This Is A Good Book Thursday, July 18, 2018

I’m still in Golden Age Mystery mode, more so since Amazon Prime put some of Christiana Brand’s books on sale for $1.99 for Prime Day.   I started with the third Inspector Cockerill novel, one I hadn’t read and was amazed all over again by her characterization.  Then I went back and got the first one and then the second, which is Green for Danger, one of the best mysteries I’ve ever read, about a military hospital during the Blitz.   One of the reasons it’s so superb is that Brand wrote it during the Blitz, next to the military hospital where her husband worked, typing in her hard hat. It’s considered by mystery experts to be a classic, but everything she wrote is marvelous.  I’ve got four more to go, and Amazon put some Catherine Aird on sale, too, so I’m good for the rest of the week.

What did you find to read this week?

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102 thoughts on “This Is A Good Book Thursday, July 18, 2018

  1. I am reading a really excellent book I got for my kids from the library, ‘Big Questions from Little People Answered by some Very Big People”.

    It has questions like:
    Are there any undiscovered animals? Answered by Sir David Attenborough
    Why can’t we live forever? Answered by Richard Holloway?
    Why are the grown ups in charge? by Miranda Hart
    Who wrote the first book ever? by prof Martyn Lyons
    Are there really monsters living in our mouths called blackteria?
    Did Alexander the Great like frogs?
    Why do I get bored?
    How does fire get on fire?
    and my personal favourite:
    If a cow didn’t fart for a whole year and then did one big fart, would it fly into space? by Mary Roach

    The book is so great, we all love it. I thoroughly recommend it. Each answer is about a page and half, and it’s 275 pages long.

    11+
    1. I can imagine that last question is your favourite for it made me laugh out loud when I read it. Definitely gonna add this one to my want-to-read-list. Thank you!

      0
  2. I finally read The Goblin Emperor, and I’m so very glad I did. I loved it, and I loved the main character and want to spend more time with him.

    Also read Uprooted and loved it.

    Now re-reading Sharon Shinn’s Elementals series, because I do that on a regular basis.

    13+
  3. I finished “Agnes and the Hitman” on Monday, which means I got little to nothing done at the ol’ day job that day. That leaves only “Wild Ride” and the two “three-ways” (if you’ll pardon the expression. Doggone it! Now I want Cincinnati-style chili!) Took a side trip into Jenny’s non-fiction and downloaded “Flirting with Pride and Prejudice,” which I’ve just started. It seems only fitting – it was my recent re-read of “P&P” that set me to looking for contemporary writers with a similar “good bad attitude” and triggered this Crusie Binge.

    As I find myself nearing the end of Jenny’s published-to-date fiction, I’m dreading the inevitable “withdrawal.” So I put the question to you – Jenny and all you Cherries: where do I go from here? At the moment, my taste is leaning toward contemporary rather than historical/”period” romance, and while I’m not entirely averse to paranormal elements, I’ve no particular interest in them beyond the “good ol’ fashioned ghost story” along the lines of “Maybe This Time.” Gotta have the humor without being overly cynical or snarky, and I want characters who seem real and relatable to this middle-aged, middle-class, Midwestern USA chick. What say you?

    8+
    1. Jenny’s a bit of a one-off. Sticking to US authors and adult contemporary romcom, my best suggestions would be some of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (‘Breathing Room’ or ‘Aint She Sweet?’, for example) and the c.1990s Jayne Ann Krentz (‘Deep Waters’ or ‘Grand Passion’).

      3+
      1. Jill Shalvis is enjoyable fluff romcom, although her sense of geography is occasionally irritating when you’ve lived in the area described. Also Susan Elizabeth Phillips, but she isn’t nearly as prolific as Shalvis.

        1+
    2. I have been tearing through the Forbidden Hearts series by Alisha Rai (silly name, great series). Contemporary realism with 3D flawed characters, graphic sex, tattooed woke dudes, amusing and dramatic. Not as funny as a Crusie but I’ve had some lol moments for sure. Highly recommend the first two–not living #3 as much yet but I’m only about halfway through and I’ve read them all over the past, like… Four days? So clearly I’m enjoying them. 😅

      4+
      1. I also didn’t like #3 as much as the others, but it was still a nice break. The first two (Hate to Want You and Wrong to Need You) were much more effective escapism.

        1+
        1. Yes!! Just finished #3 and while I enjoyed it, it felt a lot more rote than the first two. Not sure if that’s because it seemed like every lose end was tied into a too-perfect bow, or because I was skimming a bit due to the type of exposition one would need if one weren’t, say… Reading all three books in four days, hahaha. Still fun, but I wish is taken a break in between.

          But I’m definitely going to go see what other books of Rai’s my library’s got…

          0
      1. Just put a hold on the local library’s website for the e-book of “Just One Damned Thing After Another.” I’m a huge fan of the rebooted “Doctor Who” (though the “classic” low-budget era episodes tend to put me to sleep,) so the time travel premise intrigues me. Maybe this series will help me hang on until the new season (“series,” in Beeb parlance) of DW – with the brand new and first female Doctor – FINALLY debuts on BBC America this autumn. (Wikipedia says October, so I hope the US gets it around the same time as the UK.)

        1+
        1. I gave up on Who during the Capaldi years–loved him, did not like the writing–but a woman Doctor I’ll come back for.

          4+
          1. We were likewise meh on the Capaldi seasons, but I was pleased that they brought the River Song story arc full circle a couple of Christmases ago. That has been my favorite plot line of the modern-era seasons. I hope they come up with a plausible excuse (heck, I’d settle for a cheap, tawdry excuse) to bring River back with the new Doctor. That could be fun!

            4+
    3. I like Sarah Addison Allen. Contemporary women’s fiction from the South with light elements of magical happenings. I particularly love Lost Lake, but all are good.

      2+
    4. Since you didn’t mention whether or not you’ve experienced two big favorite authors of this group, you might (if you haven’t) try Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series (you can’t go wrong starting with “Guards, Guards!” or “Wyrd Sisters”). Because although it’s scifi/fantasy, it’s really funny, and the characters are realer than most of the people you will run into in corporeal form. Or, since you started by re-reading P&P, another fine bet would be just about anything by Georgette Heyer. Big favorite here is “The Grand Sophy” but you can start pretty much anywhere, since her books are essentially non-serial.

      Or if you want to become obsessed with the realistic yet inexplicably Sci Fi multi-planetary world that’s almost us, you could try Lois Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga, but it’s an addiction. Don’t say you weren’t warned. 🙂

      5+
        1. My library offered a reprint book that combines books 1 and 2 in the series called “Cordelia’s Honor”, and I read that one pretty much first. I think it does help to meet the progenitors in those two books early on, because you get to build a sense of the world the saga is set in. However, I read most of the series wildly out of order, which made it fun to fill in the confusing blanks. And I got so hooked that I went back and enjoyed them the second time in order, which was also fun.

          I really didn’t expect to like these books, in that they start out as sort of hardcore sciencey, military-heavy SciFi, but there was a really interesting mind animating the characters and the plots and conflicts, and it just got more and more interesting the longer I read them. Good luck — I hope you like them as much as I did!

          4+
      1. We have “The Colour of Magic” and several of the other Discworld titles. I can’t remember now if I finished reading “TCOM” because we’ve also seen the TV adaptation. I DID absolutely adore “Good Omens” and consider it a modern classic – even the footnotes were funny. (For a while, I think I bookmarked the one explaining the old British monetary system, since it was such a nice handy reference.)

        Thanks for that and your other suggestions! Yesterday I finally (I hope) fixed the glitch that was preventing me from transferring library e-books onto my Nook, so I can sample some of the authors you and other Cherries have mentioned.

        1+
    5. I just reread Agnes, too. What’s it say about me that my comfort read is about a hit man and a cranky cook? Those six M&Ms get me every time.

      8+
  4. Rereading Dorothy L. Sayers Clouds of Witnesses. Most of her books I’ve read often enough to have memorized, but for some reason I haven’t gone back to this one in a long time which makes it feel almost like a new read.

    Last week I reread Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax Unveiled. I’m obviously in deep comfort read mode.

    4+
  5. I read The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert. The branding category spells it out so it’ll reach its market, but don’t let that stop you.

    It’s a well-written book with delightfully messy characters that do the right things for the wrong reasons. This author might go on my very teeny “must-buy” list!

    2+
  6. Well, those sound amazing. I’ve been re-reading Faking It and Bet Me because I don’t wanna reality. And every time I poke my head out to look at reality my choices are validated.

    10+
    1. Oh, god, reality. For two years, I’ve been a news junkie. I have one heart failure and I can’t bear to look at WaPo for two weeks. Except for the crosswords, of course.

      17+
      1. Stick to the crosswords and keep avoiding the news. Besides, people need to imagine a better reality before they can make one, so we all need more good fiction.

        8+
      2. Although I’ve been enjoying sniggering at the Queen’s use of jewellery as subversive commentary. Yas Queen!

        14+
        1. I think I’m great. My daughter is afraid I’m dying. The truth is probably somewhere in between.

          My prognosis is not great, but I feel strongly that average outcomes do not apply to me. Also, my asthma is completely under control for the first time in years, I’m sleeping like a baby, I’m not retaining water or doing any of the other things that scream “heart failure,” and I can track Milton like the old days when he goes walkabout. My blood pressure is low, but I’m not dizzy, so that’s probably good.

          Also, I’m happy. I have a phenomenal kid and a best friend who’s closer than any sister, and thanks to the kid, I have a great son-in-law and three fascinating grandchildren. I’m surrounded by neighbbors who look out for me and cheer me on. I have three nutso rescue dogs who make me laugh every day. I have a career a lot of people would maim for (which is important in publishing), and the people I work with there are friends and sisters, too. I live in a cottage that’s falling down around my ears in some of the most beautiful landscape in America. I wake up every morning happy. I won’t live to be 92 like my mother, but since she spends her days in a retirement home filling in coloring books, I’m okay with that.

          Basically, I’m the luckiest woman I know and I never forget that. So thank you for asking, I’m great.

          27+
          1. I hope you also read Alexandra Petri in the Wash Post. Her best stuff is fabulous and funny. Her less than best stuff is still good.

            But not everyone likes her Voice, which isn’t Onion-ish or Borowitz-ish even tho she does the same-ish things they do (I don’t know if it’s called satire or spoof or something else entirely.)

            Her piece on the Senate a few days ago was brilliant. (I’m on jury duty and it’s about 800 degrees outside – and inside with no AC so not at my best with dates and times at the moment. But not complaining! Love jury duty and I have an excuse when home sweltering to sprawl about with a book and a tall cool glass of something wet and delicious.)

            0
          2. I loved the satire she did on Trump that the White House pushed as a positive article on him, completely missing the satire:
            “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why.”
            https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/compost/wp/2017/03/16/trumps-budget-makes-perfect-sense-and-will-fix-america-and-i-will-tell-you-why/?utm_term=.dbe5a6029f21

            The article begins:
            “Some people are complaining that the budget proffered by the Trump administration, despite its wonderful macho-sounding name, is too vague and makes all sorts of cuts to needed programs in favor of increasing military spending by leaps and bounds. These people are wimps. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has called it a “hard power budget” which is, I think, the name of an exercise program where you eat only what you can catch, pump up your guns and then punch the impoverished in the face. This, conveniently, is also what the budget does.”

            Clearly, nobody in the WH had read the thing before they pushed it as a positive coverage and Real News.

            0
  7. I finished a book that started out solid, but it slowly went downhill, and it ended up being barely 2 stars. It was such a waste of setting. It was so redundant and just didn’t progress. None of the characters were likeable, and the protagonist was the worst, weak and whiny.

    I’m now reading a great YA by Kelley Armstrong, Aftermath. It’s about the aftermath of a school shooting. The main protagonists are the sister of one of the shooters and the brother of one of the victims of the shooting. I’m about 30% into it, and so far the author is doing a great job of portraying the impact of the event.

    3+
  8. I finished Thief of Time and couldn’t help wondering why I can’t enjoy chocolate like that… Obviously not the “dying” part, but, you know, the enjoying part. I like chocolate, at times I even love chocolate, but just a few pieces makes me feel nausiated and I end up wishing I hadn’t eaten it in the first place. Which is a pity, for chocolate is GOOD and I have some Belgian chocolate in one of my drawers…

    Anyway, I reread The Last Hero after that. Not the best Rincewind story but I still give it 4 stars and have it on my Comfort Reading and Favourites-shelves on Goodreads.

    Currently Reading Kill the Farm Boy by Delila S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne. It could possibly be that I had too high expectations on this one, but I can’t really enjoy it as much as I had hoped. It’s slapstick humour and it’s labelled hilarious by several reviewers, but (much to my disapointment) I can’t seem to get into the mood for it. I’ve read approximately a third of it and I keep reading in the hopes of me changing my mind or the book looking different around the next corner… I’ve loved Hearne’s other books (The Iron Druid Chronicles and Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries in particular) and love Luke Daniels’ narration, but this one is either too different or it’s the wrong book for right now. I don’t know. 🙁

    2+
    1. I looked at that, too, but all the Amazon reviews said the same thing that you just did.
      I think Pratchett kind of spoils you for dumb humor, not farce which is great, but lowest-common-denominator humor. Although that’s Airplane! which is one of my all time fave movies. I will never not laugh at Airplane! even though I’ve seen it a zillion times. And Wodehouse which is also smart farce.

      Humor is hard.

      7+
      1. Good point. Maybe if I hadn’t read 25 Pratchett books just before this one, I would have appreciated it more. Now it falls as flatly on its face as one of the ladies did in this book by stumbling over a chicken. Feels like they’re trying a little too hard. But we’re not giving up yet – I still have 62 % of the book left…

        …and then I’m probably going back to Pratchett.

        1+
        1. My husband is a huge Kevin Hearne fan – even named our whippet Oberon – but he has quit on Kill the Farm Boy. He says it is just too juvenile. Very disappointed.

          1+
          1. Good to hear it’s not just me. I was a bit worried I’d lost a part of myself somewhere. Like, the part that appreciates humour.
            I will grind my way through this one because I’m stubborn, but then I’ll sit back and keep high hopes for the 3rd Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries and read Pratchett while I’m waiting.

            2+
          2. I too am greatly relieved to find I’m not alone. I was very much looking forward to it and had to stop after the first third of the book.

            I was scratching my head and wondering to myself why people thought it was funny instead of really really lame. I love Kevin Hearnes other stuff, particularly the Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries.

            I’m greatly relieved to find out that other people who appreciate Pratchett, Wodehouse and Crusie feel the same.

            0
    2. I looked at that one, but was instantly disappointed that it wasn’t a story about Wesley’s adventures in becoming the Dread Pirate Roberts. That’s where my mind went when I saw ‘farm boy’. sigh.

      4+
  9. Have never read Christiana Brand but hustled right over to AMZ to put “Green for Danger” on my wishlist.

    I am reading “Escape Velocity” by Susan Wolfe. It is about the child of a con artist, who is using her own con talents to fix a dysfunctional software firm in Silicon Valley. Have been a fan of SW’s since her first book, “The Last Billable Hour,” and waited OH SO VERY IMPATIENTLY for her to publish something else. 🙂

    4+
    1. I just finished Escape Velocity and loved it – a little dark in places but over all liked it so much that I immediately bought the Last Billable Hour. Enjoyed it too and was actually glad that the story line was nothing like the first one but really good!

      0
    2. I bought that based on the reviews and was a little disappointed. I think the reviews built up my expectations too high.

      0
  10. I have three books from the library to read. The first is By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank, second The Perfect Couple by Elin Hilderbrand and last An Unsuitable Match by Joanna Trollope. I’m more intrigued by An Unsuitable Match because I’ve seen bits and pieces of children trying to uncouple their dating parents over the years.

    Other than that the only thing I’ve read today is the online comments section of the Washington Post and New York Times. I knew my eyes and ears weren’t the only ones that could not unsee or unhear Mondays fiasco or last weeks for that matter. I wonder why no one has brought up that Putin can speak English.

    4+
  11. Read two great reads this week: Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning (bloody but ends optimistic – a bit like Patricia Briggs’ Mercy books) and Dawn Dumont’s Rose’s Run (sedate until the revenant shows up!). Both are First Nations’ told stories by First Nations writers. Both have humour (Rose has more) and characters you care about. Both very well written and very enjoyable with interesting women leads. (Sounds like damning with faint praise but I don’t know what else to say, having tossed several books this week that I started, went “meh” and returned them to the library. These, however, were wonderful.)

    4+
  12. I’m reading the long-awaited new Barbara O’Neal book, The Art of Inheriting Secrets, and I am absolutely loving it. I think it is going to end up being far and away my favorite book of the year.

    At night I’m reading Kristan Higgins Now That You Mention It. I’ve been enjoying that one too, but I just hit a horrible scene (which the female protagonist had been referring to as “the big bad” throughout the book) and it is seriously trigger-y. I wish there had been some kind of warning (hard to do without spoilers, I suppose) so I hadn’t ended up going into the scene late at night right before trying to fall asleep. I’ll read quickly through the rest of it in the daylight so I can get to the rest of the book, but if I’d know, I probably would have skipped it. (Mind you, it wouldn’t be so upsetting if it weren’t so well written.)

    3+
    1. I finally read through the rest of the scene, and it actually left me shaking. (It’s an extremely graphic attempted rape, complete with beating, and not at all what one would expect from a Kristan Higgins book.) I find myself being really angry with both the author (who I like a lot, both as a reader and personally) and the publisher for not making it clear that this was not a typical Kristan Higgins book. Normally she is light and humorous and this book is generally darker, and this scene…so well written…but SO triggering.

      I think I will finish the book, but I may never trust the author again. So sad.

      5+
        1. I suspect I will leave a review with five stars but a warning (telling people at the start that there are spoilers, so as not to ruin it for folks who don’t want to know).

          When I went to check reviews, there was one that said something about it. If I’d read that first, I would have skipped this book.

          (On the other hand, as I said, I love this author, and I hate to lose her sales. It’s a quandary.)

          2+
          1. Why five stars? It’s obviously not that for you – and I think potential readers will miss your warning if it’s camouflaged by a top rating.

            1+
    2. I read Brand’s Green for Danger many years ago. I loved it, but I will never read it again. I finished it just at bedtime. I could not sleep until the sun came up, having to find other things to read to keep me awake, and ever since I have approached her books with extreme caution.

      0
  13. Having gone off men, I seem to have gone off romance. I was reading Wodehouse having been reminded of how much I love Jeeves (Thanks, Jenny!) I was having a good time listening to other Wodehouse’s I hadn’t read yet.

    Now I’m onto an English Mystery in which the protagonists are a couple of middle-aged (or maybe a bit older), female friends. One and American, one a Brit. It’s amusing enough, and I’m interested to see how the mystery is solved. So that’s good.

    I was surprised this last week to find I was a little bit lonely. (My youngest was visiting my oldest in California.) The loneliness surprised me, I don’t get lonely, and the story of two friends solving mystery made me wonder if I should rent out one of my kids rooms. It would have to be to someone exceptionally laid back – four dogs, dirt roads, side of a mountain. Those things might seem daunting to the more high-strung.

    7+
    1. I sometimes think about getting a housemate. Partially for the company and partially for help around the house.

      Then the cat sitter visits for a couple of days and I remember that I don’t like having people in my space 🙂

      It would take someone really special who didn’t mind 3 deranged mostly-grown kittens, one skittish adult cat, and would be willing to hide out in his or her own space most nights so I could write. Sure. That’s going to happen.

      4+
      1. Yes, I’m like that too. I have two nieces who I adore, and they’re the only ones I can tolerate as overnight guests. And even they know not to stay for longer than two nights.

        0
      2. I feel like that too whenever we’ve had people visiting. For a couple of days it’s fine, and then I just want to strangle someone… (Luckily for Fiancé, I don’t feel that way about him.)

        But I also felt like that when we received home help for the cleaning a couple of years ago. She was here twice a week to help us keep things tidy and clean, and I got so stressed out by this that I was secretly relieved when we had to stop it due to them increasing the monthly fee for such help. It was supposed to help me feel more relaxed, knowing our home was clean and neat, but alas… If it’d been my mum or someone else I know helping out, I guess I would have felt better about it, but a stranger shuffling around here cleaning up felt like space invader 2.0. She’s been here to cook for us a couple of times after we stepped out of home help service (she makes DELICIOUS Indonesian food!), and she is really very nice, I just can’t get comfortable with ANYBODY here twice a week playing space invader in my home.

        2+
        1. When I worked I had a cleaning lady who came in every two weeks. This was good because it meant that every two weeks, everything had to be put away so the cleaning lady did not have to shuffle through my stuff. After about 4 months of this, for the first time in my life I was in the habit (mostly) of putting things away after I used them so I would not have to do a panic clean at the last minute the day before the cleaning lady came. It made a big improvement in my life.

          I loved coming home from work to a clean house. But. There was the occasional minor damage, nothing worse than things I might have done myself while cleaning (tip of a knife broken off, a soap dish broken – nothing too horrific, except it’s 30 years later and I am still ticked about the knife tip. That was a $40 dollar knife. Do not use it to pry something open. That’s when I stopped using that cleaning lady). And I hated having to supervise and give directions, which is irrational. And I did not like knowing someone else had been in my private spaces.

          1+
          1. I lost a $300 porcelain dragon to a cleaning crew. Grrrr. It’s been twenty years, I’m still annoyed.

            2+
          2. The company we were connected to (no, we weren’t allowed to choose, the local authority did that) did not allow for the cleaning ladies to clean somewhere where the inmates weren’t at home. That was one of the problems I had with it. I had to be at home those specific days twice a week and had the feeling that I HAD TO socialize with someone I didn’t feel like socializing with 2,5 hours twice a week, especially not after having had PTSD-therapy before the mandatory socializing. Usually I just wanted to pull pillows and blankets over my head and go to sleep to rest after the therapy. Or go out with MIL and do something distracting to get my head off of post-therapy thoughts and emotions. But that wasn’t possible because I had to babysit the Ms Cleany.

            One day when I am rich and famous (which will never happen), I will hire someone that will clean up when I am not at home! Someone that doesn’t need me to talk about the dreadful weather for 5 hours/week.

            1+
        2. The problem I always had with cleaning services is that I’d get so exhausted cleaning the night before they came.

          6+
          1. This made me laugh so much Fiancé wondered what funny book I was reading now (since I had complained about Farmboy earlier). Thank you!

            0
  14. I re-read “Little Women Letters”, because I need shelf space, and I wasn’t crazy about it the first time, but I actually liked it better the second time. Certainly a clever idea, and the author totally nailed Jo’s/Louisa May Alcott’s “voice” when she created the letter supposedly written by Jo, which I found particularly entertaining.

    0
  15. I always have to be careful entering this space because at present, I don’t have much time to read. But still, many thanks to whoever set me on to the trail of Rhoda Janzen. I first read “Mennonite in a little black dress” and loved it because it made me laugh so much, her style of writing is just great. Then I continued with “Mennonite meets Mr. Right” which I loved for different reasons – it really made me think about things. (And it was funny, too.)

    Just yesterday I finished “The Devil You Know” by Sophia Holloway as part of my historical reading spree, and while it does have its flaws, I enjoyed it because it’s definitely one of the better Regency novels I’ve read so far.

    1+
  16. It was a good book week. I devoured Barbara O’Neal’s new book, like Deb. It was wonderful and I already want to read it again. My only beef with her books is I end up snacking the whole way through them as her food descriptions makes me hungry!

    I also read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik which was also very good. Not sure I love it quite as much as Uprooted but I need to read it again. It’s a more complicated structure (quite a few POV characters) etc. Still brilliant. Now I’m trying to figure out what comes next. I’d been waiting for both those books for ages, so now I have book anticipation hangover.

    5+
    1. I am the ninth person with a hold on Spinning Silver at the library.
      I liked Uprooted a great deal more the second time I read it. Perhaps that will hold true for Spinning Silver also.

      2+
      1. SPINNING SILVER was beautifully written, and I loved it, but it was not a comfort read. I kept getting stressed out about the nightmares of the various narrator’s daily lives.

        0
  17. I finished the Kiss Quotient and really enjoyed it. Both characters are well rounded and interesting. And the heroine is Autistic, which was a great window into someone else’s world.

    4+
  18. I’ve been reading a couple of Patricia Briggs’ older fantasies–Raven’s Shadow and Raven’s Strike. I like her Mercy Thompson books, but I have a particular fondness for her earlier ones. My favourite is probably The Hob’s Bargain.

    5+
  19. After glimpsing a magical old carousel, I reread Wild Ride and, this time, really listened to Mab as she described all the rides and sculptures to Joe. All the description in the tale flowered for me on this reading, and I loved it.

    1+
    1. A friend of mine and I passed an old carousel last weekend. She described it to me and also told me about the pre-WW2-pictures (possibly even pre-WW1, not sure) of the same carousel being displayed beside it. The Wild Ride vibes! Now afterwards I wish we’d got closer so I could’ve seen it with my hands. Alas! Perhaps another time.

      3+
      1. Shass, if you the carousel is in the US, you can probably find it on carousels.org . Good luck!

        0
  20. I read a three book series set in the Appalacians, turn of 1900, characters are like/love but I found the pacing a little off. When the writing takes me out of the scene and I have to re-read to clarify, it is unsettling, like milk, ” a little off” and yet I read the series because I wanted to know what happened to the protagonist. Reading a new book by the same author hoping the writing improves, again just came across the same thing. The pacing is a little off. All of a sudden one of the protagonists made a hard right and back to the pacing again. So much potential for a great story but now it feels like it was high-jacked. Ah well, will persevere through hoping it will get better. I had high hopes without being super critical. I want writers to succeed and tell me a good story.

    May have to cleanse the palate with some Crusie.

    2+
    1. Love Barbara O’Neal, must go buy her new book. O’Neal and Crusie, both good at the food descriptions.

      1+
      1. I might have to seriously take a look at O’neal – I have, thanks to Good Book Thursday, put several of her books on my TBR-list, but haven’t got so far as to read one yet. Food descriptions though… my secret passion! (Probably it’s Jenny’s fault for writing such excellent ones.) Much like reading recipes until late in the night and wishing I could cook all of it…whilst not being a passionate eater.

        …Nutcase? Me? … … … 😉

        2+
      2. Well, we’ve eaten a lot together (g). The last time she came to stay, she brought me peach preserves made from peaches from a tree in her garden.
        You know she also writes as Barbara Samuel, Ruth Wind, and Lark O’Neal.

        3+
  21. So I’m reading a 2913 paperback contemporary romance, not expecting much because of previous acquaintance with the author’s work. This book, though, kept me reading. I was held by the world created, the characters, their interactions. Fifty pages from the end I took the night off because Theatah. Came back from The Tempest – an easy 50 pages before bedtime – read from where I left off and found a totally different book. By this time, two lead couples are paired off, the inciting incident still ripe for solving. But the couples! Women are okay, but the macho men are all “honey” and “darling,” and the dynamic softened and ceased working. With a thud. Allowing me to notice, past story, the bad writing.
    How could a book’s quality transform so thoroughly in mere hours?

    2+
    1. The effect of Bill the Bard. It’s like folks are saying about being spoiled for contemp romances after reading a Crusie or spoiled for comedy after reading a Pratchett. 😉

      3+
    2. It probably didn’t; that is, the guys were probably like that all the way through, there was just enough to distract you.
      The key is that the ending doesn’t work. A mediocre book with a great ending will be remembered as a slow but great book. A great book with a mediocre ending will be remembered as a flop. It’s like sex: If the climax isn’t satisfying . . .

      6+
  22. I actually haven’t read much new stuff lately, at least nothing I feel compelled to recommend. Spent the past few days re-reading Krentz’s Eclipse Bay, which is still fun. It’s been very relaxing, which I needed since I’ve been reading lots of news. She’s a good comfort read choice. Can’t decide whether to keep reading the Krentz trilogy over again or pull something from the TBR stacks. Carl Hiaasen’s Skin Tight has been in the pile for a long time; this may be the time for it. It’s one of his I haven’t read yet, and Hiaasen is always summer-appropriate.

    1+
  23. Finished a verse novel called The Long Take, about a WW2 veteran struggling with his post-war life in NY, LA and SF, very noir, very evocative, written by a Scottish poet I hadn’t previously heard of called Robin Robertson. Some of it is just beautiful, but some of it doesn’t work for me, especially depictions of women and the outcome. But well worth reading.

    1+
  24. I’ve been having write troubles and so I’ve been a podcast person lately. I hate audio books so much. Not ask all like reading for me.

    But the last few books I’ve read from favorite authors were all mildly disappointing. I think there is such huge pressure for authors to put out a new book every nine months or a year, and that is way too fast to produce great stories. Things need to percolate longer. At least, that’s how it seems to me.

    2+
    1. But not too long. Says the author who hasn’t had a book out in eight freaking years.
      There is a lot of pressure (not on me, obviously) from some editors to keep producing. But there’s also, I think, just a drift in any author as he or she ages and changes. You don’t change, you don’t grow, and your stuff begins to all sound the same. Change too much and readers say, “I’m outta here.” It’s a conundrum.

      2+
    1. I love that cat. Eventually all those kittens have to find homes, but I think Evil Cat is there to stay? Ceiling Cat and Basement Cat and the stoic dachshund.

      3+
  25. Been re-reading Ilona Andrew’s Kare Daniel series in preparation for the last one next month, but really, I started too soon and now I’m ripping through them and can’t stop.
    I started by alternating rereading Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Magis series, but then her style was too stately and I couldn’t hang.

    2+
  26. I’ve been reading Lucy Parker this week and very much enjoying them. To whoever recommended them here, I kiss your toesies… thank you.

    1+
  27. I’ve been a fan of Christianna Brand (Nurse Matilda as well as the crimes )
    for many years and was delighted to hear she was now available on Kindle. Rushed to Amazon to buy some… and she’s not. Not in the UK. No fair. Sulks.

    1+
      1. I know! It’s crazy. You can get them in German and Italian. I’ll have to dig out my old paperbacks but I’m not good at reading real books any more. I find myself stroking the pages and wondering why they haven’t turned over. Sigh.

        1+
  28. I didn’t realise that Green for Danger was a book! I watched the movie years ago (it’s a classic B&W Pinewood Studios movie). So good!

    0

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