This is a Good Book Thursday: The Infernal Edition

I’m reading The History of Hell.  Next up: Inventing Hell.  If anybody ever looks at my Amazon buying history, they’re gonna get an exorcist.  (I highly recommend the Dictionary of Demons if you’re looking for demon names, although they’re Euro-centric, so you’ll have to go farther afield for other cultures.)

So what are you reading?


69 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday: The Infernal Edition

  1. Recently someone recommended The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison. I’m on the last third, so far it has been just wonderful.

    1. I only wish the author would write another in the same universe. I don’t see her continuing this as a series — it definitely seems like a standalone to me — but That Universe!

  2. I feel like it has to have been recced here, but I really enjoyed “A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn. A historical mystery with lots of romantic elements, it reminded me a lot of Amelia Peabody.

  3. I like Mishell Baker’s Arcadia Project series. I just read the third book, Imposter Syndrome. Disabled heroine joins a project in which people work with fairies. Very cool.

  4. I finished “All Creatures Great and Small” by James Herriot that I was still reading last week, it was indeed a very relaxing read. I’m now concidering picking up the second book, “All Things -bright and Beautiful” to have as between-books-read.

    Day before yesterday I started reading “The Viking’s Bride” by James and Aasne Daniels (mainly because the narrator [Luke Daniels] reading it is one of my absolute favourites and he promoted the book on his Twitter – the authors are his brother and sister-in-law). It’s… OK, I guess, and Luke’s narration definitely makes it readable, but I can’t help being annoyed by the CONSTANT mentioning of the woman protagonists physical attributes. Even in situations that has nothing to do with her body as such the authors can’t keep themselves from mentioning how full her lips are, how full and soft her breasts are, how slim her waist, how flat her belly and so forth. The non-stop pointing to the perfection of this creature bugs the heck out of me. But I’m already halfway through it so then I can just as well finish it.

    I’m in dire need of comfort reads though – any suggestions, anyone? I need something that can cheer me up while carrying this load of Mount Everest-sized stones on my shoulders and heart. Loads of thanks in advance for any comfort-read-ideas!

    1. Terry Pratchett always picks me up. It’s not romance, although there are great romantic subplots in Thief of Time, The Truth, and Going Postal, and the subplot romance in Guards! Guards! continues through the Watch mysteries he wrote so you get a portrait of a good marriage in the background.

      If you like funny revenge (her husband throws her off a cruise ship), try Carl Hiassen’s Skinny Dip.

      Regencies? Georgette Heyer’s The Talisman Ring. I’ve been rereading a lot of Heyer lately, and some of her romances do not hold up, but she’s good, she’s great.

      There’s more, but my mind is foggy from waking up to shovel snow. Let me cogitate.

      1. Pratchett! I did think of him indeed, I’m very much in love with the Death-books, the Witches-books and somehow I’ve developed a crush on Sam Vimes in the later guard-books. Maybe I should revisit Discworld, then.

        I will also check out the other books – thank you so so so much for recommending them!

        Good luck with the snow-shovelling – At least it’ll get you warm. And have some chocolate. You’ve definitely deserved it.

    2. The Blue Castle with L.M. Montgomery! Very old -fashioned, but I look for that in my comfort reads.

    3. I like Sarah Addison Allen. Her books are mostly about relationships between women: Mother to daughter, sisters, friends, etc. And then there is a larger theme, loving yourself, forgivness, and so on. Always a romance subplot, which makes me happy but it is pretty gentle. Oh and magic. Her characters just accept odd abilities a fact of life. Her first book, Garden Spells, is similar to Practical Magic, but gentler and set in the South. I like that one, The Sugar Queen, and Lost Lake the best, but they are all well crafted, pleasant reads.

      1. I have read Garden Spells and First Frost already 🙂 And I really liked them. Somehow books with positive sort-of-food-related stories (Bet Me, for instance!) makes me feel good. Which is interesting since I’ve got some weird eating-disorder…

        I will check out more of her books, thanks for the encouragement!

    4. I hesitate to call anything Pratchett-esque, but T. Kingfisher’s books have been called that with more justification than most that get that adjective. They don’t have his extraordinary genius, but they do a good job with some elements of Pratchett stories — fantasy, unusual creatures (not your average vampires, etc.), adventure, wit, strong women, and in the Clocktaur War at least, a good bit of romance (while not skimping on the fantasy). Anyway, I’ve read the Nine Goblins (no romance) and the two books in the Clocktaur War duology. And I was really mopey when I read them, but they got me to forget about my moping for a bit.

      And also check out Lindsay Buroker’s books. I believe the first one — Emperor’s Edge — is permafree (or maybe 99 cents), and she’s got good, inexpensive bundles of her backlist if you like that first one. Strong female protagonists, witty repartee, a bit of romance (some series more than others). Most are fantasy, but there’s also some space opera. Some are more New Adult than I prefer, but there’s a lot to choose from. She also writes more romance-focused books under the name Ruby Lionsdrake.

    5. Sorry — I was trying to respond to you with some fun books, but it got un-nested and is below. TL:DR — T. Kingfisher and Lindsay Buroker.


      by Patrica Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

      Absolutely comfort reading!

      1. Oh yes! And have you read Caroline Stevermer’s solo work? College of Magics is one of my all time ever favorite books. I finished a reread of it earlier this year, and was remembering how much pleasure I got from it.

        1. Third!

          Also, for a charming memoir of a Victorian childhood set in Cambridge, Period Piece. You really need it in paper though as she illustrated it with woodcuts. Gwen Raverat was Charles Darwin’s granddaughter but he doesn’t appear.

    7. My comfort reads (besides Jenny–I just reread Trust Me On This and The Cinderella Deal) are a couple of British contemporary romance authors: Katie Fforde and Trisha Ashley. Reading their books makes me happy.

        1. I think Katie Fforde’s first three are by far her best; and the first is best of all (I think she must have been edited far more than she was later). They are: ‘Living Dangerously’, ‘The Rose Revived’ and ‘Wild Designs’.

          1. This seems to be a problem with a number of authors – their first few books are really well edited, with tight plots and no superfluous gunk, but their later ones aren’t. Not sure if it’s the decline in forensic editing generally, among publishing houses, or the possibility that when authors get successful, they stop listening to their editors.

    8. James Herriot always goes alongside Gerald Durrell in my head as comforting reads from my childhood. There’s some very out of date thinking but “My Family and Other Animals” can still be charming.

      Long way to a small angry planet is now a comfort read of mine, there’s tension and scary moments but it’s good for found family and cheerful loving people (some of whom have feathers).

      Lois Mcmaster Bujold is another comfort read.

    9. Try Elizabeth Cadell. Her romances are sweet and gently witty. Very old fashioned though.

    10. I have just been doing a comfort reread of Barbara O’Neal’s’ The Scent of Hours, The Lost Recipe for Happiness & How to Bake Perfect Life. Also as Barbara Samuel, her No Place Like Home & A Piece of Heaven. Barbara was a member of Argh/ReFab some years ago, which was when I first became aware of her books. They all make my reread shelf. I love the layers to her stories. My top 3 “take me down from the cliff top” books are 3 Cruise’s – Welcome to Temptation, Faking It & Agnes & the Hitman. I always reread them in the order I bought them, which was at a really challenging time. They made me laugh out loud at a time that didn’t think I had the capacity to find enjoyment in much at all. I couldn’t say how many times I have replaced them as printed books over the last 5 years. They are also my ‘care package’ books that I give to friends that are going through tough times. I hope things get easier for you soon.

  5. I am re-reading for the umpteenth time, A Rose in Winter by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. It is an all time favorite of mine. It is funny, witty and I’ve always been madly in love with Christopher. AND there is a man in a mask. I love men in masks. Don’t ask my why. Zorro, Phantom, Iron Man. But it is a wonderful book.

    1. Men in masks, huh? Maybe it’s the thrill of the unknown that catches you? 😉
      I’ll peek in on Goodreads and check that book out, sounds interesting. Funny and witty books are definitely my cup of tea!

  6. I haven’t read A Rose in Winter in forever. I’ve been going back and forth between courtroom thriller drama and detective drama. This week I read The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard about a woman reassigned to a para military group from her communications job in DC. It was take the job or quit. Because we don’t have enough Seals/Army Rangers and what not. The second was Hollywood Assassins an alphabet series thriller by MZ Kelly about a divorced detective and her partner, her dog Bernie and British best friend Natalie (Natalie has no filter) trying to solve a cold case. Of course they get into trouble. This was the better of the two. In transit from the library is JA Jance’s, Ali Reynolds series Duel to the Death. Lately everyone has to try to take down the cartel there are no more simple murder mysteries or jewel heists. For in between the mayhem I have SEP’s Nobody’s Baby But Mine.

    1. I just started The Woman Left Behind with some misgivings. I really enjoy a lot of her books to the point of revisiting them frequently, but the ones I don’t like I despise with a vengeance. How was it?

      1. I feel like I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming into this new era of kick ass heroines. Granted Jina was not a quitter and was not going to let the guys get the best of her, but for over half the book it was about her training. I skip read some of the book until I got to the last few chapters just to get to the end. I like my Jenny characters and my SEP characters, you guessed it, quirky with heart.

    2. I read the Howard book this week, too. It was kind of…meh. There was an antagonist, but you forget that person exists when not in the two or three villain POV scenes. Not that a little of the training wasn’t interesting, but it did get repetitive. Especially since the cover copy refers to a mission like it’s the whole plot. So expectations were kind of an issue there. I liked her previous and somewhat related book, Troublemaker, better. There’s a really adorable dog in that one.

  7. I’m still rereading (feeling pretty nesh). I’m halfway through Nora Roberts’ ‘Born in . . . ‘ trilogy, which I bought when it first came out, under the pen-name Sarah Hardesty.

  8. I FINALLY FINISHED “The Path Between the Seas.” Which honestly? I would have loved if he had turned the 300 pages (what it felt like) about the failed French attempt to build the canal into a 20-page (max) prologue. There was just a whole lot of book where nothing really happened and I was learning way too much about people who didn’t accomplish the goal, and the financial shenanigans behind the whole thing.

    Tonight I plan to read a romance novel, to cleanse my palate.

  9. I just started The Woman Left Behind. I am not far enough in yet to know if it is going to be a lemon or not.

    And I am on Book 4 of the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs, which is great because my hold on book 5 should come in any day now.

    And I finished an Emma Holly book. She is a comfort smut read for me. She writes strong female characters with surprisingly loving, nurturing male counterparts. And a fair amount of sex. Her worlds always feel good to me, even when the characters are fighting bad guys.

  10. My comfort read when life gets to be too much for me in so many ways is to reread the entire Mitford series by Jan Karon. The latest book was even better than I had hoped for and continued the saga of Father Tim (episcopal priest) in the small town of Mitford, NC. It is charm personfied, filled with the little trials of every day life from moles wrecking havoc on the lawn to a dog who will grab your heart. The audio books are read by a wonderful man who captures voices and makes the books come to life. I’ve laughed out loud and grabbed a box of kleenex with these books – but they always lift my spirits.

    Also love all of L M Montgomery’s books – starting with the 8 books in the Anne of Green Gables series to Emily of New Moon, and all the other Avonlea tales along with her stand alone books. Considered to be children’s literature, they never fail to thrill me.

    Bet Me is also another “go to book” when life becomes too awful for words (school shootings, etc). I love a book when the most evil element is a Krispy Kreme donut!

  11. The Wanted, Robert Crais. I’ve stayed with Elvis Cole and Joe Pike from the first book onward. Snarky humor reminds me of another favorite author. Action forward, and when pause for thought and emotion comes, it feels naturally placed. Highlight was two hugs, the first between adolescent males as the means to repairing their ruptured friendship, and the second between two adult males in celebration and thanksgiving each has survived.

    1. I have some Robert Crais books but haven’t read them yet, a couple of stand-alone books and I think the first Elvis Cole. Can I skip around on the Cole/Pike books if I want to, or is it better to go in order?

      1. You can skip around the early ones, but the more recent ones (last ten years?) I wouldn’t recommend without some of the early ones. Elvis Cole is one of my favorite detectives.

  12. In an attempt to better my German, I’m reading the first Harry Potter in German. I don’t recommend it. It may be my addlepated translation, but J.K. Rowling now ‘sounds’ like Angela Merkel narrating economics.

    1. At least they didn’t insert unauthorised soup adverts into the text, unlike Terry Pratchett’s german publisher 🙂

      I’m too tired to even comfort read, scanning good books blog and telling myself soon, I’ll read something new soon

  13. Today I managed to write almost 3000 words and listen to part of a Heyer mystery without falling asleep in a chair, so I’m feeling pretty good about myself now. Unlike the comment I wrote on yesterdays Working Wednesday this morning. Today was the day from Hell at work, but I still came home and wrote. Good on me!

  14. I just finished reading a funny, clever contemporary romance called Sweet Tea and Sympathy by Molly Harper. I’d read her years ago when she was writing humorous paranormals, and I just loved this new book. Highly recommended.

  15. One of my “new” favorite mystery/romance series is the Annie Szaboo series by Meredith Blevins. There are 3 books in the series, featuring a free lance widowed main character with grown children and an outrageous gypsy mother in law. I find these books interesting because they offer a different world and characters that are fun and believable.

  16. I read The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers. Very well written and an interesting story, it wasn’t labeled as Christian romance but about one third of the way in it did become that. It was a little heavy on the religious aspects, at least for me, but such a good story I pushed through. Not sorry I did.

  17. Bellwether by Connie Willis.

    Very different from her books like To Say Nothing of the Dog, Doomsday Book or Blackout/All Clear. For one thing, it’s set in present day (actually 1995, when it was written) Colorado. For another, there’s no real magic or fantasy, apart from a suggestion of a fairy godmother.

    But this story of two researchers whose projects get combined has humor, romance, sheep, while taking a sarcastic look at life in a corporate think tank. A very satisfying read.

    1. I love Bellwether. The stuff about trends was fascinating especially as some of it played out among the supporting characters.

    2. I love Bellwether. Also, To Say Nothing of the Dog is my ultimate comfort read. It always makes me smile!

  18. OMG I took a class called The History of Hell back in college! The professor had published a particular theory on the geography of hell that was super interesting, and he went through all the various incarnations of how various religions approached the concept of hell, and traced how one religion’s concept influenced others. I think I still have my term paper around here somewhere …

  19. I’ve been rereading Diana Wynne Jones’ Dalemark quartet – Crown and Cwidder, Drowned Ammet, The Spellcoats and The Crown of Dalemark. Hadn’t read it for years, and it’s a delightful series.

    Also Planesrunner, by Ian McDonald – I think someone on here might have recommended it. I loved this – it’s YA alternate worlds/scifi, beautifully written with great world development and terrific characters. This is the first in a series – off to find the second.

  20. Elizabeth Cadell – I am really dismayed that there are a finite number of these books. They were the first successful amazon recommendation for me ever.

    Anne Bishop’s Others series. I just finished Silence Lake and it was great. Also the audio versions are very good, which is so unusual.

  21. You wonderful people! (I hope it’s OK I include all of you like this in one comment, lest I’d forget to mention someone!)

    Who needs comfort books with people like you around? <3 All your comments have been a wonderful comfort read. THANK YOU SO MUCH(!) for all the wonderful suggestions, and for taking the time to write them down. I have spent the last hour looking all of them up on Goodreads – some of them I already had on my to read-list, some I had never heard of but I'm very eager to read all of it. Everything sounds comforting and cheering to my ears. Now I only need to figure out with which book I should start… But it's a pleasant dilemma. I appreciate it very much, thanks to all of you!

    Spoiler alert: I finished The Viking's Bride. Luckily the obsessing over the female protagonists body more or less stopped after half of the book and it became slightly more interesting, but though it pains me to say it (because I love the narrator) I wouldn't recommend reading it. It's not worth your time. So just don't. But at least this means I can get my Audible credit back without feeling guilty about it.

    I've started to build a Comfort Reading-shelf on Goodreads, and while I was dropping Jenny's books into it I discovered I still hadn't marked Trust Me On This and Getting Rid of Bradley as read, though I KNOW I read them a couple of years ago…so I guess this means I have a very good reason to reread them. 😉

    Today has been a slightly better day, and you all have now given it a gilt edge. Thanks again and I wish all of you a wonderful weekend!

  22. Thank you to whoever recommended Alisha Rai’s Hate To Want You a few weeks ago. It reminded me of something that gets mentioned around here periodically: sex is easy, emotion is hard. The best, most satisfying parts of the story were when the protagonists actually took down the walls and talked to each other.

    I also read another Sarina Bowen, The Understatement Of The Year. It’s a m/m romance about teammates on a college hockey team. The more of her books I read, the more I’m impressed by the way she writes vulnerability.

    And Shass, an all time comfort read of mine is Splashdance Silver by Tansy Rayner Roberts. It’s a madcap fantasy adventure with pirates, witches, and profit scoundrels, and the incredibly slow-burn romance is a winner.

    1. Checked Splashdance Silver and it sounds very good indeed. Thanks for the tip! I have never really read much about pirates, maybe it’s time to do so…

      But first I’ll get my audible credit back so I can read at all! I very much doubt the Swedish Library for Braille- and Talking Books have any of above suggested books in store. (And should they, against all odds, have any of them they have probably decided to record them with a computerized Speech Synthesizer like they did with the English version of Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. I couldn’t convincec myself to read a so-many-hours-book like that.)

  23. The best books I read this week were
    1) The Lost Plot which is the 4th in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series. Just as good as the previous ones. I love this series and especially Irene the action librarian.
    And 2) The Heiress of Linn Hagh which is the first of Karen Charlton’s Regency set Lavender mysteries. Slightly slow starting but I became completely gripped. These are not set in the polite society we are used to from Regency Romance but go to much darker grittier places and way away from London – in this case in the raw North East.

  24. Currently re-reading Amanda Quick aka JAK trilogies. Read the Lavinia and Tobias trilogy then the Vanza trilogy. About to look for what’s next. I usually don’t like historicals but JAK and Anne Stuart I love anything they write.

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