This Is a Good Book Thursday: June 21, 2018

This week I sobbed my way through Jessica Parks’ wildly romantic 180 Seconds.  It’s not depressing, the dog does not die, but it is an emotional roller coaster, even if the love interest is so damn wonderful it’s hard to believe he’s real.  Of course, the heroine has problems believing in him, too.  Really great love story, all different kinds of relationships, just a lovely book.  But you’re gonna cry.

What did you read this week?

(Any suggestions for how to change the Good Book Thursday header for July?  They had kittens up there in June, you know.)

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47 thoughts on “This Is a Good Book Thursday: June 21, 2018

  1. I just finally read A Long Way to a Small and Angry Planet by Becky Chambers and loved it. Fun science fiction that had deep characterization.

    I also loved Whispers Beyond the Veil by Jessica Estevao. Turn of the century mystery that kicks off a series with light paranormal aspects. I devoured it in a day.

    4+
    1. A Long Way was indeed good.

      I am reading Uprooted by Naomi Novik and wow, that is good so far.

      2+
      1. My vote also for A Long Way. And I loved Uprooted. It is on special on BookBub for 2.99 for Kindle today so I may have to get a copy to keep. I have read it twice already but I may need it again.

        1+
  2. Maybe streamers and sparklers for July? I know this is an international crowd, but I just really like sparklers 😉 Or maybe bowls of strawberries and ice cream.

    I’ve been in a bit of a book slump lately, but I did enjoy “A Princess in Theory” by Alyssa Cole and “The Heiress Effect” by Courtney Milan.

    3+
    1. I didn’t care for A Princess in Theory. The heroine was great, but I lost patience with the hero after about the tenth time he didn’t come clean. Maybe he redeems himself later?

      All the hearts for Courtney Milan 🙂

      2+
  3. I’ve been reading Barrayar (Lois McMaster Bujold) to try and get rid of the unsettled/dissatisfied feeling that In The Water gave me.

    Of course, Barrayar has its own problems, but at least they are problems I know. I’ve re-read all the Peter Grant books and Cptn Vorpatril’s Alliance, so I was reaching.

    1+
  4. Maybe the gentle lady could be reclining in a garden with a parasol, puppies, and hummingbirds?

    4+
    1. Oooh! Put her on a beach!

      I noticed the increasing number of kitties with a great deal of happiness and approval.

      I’ll also cast a vote for the fireworks (love fireworks) but they don’t mix well with small animals.

      Maybe an old-fashioned fan blowing unusual objects around the room?

      2+
  5. Perhaps put her in a bathing suit?

    So I started reading Nell Scovell’s memoir, Just the Funny Parts, late yesterday, and that was the end of anything useful out of me until this morning (I picked it up again at 6:00 am, to finish. Comedy writer who’s been through all the all the pits and peaks of New York and Hollywood and even DC. Gripping. Intriguing.

    1+
  6. I’m really enjoying rereading Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinister series. Finished ‘The Duchess War’ and am into ‘The Heiress Effect’.

    3+
  7. I read Gork the Teenage Dragon, which is like a classic teen sex comedy except everyone is dragons, and…that was…illuminating. It was kind of infuriating how single-minded the protagonist was (with the broader authorial view that most teenagers are that self-centered, leading everyone to be jerks to each other), which is probably why I’ve never enjoyed those types of movies very much. And the prose style also reminds me of why I bounce off of comedy-fantasy in the vein of early Pratchett. There’s no sense of a real character arc in this kind of prose, since everything is so thoroughly filtered through comedy, catharsis undercut by the suspicion that it’s just a punchline.

    Previously finished Rebel Seoul, which reinforced to me that I’m over the standard YA Dystopia Origin Story plot. The accompanying world-building premise gimmick needs to take way more priority space for me to get into them now. Rebel Seoul almost does that, but not quite. I do look forward to the sequel, though.

    Currently working on Mars One, which is much more of my thing. competent characters, emotional intelligence, hard scifi world-building? Yes please.

    1+
  8. I’m flailing a bit right now. The current audiobook is “Princes at War” — I’m apparently not over that period in royal English history. (This, like “That Woman,” is a book I read as a book.) I’m not loving the narrator, but I’m not hating her, so on I go.

    As for actual reading, I started Marion Meade’s biography of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenney, “Lonelyhearts: The Screwball World of Nathanael West and Eileen McKenny,” but set it aside because it isn’t what I want. I went back to Agatha Christie, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” but set that aside as well, again because it isn’t what I want.

    Do I know what I want? No, in the sense I can go looking for something specific, but yes, in the sense that I’ll know it when I see it.

    So annoying…

    4+
    1. The narrator is very important. I listen to a lot of books on CD and now Audible. They can completely ruin a book. There is a lady, last name, Landor who is FANTASTIC. She can do both men and women’s voices, unlike many others out there who don’t even try. I’m listening to one right now with a narrator who ends each sentence with a question mark. Makes me crazy.

      3+
  9. Finally finished Highest Bidder by Janet Neel (writing as Janet Cohen). Very British, a little too many business details, and would have been better and ironically, a lighter book if it had a murder, the way the ones she writes as Janet Neel do. Still, if you are a fan, it does have some interesting characters.

    2+
  10. This has been a week rich in good books. The two Clocktaur war books by T. Kingfisher: Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Machine. And The City of Brass by S. A. Chakrabortty which has an ending that while not a total cliffhanger is close. The second one comes out next year which for me is a long time to wait. I also read the 3 books of The Edge series by Ilona Andrews: The first was great, the second was pretty good but by the third I became really tired of the hero and heroine fixating on how handsome/beautiful the other was and gave up half way through because it kept throwing me out of the story. This is probably why you don’t read one book after another in a series by the same author. Not all are usually of equal quality and if there is a quirk in the writing it jumps out at you.

    4+
    1. Oh and for bedtime reading I am rereading “Local Custom” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, interesting romance and space opera at its best

      3+
  11. In quick succession this past week I read David Weber’s Oath of Swords (swords, sorcery, and gods, oh my!), Jim Butcher’s Brief Cases (collection of short stories in the Harry Dresden world), Parnell Hall’s The Underground Man (book 3 of the Steve Winslow mystery series … think Perry Mason with long hair and blue jeans), and Bujold’s The Flowers of Vashnoi (short story in the Vorkosigan saga). Also, last night I downloaded the new Laurie R. King, Island of the Mad. Obviously I’m in the mood for escape reading.

    1+
  12. I had a run of meh reads, one very disappointing from an author I really adore, so it was doubly crushing.

    I did have the pleasure of reading Nalini Singh’s latest. She is always a delight and a comfort to me. And I am eagerly awaiting the newest Ilona Andrews book which is due in under a week!!

    1+
  13. Currently reading Love & Ruin by Paula McLain, a fictionalized account of Martha Gelhorn’s relationship with Ernest Hemingway. Enjoying it immensely – we’re in the middle of the Spanish Civil War right now, which is just heartbreaking, and they’ve just embarked on their affair. I’d previously read The Paris Wife, which is about Hemingway’s first marriage, to Hadley Richardson. Boy, he was a sh*t to the women he professed to love.

    4+
  14. Jackie Lau – Grumpy Fake Boyfriend. Beach read style romance novel. Funnily enough I didn’t much mind that it was in alternating first person. I suppose I liked the characters and the writing wasn’t stilted.

    3+
  15. Maybe have a bear looking in the window?

    It’s winter here so my “brrr, I’m so cold” is many places, “temperate” or “pleasant”. Today was minimum 17°C to maximum 25°C, partly cloudy with relatively bright sun around 12 to 3pm.

    7+
    1. I second a bear. I’ve been floundering a bit with my reading. I dived too deep into the news, so I’ve been cleansing my palate with videos of polar bear cubs. This one’s my favorite: Polar Bear Helps Film Her Own Cub: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcG3ZDPtlGI

      I was taking refuge with Heyer, and then went to Kresley Cole, and then to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, so I’ve been all over the board. Bears, that’s the ticket.

      2+
    2. Sounds like high summer here – in fact it was more like 14 or 15C here today, but sunny so I warmed up as soon as I started walking. My living room has large windows facing SE, SW and NW, so I have to draw the curtains if the sun’s out. Love the light, but it is a bit OTT.

      3+
  16. Read a *great* book this week, but then it ended and I’m still hung up.

    “Sure,” the Devil said. “Let’s clean up your island. But you will follow my lead and you will do what I say.”

    “No way in Hell,” Nita said and started back down the path.”

    11+
  17. I’m spotting so many possibly great reads here, and on Goodreads, but still I can’t seem to get out of my Discworld roadtrip…

    Finished re-reading Men at Arms and loved it. Again.

    Re-read Soul Music and loved it too, again. I keep appreciating Pratchett’s books all the more when revisiting the stories in their original language. (Which I guess says a bit about the Swedish translators too, if they can start the love and the original can build on it.) I wish there’d been some reference to this book later on, though, to what happened to the lads in the Band with Rocks In after this.

    I’m currently reading Interesting Times and, just like with the rest, I really like to read it in it’s original form. It’s been some 10 years since I read it, and I probably didn’t pay much attention when I did, for though I recognize things here and there, I can only recall the vaguest outlines of the entire thing…which isn’t bad, it only makes everything feel fresh and keeps me curious. BUT! Never before this book did I realize that Twoflower wears glasses. I remember always wondering about the description of him in Colour of Magic as “a little man with four eyes”, and pondering over the fact that NO ONE in the entire story points out or thinks it’s strange that he has four eyes. It never occured to me that he was wearing spectacles… And I can’t remember it being written anywhere before it’s mentioned in Interesting Times either. Mystery solved, I guess.
    (I’m almost done with the book, think I’ve read something around 85 %.)

    Fiancé and I are more or less always reading something together as well, something we picked up very early in our relation and have kept on doing through the years. The last 3,5 weeks, we’ve been reading The Law of Nines by Terry Goodkind – for him the first time, for me I think…the fifth or sixth. I really enjoy the book; I attach to the characters, the pace is high, a lot happens and it’s a rush you’re not really familiar with since Goodkind’s books are often about twice as long as this one. (And there is some hospital-related stuff that still gives me the creeps even now after years of PTSD therapy.) The only thing that bothered me this time (probably partly as a result of the drafts- and editor-discussions here) is that I think the editor could’ve done a better job of pointing out repitative writing here and there. The main character keeps referring to, or thinking back on, passed events in a way as though the chapters were parts of a serial in a Fantasy Magazine and the author (or editor) fears the reader might forget who the different personages were and what they did that was significant until next month’s issue. Buuut except for me wanting to edit these things I definitely enjoyed the ride, and was happy to find Fiancé fell in love with it as well. We have not yet decided what to read next. It might be something Dan Brown, for I have never read any of his books and Fiancé likes them a lot. Could be nice to try something else for a change. (Usually we re-read things I’ve already read and think he should try [and so far he’s loved all of it, woohoo!])

    3+
    1. “Four-eyes” used to be a schoolyard taunt to make fun of any other kid who happened to wear glasses. If that makes the humorous phrase any clearer?

      0
  18. This looks like a really great good book Thursday. Lots here I want to try, thank you!

    I have been reading Anne Stuart for the first-ish time (ish because Dogs and Goddesses), from a recommendation last week. The Rohans. Wonderful!

    I think she needs cake or biscuits or scones, and a teapot (one cup is not enough) so she can keep reading without needing to leave her story.

    I have a fridge magnet a good friend gave me. She knows me so well. It has a picture of a woman reclining on her bed reading a book, and the words ‘I told the kids I’d be down in a minute. I lied’.

    4+
  19. I’m still reading short stories from the Heart’s Kiss magazine. The hits are great, and the misses are good AND contain lessons for the short story writer.

    I really liked Mary Jo Putney’s story from Issue One — just my cup of tea! Magical organizations, personified by likable folks. Healing as a love trope. MAGIC! Fizzy, whizzy, falling-in-love feelings! (It was called “The Tuesday Enchantress”.)

    2+
  20. I devoured Rachel Caine’s Stillhouse Lake in one sitting last night. I haven’t read her for a looong time, since the middle of her Weather Warden series, which was 10-15 years ago.

    I really enjoyed it. It has a dark subject, the protagonist is the ex-wife of a serial killer, but the tension though the book holds together nicely and the bad guy is well hidden until it becomes necessary for him to appear. I didn’t want to put it down.

    1+
  21. Finished re-reading Books 1-4 of Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses, which were again very enjoyable, although not as deeply characterized (is that the right way to put it?) as most of the Vorkosigan series. Decided I needed less future, less past, and fell into the wonderful Diana Wynne Jones novel for adults A Sudden Wild Magic.

    It’s basically contemporary, with magic thrown in. Several younger characters (adults, but youngish ones) could arguably be seen as protagonists at different stages in the story, but personally, I identify with the frumpy old wizardly team leader Gladys, who can do just about anything, with the magical assistance of her 80-some cats. And it takes place mostly around London, rather than Bristol, which is kind of fun too. Lovely book by an insanely good author.

    5+
    1. I just finished reading the 4 elemental books by Sharon Shinn! I am hoping she will finish the series with a fifth and final book, but I have to admit the first one is my favorite and could easily have stayed a standalone.

      0
  22. Lately most of the books I’ve read have been meh. Not bad, but not great, either. I’m currently reading Scourged, the last of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid stories, and it feels a bit contractual obligation/tie up all the loose ends so he can start a new series.

    As July is my Birthday Month, I suggest Cake – particularly as many of you get a public holiday (and fireworks) for my birthday, and I will probably just take an unpaid leave day. And, just to whine even more, sunrise on my birthday is about as late as it can get, so it will be dark AND cold here on the southern edge of Australia.

    My birthday present to myself is a knitting weekend 🙂

    5+
  23. This week I’ve been working through two books. At home, before bed, I’ve been reading a biography of Nimitz, by Potter. It’s an older book, but well written. My dad sent it to me after I talked with him about watching war movies over Memorial Day weekend (specifically Midway with every male star from 1976 included – yes, even Erik Estrada and Tom Selleck). The biography shifts between Nimitz’s earlier life and his WWII activities seamlessly. If you’re into biographies, and the Navy, I would recommend this.

    Meanwhile, during my lunch hour break at the office, I’ve been tearing through Nemesis Games, book 5 in the Expanse series by James S A Corey. I’ve been enjoying the characters (formed into a team in the first book) and their activities. In this book, the team is split apart temporarily, each pursuing individual personal goals. However, a map of the personal trajectories, influenced by outside factors would seem to point to them all intersecting again (hopefully before the end of this book.) I do recommend the whole series, if you’re into sci fi / space opera. And, as a bonus, the series they’ve been making of the Expanse has been excellent.

    0
    1. My husband just finished watching the Expanse series this past week. (We binge-watch shows together when we’re doing workouts together, but he runs on the treadmill for an hour 6-7 days a week, so has to have his own series to follow as well). He gave it a great big thumbs up. He thought there was one more season of it and was greatly disappointed when he learned he’d just watched the last one, and Netflix won’t be making any more.

      0
      1. Amazon picked up The Expanse not long after SyFy cancelled it, so there will be another season.

        1+
  24. I am not reading it, of course, but I just found out another favorite author is going to release her latest book next spring, only 2 years after the last one. Megan Whalen Turner is finishing her Queen’s Thief series with Return of the Thief. I have basically been alternately smiling and jumping for joy since the announcement. It took 8 years for the last one to come out so this is wonderful news for her fans!

    3+
    1. Thanks for this info. Part of me is all “Woooooo!”, but part of me is all “Finishing the series–Nooooooooo!”

      0
  25. Thanks for the recommendation, Jenny. I just put a hold on it!

    I binge read “Educated” by Tara Westover this week and WOW, great book. Too many echoes of my own family to be an intellectual only read but worth it.

    Just started Prudence by Gail Carriger (suggested here). It is taking more focus than I often find in fiction and that’s not a bad thing but it’s not a purely light read for me.

    I re-read Grace Draven’s Entreat Me and Master of Crows so I could read the following short stories. I finished the first and will probably read the last this week.

    And this isn’t reading related but I’m watching Sense8. I stopped during season 2 because the fear of where the story was going. I wanted a HEA. After reading the reviews of the finale, I’m pushing through. Hoping to finish this weekend. There’s more sex than I really enjoy watching but I sure enjoy all the different kinds of love and humanity and loyalty. I tear up at least once an episode.

    0
  26. I found a Robert B Parker I hadn’t read (Cold Play), which was a lovely surprise. That has kicked off a reread of his others, which I am enjoying. His prose is such a treat – so spare, and humourous.

    0
  27. Hi, I forget who asked but Michael Gilbert is a British mystery writer in the 40’s I think. His best known is Smalbone deceased. He also wrote a couple of books about two “spies”Mr. Behrens and Mr. ?. Very good reading to look forward to.

    0

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