This is a Good Book Thursday 4-13-17

So thanks to all of you, I have been reading up a storm lately and not watching TV at all.  Weird.  I’ve been doing series–the Lockwood books were a lot of fun, the Myron Vale books were not–in between looking at my own book with new eyes.  The best news, though, is that Michael Sheen and David Tennant are starring in Amazon’s six-episode mini-series of Good Omens.  OMG, when that comes out, I’m goin’ back to TV.  (Actually, I’ll be back when Legends returns in October, but definitely for Good Omens.)  

In the meantime, I’m sitting in front of a fan with a dachshund lying on his back beside me.  No parasol, though.  So what good book have you read this week? 


36 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday 4-13-17

  1. I don’t know if they’ve been recommended yet, but Simone St James tells the best ghost stories in a post-WWI Great Britain. They’re first person POV, but please don’t let that put you off. Her descriptions are gorgeous. Think a more melancholy Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries set in London with smart, vulnerable, yet strong women and ghosts! Start with the Haunting of Maddy Clare and then carry on. It’s not a series, although some characters do pop up again. The heroes aren’t precisely beta heroes, but they’re supportive and vulnerable and you’ll adore them.

    My favorite is An Inquiry into Love and Death, it always gets me in the mood for autumn. Read them on a rainy Sunday with something warm to drink and all the lights on!

  2. I have no good books. 🙁 I don’t like anything I’m reading. Octavia’s Brood proves that not everyone can tell a good fiction story, I quit out on the latest Pax Arcana for being repetitive and too glib, and I’m baffled by how That Inevitable Victorian Thing could be so dull when it’s based on North & South (BBC, not Civil War). I’ve only committed to finishing it because I’m hoping the end goes a certain way, but now I feel way behind on committee reading. 🙁

  3. Okay, I know I mentioned it last week, but I just finished (like 5 minutes ago) “A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee and I really liked it. First person, present tense, but it didn’t annoy me like it usually does. Hero was a bit of a self involved jerk, but that was kind of the point. I just loved the writing style.

    So, since I already recommended that, I’ll also recommend “The Wicked Girls” by Alex Marwood. I don’t read a lot of thrillers or suspense these days, but this was good. Two women who were convicted of murder in their teen years run into each other by chance and Bad Things Happen. This was written pre Gone Girl (which I didn’t care for), but think in that vein. There is a child death, so please skip it if that bothers you.

  4. Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime and a YA book, When Dimple Met Rishi. The latter is very cute, the former is mind blowing, especially the end.

  5. There was this game, Mouse Trap. (I think it’s still around) In the game you assembled this complex Rube Goldberg type device designed to catch a mouse. The fun of the game was in building it, not the interminable time it took to catch the other players and win the game.
    Daryl Gregory’s book, Spoonbenders, is like that. A book about a family of psychics, it’s typical stuff for him — complex characters, well-paced writing, flashbacks that don’t rob the story of action, some higher science concepts and a lot of brain science concepts, and characters you can like soon after their appearance. It’s in a shotgun style, but he does you the favor of tagging the POV so you know who you’re listening to, and they have very distinctive views of the world. And when the climax hits it’s a blast to watch how everything now plays into the situation to resolve things. I’ve been hooked on his writing since I read his amazing 2008 short work, “First Person, Second Tense,” (Find it in Gardner Doeswas’s years best for that year) and this is more of the same for one of my favorite authors.
    On another angle, I also got through Layni Taylor’s book Strange the Dreamer. Nice worldbuilding, but beware — she breaks the contract with her readers, and some of the handling of the characters feels like missteps — things like playing a card too early in a couple of cases and some GOT rewarding of vile excuses for humanity. I’ll read the next one, but it will be out of curiosity, not joy in the first one that leads me to read another one.
    Larry Gelbart’s autobio was interesting. Eddy Izzard’s was fascinating. The biography of Billy Strayhorn was poignant and sad but also illustrative of a particular genius.

  6. K. J. Charles’s latest, ‘Spectered Isle’: brilliant; her best yet, I think. It’s the start of a new ‘Green Men’ series, to which ‘The Casebook of Simon Feximal’ is a prequel. Loved the characters and the fact that their development and relationships are the heart of the story. Plus she uses British folklore with twists to tell an alternative history of the aftermath of the First World War (people’s relationship to places is a fascination of mine). And it’s a lot of fun.

    If you haven’t read her, she writes historical m/m romance, often with a magical twist. Intelligent and funny, with intriguing worlds.

  7. Patricia Brigg’s The Hob’s Bargain. This is an early novel and a stand alone. It is one of my favorite books and I reread it about once a year. I liked her early Mercy Thompson books then somehow she lost me but I rarely last more than a few books into a series.

  8. After two beautiful books, am wrestling with short story collection Emporium by Adam Johnson. Clever but cold stories. But on the plus side, I am writing simplified myths and legends for my students this coming term and that means I HAVE to get a copy of Gaiman’s Norse Mythology….I just HAVE to! I downloaded the sample section onto Kindle and OMG it’s brilliant.

  9. I’ve been reading Welcome to Night Vale, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Crandor. I’d originally gotten it for my 13-year-old son, who likes to read but travels a pretty narrow lane in terms of his literary interests. This book is based on an oddball podcast he likes (and I don’t like) but the book is actually weird and wonderful and wildly creative. He devoured it and I’m loving it, too.

    1. I have a hard time listening to Night Vale as well, just a format thing, I think, but some wonderful words do come out of it. 🙂

    2. I loved listening to Welcome to Nightvale. I just love that gossip-y, hometown radio show format — with a nice underlayer of creepiness and darkness. I fell away from it in 2016 — all the podcasts I loved lost out to David Bowie at that point. I think the book had just come out at that point. I really should get a copy . . . .

  10. I am currently listening to Mycroft Holmes by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. I’m wary of books that are a spin on Sherlock Holmes. I’m so in love with the series Sherlock that I’m not at all fond of other spins on the story.

    However, I am enjoying listening to this, and depending on how it ends may find myself reading more by this unlikely pair. The narrator is so important and I think they chose well for this one.

  11. Diplomats and Fugitives by Lindsay Buroker. Anything by her, really. Well written, hilarious, and action-packed steam-punk. The Emperor’s Edge is the first in the series, and I’m pretty sure that it’s always free.

    1. I just got Emperor’s Edge from the library and have read the first two pages. It is now at the front of my to be read queue.

  12. I followed the many recommendations here for Ilona Andrews’ Nevada Baylor trilogy. Finished the second book last night, and Amazon promises the third book will arrive tomorrow. It turned out I didn’t have the patience to wait for the 11 people ahead of me on the library list to finish it. Nevada is a great character, and I love her whole family, too. This is my first experience with Andrews, and if the other books are anything like these, I’ll be grabbing the back list in the near future. I already have the first Kate Daniels.

    Now I need to find something to read today while I wait for Wildfire to show up. Short stories will be revisited during downtime at work tonight. Ashley Weaver released a short story in her Amory Ames series (1930s upper-crust British husband and wife detective team) that’s been sitting on my Kindle for over a week. That’s getting read tonight.

    1. I’m a little envious of anyone who has only recently discovered Ilona Andrews. You have such a wealth of fascinating reading in store! I remember reading the first Kate Daniels book, Magic Bites, for the first time. I was immediately hooked! I have read everything they’ve written (multiple times :)) and count the months, days, and hours between new releases.

  13. I am working on Antisocial by Heidi Cullen. It is about two young men in college, one an artist, another a law student. It is rather angsty, but in a good way, more coming of age? I think that is what I am trying to say. So far so good.

  14. I’ve started Beneath a Scarlet Sky, by Mark Sullivan. It’s a WWII story that is a little different. Enjoying it immensely, but not far enough in to recommend for certain. Will let you know next week.

  15. Illumination by Terry McGarry, 2001. It’s her first book, but either she’s really good or she listens to good editors because it doesn’t read like “wow, she’s going to be pretty good a few books down the road.” It’s a very different take on magic and what would a society be like if it relied on magic for, well, most everything from weather control to healing and warding against fire and such. Darkness and the balance/struggle between dark and light are strong currents throughout. A little like Tolkien, in that most of it is her journey, there are companions (fewer, and not throughout), and yeah, she’s supposed to save the world, but then that fits so many books. It’s long – over 600 pages –
    and there are a LOT of characters, as well as many invented terms and words (glossary and list at the end), but I didn’t have trouble keeping up with it all. Each had a certain importance to the story. If you like fantasy, give it a try. The only thing that I had trouble with was the first 5-6 pages, which made more sense when I reread them after finishing it. But when I started the book, they just didn’t seem to fit.

  16. Last week, I read a historical romance by Susan Johnson, set during the Crimean War. It was interesting because the heroine was a fully realised character that was not a virgin and didn’t focus on marriage and the hero had an emotional reason for his determination to stay single. Different from a lot of the category romance. Worth a look.

  17. Still on a Heyer kick. I have Duplicate Death to start after finishing They Found Him Dead.
    Pratchett’s The Color of Magic was finally available so I have that too.

    I fell down an internet hole when I went to An Historian Goes to the Movies, an addictive blog and spent some hours reading there.

  18. If you want to see some really great paranormal like photos check out author Lauren Gilley’s picks in anticipation of a new novel she’s writing (Sons of Rome) in her Amazon blog titled The Blackmere Manor Aesthetic. I think it is going to be series.

  19. A Closed and Commin Orbit by Becky Chambers was good. And the new Bujold novella. Because she is always good. Just starting In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan which I read when she did it on her website but apparently is been expanded etc for the published version. Very good version of a portal fantasy where a snarky but smart 13 year old boy goes to magic school.

  20. Just got GONE GULL by Donna Andrews, and I’m counting on it to be good, but haven’t had a chance to start it yet.

  21. Just finished “Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders” by Susanne Alleyn. It was great and will live on my Kindle in perpetuity, but it made me feel very very insecure about my two historicals … . Almost afraid to re-read them now!

  22. This seems like an appropriate place to let all of you know that Kindle editions of Georgette Heyer are super cheap right now; there seems to be a giant sale on her stuff at Amazon. A couple titles are $1.88 and most are $2.51. I just got digital editions of a
    couple favorites for convenience and picked up Duplicate Death and Black Sheep while I was at it, just because. Don’t know how long it will last.

  23. I’ve been re-reading MANHUNTING — not sure how many times I have read it before, but not enough, obviously. Kate’s dates reduce me to helpless snickering.

  24. The Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-Leigh, which is one of the British Library Crime Classics. Some annoyances with big leaps in the plot, but it is interesting and enjoyable to see the author’s depiction of her own time.

  25. I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha books, set mostly in a very Russian-influenced culture. Excellent character development, and lots of fun.

    Roshani Chokshi’s The Star-Touched Queen was incredibly sweet – it feels like one of the 1001 Nights tales.

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