71 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday–OMG It’s August.

  1. I have a cold so I find myself wanting to recommend soothing books that I enjoy rereading when I can’t focus.

    “The Blue Castle” by L.M. Montgomery. Mousy young woman thinks she’s going and decides to leave her awful family and live life on her own terms. There’s a romance and lots of nature porn. Just a sweet, feel good story. I love it more than the Anne books and that’s saying something.

    The other two are really short, to be read in an hour or two. Back when they were written, they’d probably be considered “YA” (not that the term existed), but I would peg them a little younger than that.

    “Taking Care of Terrific” by Lois Lowry. Lowry is probably most known for “The Giver” series today, but she was one of my favorite authors growing up and this is one of her best books almost no one has heard of. It’s about a teenage girl, Enid (she has some great jokes about her name), who takes a summer job babysitting a little boy and takes him to the Boston Common where they both get involved in helping homeless ladies. It’s hard to describe without giving too much away, but it has a beautiful, poignant moment at the climax that I love. It’s a little dated (Bo Derek, anyone?), but funny and charming with a hint of PG romance.

    And lastly, “Freaky Friday” by Mary Rodgers. The movies are cute, but I like the book so much better. In the book, you only get Annabel’s POV and she’s trying to figure everything out while keeping all the plates spinning and it all comes this great farcical conclusion. Definitely dated (very 60s), but so funny. Mary Rodgers also wrote “Once Upon a Mattress,” so that gives you a an idea of her style.

    Sorry to go on so long. My friends call me “the book pusher.”

      1. Check out Project Gutenberg for anything else by LM Montgomery.

        Blue Castle isn’t there but everything else seems to be.

    1. I love Taking Care of Terrific. Haven’t read it in years, but was a big Lowry fan.

  2. I’m reading the second Glittering Court book. Mead still isn’t very good at writing sexual tension, but the books are Jude Deveraux-style which makes me nostalgic for the arranged-marriage in the New World books of the 80s. Also, she creates a fake world for this so she can skirt research, which is hilarious.

  3. Found four promising novels in the library yesterday – they must have had new stock. Will report on any winners. Watched a romcom last night which worked : ‘Man Up’ with Lake Hall (never heard of her) and Simon Pegg. I nearly bailed at the beginning – it looked too farcical – but was glad I gave it a chance. The minor characters were good – not always predictable – and it was a more convincing picture of London than Richard Curtis’s films. Funny and romantic.

    1. I liked Man Up too. I’m a sucker for Simon Pegg! And then there’s the community scene at the end…

      If I’m remembering correctly.

    2. I really enjoyed Man Up as well. There were some good “show, don’t tell” moments, like them arguing while dancing. And they each get to see the other’s worst qualities, and still like them.

    3. I like that movie. Simon Pegg has a ton of charm in everything, though. I was pleasantly surprised by the would-be blind date at the end. She seemed annoying at first, but then she made me like her.

  4. I checked out three Georgette Heyer books on Overdrive, the library app, to read while visiting relatives. I got A Civil Contract and the first two Hannasyde books. An audio Hiassen for in the car since I can’t read in vehicles.

    I do have a hard copy of one of Donna Andrews Meg Langslow mysteries. They are fluffy fun.

    1. ‘A Civil Contract’ is a bit of a Marmite Heyer – not as romantic as her others; don’t let it put you off her (if you’re not already a fan).

      1. I agree, with Heyer it’s best to start with the fun ones, my favourites are These Old Shades, the Grand Sophy, Faro’s Daughter, The Talisman Ring, Black sheep … Going to stop there.

        Don’t make my mistake, my sister walked off with my copy of Arabella as her first Georgette Heyer, I don’t think she’s read another since.

        Nothing wrong with Arabella, but not a story to make you fall in love with the author.

        1. Oh, it worked for me. It was my first adult book; bought it at Victoria Station, on probably my first trip to London.

          1. My first Georgette Heyer was I think either Friday’s Child or April Lady from the library.

            It was only this week I found a copy of Powder and Patch in the library and read it for the first time, a classic in the vein of be careful what you wish for

        2. My first three were Convenient Marriage, Regency Buck & the Grand Sophy. Then I think Talisman Ring. (A friend’s mother had those in British editions).

          Never looked back. I didn’t like nurse books or Barbara Cartland but when Horry picked the poker up? I was won over immediately. So any romances I’ve read since then can thank Georgette Heyer.

      2. I have never read a Heyer before, but decide to see what the fuss was about. I decide to start with The Grand Sophy as my first romance of hers and save A Civil Contract for reading later when not on vacation.

    2. I didn’t love A Civil Contract when I was a teenager, I loved Friday’s Child.
      Tried them both again as an adult and love A Civil Contract and winced at Friday’s Child. Although Friday’s Child was still funny as all hell.

    3. Have you read Donna Andrews’s Turing Hopper series? It’s been years since I read it, and it’s out of print (I think), but if you can get it from a library, I really enjoyed it, possibly more than the Meg Langslow books. Donna talked about reissuing the Turing Hopper books herself and possibly writing more. I’ve got my fingers crossed. And I’ve got holds on both Gone Gull and The Finch Who Stole Christmas (not out yet).

      1. I have read the first 2 Turing Hopper books, since my dad has them. I like the premise. It would be interesting to see what she would write now.
        I’m in Virginia, and Andrews is too, and my little local library likes to support local (ish) authors, so we get the all Meg books promptly.

      2. I love those books. Okay, I love everything Donna Andrews, but the Turing books were so original. (The protagonist is an AI, for those who haven’t read them.)

    4. I still haven’t read Civil Contract; something didn’t appeal. Can’t remember if it was the cover copy or a sample. Pretty sure Regency Buck was my first Heyer because that was what was on the library shelf. Either that or The Black Moth because I knew it was her first. I regret Black Moth now and wish I’d just gone straight to These Old Shades, which is definitely superior. Frederica and Talisman Ring ended up being my favorites in the end. I remember Faro’s Daughter being really funny, especially when the hero is tied up in the basement – that was hilarious. Really should re-read that one.

  5. I’m reading The Last Neanderthal by Claire Cameron. It’s constantly on my mind as I go about the day which is the mark of a good book for me.

  6. I stayed up until 3am to read Faith Hunter’s Blood of The Earth in a single sitting. I didn’t know I COULD stay awake that late anymore, but the book was just that amazing.

    It’s the first in spin-off from Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series (which I’m now going to start reading as well). The book centers around Nell, a young widow who was raised in cult in the mountains of Tennessee. She still lives in those mountains, and is trying to understand her own mysterious magic, which is tied to the land. She gets sucked into an investigation that is bound up in her own life, and may point her in the direction of a new one.

    I love, love, LOVE this character’s voice. It’s strong, it’s different, and I want to see who she becomes over the course of the series. The world building is great, Nell’s magic is something I’ve never really read before, and the action is a hell of a good time. I’m trying to slow down a bit with book 2, but it’s hard!

    1. I’m finally getting around to reading the Jane Yellowrock books (which have been on my TBR pile for ages) because Faith is coming to a local convention at the end of September 🙂

  7. I read Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl. I should have read it in undergrad, but I finally got to it know. Worth more than the cost of buying the book.

  8. I just finished Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. It’s narrated by brilliant teenager Blue Van Meer, who, modeling her equally brilliant professor father, tells the story in the form of a syllabus and heavily annotated lecture. I almost bailed on page 1, but then the story/mystery pulled me in and I couldn’t put it down. Simply told, after her mother dies, Blue has been bumping across the country for most of her life with her father as he goes from university to university, until they land in a North Carolina town where she can complete her entire senior year at one school. Here she is inducted into an elite group of students who orbit around an eccentric, charismatic teacher, and this is where the story takes off.

    Highly recommend!

  9. I just read two of the Westcott novels by Mary Balogh, straight through, two nights in a row, just what I needed. The to-do list required Regency Therapy.

  10. I’m reading “the book of speculation” by Erika somebody.

    Pros: circuses, magic, old books, a beach, a familt curse, and a mystery

    Cons: the hero’s pretty passive, and kind of whiny. I’m sticking around because the sister’s circus boyfriend is amazing.

    It was a casual read for me until suddenly I got sucked in and then I looked up at the clock and I was running late. I’ll let you know if it stays suck you in good.

  11. I was on bed rest for much of the week, with no new books holding my interest, so I’m reading the entire Kate Daniels series (by Ilona Andrews), back to back! I’d never been able to keep track of some secondary characters, reading the books as they were released, so now I’m seeing the connections and marveling at the way the authors either planned ahead (establishing a minor character or event in a particular book, only to have the character become important in a later book) or was good at going back and pulling out that minor character/event to fill a plot requirement later.

    1. A friend gave me the first Kate Daniels as a gift a while ago and I still haven’t gotten to it. Thinking I should shuffle it to the top of the pile next time an urban fantasy mood strikes, but owning it means I keep putting it off in favor of library books that have to go back. Speaking of which, many people here mentioned the other Andrews books, Burn For Me and White Hot, so I snagged them on a whim when I went to get something else from the library. Guess I’ll be reading those before Kate Daniels.

      1. Be sure to read all three books in the Burn for me series. Great characters and a different world than the Katr Daniels one. Also check out the Innkeeper books, They were free on the blog in installments. Such fun!

      2. The third one in the BFN series is out now, too. Not quite up to the other two, but still highly enjoyable.

  12. Joanna Bourne has a new book out! She writes sort of Regencies but among the spymasters on both sides of the post-Revolutionary France/England. Smarter than most paperback historicals with great characters. Although if you’re a Historian you I’m told will find “errors”. Amazon.com lets you try a bit first. I got caught up by a novelette where Bourne was one in a four-author Regency themed book and found the rest of her work.

  13. We’re fine here in Tasmania, thanks, Jenny. Cat snoring by the fire. Me reading the second book in VE Schwab’s splendid series that begins with ‘A Darker Shade of Magic’. It has been described as ‘Diana Wynne Jones for adults’, which is pretty fair. And it’s one of those rare series that get better with the second book.

    1. Diana Wynne Jones actually wrote some adult books. “A Sudden Wild Magic” and “Deep Secret” are just as excellent as her children’s books. Nothing will ever be as good as “Dark Lord of Derkholm” though…

      1. I liked Howl’s Moving Castle better but I loved Charmed Lives because that was the first one of hers I read.

        It is hard to go wrong with DWJ.

  14. If the comments allowed pictures, I’d show you the pretty patterns Jack Frost painted on our skylights this morning.

    I am reading The Power by Naomi Alderman and even though I’m not yet finished, I’m still recommending it IN CAPITALS. Because it’s AWESOME. I’m sure someone must have recommended this here before because did I say it’s brilliant and right up Arghers (political) alley…

    So imagine today’s world, and then give teenage girls, and eventually all women, personal electrical power, the power to send electric shocks, causing mild to terminal pain. And then sit back an watch what happens to the world’s power balance.

    I suspect it’s not going to end well – in the first page, a man from the distant future is writing a letter about the ‘historical’ he has just written, and he imagines a world where men were in charge as being kinder, but he also addresses his letter from the Men Writers Assn, so it’s interesting. It’s also well written, very very up to the minute re politics, use of social and Reddit etc, so it’s fun, and subtle, and obvious, and I know I’m raving but it deserves it.

    Keen to hear what you think….

  15. I just finished a lovely book by Joanna Bourne, Beauty Like the Night. It’s a historical romance set in England after the war with Napoleon Wars. It is one in a series. She writes beautifully. The women are smart, tough, and extemely capable and the men are as tough. I highly recommend them all. Beauty Like the Night was published on 8/1 so it is brand new.

  16. Just finished Just One Damn Thing After Another (St. Mary’s Chronicles, book 1) and it’s the most fun w/ time travel since To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis.

  17. Reread Alphabet of Thorn after someone here recommended it. Liked it at least at much the second time.

    It has me thinking, though, of novels in which the plot/action climax is lost in the whirl of things. It’s as if the author was so aware that the moment was finally coming that she assumed her reader was as immersed in it as she was. Instead, the plot climax is lost and the story seems flat as it concludes. I’m thinking of Alphabet of Thorn — there never is a climactic battle even though the host of warriors is there — and Summers at Castle Auburn in which the freeing of the enslaved people slides by with a couple of characters saying that it’s a relief.

  18. Winter weather here: 17° to 23° Celsius.

    For comparison, our Summers are at 34° and in some places higher. So I’m feeling cold.

  19. Trying Sally Andrew and her “Recipes for Love and Murder.” Set in South Africa, so for me exotic. I believe Andrew’s a nonfiction writer, and this is her first fiction. Has much going for it – the countryside, nature, home-farming and, of course, recipes. Pages are stuffed with characters, and so far I can’t grab *onto* any of them, even the protag. Too much *telling* that comes across journalistic. My suspicion is the fault is in me, not the book. Someone else try it and correct me.
    Rereading, which is going better. Taking up the Dorothy Dunnett “Dolly” series, which she interspersed with the historicals. The first, “The Photogenic Soprano,” had her trademark ending reverse, which of course I didn’t identify at time of first reading. Dunnett in “Soprano” is in command all the way. And I loves me my Johnson Johnson.
    Taking refuge in reality this week, I moved onto another Timothy Hallinan, a first read, “The Fame Thief.” Set in my territory of knowledge, Hollywood old and new. Involves film stars, the whole H-wood galaxy, the D.C. loyalty hearings, and gangsters LA and Vegas. I’m just gaga over the conceit of the protag’s ultra-secret hideway. Hallinan is so good at hurtling plot and action forward. And, oh, the characters. Subscene set at Musso and Frank’s, my particular weakness. Haven’t read a bad book yet with a scene set in M and F, and there are so many. Love ’em all.

  20. Above corrected to read: “refuge FROM reality.” I mean, given events private and public.

  21. I tried to read a historical fiction novel, but I just couldn’t get into it for some reason and ended up not finishing. Should have been right up my alley – 1920s setting, heroine investigating her estranged husband’s (supposed) death. The problem may have been that I couldn’t really connect with the protagonist. Maybe it was just my mood. Might try to go back to it eventually, but I just ended up re-reading some Nora Roberts.

    At this point I’m really just marking time until the last Kelley Armstrong Cainsville novel comes out on the 15th, and I’m about to stage a complete re-read of the first four books in preparation. I should have time since I’m going the library route, and those are never ready right on release day. I can definitely recommend those. It was interesting to me that Armstrong introduced the fantasy elements a lot more gradually with this series than with her others, which were pretty much lots of supernatural right out of the gate. Looking forward to reading them all in rapid succession; it will hopefully let me examine the world building in more detail than before, especially since I pretty much gulped those books down in one sitting.

  22. I had to reread Charlaine Harris’ Midnight, Texas trilogy as prep for the TV show. They’re blasting through the books, so I’m curious as to how much they’ll get covered in a summer replacement series. Then I had to reread the Harper Connelly series (Grave Sight, etc.) while I was already thinking about Manfred.

    It’s kindergarten physical season, school starts in 2 weeks, and I am fried. Anything which requires thought to digest will just have to wait until after the 16th. Then look out! I got Amazon gift cards for my birthday, and they’re just burning a hole in my pocket. Thanks so much for all the great ideas for future purchases/furtive-reading-in-my-bed-in-the-dark opportunities.

    1. I’m halfway through the third Harper Connolly and I really enjoy Manfred. I makes me want to find some romance novels with similar heroes.

      1. I think it’s the David Bowie vibe. Or like Spike with an undercurrent of sex instead of violence.

        1. I’ve read some really interesting things in the past month about the connection between David Bowie and fantasy — particularly gaming and anime. There’s this great series of drawings by Amano about two lovers who are based stylistically on David and Iman. http://yoshitaka-amano.kouryu.info/gal-eng-divers-return_duke-p-1.html

          (-: I know this is totally tangential, but the theory is pretty attractive. So many anime heroes or side-heroes have that distant, unearthly beauty thing going. Of course, it’s my understanding that Bowie liked a good earthy joke, too (“If it’s good enough for Shirley Bassey, young man, it’s good enough for you” anecdote), and you rarely see the unearthly hero-type indulging in a good laugh.

          1. Oops, I saved the Shirley Bassey anecdote for a different comment so I could avoid moderation, and I got stuck in moderation anyway. Sorry.

            It’s from the Mirror, and it’s got potty humor. So, you have been warned. Oh, and you have to scroll down a little ways to get to the story. But they quote Bowie, and the man was a good storyteller. http://www.mirror.co.uk/3am/celebrity-news/david-bowies-incredible-shirley-bassey-7165214

            (Urgle! I got my e-mail wrong! Sad. I suppose that means this will go through without context for a few hours.)

  23. I found a new (to me) British author (women’s fiction/romance) that I love and I am gobbling her books like they are cookies. Her name is Jenny (natch!) Colgan, and my favorite so far has been The Little Beach Street Bakery. (There are recipes, too.)

  24. Just a note that in Michigan today the high was 65F, wet and grey with wind. I think summer may be over.

  25. My lunch book at the moment is kind of a weird choice for me — it’s called “Primates of Park Avenue” by Wednesday Martin, and it’s a nonfiction memoir about moving from Greenwich Village to the Upper East Side of NYC as a young mother and observing the habits and behaviors of moms in a privileged super-competitive social set from an anthropology perspective.

    The author was kind of going native throughout most of the book, and since I find those natives kind of off-putting, I found that part hard to take, but it was really interesting to read her shifting outsider/insider perspective of a group of people who don’t often get analyzed in this particularly objective way.

    I kept vaguely wondering if the author had been named after the Charles Addams character, though. And also, it kept making me think of Ivana and then Ivanka Trump. Kind of explained a lot.

  26. I just finished a trilogy of epistolary novels set in the early 1800s in a magical England — the Cecelia and Kate novels by Wrede and Stevermer. I liked them a lot, but towards the end I felt the authors were longing for an ending. A lot more info-dumping in book three. But, I did like the magic and the plots, and I do like a gossip-y pace that letter-writing allows.

    (-: Your poor doggy. Upside down in the heat. I think we’re getting an early onset of autumn, but summer may bounce back and broil us all yet.

  27. I inhaled the Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair this summer. Explicit BDSM, super trashy and predictable plots…basically it’s just book candy. I’m ashamed to have them on my Kindle, but I love reading them so much – they are the best combo of cheesy love story happiness and super sexy sizzle.

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