60 thoughts on “This Is a Good Book Thursday, July 5, 2018

  1. I really liked “Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It was recently made into the movie “Love, Simon.” A YA love story (and a coming out story) with lots of good friendships and side characters and love emails and secret identities! Even though I accidentally spoiled myself for who Simon’s secret admirer was.

    I feel like Becky Albertalli is one of those YA authors that tries to give her books a lot of “texture” for lack of a better word. Her worlds feel lived in and real.

  2. New reading is the Percy Jackson series. I’m on book 2. Target audience is kids so they’re interesting but I’m not finding them very suspenseful. But my daughter enjoyed them a lot and is very happy that I’m reading them.

    Re-reading is the Rivers of London series. I’m on Hanging Tree.

  3. Inhaled the new Ilona Andrews, Iron and Magic, which was very good. Now bouncing around trying to settle into something else.

    1. Reading that right now!

      I just finished Outcast by Adrienne Kress. Very interesting premise about how angels just take people from a town every year and one year a girl shoots one… Though it’s not a romantic HEA and I think that shocks everyone.

    2. Do I need to (or is it better to) read the Kate Daniels books first? I haven’t gotten to those yet, but the Iron and Magic excerpt really hooked me, so I was considering just going straight to that. On the other hand, it’s a trilogy, so I could wait until all the books are out and read the Daniels series in the meantime. Suggestions?

      1. I haven’t read the new book, so I can’t answer your “which should I read first” question. But I can tell you that sometimes waiting for all the books in a series to come out before starting to read means…not enough sales for the first one, so the series never gets finished. It’s an unfortunate reality in publishing. If you think you’re going to love a book, buy it! (Or get it from your library.)

        1. This is so true. I loved Violette Malan’s Dhulyn and Parno series and it was cancelled after 4 books because the sales weren’t good enough. I highly recommend them as stand alones. There is a story and character arc but the story of each one is dominant enough that they are still satisfying out of sequence.

      2. I haven’t read Iron & Magic yet either, but from what I understand, it will help to know the characters’ backstory, which happens in the Kate Daniels series, before tackling I & M. And I’m not sure how I’d feel about reading this character in Kate Daniels AFTER he’s been redeemed in I&M. It might be weird. Because he’s seriously bad in the Kate Daniels series.

      3. From the Ilona Andrews team, their suggestion on the reading order fo the Iron & Magic trilogy is: Iron & Magic, Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10), Iron Magic 2, and Iron Magic 3. I have read all of the Kate Daniels series as they were released. I suspect it would be a richer experience to read at least some of the Kate Daniels titles before reading the finale. My two cents!

      4. It’s better to read the series first, absolutely. This is definitely a spin off book, and things will be much clearer if you have a working knowledge of the KD-verse. And there are so many of them, including novellas and alternate character novels, that you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied.
        Ilona Andrews is the only other author blog I read on the reg, because I’ve yet to read anything of theirs I didn’t like.

      5. It sounds like reading the Daniels books first would mean getting more out of Iron and Magic. Thanks for the help 🙂

        1. Those books are definitely interlocking and in the same world. I think the events are set to effect other books.

          One really nice thing about Ilona Andrews is that if they say it will be a trilogy, then there will be three books. If the publishing house drops the title, then they will finish the series via self-publishing. 🙂

          They have some stand-alones and shorter series, if you want to dip a toe in first.

  4. Just got my hands on The Letters of Dorothy L. Sayers, 1899-1936, the Making of a Detective Novelist. I’m up to 1918. An intriguing look into another life and time (my favourite kind of reading).

    1. I must find it! I love collected letters, even of people I know nothing about, more so when I do.

      I’m reading Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road, after finishing the previous two books (was she recommended here, or somewhere else? Anyway, she’s good: dragons and young-women-coming-of-age.)

      I’m also re-reading everything of Melissa Scott’s that I or the library own, which is pitifully little.

      1. Good, the library has the Sayers letters and I have a request in. (The library apparently acquired it while I was living out of state for many years, or I’d have noticed it sooner.)

      2. You should read Julia Child’s letters to her best friend: As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto: Food, Friendship, and the Making of a Masterpiece. I’m not a cook and I loved this book. I also really like books of collected letters.

  5. Still(!) travelling Discworld.

    Finished “The Last Continent”. I really have a thing for the wizards. <3

    Re-read Maskerade. I think it's the 3rd or 4th time I've read it (first time in English, however), so I guess I should take the time to read Phantom of the Opera sometime… instead of walking 'round the house singing: "The phaaaaaaaaaantom of the opera is heeeeeere…..inside your miiiind!"…
    Opinions about Phantom of the Opera, anyone? Is it worth reading?

    Re-read Carpe Jugulum. The complexity of people is so well explained in that book. And the doubts of even the most faithful believer, that no matter how devoted you are to the things you believe in, there is always room for doubt. And, even more importantly, room for reappraisal of what you believe, if you're willing to step away from what you've learned and look at things differently.
    And Igor. <3 And Thcrapth… sorry, Scraps. <3 <3 <3

    Started re-reading The Fifth Elephant. Have spent so much time with Nigel Planer last months that it feels weird to have Stephen Briggs reading now. And I really love his narration, too, so it's just a question of getting used to him again.

    Have started to feel that it's time for something else soon, so dived in among the English library books yesterday and realized how much English fantasy the library actually has nowadays. Unfortunately, a lot of it is read by Swedish narrators doing their best with the English, and…urgh, I can't stand that. If I'm reading English books, I want a "real" English-speaking person to narrate it. The flow and melody of the language isn't really the same if it isn't your first language, even if the pronounciation is good. And the Swedish Talking-book Library does, unfortunately, apparently not think good narration is as important as the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People, UK) does, which makes me less eager to choose their books. Luckily I found some RNIB-produced books too. Now I only have to decide which one I will pick…

    1. I enjoyed Phantom at the Opera enough that I bought a copy of it in my teens/early twenties. I haven’t reread it recently, I admit.

      1. I just read the Goodreads description of the book and just have to ask: They describe it as gothic horror – Would you place it in the category horror?

        I ask because my imagination is hm… a bit too vivid for my own good, and I tend to avoid horror as a genre (books, movies, games, you name it) because I know I’m a master at freaking myself out. (“And then there were none” by Agatha Christie kept me binge-reading it in one go simply because I didn’t dare stop(!) [and that one isn’t even horror-classified…], and I had nightmares for weeks simply because I KNEW(!) Fiancé was reading Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist, because some of the scenes in that book really creeped me out. I regretted reading it after the first chapter, but didn’t dare put that one down either… I’m such a hero. Not.) So which level horror is The Phantom of the Opera?

        1. I don’t know; I didn’t get far with the English translation I tried–it was very !translation!–and my French isn’t good enough to read through it when I don’t care much. I usually like really clichéd late 19th C. novels, no matter how badly written, but a bad translation (even from a language I don’t know) will put me off instantly.

  6. I just got The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang this morning from my library. It comes highly recommended by Nalini Singh, who is one of my favorite comfort writers. I am excited!

  7. I just BURNED through Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland, in mere days, and that hasn’t happened in a while. The setting is that of the zombie apocalypse occurring at the Battle of Gettysburg, which results in the Union and the Confederacy creating a truce to deal with it all, which allows racist atrocities to continue in the name of survival. The book is set from the point of view of a teenage black girl 15 or so years later, on the cusp of the balance in the fight against the “shamblers” tipping for the worst. Great characters, great prose, unflinching world-building. Highly recommend.

  8. Reading Agatha Christie at the moment, The Mysterious Affair At Stylites Arms.

    Comfort reads: bits of Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn series and the Westcott series, Agnes and the Hitman, or any Crusie book when I can’t sleep.

    Also, started The Sisters, The Saga of the Mitford Family.

  9. A friend of mine just returned my copy of The Alchemist. So I’m on a re-read. Apart from the introduction to self-knowledge aspects, it’s simply a lovely novel.

  10. Thanks to whoever recommended Dr. Siri Paiboun Series by Colin Cotterill. The premise did not sound hopeful (mystery series, 1970’s Laos, spirits, Siri is in his mid-70’s) but the writing is excellent, the characters are interesting, the humor is good. I was on a wait list for the first one forever but I liked them so much that I skipped over the second one because I was also wait-listed and went to the next one that was available. I have read 4 this week and I am still going strong.

      1. Well, thank you again, Lian. It is great discovering a new author to add to my list of must be read books.

  11. I’ve introduced a dear friend to your books, Jenny, and we’re currently reading, “Welcome to Temptation”. (I’ve really missed this book. Hadn’t revisited it in a few years.)

    Nothing but good times ahead.

  12. Killer headache, so I neglected to notice the IV stand. I wish you IV free great health for many years to come.

  13. Books of DLS and Julia Child’s letters to add to my TBR list! Thanks y’all.

    I’m reading nonfiction for work but it’s good – Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella. Next week I’m working out of the office so I’m off to the library tonight to get some pleasure reads to take with me.

  14. This seems to be a year of comfort reads. I’m rereading one of my all-time favorites, Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart.

    Also working my way through the Edwardian mysteries by M.C. Beaton. She has a very simple writing style which I quite like. I don’t remember enjoying her contemporary mysteries as much, but her historicals are entertaining and comfortable to read.

    Also reading another in the Charles Lenox series by Charles Finch. They’re slow and serious, have good mystery plots, and are full of interesting info about the Victorian Era in England.

  15. I’m mostly sleeping and writing again, although P.G. Wodehouse is factoring in when I’m driving. I love Hugh Lowery as Wooster and – oh lord I’ve lost his name… Stephen Fry as Jeeves. So am pleased to be reading other stories. light and fun. Everything I need. Thanks for reminding me, Jenny!

  16. I’m reading (have given up reading) “The Whole Town’s Talking” by Fannie Flagg. A friend gave it to me and said she loved it. I’m finding it beyond boring, no plot and certainly no conflict, at least so far, and I’m halfway through, although I understand there’s a murder in it eventually and I think the murderer gets away with it. But enough is enough. I hadn’t read anything by Flagg before, but I did see the movie that was made from “Fried Green Tomatoes” and enjoyed it, so I thought I might like this. But no.

  17. Finishing the last of the Patrick Melrose novels At Last, by Edward St Aubyn. It’s the slowest of them. We’ve now seen episodes 1 & 2 of the TV adaptation with Benedict Cumberbatch playing Melrose. They are autobiographical fiction, beautiful prose and very dark. Was determined to read the books before seeing the TV episode, and will manage this.

    Meanwhile also have great historical romp on the go, The Best of Men by Claire Letemendia https://www.claireletemendia.com/the-best-of-men-option

    I’m really enjoying it, although I wish I was reading a physical book rather than the e-book.

  18. Over the weekend I finished The Q by Beth Brower. I saw it recommended on another site I visit and thought it looked intriguing. It’s only available as an ebook which is a bit disappointing as I like to purchase hardcover versions of books I really like. It’s set in Victorian times with the main character Quincy running a sort of newspaper but it’s only for questions not news. It’s called the Q (hence the title). The owner, Quincy’s guardian, has died and Quincy has to satisfy 12 conditions in order to inherit the paper. The only problem, the lawyer in charge of making sure she meets the conditions cannot tell her anything about them. It was different and intriguing and I liked it a lot, even if it didn’t end exactly as I thought it would.

  19. I just finished The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman. It is a prequel to Practical Magic (which astonishingly, I haven’t read, although I intend to remedy that immediately). Just lovely.

  20. I’m still working my way through the back issues of Heart’s Kiss, and there are a lot of great short stories in there! A special shout-out to Laura Resnick, who sometimes hangs out around here. I really enjoyed the Galatea serialization, and loved the ending. So Greek-mythic!

  21. I read and really enjoyed The Unfinished Clue by Heyer. I read the first half of Why Shoot a Butler? by Heyer and did not like it. In both I figured out the killer by the hallway point but only the first was fun enough to stay with the characters.

    The first essay in We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby was fun and bodes well for the rest.

  22. After fruitlessly waiting for the library to buy Alisha Rai, I finally broke down and bought Hurts to Love You. I am already halfway through and am finding it a perfect distraction from the miserable heat and humidity.

  23. I read Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews. Twice.

    Then I read Sarah MacLean’s latest, which was enjoyable, but did not blow my socks off.

    And I read the second in the Crimson Storm series by Yumimori Wilson. I’m really intrigued by the world she set up, but I’m having some major characterization issues with the second book. I’m just shy of throwing the e-book series against the digital wall.

  24. I’m late to the party because I was desperately trying to finish “Maybe This Time” around a busy day-job day and a minor league baseball game in the evening. Absolutely loved it, in part (I suspect) because of my fondness for “The Innocents,” the ’61 film adaptation of “The Turn of the Screw.” Thank you, Jenny, for fixing it so well!

    That’s the last of the “feature length” solo Crusie fiction I hadn’t yet read. (I’d skipped “Hot Toy” since it was just a shorty.) On to the collaborations!

  25. I’ve been rereading The Steerswoman and the following books by Rosemary Kirstein – while they start out sounding like classic swords and sorcery, they are not, and there are a lot of clues to the alternatives. Also there are some very very clean descriptions of a wildly alien world. Theoretically the next couple of books are coming out in the next year or so, but honestly the rereading is such a pleasure I don’t mind doing it again.

  26. Finished the second in the Robert Galbraith series about Brit detective Cormorant Strike. Set in the publishing world, so satire, comedy and I suspect scores being settled built around a horrific murder of an unsavory character. Range of character types portrayed, varied London and country scenes, growth of protagonists. I think I detect the development of a crew. Love me some crew. Great fun, and I’m going after the series third.

    Skimmed through an unsatisfactory Brit police procedural. Too straight chronology, bare dialog, slant toward telling not showing, and protags uninvolving. This was the author’s 2oth book. Somewhere in the line she should have learned to write. Went back into the library bag.

  27. Since I enjoyed the Twelve Houses series by Sharon Shinn, I decided to try another of hers, and am now halfway through a book called “Troubled Waters,” which felt like a standalone, but which I since learned was #1 in a series that’s likely to be of 5 parts, given the elaborate numeric and elemental structure she’s given her imagined world.

    What I’ve liked about it is the very slow and interesting way she’s had her protagonist emerge from pauper/refugee into a powerful status. I don’t know if I’ll stick with the series while I wait for others to be published, but for now, it’s a comforting world to spend some time in.

    1. There have been 4 published so far in that series. I found the first one to be the strongest. And while I can barely remember it the second was pretty good. While the last two were okay, I am not tempted to read anymore.

    2. Royal Airs, Jeweled Fire, Unquiet Land, and a short story? have already been published. I’ve re-read them so many times I really have to scrape up the money to buy them.

  28. I have Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews in the car’s CD player. It’s entertaining fluff and I am in the mood for fluff.

  29. I’m reading Heartless. I’ve been a Rohan fangirl from the start (Ruthless is my favorite–there is no one like Elinor & Frances). I can’t for the life of me remember Charles, the uptight brother though. I’m going to have to reread the series. This is not a bad thing.

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