63 thoughts on “This is a New Year and This is a Good Book Thursday

  1. The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben Winters. Apocalyptic mystery.
    Also “A Queen from the North” by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese. An enjoyable alternate reality romance with a whiff of paranormal, maybe?

  2. For a much better year I will not be reading Fire and Fury, had enough of it last year and with three to go I’m already stressed out. In the meantime I have our kindles charging because we are at the start of a blizzard. We have plenty of paperbacks for daytime reading but come nightfall they’re not comfortable to read by candlelight in case the power fails. In the obituary section of the newspaper I read that Sue Grafton had passed away. She wrote the alphabet mystery series. Her family is honoring her wishes by not having another author finish her series with a “Z” book. I see plenty of new Janet Dailey books on the library shelves and I wonder why. The same for Robert Parker. Maybe it’s just me.

    1. I’m torn on Fire and Fury. I may just stick to the excerpts.

      I wish Grafton had gotten to Z. She came so close.

      Janet Dailey and Robert Parker books are probably being written by somebody else. If the heirs to the copyrights sign off on it, pubishers can hire somebody else to write them. Or as one of the execs at St. Martin’s told me, “Death is no bar to publication at SMP.” Mollie has assured me that this will never happen to the Crusies, although if they offer her a ton of money (not happening) I think she should go for it. Readers are smart.

      My favorite story about that was from my agent, Meg, who was in a bookstore and overheard two women talking about the author of Flowers in the Attic (slipped my mind just now) and said, “You know, lately, she’s just not the same.” Meg wanted to say, “That’s because she’s dead,” but managed to bite her tongue.

  3. Re-reading the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce.

    Reading Star Wars: Catalyst. A Rogue One novel by James Luceno. Been a while since I stepped into the Star Wars books world.

    It doesn’t feel like an easy read to me, so maybe that’s a good thing. A little challenge on the info and technological aspects which feel a bit info-dumpy to me but are probably not, I’m just not used to it in my regular reading.

    Good characterisation of Galen Urso and other Rogue One characters.

  4. I just finished Thick As Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner, in the wee hours of the morning. I enjoyed it on it’s own and liked revisiting the world and characters from the other 4 books.

    1. Even his legal team, suing Bannon and the publisher. That book is going to sell a zillion copies because of that alone, it’s that big of a gift. And the suits will go nowhere.

      1. I heard on the car radio that when Holt, the publisher, got the cease-and-desist, withdraw-from-publication demand, they changed the release date from January 9 to January 5. Twelfth Day of Christmas!

        [Have not read anything but the excerpts, but might, as Rachel Maddow listed some items in the book that aren’t particularly salacious, but provide more Russia legal exposure/liabilities. There might be more.]

        1. Yep. Now it comes out tomorrow. Just in time for the weekend!
          Trump’s lawyers must be idiots. It’s about the worst thing they could possibly do. They should have just backed up a truck and dumped money on Wolff.

          1. Wolff’s comment, when asked for his response to Trump’s lawyers was “Where do I send the box of chocolates?”

  5. I read Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett over the holiday. Funny and poignant… I loved it.

    I’m amazed at how it relevant it feels (written in early 2000s, I think?), particularly in terms of gender identity and women’s role in society. A favorite moment among many is advice the heroine Polly gets on what it takes to pass herself off as a man — rolled-up socks, if you’re wondering, but “Just one pair, mark you. Don’t get ambitious.”

    1. I’m re-reading the Tiffany Aching books. I have all 5 on Kindle but I expect I’ll skip the Shepherd’s Crown. I don’t need to make myself sadder right now.

      My 9 year old is just about done with book 3 of Harry Potter. It’s lovely watching her pick up on the Harry Potter references now.

  6. I am working on Faking It by Cara Cormack. So far, not bad, though I have to admit that I picked it up because of the title and a morbid sort of curiosity…

  7. I turned to Georgette Heyer for comfort during my obnoxious cold and finished No Wind of Blame last night. Ermyntrude and Vicky were just the best and exactly what I needed to feel better. They were both so crazy, but Vicky got great results, and her mother was so genuinely kind. Also Hemingway was there; I love him. The solution to the mystery was as ridiculous as the one in Sayers’ Busman’s Honeymoon, but like with that book, the characters really did make it worth it.

    1. Really, if you stop to think how many things had to be EXACTLY right for that stupid plan to work . . .
      I don’t care. I love Ermyntrude and Vicky and I also love the way I thought Mary was going to be the heroine and then it turned out to be the nutso blonde who was SO smart, which the handsome lawyer finally glommed onto. Vicky played everybody like a piano. It’s awful out here; maybe I’ll reread that. With chocolate. Before the electricity goes out.

      1. You’ve both sold me: I’m in need of a good read, having bailed out on my last but one, and followed it with one that just didn’t gel. And it’s a few years since I last read it.

      2. Vicky was amazing. My favorite scene was when she got the Prince tossed out of the house. He deserved it, and she did it with such ingenious drama.

  8. This week I read My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. It was as upsetting as you would expect, but the writing was just so so good. Normally when I re-read books, I do so for comfort, story, to pick up things missed in my rush to the end the first time. This book I want to re-read to better appreciate the writing, except I shy away from reading the story again. I’d still recommend it though. Has anyone else read it? Do you feel the same as me?

    As antidote, I then read the much recommended Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare, which was fun, thanks for the recommendations.

    1. The bitchmedia review is interesting. So, Stephen King loved it… he lost all credibility with me when he wrote Mr. Mercedes.

      1. I think there’s a good shift going on right now; the conventional wisdom about how to write women has always been so male (one of the reasons romance novels always get such scorn0, but the Me Too stuff has sharpened people’s perceptions. It’s possible that the book is really well written, but the approach to the story crosses over into what-were-you-thinking? country for women (and for quite a few men if you read the Amazon reviews). I’d have crossed it off my TBR list for the multiple explicit child rapes alone, but a less obvious draw-the-line trope is that meeting a boy is what triggers her journey. So her father shapes her life and then this boy is a catalyst, and the whole thing sounds horrible. I don’t believe there’s any subject matter that should be barred from fiction (or non-fiction, for that matter), but I believe there are treatments of subjects that are so detrimental that they should be shunned.

        1. I’m not so sure about the really well written. “She raises her head and ropes of muscle stand out from her mons pubis to her sternum like a bread loaf.” ???

      2. I’ve only read one Stephen King novel, and it was really well written, but it haunts me to this day. So not going back there. I did teach one of his short stories ages ago, but I can’t remember which one. It was a classic. I was teaching intro to fiction at OSU, as I remember, and I assigned short stories in all the genres. Thirty years ago. ARGH.

        1. I’ve never read his scary stuff, but his book on writing (“On Writing”?) is wonderful

  9. A new author (and a CB!) by the pen name of Evelyn M. Hill got published by Harlequin as part of their “Love Inspired Historical” line. How’s that for a good way to start the new year?

    In other news, I am listening to the audio version of A Man Lay Dead, an early Ngaio Marsh. Also a nice way to start the new year.

  10. I’m rereading a bunch of books by British author Trisha Ashley (romcoms, basically, with a lot of heart and quirky characters). They’re my comfort reads and I’m not up to reading anything new.

  11. I’m sitting on a currently unused set of Lucifer listening to Tom Ellis noodle a song on the piano, both off us waiting for our call to set. Be still my heart. I finished listening to the audio book of Maybe This Time last night and moved on to finish Jill Shalvis’s The Trouble Mistletoe before bed. On set I’m Reading Terry Pratchetts The Witches Broomstivk. Dear lord he is funny. Moving on to Truth or Beard by Penny Reid. Or I was till someone mentioned Tanita Pierce. I want to do some Tamora rereading.

  12. Jenny, i had a suspicious popup on here earlier, about updating my router? it went away when i left your site, not seeing another mention here of it, but wanted to let you know.

    1. I will ask Mollie. Thank you!
      In the meantime, there is no advertising on this site, nor do we do pop-ups, so anything like that means we’ve been hacked or at least hi-jacked. Again.

    2. I checked with Mollie, and she’s got so much blocking software on the site and blog now that nothing got through. It must be on your end. Sorry!

  13. Also, I’m listening to the first Hank the Cowdog book on audio – absolutely hilarious! I recommend for anyone looking for a fun listen, old or young. There’s quite a bit of adult humor! XD

  14. Crap, it’s Thursday? What happened to Tuesday? Okay, so what did I read this week? Oh yeah, I went back to Heyer and am currently rereading These Old Shades. Chatted with s guy at a restaurant today who was immersed in a book, the title, Ethical Slut intrigued me. He said it’s a fabulous read. Hmmm. Been meaning to go look it up. Must do that.

  15. I just finished The Snake Agent by Liz Williams — mystery in a mythical Singapore where heaven and hell are real physical places. Some fabulous worldbuilding here and awesome characters, both human and demon. Also lots of great social commentary built in.

    Now I’m enjoying Tabula Rasa by Ruth Downie. It’s one in her excellent series about a medic in the Roman Army in the first century A.D.

  16. I just finished You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams by Alan Cumming. I just love his sense of humor. He’s one of those people that I’d like to meet someday. I can see a group of people in my kitchen having one hell of a conversation while I mostly listen because I’m shy.

    I would probably laugh so hard I’d snort. Too bad it’s just in my imagination!

    As for fiction, just finished St. Nick by Alan Russell. Enjoyable enough. A little sad at the end, but it seemed fitting.

  17. I am reading Guy Gavriel Kay, who was recommended here a week or so ago. I have finished Ysabel which was amazing. So I will now read others of his.

    1. I love his stuff, although I had trouble getting into the Fionovar books for some reason. Tigana and The Lions of al-Rassan, though – swoon.

      1. I think the Fionavar Tapestry books are fantasy books of their time. Also, there are a few gut-wrenching moments in them. I can re-read and enjoy them, but they feel a little dated to me, and sometimes a little grandiose. Ysabel, as a coda to the series, feels more polished and paced. And Lions of al-Rassan… yum.

  18. I binge read all of the Mercy Thompson/Alpha and Omega books by Patricia Briggs over the holidays. It was awesome and indulgent and I love having a Kindle. Why yes, please, I would like the next book in the series delivered to my fingertips right now. I need to back away from it now, though, or at least find a series on KU.

    1. The next Alpha and Omega book comes out in a couple of months. Since the last two releases from her were Mercy books, it will be fun to see Anna and Charles again.

  19. I’m re-reading Michael Gilbert because he’s my favorite competence porn writer, both his competence and his protagonists. I’m reading the Petrellas now, but also Anything for a Quiet Life and The Black Seraphim and The Body of a Girl. I’m mad that The Long Journey Home isn’t in e-form yet, but I can still go back and get the Calder and Behrens books, and several others. It’s just so good to read somebody so smart who’s such a clean writer.

    Then I have to go back to re-reading The Devil in Nita Dodd so I can finish the damn thing. I know how it ends, it’s just this pesky middle part . . .

  20. Working my way through the Rivers of London books and loving them. Thanks for the recommendation.

  21. Instead of being cozy during the big storm woke up with stomach flu. So I spent the day curled up close to the bathroom, listening to “Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance” for comfort.

  22. I just reread a chunk of the Raksura books by Martha Wells after finally relenting and buying Harbors of the sun as ebook (usually I hold out for an audiobook). The Raksura books are really hard to describe but damn are they satisfying (they feature a spunky but emotionally wounded main character who constantly defies gender roles in order to help defend his newly found society).

    This was all prompted by reading Martha Well’s newest novella All Systems Red (the murderbot diaries), about an AI who would have gone on a killing spree if they had not discovered soap operas….

        1. I was severely disappointed at the ending–I didn’t want it to end! Five months to the next part…

  23. I had a sudden desire to reread Patricia Wrede’s books. There is the letter game between Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer which produced Sorcery and Cecelia for Regency buffs and who can resist The Enchanted Forest Chronicles with Princess Cimorene who volunteers to be a dragon’s princess instead of being kidnapped like a proper princess. There are also all the Lyra novels and Mairelon the Magician. I’ve been having a great time!

  24. Was it someone on this list who recommended Mick Herron and ‘Slow Horses’? If so, thank you! I’ve just finished it – a story of the spies from MI5 who have blotted their copy books severely enough to be shoved off to Slough House, where it is hoped the boredom of having nothing to do will make them resign. Dry humour and unexpected heroes. I’m off to read the next one, ‘Dead Lions’.

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