prince, Barry Allen.

            I think the Flash was so good here because he actually had personality, a bright, smart-mouthed, insecure teenager surrounded by grim superheroes and Aquaman (superhero but not grim). The first minute of this video tells you everything you need to know about Barry:
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2mXBtT7Nf0
            The villain was Steppenwolf because that’s what he was called in the comics; it has absolutely no connection to the big mythic concept of the previous Steppenwolf or anything to do with his scaly CGI.

            1+
        2. Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller were the redeeming parts, but even Aquaman got stuck with dumb mother issues. Zach Snyder must have mother issues given Batman and Superman bonding over their mothers’ names being Martha.

          1+
        3. I asked friends to tell me if there was a cliffhanger at the end of the new Avengers, and everyone said there was. Paying for half a movie is something I normally refuse to do on principle, but I’m afraid I can’t dodge spoilers for a whole year. The cheapest matinee available is probably in order.

          I can’t reply to the comment with the Justice League clip, but the Flash seems great. Still, Suicide Squad sucked so much that DC movies are off the menu for me unless someone I trust tells me they’re really good.

          1+
          1. Justice League is really not worth it, and I worry about the Aquaman movie because they foreshadow that he has mother issues. Couldn’t he just be a happy fish-guy? The Flash, however, has no hang-ups except he doesn’t like fighting and he doesn’t want to die. Also he’s not good with heights. Funny as hell and absolutely charming in a geeky way.

            1+
          2. It’s not so much that it’s a cliffhanger as that everyone is in a very bad place at the end. There is no will/won’t this thing happen. It happens, the movie just doesn’t address the fallout.

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          3. I just watched the new Avengers movie today. ARGH. That’s all I’m saying, in case people still haven’t seen it, but seriously. ARGH *bangs head repeatedly against wall*

            Also, in case you couldn’t tell, no, I didn’t like it.

            0
      2. Have you read Wonderwoman: Warbringer? It’s written by Leigh Bardugo, so it’s good – there appears to be a series of DC comic-to-book releases, and I’m currently waiting for the Catwoman book by Sarah Maas.

        Anyway, since DC can’t write decent scripts themselves, getting actual authors to do it for them instead might just work 😉

        0
        1. Nope, but I will now go look it up.

          Read the sample and there was so much infodump–during a race, for heaven’s sake–that I bailed. It had a good hook, and then infodump.

          1+
          1. I forgot about that – but the difference is that I got it for free from the library (so I didn’t read the sample, and persisted for longer because I already had the book), whereas you’re evaluating whether or not you want to buy it from the sample that they provided.

            She should have tightened up that chapter, or selected a different sample. I wonder how many people were turned off because of that?

            FWIW, I did enjoy the book overall, but it’s not as good as her Grishaverse books.

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    3. I read the Frogmorton Farm books by Jody Taylor, The Nothing Girl and the Something Girl. They’re so good! I hated to reach the last page.

      3+
    4. I totally don’t understand a word of the discussion of superhero movies — they just don’t work for me, even the good ones — but, OOOOOHHHHH, second Murderbot. That’s gonna be my reward for finishing my current manuscript by the end of the weekend. I have trouble reading other people’s books when I’m at this stage, so I’ve been in a reading slump, but this will get me out of it (after I finish this draft of the last three scenes). Thanks for the reminder!

      1+
    5. I loved ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, but wasn’t so impressed by the second one in the series. Nothing happened until about two thirds of the way into the book–he was just writing cute quirky characters. I kept saying,’but where’s the story?’

      0
  2. Hmm, I think that first sentence was supposed to say that re Justice League vs The Avengers the answer currently seems to be….can’t type apparently 😀

    0
  3. I’m in the early stages of a couple promising books, but one of the best things I’m reading right now are the “Fudge” books by Judy Blume. I thought these were hilarious when I was a kid and now I’m reading them aloud, mostly for my almost six-year-old. There’s nothing greater than sharing books we can enjoy together.

    6+
  4. I fell in love with the Penderwick sisters series by Jeanne Birdsall last week. Gobbled them down and now can’t stop thinking about what might be in the next one (coming out next week!) They’re technically kids books, but they’re kids books in the way that Little Women is a kids book. Or E Nesbit or Edward Eager or maybe Noel Streatfeild.

    5+
    1. I am going to start this series based entirely on this comment, which lists two of my favorite authors of all time (Nesbit and Eager–as a child all I wanted was to grow up and write a series of books that referenced Eager, as Eager referenced Nesbit.) I also loved the Streatfield books as a child, but I haven’t revisited them in years.

      5+
      1. 90% sure that one of the sisters is reading Edward Eager in the first book and that’s what brought him back to me! I loved those books and E. Nesbit, too. Ooh, and I just remembered that Jane (one of the sisters) references Nesbit, the Psammead. Also Narnia. Anyway, I hope you love these as much as I do!

        5+
        1. Narnia too? It’s my trifecta.

          Also, it sounds like she actually did what I wanted to do as a child.

          2+
        2. Hmm, I may check these out too, now. I didn’t get the other references but Narnia was a childhood favorite! Does one need to read Nesbit or Edgar before the Penderwick sisters?

          0
      2. I believe this week a new, unpublished Streatfield was unearthed in files being gone through before donation. Now, soon to be published, of course.

        5+
      3. For wonderful books referencing Nesbit/Eager, try the Secret Country trilogy by Pamela Dean!

        2+
  5. Courtney Milan’s After the Wedding. I’ll read anything she writes, but I found it less satisfying than some of her other books. And, because I needed cheering up, some Loretta Chase.
    I also read a really interesting book on slave quilts, which maybe is a Working Wednesday topic except that I’m not a quilter.

    2+
  6. I just read Tess of the Road, the third book in the Seraphina series by Rachel Hartman. I loved the first book, was meh on the second, but this one really drew me in. It did not go where I expected. Trigger warning for sexual assault and the death of a child, but if you can deal with those, it’s a lovely and compassionate and healing book. With dragons.

    2+
  7. I am part way through several enjoyable books. A Meredith Duran, who is now going on my regular TBR list, still in the Joanna Bourne who is always a delight, and I just started listening to Heyer’s Powder and Patch. It is very fun. I reserve my adoration for her dastardly heros, but this one is enjoyable.

    0
  8. I’m currently reading Leah on the Offbeat. It’s in the same series as Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I loved Simon vs., but I’m not loving Leah. I’m very conflicted, because it’s such an easy read. I can’t put the book down. However, I do not like Leah. I don’t like her at all. I hate being in her head. My daughters are also reading the book, and have the same feelings. Leah is not likable. The rest of the characters are also kind of flat. But the writing is great, and the story flows.

    1+
  9. This week I’ve read “Someone to Care” by Mary Balogh, and “The Mesalliance” by Stella Riley. The Balogh felt a little flat due to much telling-not-showing, but I still cared about the H/H and wanted their HEA. The Riley was just excellent.

    0
  10. I’ve been re-reading the tattered and well-loved books of my most favorite authors, whose books I can never get enough of.

    Perhaps you’ve heard of her…Jennifer Crusie? 😆

    Today’s tome? “Welcome to Temptation”…

    11+
    1. I’m listening to Faking It in the car now. Finally tucked Agnes and the Hitman back in the book.

      Been taking note how Jennifer Crusie started the chapter and where I get hooked. Basically I’m hooked by the author. 😉

      4+
  11. I’m reading The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish. So far, it’s a great read. Funny and moving.

    I also re-read some Heyer mysteries when I had migraines that didn’t completely go away. Sometimes I will feel like reading but not paying close attention once the headache is retreating.

    3+
  12. I just finished a book called “Cinder.” It’s a sci-fi retelling if Cinderella where she is a cyborg. It was a lot of fun. Quick read. The ball was a bit of a disaster, but otherwise she was a smart heroine, for a sixteen year old. 😉

    6+
    1. It’s the first in a series. Are you reading the whole series or just that book?

      0
    2. It’s the first in a series. Are you reading the whole series or just that book?

      1+
  13. I needed something that was just fun, so I’m rereading The Last Hellion by Loretta Chase. Also downloaded Lord of Scoundrels, because I can’t find my paper copy.

    Also I’ve been rereading some John Buchan. He wrote a century ago, and occasionally something is really awfully un-PC (although it was most likely considered normal at the time). I try to ignore those bits because all in all he was a fabulous storyteller.

    6+
      1. I need to read that. I loved the old movie, the latest remake is so bad I ranted about it on here somewhere. Lord, it wasn’t good.

        1+
  14. Of John Buchan’s books I’ve only read The Thirty-nine Steps, and I loved it. I love the movie too, but the book and movie are completely different.

    1+
    1. There are several more books with Richard Hannay as the main character — Greenmantle, Mr. Standfast, The Three Hostages, and The Island of Sheep. All good stories.

      He also wrote some about a group of boys/young men from Glasgow and their mentor, a retired grocer. They have some fun adventures. But I must say I like the Richard Hannay books best.

      2+
  15. I am reading A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George and really enjoying it. For a while I was not reading her Lynley series but this picks up at a story line I am willing to follow.

    I also just read Why Kill the Innocent by C.. S. Harris and liked it a lot.

    Other than that it has been comfort reads all the way.

    2+
      1. Me too except for the description of Rothschild, which struck me as anti-Semitic (and also, probably, inaccurate in what it claims about the gold sales to Napoleon–I was infuriated enough that at some point I’ll do some digging and if I find the evidence will write her.)

        0
        1. I just did a quick search of the Rothschild’s and the Napoleonic wars. Basically Nathan made a lot of money financing the British and getting money to them on the continent to pay the troops. The rest of the family was making money loaning it to other factions.

          Nathan Rothschild was known to get information before anyone else. After the Battle of Waterloo he started selling stocks. Investors assumed he knew the English had lost and a panic sell-off ensued. Then he bought up all the the depressed stocks he could at a greatly reduced price. A lot of people were ruined but he made a fortune.

          0
          1. Right. But the author has him also funding Napoleon and I don’t believe there is a basis for that despite her claim at the end of the book. It’s not the plot that bothers me—after all it’s fiction—it’s the claim of historical authenticity. Somewhere I have a good biography of him and I need to dig up what it says.

            0
    1. Elizabeth George lost me almost completely with ‘What Came Before He Shot Her’. It was just one long dark read, with no redeeming moments, and it felt as if she was pouring her social conscience out onto the page and forgetting how to write a novel. It may have been realistic, but it wasn’t what I wanted from her. I’m willing to try her again now, though.

      0
  16. I’ve sold my house, and I’m taking it apart and figuring out what goes where, stressed occasionally out of my mind. As I sort through things to keep, discard, donate, I’ve been listening to my faithful favorites, Elizabeth Peters, Georgette Heyer, McMaster Bujold ( I always have to check which of her names comes first), and Jennifer Crusie. Today it’s “Bet Me,” I really enjoy all the friendships in this book, it’s a wonderful community.

    9+
  17. I don’t really have anything to recommend this week since I’m only about 30 pages in to the book I’m reading. There is news about Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series I wanted to share, though, since so many people here recommended it: there will be another trilogy about Nevada’a sister, Catalina. And there will be a novella this year about Connor and Nevada’s wedding. I may have burst into spontaneous applause when I read about it…

    http://www.ilona-andrews.com/hidden-legacy-update-you-are-cordially-invited/

    http://ew.com/books/2018/04/21/ilona-andrews-new-hidden-legacy-series-announcement/

    First link is the announcement on the author blog, second is an interview they did with Entertainment Weekly.

    4+
  18. I was reading Behold the Dreamer for book club, but it was so similar in theme to what we read last month that I put it down in favor of rereading Loretta Chase’s dressmaker trilogy. Vixen in Velvet is my favorite. I think I identify with Leonie because her sisters are the artists and she has more prosaic talents. It was nice to see the one behind the scenes get a happily ever after.

    4+
  19. Last week I was all about Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate Series, and this week I moved on to the Custard Protocol books, which features the progeny of the Protectorate floating about in a dirigible. There aren’t as many of those, and there is a YA prequel series, but I’m trying to stick to a budget. If you like a smartly tied cravat and werewolves in kilts, pick these up, do.

    3+
  20. I bought SA Chakraborty’s The City of Brass just based on author’s *Excellent* tweet threads. I adore folks who do book Twitter well, without constant “buy my book” and “read this retweet of a review of my book”. Haven’t the time to read it but I wasn’t going to leave it on shelf for someone else to snag!

    I loved The Lion’s Daughter by Loretta Chase. A very useful Esme who was born in Albania and the rather useless Varian have to come to terms for reasons. Lovely character growth.

    2+
    1. The Lion’s Daughter was the one Loretta Chase I haven’t liked very much so far. The story was okay, but I hate books where the hero constantly calls the heroine ‘you little wildcat’ and other such patronising terms.

      0
  21. Also, check twitter out for “DC is literally too dark meme”.

    I frankly struggle to see DC movie details, even while wearing contact lenses.

    0
    1. That is one of my biggest peeves about DC. why spend millions of dollars on sets that I CAN’T EVEN SEE?!?

      0
      1. TV. DC TV can be quite wonderful. At least Legends of Tomorrow is usually brightly colored and cheerful.

        0
  22. I’ve been binge reading Katherine Center. I loved her first book, The Bright Side of Disaster, didn’t so much love her second one and sort of wandered away. But I’ve now read all the ones that followed that and loved them just as much as the first if not more.

    Highly recommended for people who like their women’s fiction slightly quirky and their female protagonists not perfect.

    3+
  23. Molly Harper’s Sweet Tea and Sympathy will be my antidote to work and the beginning of lawn mowing for the season. Any book that starts with live flamingos and a tower of shrimp at a society party must be a winner.

    2+
    1. I misread that as “a shower of shrimp at a society party” and did a doubletake.

      1+
      1. Now I want to read about a shower of shrimp at a society party.
        There’s some book where there is a shower of shrimp. Probably a Pratchett.

        3+
  24. Popping in to recommend Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. The best autobiography I’ve ever read-his life story is truly amazing. He reads the audio book which is very well done because he speaks the 8 languages he uses to tell his story.

    5+
  25. Currently reading Them (about extremists of all kinds), but I just read about Lucifer being cancelled.

    Not even my favourite, but in this day and age it’s uncalled for to leave things hanging.

    0
    1. I’m just so happy that Brooklyn 9-9 got a reprieve. It’s the best thing on TV.
      I’m currently reading the 2nd Murderbot and have Akata Warrior after that. I loved Akata Witch very much. It’s a great kid’s fantasy–female protagonist in a modern day Nigeria learning how to use her magic with a mythology that is completely new to me. Very good read.

      0
      1. I just put the second Murderbot on reserve at the library (I’m number three) and thank you for reminding me that Akata Warrior mysteriously disappeared from my reserve list somehow.

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  26. Thanks to whoever recommended The Goblin Emperor. I binge-read it this past week and LOVED it! So good. (I struggled with keeping track of all the names but it didn’t deter me from my enjoyment. :))

    Just started Swell on recommendation of a coworker. Young woman who sails around the world surfing. Good so far.

    4+
    1. I recommend The Goblin Emperor to everyone and also give copies as gifts. Wonderful story of a boy who must learn how to rule a kingdom with enemies all around him.

      2+
  27. I think I was still reading The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan last GBT I commented… Hm. Anyway, the book was a delight and made me laugh and cry and then laugh some more, only to end up crying again. I don’t know how he does it but he keeps on pushing all the right buttons, that man. And I wasn’t even that amazed by the Trials of Apollo-series at first. Now I am happy I gave it a try.

    I also finished The Invisible Library by Geneviev Cogman and I really really liked it! Thanks to whoever it was that recommended it – I’ll definitely dig deeper into this series.

    I then turned back to James Herriot and read All Things Bright and Beautiful. I gave it a 4 on Goodreads. I really enjoyed the read. Sometimes pet anecdotes is all you need.

    Speaking of that: A friend of mine, whom visited aobut a month ago, was annoyed by books containing animals. They bothers the heck out of her – “As if animals can make things better” she exlaimed at one point. I’m like: Put in as many animals you can, please! That’s one of many reasons I love Jenny’s books: There’s almost always a dog or cat in there somewhere, offering comfort, plot twists or comic relief. I absolutely love that.

    Through talk with other visiting friend last week I decided to go back to Discworld for a while, so I’m now halfway through The Colour of Magic.
    (I also discovered, thanks to Audible, that there are non-Discworld books by Pratchett that I haven’t read yet. Will have to do something about that very soon.)

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