This is a Good Book Thursday, May 3, 2018

May is Get Caught Reading Month.  No idea why you have to get caught, reading is not generally an activity that’s illegal or done with others, so it’s pretty much you and the cat-and-or-dog, and they’re sleeping, so they don’t care.  Still, it’s important to observe the holidays, so what did we just catch you reading?



67 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 3, 2018

  1. Lunch in Paris: A Love Story, with Recipes by Elizabeth Bard. I’ve got one chapter to go. It is delightful. Part memoir, part love story, part fish out of water, part cook book.

    A New Yorker living in London meets a Frenchman and moves to Paris. Threaded through the book are meals that she has eaten or prepared and at the end of the chapter there are the recipes of those meals. The recipes sound delicious and look to be achievable.

    My friends and I used to take turns having dinner parties that featured the cuisine of a particular country. We tried Hungarian, Turkish, French and Italian then it kind fizzled out when people began having kids. I’m inspired to start them up again.

  2. I am reading Lord Peter Wimsey short stories for the zillionth time. They are great to re-read at bedtime.

    I read Cotillion and loved it. (Best Heyer romance characters so far!) But gave up on Regency Buck halfway thru afterwards . After Freddy and Kitty,(and Dolph and Hannah, and Olivia and Camille) the characters just annoyed me. I

    I just checked out Tiffany Haddish’s memoir, The Last Black Unicorn. I’ve read good things about it and she is delightful so I have high hopes.

    And on my Kindle, no one can tell what I’m reading.

    1. Regency Buck was not one of my favorites. Give Sylvester or the Wicked Uncle; Fredericka; Sprig Muslin; or The Talisman Ring a chance. I forgot nod them all quite amusing (there are others too, this is what I thought of off the top of my head).

  3. I’m reading “The Duchess Wars” by Courtney Milan, “Death in White Tie” by Ngaio Marsh. I’ve had a lot of dnfs lately, but I feel cautiously optimistic as I’ve loved books by Milan and enjoyed some by Ngaio Marsh.

    Honestly, I wouldn’t want to get caught reading the Saga graphic novel series by my kids (9 and 5, respectively). They loooove comic books and this one is way too explicit. Explicit violence, explicit sex, explicit everything. I check it out of the library and hide it from them, like a twelve year old sneaking romances (I didn’t really have to do that to often, my mom was pretty chill).

    However, if I had choose something for them to sneak read to satisfy curiosity when they get older :-), it could be something a lot worse. The sex is explicit, but it represents a diversity of sexualities, races, genders, personal preferences, etc. This a space opera about aliens/nonhumans, so when I say it’s diverse, I mean *really* diverse.

    At the core of it, there is a loving, committed couple from different species and different sides of a war, raising a child. They go through ups and downs, but have stuck it out so far. I like that.

    There is also lots of violence, but they don’t shy away from the consequences of violence. People die, other people are marked and changed by it, some suffer what could be called ptsd.

    Maybe I start casually leaving it around when they’re about 12? 😉

    1. Death in a White Tie is one of my favourites of Ngaio Marsh’s. I’m just re-reading A Surfeit of Lampreys at the moment.

  4. I have just started ‘A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn. It is the first in the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series. Set in the 1880’s, Veronica lives a non-conventional single life and gets caught up in solving cases, starting with her own when she is almost kidnapped. So far only 2 chapters in but think it is going to be a very fun read. Can’t remember if it was recommended here or not, but if it was – Thank You!

  5. I’m rereading The All You Can Eat Dream Buffet by Barbara O’Neal. I really enjoyed it the first time a couple years ago. I’m rereading all my books to make sure I still want them and I am definitely keeping this one. Engaging characters and just feel good without too much fluff.

    1. That’s funny, I just reread the 5 of hers that I have. My first was The Lost Recipe of Happiness, and that might be my fave. How to Bake a Perfect Life is up there, though.

    2. Yay, so excited there are other fans of her stuff! I just finished my re-read and loved it again. Definitely a keeper.

      1. She wrote other books under the names Barbara Samuels and Ruth Wind. Some of those are really lovely too.

  6. Sometimes I veer towards the edgier side of romance. This time around I chose to read Because Of You By Jessica Scott about a nurse, Jen, who has had a mastectomy and is a breast cancer survivor and her meeting up with a soldier, a sergeant, Shane, the night before he is deployed to Iraq. The story takes place in 2007 and picks up when he is returned injured to the hospital where she works. Jessica does not pull any punches because she maybe an author but is also a army officer and has seen duty in Iraq. I like when the story becomes just confrontational enough she’ll throw in a character, Vic, also injured but with enough chutzpah you wonder why he hasn’t been bounced out of the army for his wisecracks bordering on insubordination. She must know her stuff. I liked the book so much I went ahead and bought the sequel Anything For You about Jen and Shane’s story, a novella, and the risk involved if Jen is to become pregnant and Shane’s deciding to have a vasectomy and not tell his wife. Of course she finds out when she sees the paperwork. Also I came across Vic’s story and bought his too. And then it will be back to Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Breathing Room and J. Crusie’s , Tell Me Lies, which I am number 8 on the wait list.

    1. Oh, wow, I love Breathing Room, too. And This Heart of Mine. Crap, you all are gonna make me dig through boxes to find my copies, aren’t you?! Don’t throw me in that briar patch…it’s down Alice’s rabbit hole and I won’t emerge for years.

  7. I’m reading and listening to The Hobbit. It’s quite fun. But I’m suffering from the “another book became available at the library” dilemma. Leah on the Offbeat became available, and I’m itching to start reading it. It’s the sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

  8. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was recommended here and it sounded good. Read it and I love it.

    1. Just finished re-reading this after seeing the movie. Such a good book. They did a good job with the movie but the book is better 🙂

  9. I just got Joanna Bourne’s Beauty Like the Night. I haven’t started it yet, but am very much looking forward to it. Her stories remind me of the Scarlet Pimpernel, which I haven’t read in years, but lots of intrigue, spies, and a gentler form of romance compared to current standards.

    1. I first discovered Joanna Bourne from a recommendation here and have now read them all, sometimes twice.

  10. I just finished White Rose, Black Forest, by Eoin Dempsey. Set in December 1943, in Germany. Internal resistance group, White Rose, have mostly been executed but Franka survives. She stumbles across an unconscious man in an SS uniform, he’d parachuted into the deep snow and she drags him to the family cabin. Then she hears him mumble in English and wonders who he really is. An interesting story.

  11. I finished “Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War,” which was really good if you’re looking for a near-future military thriller. All too plausible, economically written, with just enough characterization among the various theatres to keep you invested. By P.W. Singer and August Cole. Scary and sad but with a “happy” ending. (It’s about a war, so … .)

    Also last week I read a Georgian romance that I really enjoyed – put me in mind of Patricia Veryan: “The Parfit Knight” by Stella Riley. It was so good, I immediately downloaded the 2nd and put the others on my wishlist.

  12. Dread Nation, YA about a young mixed-race woman fighting zombies after the Civil War. It’s so good. It’s less action, more about the political climate.

  13. I read the screenplay for “The Cursed Child” which is about Harry Potter’s 2nd child trying to figure out who and what they are while having a famous parent. My not quite 10 year old brought it home from the school library.

    I’d been waiting for a novelization of it but she wasn’t going to wait.

  14. I decided to reread ‘Once Upon a Marquess’ and the three novellas/short stories after it before reading the new one, ‘After the Wedding’ (Courtney Milan). Glad I did, because the first one came out in 2016, and I’d forgotten a lot of the detail. I was struck this time by the C21 American voice she too often uses. With anyone else this would make me give up, but she’s such a good storyteller that it’s a minor irritation. Anyway, they’re all good, and the new one is great.

    I finished it during my sleepless night on Tuesday, and started Nora Roberts’ latest, ‘Year One’, which is another dark magic trilogy (these are never keepers for me; I borrow them from the library), this time really apocalyptic. Which was rather comforting: put my small catastrophe in context. Although the ‘evil’ stuff got unreadable for me as it went on: as usual, I skimmed those bits. I found this trilogy opener more unsatisfying than usual, because she introduces such a large cast of characters and leaves nearly all of them dangling. Wish she’d written it as one book instead.

    1. Her trilogies are more miss than hit for me the last few years.

      1. Totally agree. I mostly don’t read them anymore because they are so formulaic with the three sisters being essentially the same characters over and over again.

        I like her In Death books and used to own them and buy them as they were published. I passed them on and now just get them from the library but I still enjoy the characters and the development (character & plot building) over time. She also does an amazing job of remembering minor plot points & details. (Or her editor does – regardless, the end result is enjoyable.)

    2. I just finished “After the Wedding,” which started out deadly slow for me, but picked up and finished well. Yes on the 21st century voice, yes on the good storyteller.

      I read Year One when it came out last year and wasn’t super-thrilled – her dark magick stuff isn’t my favorite, and this didn’t have enough romance to make up for it. I’ll probably join you at the library for book 2.

  15. Sandy James, The Reluctant Amazon.

    Your heretofore latent amazonian powers are awakened, and unlike Bezos, you actually user them to do good.

    I had to snark. Am so mad at him.

    Book is good. Third person narrative. No cliffhanger. Possible series. Good romance.

  16. Currently more than halfway through rick Riordan’s latest: The Burning Maze, 3rd book in the Trials of Apollo series. It makes me smile and laugh and keeps me sane, so I wouldn’t mind at all being caught reading it. (But no one ever even knows I’m actually reading when I am reading, so the risk is approximately = 0 of being caught reading anything, no matter what it is. [With possible exceptions of books that make me blush while reading, but that doesn’t happen very often anymore. Not prudish enough 😉 ])

    Last time I dropped a comment on Book Thursday I was reading Bet Me. Read Faking it after that, then picked up Marian Keyes’ Sushi for Beginners, which is the only Keyes I have read more than once. Somehow it was a slow read this time though, and I caught myself feeling impatient more than once, but I’m happy I decided to go for the English original this time instead of the Swedish translation. It made for a new experience with a known story.

    On recommendation from here (I think), from the boyfriend to a friend of mine and from random guy on Twitter, I then read the first in Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files-series: Storm Front. I really liked it, will definitely read the rest of the series…just not right now.

    I started reading The Invisible Library by Genivieve Cogman after the Butcher-book (I don’t remember who recommended it here, but THANKS!), but put it on hold when Riordan’s book was released on May 1st. Will pick it up as soon as I’m done with The Burning Maze, for it has really caught my curiosity and I want to dig deeper into this world and plot. I just needed weird haikus and mortalized gods and demigods for a while.

    Thanks for extending my to read-lists to the next century. I don’t know how or when I will ever manage to read all these books, but I definitely enjoy discovering so many new books and authors.

  17. I seem to be reading mostly mysteries nowadays. Right now it’s the Lord and Lady Hetheridge stories by Emma Jameson. The first is Ice Blue. I’m on the fourth one now. They’re good, solid police procedurals. The three main characters have plenty of personal difficulties to go along with the murders they have to solve.

  18. Been reading more multiple things in series lately, Marisa de los Santos trilogy that starts with “love walked in”; the linesman books by S. K. Dunstall (re-read the first one, bought and read the second, just bought the third), had been re-reading the CS Harris St Cyr series, and just got two new ones for my birthday. Also re-reading essay collections by Dominick Dunne – make good travel reading because easy to read in short spurts.

  19. Found a new writer of historical (after WWI) humorous mysyeries. T. E. Kinsey is the author and the books & feature widowed Lady Hardcastle and her maid and good friend Flo. Lady Hardcastle’s late husband was a diplomat and she was a spy who had been recruited right out of Girton College. Back when they would let you study but not get a degree. Her husband was murdered before the books begin and she and Flo fled India, went through China and fell in with some Shaolin monks who taught them fighting skills. Flo grew up in a circus family. Their affection for each other is lovely and their banter makes you laugh. There are 3 books and an novella. They are: “A Quiet Life in the Country,” “In the Market for Murder,” the novella “Christmas as the Grange,” and “Death Around the Bend.”

  20. I’m reading Katherine Center. I absolutely loved her first book, The Bright Side of Disaster, which I read years ago. But somehow I didn’t follow through. I can’t remember if I read her second book and didn’t like it (that’s my vague memory, but I’m not sure, so I just ordered a copy and will try it now) or if she just fell off my radar. But I just read The Lost Husband and Happiness for Beginners, and adored them both. Currently reading Get Lucky.

    I’ll let you know next week how that second book turned out…

  21. Just finished Blue Balliet’s “Out of the Wild Night: A Ghost Story.” Her books are generally aimed at middle-grade readers; this one feels too old for that group. It lectures, it meanders, it layers in lots of characters…yet I got to one page that made the whole read worthwhile. Recommended if you like history, preservation, Nantucket, a bit of poetic prose, and of course ghosts.

  22. Gail Carriger is my new favorite paranormal steampunk author. Her Parasol Protectorate is witty and action packed and ever so British, darling. Dapper vampires, Scottish werewolves, a best friend with atrocious taste in hats, and a heroine with unfortunate Italian ancestry and no soul. It’s fantastic, truly.

      1. Broken record here, but Meljean Brook is my favorite Steampunk writer ever. It is my goal to spread her books to as many people as possible 🙂

        1. Big fan of MB, too. But most of the steampunk I’ve read has been serious; these are much more lighthearted.

    1. The names alone are worth the read: Hisselpenny, Broadwattle, Biffy, Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings. Not to mention Featherstonehaugh. It’s very hard to get your brain to read that as Fanshaw, no matter how many times you tell it to.
      And you will want tea whilst you are reading.

    2. I love Gail Carriger! I think I’m a bit behind with her latest series, I should add them to the towering pile next to my bed 🙂

      I’ve just finished The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty. Lovely big doorstop of a fantasy novel, with magic and djinn and what I expect to be a slow-burn romance. Can’t wait for the next one!

      I’ve just started Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft. Originally self published, it’s now been released by Orbit. It’s – strange. It sort of feels like a scarier adult Faraway Tree or maybe Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe a very stoned session of Dungeons and Dragons…

      Thomas Senlin, village headmaster, goes to the Tower of Babel with his new wife, and they get separated in the enormous crowd. So far he’s been robbed, almost had an enormous rock fall on him, ridden a very peculiar beer ride thingie – it’s quite surreal.

  23. I started reading Exit West – it’s about an unnamed couple in a country that is rapidly turning into a war zone. Normally I steer clear of the stuff with a high potential to break my heart, but I was waiting for my sister to buy some books and read the first page and got hooked by this sort of old-world fairy tale/ oral storytelling style of the narration. It feels distant and intimate all at once. We’ll see if it breaks my heart.

    I also ponied up and got a digital subscription to the New York Times – now if I realize I’m mindlessly surfing the internet in a way that is not actually relaxing or interesting me, I go click through the Times. There’s always something that’s interesting to read, and there’s a sort of mental peace that comes from reading a whole article with minimal ads to distract.

  24. Finished reading Mary Balogh’s new book, Someone to Care. The new series about the Westcott family. Lovely book. The series is a reversal of family fortunes and status. I do hope she writes some in your face dialogue with quizzing glasses to snotty members of the ton. Now I have to wait six months for the next book.

    Finished Skin Tight by Carl Hiaasen. That’s enough for now.

    Still listening to Agnes and the Hitman in the car. Now repeating some chapters out of order. Just because I want to hear certain dialogue again. Going to put that away and listen to Faking It after I listen to Dream.

    1. I’m just about to start the Mary Balogh and am glad to hear that it lives up to the rest of the series. I’ve been saving it for my train ride home.

    2. Love, love, love Agnes and the Hitman. Those two main characters are so great. As are some of the others – so entertaining.

      I really wish more secondary characters had gotten killed off though. It would have been worse in some ways but seriously having Agnes dispatch her nemesis with a frying pan would have been fine with me. Or “someone” making her disappear…

      1. The antagonist is in prison, wearing an orange jumpsuit that makes her skin look like leather, deprived of moisturizers and mimosas. Death would have been a step up.

        1. You’re totally right – definite poetic justice – but it was also very thrilling when the boat explodes.

        2. And yet, I assume, still trying to make trouble and get back what she considers her own.

  25. I’d call it a binge, but it’s more like a crawl: I’m working my way back through Deborah Crombie’s Kincaid/Jones mysteries. I have all of them, but I haven’t read the last 2 or 3. Not for any particular reason that I can think of, other than I haven’t been in the mood.

  26. Has anyone read “Arranged” by Catherine McKenzie? This review made me buy it: “Fans of Jennifer Weiner and Jennifer Crusie have found a new author to watch.” —Booklist Starred Review

    We’ll see if there’s any merit to it 😆

    1. I’m amazed anybody remembers me after all this time, let alone uses my name in a blurb.
      I read the sample. It’s good enough that I bought the book; little worried about the heroine’s anger that her exes all got married, but she’s not doing anything to them for it, and the voice is strong. I think I”m just not into heroines who want to get married.

      1. 😆😆
        So far, I find her less angry and more whiney than your heroines. But I’ve finally gotten to the point where she takes action, so we’ll see. Of course, this is when I had to put the book down and go get ready cause it’s time to be a mom and go to tball

    2. Ok, it got good towards the end. For a brief moment, that heroine was like Crusie heroines: lots of agency and anger. And then the book resolved and was done.

      It was a very ho hum, pleasant book, and the action at the end saved it from being dull

  27. Love Good Book Thursday, I always check here when I’m at a loss for something new or to be reminded of something I haven’t read in years. My contribution today is D L Carter’s Ridiculous promoted as identity theft Regency style. Not bad. The second one didn’t grab me though.

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