This is a Good Book Thursday, February 28, 2019

It’s the last day of February, hooray (come on, Spring). I’ve been re-reading Dick Francis because I didn’t want any new stories getting in my head while I’m cutting Nita, and he’s all British racing which is nothing like Nita.

What did you read this week?

118 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 28, 2019

  1. Fanfiction, fanfiction, fanfiction. I’m in comfort reading and writing mode. This also means lots of googling stuff about New Zealand and salsa dancing. (Two different projects, although I’m sure they’d go great together too 😉 ).

    I’m also re-reading parts of “Hold Me” by Courtney Milan and “Earth Bound” by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner. Partially because I enjoy them (two of my favorite romances of the last year or so(, partially because I want to study them for stuff they do well.

    8+
  2. This week I read books! I read the latest Sandman Slim book by Richard Kadrey, Hollywood Dead. It was published last fall but my library system didn’t have it so I had to borrow from the province-wide network. The book ended on a somewhat happy note so I’m wondering if it’s not the last in the series.

    I also read Publish and Perish by Phillipa Bornikova (aka Melinda Snodgrass) which is the last book in her urban fantasy Linnet Ellery series. It was good but it was so long since book 2 that it took me a while to get back into it.

    I also read Faking It for the umpteenth time.

    7+
    1. Phillipa Bornikova sounds familiar. Aha, I have indeed read the first two books in that series, though I had no idea it was a pen name for Melinda Snodgrass. I must have liked book one or I wouldn’t have bought book 2. But as you said, it’s been so long I don’t really remember them anymore.

      3+
      1. She does a pretty good job of salting the first few chapters with hints about the previous two books so that once my memory was triggered I enjoyed it.

        4+
    2. Faking It. Me too. I curled up with WTT for Valentine’s Day, then went on to Faking It. Of course.

      And now it seems to me that it’s Nadine’s time. She’s, what, in her early thirties now? Nudge nudge.

      7+
      1. I’d have to count, but yeah, late twenties, early thirties. Alice is in her early thirties; she was 8 in 1992, but I’d set the next book before Trump because I cannot deal with writing that insanity in the background now.

        17+
        1. I just got to the point of being able to watch reruns of West Wing. I tried right after Trump was elected but all I would do is cry. Now I just get teary.

          6+
          1. I had to stop watching Madame Secretary for a while. Finally caught up and remembered why I love the show so much. Here’s to pretend sanity in the White House.

            1+
  3. I’ve just finished reading Sujata Massey’s The Widows of Malabar Hill, a mystery set in 1921 Bombay. Protagonist Perveen Mistry is the first woman lawyer in Bombay, working in her father’s firm. When she attends to the legal needs of the three widows of a recently deceased client (yes, three), murder soon follows, and she’s in the thick of it.

    It’s an intriguing mystery and a wonderful evocation of a time in India when Britain still held sway. Plus a chilling backstory of Perveen’s earlier marriage.

    10+
  4. I read Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis. Pleasant fantasy where our heroine has already lost her magical powers and has to cope with that while trying to defeat The Big Bad. First person, heroine’s pov. I actually enjoyed it and have just started book two.

    Thanks to any and all who are sending vibes my way, I absorb and send them back squared. :-*

    10+
    1. I am reading the sequel to that right now, albeit kind of slowly because I’m reading it while out in the rain on my phone. Good so far!

      On a related note, I went to Bookshop Santa Cruz this month where they had a “Blind Date With A Book” program going on that was quite charming. I ended up buying two based on the very cute descriptions. One of them (Nightchaser) is going well so far but I’ve decided that the other (Crosstalk) is a DNF. Holy bejeesus it is terrible. I know everyone is supposed to love Connie Willis, and normally I’d be down with a book about telepathy, BUT:

      (a) Heroine doesn’t have much personality, has been dating a guy for maybe a few months and immediately jumps into getting surgery to psychically tie herself to him in hopes that he will marry her, WTF?
      (b) Despite everyone telling her no about that last bit. But if she didn’t do it we’d have no plot.
      (c) Somehow she ends up having random telepathy with a guy at work that is not her boyfriend.
      (d) Her family is INCREDIBLY AWFUL AND ANNOYING AND A BUNCH OF PHONE STALKERS who leave her fifty messages in like a minute.

      This book is not fun. It is exhausting. I do not recommend.

      8+
      1. Oh, I am so relieved someone else didn’t enjoy Crosstalk. I have enjoyed all previous Connie Willis so much and Crosstalk was a miserable combination of boring and inexplicable disorganization and I had to re-read Bellwether several times to cheer myself back up.

        8+
      2. I did not enjoy it very much, either, so much so that I’ve forgotten most of it. Usually she’s one of my favorites.

        5+
      3. I’m a big Connie Willis fan, but only for about half of her books. I could (and have) read To Say Nothing of the Dog many times. As well as Blackout/All Clear. Time to reread Doomsday Book. Okay, I’m a time traveller at heart.

        But the premise of Crosstalk sounded so off-putting I didn’t even bother, and Lincoln’s Dream put me to sleep after a few chapters.

        6+
      4. Oh, how I miss the bookshop in Santa Cruz. I haven’t been back since my mother died. She lived in Santa Cruz – as did I for a year when my children were little. I mean I never met a bookshop I didn’t like, but that one holds some really good memories.

        8+
        1. I have a friend that moved (back) to SC and I have to go there every time I visit. It is fun good times for all.

          2+
      5. Crosstalk was unbearable! I like Connie Willis usually, but Crosstalk was a DNF for me. Well, no, I skipped to the end to find out if the story was going to be about learning to set hard limits with intolerable relatives, because I might have persisted if that was the case. But it was not and I did not. Still like Connie Willis, though, enough that I’ll keep reading her books.

        2+
        1. I think that was Willlis’ point: you can fool some of the people all of the time. The wiggly end of infinite chaos theory. The black hole of dysfunctional family hectic busy-ness which unresistably distracts the fooled from scary real life/the rest of the universe. Etc. Rotten situation.
          Hard to contemplate, as are some of Willis’ folks who get trapped in their time travel planned excursions which morph from moebius strips into kline bottles. The part of chaos theory Willis pursues in ‘Bellwether’ allows scientific observation of chaos triggers without becoming stuck in the algorithm. And, for dessert, it contains a “Q” character acting as Dea ex Machina, ever at one remove from any fixed chaos and order, tho she has a long handled wooden spoon at the ready to stir or scrape. Lotsa fun without the horror.

          0
  5. While I’m only partway through, I am really enjoying N.K. Jemisin’s How Long ’til Black Future Month. It’s a short story collection, so perfectly suited to my current short attention span, and I just love spending time with such a great writer.

    Also, as mentioned in a previous comment, I’m listening to All Systems Red (first Murderbot book), a book I genuinely do not think I would have known existed if it were not for Good Book Thursdays. It is surprisingly sweet, goes along at a nice fast pace, and just the kind of listening material I need right now.

    6+
  6. I picked up, read a few pages and put back down a number of books over the last several weeks. The last one failed me because of all the description – the woman walks into a room in her business and has to spend 300 words describing everything. She knows what it looks like – she picked out the drapes! get on with the action! (I owe this awareness to discussions here!)

    At home, I’m finishing Consuming Fire by Scalzi. It’s really quite good, but as one person said previously, you really do need to read the first book. At the office, I’ve picked up Under Gemini, by Rosemunde Pilcher, which is definitely more readable than the other books I’ve tried this past few weeks.

    4+
  7. I reread several Alexis Halls, my favourite being ‘Waiting for the Flood’, which is a novella. (The others could do with some drastic cutting.) Wanted something cosier, so am now quite enjoying an early Jo Beverley: ‘Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed’.

    7+
    1. I just finished reading my first ever Alexis Hall, For Real, and loved the characters. Being in their heads, hearing their distinctive voices was a wonderful experience. I’m inclined to try Waiting for the Flood next as I’ve heard good things.

      2+
      1. My favourites (which I’m waiting to reread when their sequel comes out) are his ‘billionnaire’ series, beginning ‘How to Bang a Billionnaire’.

        2+
        1. Oh my yes. He is always good, and sincere in his writing, but he really hit on a good mix with the billionaire series. I can’t wait for the last one… It’s killing me.

          1+
  8. Rereading (by way of audiobook, which is a slightly different experience) the Emperor’s Edge series by Lindsay Buroker.

    Also, looking forward to a book by Courtney Milan (lesbian romance), which is the best thing that ever came out of all the recent men-doing-stupid/criminal-things-to-women events of the past couple of years, and learning about the book is the best thing that came out of the recent plagiarism scandal. https://www.amazon.com/Mrs-Martins-Incomparable-Adventure-Worth-ebook/dp/B07P4DPLX7/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=courtney+milan&qid=1551374449&s=digital-text&sr=1-1

    I’ve never read Courtney’s books before (pretty much not reading romance these days), but I mean, seriously, who could resist this, from the cover copy: “Mrs. Bertrice Martin—a widow, some seventy-three years young—has kept her youthful-ish appearance with the most powerful of home remedies: daily doses of spite, regular baths in man-tears, and refusing to give so much as a single damn about her Terrible Nephew.”

    14+
  9. I’ve been doing one of my favourite things -pre-reading books that I’m considering sending for my eldest granddaughter’s birthday – she will be 7.
    So far Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer is a maybe – although I enjoyed it greatly, I think it will be a little old for Auriah.
    But The Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine is a definite yes.It;s told from the cat;s point of view and tells of the increasing amount of trouble he gets into as he brings a series of dead bodies into the house, although all is not what it seems and-all is well at the end. The cat’s voice is superb and I’m now having to exert extreme restraint not to buy all the sequels right now.
    If any body has any suggestions of great books for this age group, particularly those published relatively recently then that would be grand…

    7+
    1. Diary of a Wombat, by Jackie French. I can’t recommend it highly enough. If I had read it when I was seven I would have looked forward to life with great gusto.

      8+
    2. Not new at all, but I remember being given ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ when I was seven (might have been at Christmas, when I’d’ve been seven and a half) and really enjoying it. Took my storyworld up a level.

      7+
      1. Thanks Jane, that is a classic! I actually gave my daughter the Folio edition of all the Narnia books shortly after she was born. But you are right, seven is a good age to start reading them and I must give my daughter a nudge in case she’s hidden them away somewhere…

        5+
    3. If she likes cats, you could try Catwings by Ursula LeGuin. There are actually 4 in the series, Catwings is the first. I looked up the reading level and it said grades 2-4. I loved the series (but I am a cat lover) and really want to add them to my collection. I’m sure I could squeeze them in somewhere!

      7+
      1. Thanks. That’s another great series! I love them, adore the illustrations and bought the whole series for her last year. They’re quite little books… I’m sure you could squeeze them in somewhere!

        3+
    4. I’m not entirely sure, but I think the Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon may be for that age. Depending on her particular maturity. I just checked at AMZ, and it says 8+, so it might have to wait a year, and you can start on a list for then.

      I don’t have kids or read kids lit, so I’m not really expert, so I’m mostly going on my appreciation of Vernon’s books for adults, but I read a few pages of the Hamster Princess and thought they were amazing and empowering for girls.

      4+
      1. Thank you, yes that looks like a lot of fun. I love Ursula Vernon’s T Kingfisher books so I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me to look at these! Perhaps because of Princess in the title – we have had a bit of a princess overdose… So I have ordered the first one and can’t wait to check it out. If it’s a little too old for her just yet it can wait till Christmas or next year. Not a problem.

        4+
      1. I ADORE the Pigeon books, but this one is my favorite. I read it for storytime at the library whenever I sub for my children’s librarian.

        2+
      2. OMG, yes!!!! I can’t believe how much expression he gets in a simple line drawing. I’m also especially fond of The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog.

        3+
    5. I always liked Carbonel by Barbara Sleigh

      Green Smoke by Rosemary Manning

      Miss Happiness & Miss Flower by Rumer Godden

      The Secret of Platform 13 or Dial a Ghost by Eva Ibbotson

      The 4 Storey Mistake by Elizabeth Enright

      The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M.Boston

      Do the check if they’re suitable, I haven’t read them for a while.

      2+
      1. I’ll take a look at Green Smoke, thank you. All the others are family favourites and she already has the Carbonel books – can you tell I’m a cat lover??

        1+
        1. Thank you for those suggestions. I am running out of budget for this time round so I am making a list which will be really useful for next time round.

          1+
  10. I re-read The Curse of Chalion, and now I’m moving right through to Paladin of Souls. I imagine I’m riding around on adventures.
    Last day of February!!

    8+
  11. I’m reading Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff, described as a military SF series. I enjoyed her Blood Books series, and read that no one does aliens better than Huff, but I am having a hard time getting into it. I think that I would normally really enjoy the book but this week I am too stressed to keep all of the species straight and follow the plot. It’s a book case of “It’s not you, it’s me!”

    4+
    1. I loved the Valor’s Choice series. “Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr is sent with a motley platoon of space marines to help induct a new member species into the Confederation”. Tanya Huff really does do aliens well.

      2+
    2. I adore Tanya and have had those books on my shelf for years (albeit in tiny print paperbacks, which doesn’t help). I suspect I’m being stopped from reading them by the same things.

      0
    3. The reader of the Valor series, Marguerite Gavin, uses nuanced voice references to sort out the species varieties under the sergeant’s command. I couldn’t enjoy visually sorting out the textual tones that accomplish that feat. Too much work to be fun. But I relisten to Huff for comfort reads repeatedly.
      I gobbled up Novik’s early Temeraire novels, but upon hearing Simon Vance read them, they gained an additional depth of reality. My family always read books aloud to each other, but my response is shaped not by nurture only. Humans have brain receptors not reached by visual intake experience alone, but lighted up by sounded experience of a text.
      Listened to Kinsale’s “My Sweet Folly” & her PTSD “Sieze the Fire.” Also Mosley’s “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned,” a group of sketches about the use and abuse of violence from the pov of Socrates, qua 20th century excon. Shivery good.
      Buying Susan Cooper w narration for my 6 year old grandson. He likes to see the words lighted up on his iPad as they are spoken. We’re not in Kansas anymore; Toto is now T Rex.

      0
  12. On walking the treadmill I’ve decided to stick with familiar themes and authors and this week borrowed Deadline by Sandra Brown from the library on a preloaded audiobook. I know I must have read it before but it is different when being read to. And not to frustrate myself too much I also checked to see if they had it as an ebook. So I’m simultaneously listening and reading, because let’s face it I only do about 15 minutes more or less on the treadmill a day and that in some instances is not a chapters worth. I think that is the way for me to go so that I’m sticking to one book at a time.

    7+
    1. I could use a fun and light antidote. Hmm, the prequel novella to One and Only is currently free on Amazon and iBooks. I’ll have to try that.

      2+
  13. Murderbot books are still in my wish list. [No change, there.] I finished Good Omens. I bought the seventh Mia Archer book in the Night Terror series – I’m three books behind, there.

    I’m 155 chapters into Dance of a Lifetime by Frank Downey. Just twenty more.

    I re-read Wearing the Cape. Then I gave the audiobook of it another try, and it’s going well.

    The audiobook of Getaway Girl is in my Downpour Library, but I *still* haven’t started listening yet. I’ll get to it This Week For Sure.

    I Read the First of the Kate and Cecilia trilogy and Marelon the Magician through 13 chapters of the second book. The two series are unrelated, but both take place in different alternate Regency Englands where magic exists. I just know I’m going to end up re-reading A Civil Contract, where the only magic is romance.

    7+
  14. I read Katherine Center’s The Lost Husband, which is one of those rare (imo) books that manages to be sweet without drifting into cloying or nauseating. I really enjoyed it – loved the characters and the farm and the humour. Though I’m still a bit puzzled as to why the protagonist kept insisting that her husband was such a good man when he’d used up their joint savings plus his life insurance to cover a bad investment, without telling her – thus leaving her destitute when he died. I kept waiting for the penny to drop – kept waiting for her to be angry with him. Which didn’t happen.

    Then I read Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants, a SF novel about the discovery of enormous artificial body parts in various countries, and the people who work on putting them together and learning about what they can do, and why. It’s written entirely as interviews and personal reports, which doesn’t usually appeal to me, but it was so well done that I loved it.

    4+
    1. And I read some Miles Vorkosigan fanfiction, based around the character of Byerly Vorrutyer. I don’t usually read fanfic, but this was surprisingly satisfying.

      6+
  15. This week I have been trying to read the Detective Joe Sandilands mysteries by Barbara Cleverly. I abandoned all three about half way through. The problem was two-fold: Prequil and almost as soon as she introduced the murderer, she succeeded in telegraphing that this was the villian, and in the case of subplots, the other bad guys too. The writing was good enough to keep me at them but after awhile I became bored and drifted away. I tried a different one of her series and also ended up abandoning it.

    So. I moved on to Shiella Connolley’s Cork County Mysteries. I really liked the first one Buried in A Bog. The second one was not as good and I became tired of it about half way through and abandoned it. I have yet to decide if I will give them a third try. The Irish brogue in the second one was too intrusive; it kept throwing me out of the story.

    An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson was recommended here. Thank you. This was my best book of the week. Other than that I have been reading a lot of Rick Steves in preparation for my summer vacation. He is always a readable travel writer.

    3+
    1. Spelling is not my strong suit. Prequel not prequil. I do not understand autocorrect. It corrected my spelling here for prequil but not in my comment.

      3+
  16. Found a new fantasy author to love : Honor Racontuer. I read herHuman Familiar series first, now on her Artifactorseries, which features a thoroughly grumpy magical prodigy. Sevana is fantastic: cranky, dedicated to her work, has a mountain lion for a pet and a sentient mountain for a home, and loves nothing better than a really meaty magical puzzle to solve.
    Also rereading Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices series, which I zipped through on the first go round. They feel like Doc Savage stories with smart resourceful women who build strong friendships whilst informing the men in their lives to respect them or else. Hit a snag on the fourth book, though – it features my least favorite character, and it’s taking much longer to get to the good stuff than I remember. At the same time, I’m having a hard time just skipping it, self, it’s ok, you won’t hurt the book’s feelings. Argh.

    4+
    1. Oh, and I forgot the original series that got me to read the others: The Shinigami Detective

      1+
  17. I started The 7 1/5 deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – which my daughter recommended. I also started Sunshine that Krissie recommended. I haven’t finished either so I can’t tell you how they turned out yet.

    3+
  18. Read two books: The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison and To Get to You, a YA by Joanne Bischof.

    Thank you to all who wrote many good reports on The Goblin Emperor. Loved it. Will buy the book so I can re-read and flip to the listings of… in the back of the book.

    5+
  19. I’m finding it fascinating that so many of us read more than one book at a time. I didn’t realize it was so common. I started doing it as a teen – or maybe before – and all my friends thought I was nuts.

    This just confirms to me that I have found my tribe.

    8+
    1. I usually have at least two, and more likely three or four, on the go at a time. It means that no matter what mood you’re in, you’re reading a book to suit. Particularly if I’m reading something new, or something challenging, I’m usually re-reading an old favourite as well to balance it out.

      4+
    2. I usually have an e-book, a paperback and a larger/hardback going all at once and I read whichever depending on what situation I’m in–like if I’m making something from yarn and want to read something I can just put down in front of me, vs. reading a book while stuck walking in the rain, etc.

      2+
  20. I started The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, which a friend recommended to me. She warned me that it was about the Holocaust and that it was quite difficult. I read the first ten pages, skipped to the end, read the last 30, wept through those, and gave it back to her. So I think it’s probably excellent, but I can’t read any more than that, especially these days.

    4+
    1. KH’s The Winter Garden is a really powerful book as well. I really took that one to heart, more than I did The Nightingale. Also WWII is a ‘character’ as well, if that makes sense. This book really made an impact on/for me.

      1+
    2. Me too. I still remember two books I read when I was a teenager, one was Mandingo, about slavery in the deep south and the other was about a woman in Africa who fell off a gangplank when she was boarding the ship, she died and a narrator tells her story.

      Movies, too. H took me to see Frankenstein in 3D years ago. I spent half the time out in the hallway. Too much.

      1+
    3. My dad escaped Germany in 39 and then went back in the army and ended up interpreting at the Dachau trials. After he died I did a lot of reading to learn more about his experiences…but pretty much had to stop after November 2016.

      4+
    4. I can usually read much stronger fare than I can watch -got through the first 3-4 books of Game of Thrones, never even tried the show- but the combination of two special needs kids and Trumpian bullshit means I am all genre, all the time right now.

      3+
  21. I’m reading Autobiography of Alice B Toklas by Gertrude Stein which is one of the most insanely self-indulgent books I’ve ever read. Don’t know how I missed it when doing American writers of the 1920s at university and before that adolescent obsession with inter-war Paris, but I did. It’s terrible and compelling and I can’t believe the ego of Stein.

    5+
  22. I’ve mostly been reading Harry Potter (yes, still), but I’ve also been binge-reading cookbooks (again). Another one about eating “belly-smart”, which is roughly about the same things as the Kimchi/Kombucha-book I read last week with some recipes included. I’ve also read about Asian cooking, traditional Swedish cooking and random healthy (depending on who you ask, probably) cooking. I love reading cookbooks.

    I started reading a book by an author I normally enjoy reading (some books more than others), but was completely thrown out of the story when I got the feeling the entire book was erotica only with the sole goal of the male and female dreaming about, thinking about, drooling over the thoughts of the other the entire book until they finally land in bed. Perhaps I might give it a chance another time, but IF(!) this is what it’s all about, I can live without it right now. I want story, not sex scenes only thank you very much.

    I just read Kevin Hearne’s contribution to the “Death & Honey”-anthology by him, Delila S. Dawson (Pen name for this story is Lila Bowen) and Chuck Wendig – “The Buzz Kill” – and absolutely LOVED it. I’m so in love with Oberon! If the shipping costs hadn’t been twice as expensive as the plushie itself, I’d ordered an Oberon plushie for ages so I’d have something cute to cuddle when I’m feeling down (besides, I wanna see how he looks). But, alas. Now I’m concidering rereading the “Iron Druid Chronicles” again because those books are also comfort reads for me.
    I stopped after “The Buzz Kill” because I have never read any of Bowen’s or Wendig’s series, and the novellas in this anthology are connected to them (like Hearne’s). Do you think I could still read them, or should I save them for IF I ever read the series they are related to? I usually prefer to start a series on book 1, but perhaps just to see if it’s something I’d like I should give these a shot?

    5+
  23. I picked up a 1936 reprint of a 1909 cookbook. It has been a fun read. I am debating how realistic it is to cook my way through most of the book, skipping anything with brains, veal or sardines.

    5+
    1. The oldest cookbook I have is the 1921 edition of the 1896 of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer. For some reason I bought a pudding steamer mold at an estate sale and this cookbook has almost 20 recipes for steamed puddings. It was clearly a lot more popular in the past. I had almost no success turning out something edible. But if I can find where I stored the mold, maybe I will try again using the steamer function of my Instant Pot.

      0
  24. This week I thoroughly enjoyed two Regency novels that had unconventional characters, sparkling dialogue, and sizzling chemistry between the hero and heroine: Tessa Dare’s “The Governess Game” and “Lady Derring Takes a Lover” by Julie Anne Long. I highly recommend both. I also re-read some of John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers books. They were nice palate cleansers from the Regencies. I am highly anticipating “Wild Country,” Anne Bishop’s new book in the Others series next week.

    4+
    1. My library does not seem to have Wild Country on order yet, but when I put “wild country” in the keyword search it came back with ‘Did you mean “all-day kindergarten”?’ which made me laugh SO hard.

      2+
  25. I’ve been aggravated by the last several books I started, and it feels like they are missing something – a book set in America in the late 1800’s and all the characters are the new wealthy in Newport RI, a book set in Savannah, GA and all the characters are white… In all of the books that have irritated me, the scenes feel weirdly like movie sets, where even in crowd scenes all the individuals are white and 3/4 of them are male.

    Recommend to me your diverse authors, your secret social justice stories, please, I’m dying for them!

    2+
    1. Sharon Shinn wrote a really nice novel called Heart of Gold, in which a world with multiple races, conveniently distinguished by the hue of their skin (gold and indigo is the breakdown, along with some albino people who are not really dealt with in the novel very much) live uneasily among one another. It has a social justice spin to it in that the protagonist is an unconsciously prejudiced member of his own race, but goes through a series of experiences that open his eyes to his own biased sense of the world, himself, his colleagues, and the system that is built on racial injustice.

      Another interesting feature of the book is that the protagonist’s group is matriarchal, so when he marries the pretty girl who selected him as a future mate, he will move to her clan’s home, take her name, give up his profession, and so on. So it’s a thought-provoking book, and I found it well-written and interesting throughout.

      4+
      1. This is one of my favorites of hers. I haven’t really enjoyed any of her series since the one set in Samaria, but my fondness for this one-off has somehow kept me trying the new stuff.

        0
    2. I haven’t read her contemporary stuff, but Nalini Singh’s paranormal stuff is very ethically diverse. (It could use some LGBQT representation, although she’s starting to get better with that, too.)
      Courtney Milan is always good, too.

      0
    3. Alyssa Cole writes both contemporary and historical romance. She’s great. She has a series about African American spies working for the Union during the civil war.
      For sci-fi, Nnedi Okorafor is awesome.
      For fantasy, N K Jamison
      Beverly Jenkins is the mother of diverse romance, and a fantastic writer. Take a look at Indigo.

      0
      1. The Sorceror and the Crown by Zen Cho is fantastic reading. It’s also a book that is often referred to for the way it addresses microaggression. I believe there’s a sequel coming out soonish, and I’m really looking forward to that.

        2+
    4. KJ Charles. The gentlemen series is about sedition, and many of her other books have somewhat diverse casts. Also, they’re fun, the writing is excellent, the characters well drawn and interesting. m/m romance.

      1+
    5. Gabaldon’s Outlander (book, NOT TV) series segment where Clair and her Jamie walk up the Atlantic coast road, an anecdotal history of the real 1700s colonies. Of course they snicker-snack some social injustices when they can, but it’s Clair’s 20C sensibility and Jamie’s sense of Lairdly honor that contextualize Gabaldon’s superbly rendered research.

      0
  26. Last week I read Avery Flynn’s new Hartigan novel, Tomboy, and enjoyed it as much as the previous two. This week I’m reading Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth – which I have just discovered has been leaked all over by my lunch. Fuckstockings.

    As a side note, I want to thank Jane for suggesting the Reasons To Be Cheerful podcast a while ago. It’s a lot of fun, and very aptly named.

    4+
    1. I wish I wasn’t such a lousy podcast-listener, for the title sounds good and interesting. But so far I haven’t managed to listen to any podcast for more than one EP because.. … .. I rather read books, I guess.

      Everyone I know listens to podcasts but I just… don’t. What’s the trick? What am I missing? Tell me all the secrets, I really wanna know!

      3+
      1. I listen on my way to and from work on the bus, while I’m knitting, and sometimes while I’m cooking. It’s also a good way to block out the sounds of my flatmates if I’m feeling particularly antisocial. I’m subscribed to far too many of them, and you’re right about it cutting into my reading time!

        1+
  27. I’m currently ripping through Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong. It arrived for me two days ago, and I made myself wait until today (Friday) to start it, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put it down once I started. And I was right.

    3+
    1. I just read it myself and thought it good. Although there are dead bodies as usual, it felt less grim than the earlier ones, maybe because the 2 lead characters seem to be happy together and are developing more agency and control over their destinies.

      2+
  28. Just got the new Michelle Sagara book, the second new book from her this month. Yay! The first was in the Kaylin Neya series and was quite good. The second, which I’ll be reading this weekend, is in the House War series with Jewel a’Terafin. Love Sagara’s writing so looking forward to it. Will post about it after reading if anyone is interested…

    1+
  29. I’ve been dealing with the Plane Plague which Will Not Die, so doing more reading than usual. Thankfully, it happened to coincide with the release of new books by a few favorite authors.

    For those who like humor in their SF, if you haven’t checked out Jim C. Hine’s new series, Janitors of the Apocalypse, you’re really missing out. I just finished the second book, Terminal Uprising, and it was absolutely stellar. (The first, Terminal Alliance, should probably be read before this one.)

    Then in a complete change of pace, I started reading the newest Katie Fforde, A Rose Petal Summer. I love that she always has female protagonists who are not young and not thin! And in this one, the male protagonist dreams of making perfume, which is very cool.

    Nothing to do with the book, but I went to Amazon to look up the title (I actually got it from The Book Depository, which will ship internationally for free) and discovered it had only one review–a one star one. I read it to see what the heck someone disliked so much about a book I loved, and saw this, which about made my phlemy head explode:

    “I have not read this book as I find the digital price $24.31 exhorbitant. Pity as I usually buy her books as they come out but can no longer justify this.” WTF is wrong with people?

    1+
    1. For some inexplicable reason some people have a major sense of entitlement. And are vicious with it. If the world doesn’t do what they want, the world should be punished. This may partially explain Trump.

      1+
      1. There are a lot of people who don’t understand that authors have NO say in pricing. And a lot of people who don’t understand how pricing works. Like the people who bitch about the price of e-books because there’s no paper and ink involved so they should be cheap. Sure. And how will publishers pay the editors and the marketing and pr departments and the rent on the building and the electric bill . . . Don’t get me started on people who put up books for free on the net because they want to share. May they all get viruses, preferably the ones that cause vertigo.

        6+
  30. I’m re-reading Thomas Mallon’s “Watergate” which is a novel about, well, Watergate and the Nixon presidency. What’s interesting about this read is that I have a much, much better sense of who’s who and of what happened, so I’m not quite as at sea about, say, Jeb Magruder.

    This was after a terrible bout of the reading itchies, when I started this, that and the other thing and really wasn’t engaged enough to keep going.

    In the car, I’m listening to Jean Edward Smith’s FDR and enjoying it to pieces. That’s another story I’m more or less familiar with, having read and listened to the three volumes of Blanche Wiesen Cook’s biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, and James Tobin’s “The Man He Became,” which is about FDR and how he was changed by polio. Smith thinks some of the changes popularly attributed to FDR’s experiencing polio were already happening, and it’s also interesting to read his take on Eleanor, which is rather different than Cook’s.

    0

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