This Is a Good Book Thursday, August 16, 2018

I’ve decided that the end of summer is a good time to drink Diet Coke, sit in front of the air conditioner, and read.  I went through all the Gilberts I had on Kindle and went to get more only to find out that they’re no longer on Kindle at all, which was annoying, so I switched to Heyer mysteries.  Currently reading Stella and Randall, the amiable snake.  Stella could use some work, she’s a little weak at the knees, but Randall is a classic Heyer mystery hero, very much akin to Steven in Envious Casca and the guy in A Blunt Instrument. Enjoying myself immensely.

So what’s on your reading list this week?

76 thoughts on “This Is a Good Book Thursday, August 16, 2018

  1. I’m really enjoying the older Marcus Didius Falco mysteries. I know I read the first one “Silver Pigs” when it came out, but I don’t think I’ve read the rest. I’ve gone through “Venus in Copper” and “The Iron Hand of Mars.” Similar vibe to the Medicus series by Ruth Downie, which I adore. I read them all more for the characters, voice, and setting. My parents read them when they were coming out in the 90s and it sounds like the quality dropped off after a while. So we’ll see. I always hate not finishing a series, but I’m also not one to read something to the bitter end.

    Since I’m engrossed in all things “Emma” at present, I also recommend the Juliet Stevenson audio book version. Although the neighbors may have wondered about my jogging and giggling 😉

  2. I’ve just finished the three Hunger Games novels. I’d seen the movies but not read the books. They’re a rare instance of both the book AND the movie being great.

  3. I’m doing a massive Kate Daniels re-listen before the next (and last ) book comes out the week after next. I’m really enjoying it and picking up subtleties I had missed.

    The authors who make up the Ilona Andrews team often have quite good recommendations for books and I just consumed the entirety of their latest rec (Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone) in a single sitting. Jane the sociopath brings down great vengeance and I was totally here for it (plus there was a great cat).

      1. I just brought up Jane Doe on my kindle for my next read, looks like vengeance is in the works.

    1. I’m also re-listening to the Kate Daniels books. I’m on #4 now, but Audible UK doesn’t carry any of the later books. So after this one, I’ll switch back to print (which means no knitting while I read).

    2. Jane Doe has been on my Kindle since release day, but I’ve been in a different kind of mood lately, so haven’t gotten to it yet. With all the great reviews stacking up, I may have to move it higher in the to-be-read list, though.

    3. Hooray for more Jane love! I put a reminder on my calendar for today to come and squee about this book over here because it’s just that good, and so many of you lovely people are going to love it.

      A lot of us have snagged the excellent Kindle deal, but I also want to plug the Audible price match they have going on right now. Oh. My. GOD. The audiobook is so GOOD.

      The novel itself is a brilliant work of staggering genius (no, really). But the narrator they got for the audiobook, Nicol Zanzarella, does a perfect job of teasing out a lot of Jane’s nuances and depth. The way she switches between Jane’s sardonic, sociopathic internal narrative and the wounded Bambi act she’s using as part of her revenge plot is utterly delightful.

      Even if you’re not a fan of audiobooks, this may be the one that convinces you to give them another try. Well produced, wonderfully acted, and takesVictoria Helen Stone’s book to the next level.

    4. It’s funny, because I love Ilona Andrews’s books, but her recommendations of other authors’ books don’t work for me. I’ve checked some out in the past and they just never clicked, so I generally see her recommendations, admire her willingness to help other authors, but I don’t check out the book.

      1. This one might be worthwhile, the narrator is a self described sociopath who manages to be suprisingly engaging.

  4. I read 180 seconds and thought it was sweet and painful and parts of it were brilliant. I wish there was a blog/site that did all the great stuff that guy does (if anyone knows of one – please share!).

    I just started The Bear and the Nightingale this morning. I’m looking forward to it.

  5. Getting nostalgic and not much energy, between recovering from a bad cough and all this heat. So I’m curled up with Rilla of Ingleside, LMM’s unashamedly patriotic WWI novel, plus one of my all time favourite books ever, The Blue Castle.

  6. I just finished The Handsome Girl and Her Beautiful Boy. It’s about two teens in a small town being boxed for their gender presentation. It isn’t perfect, and Art will annoy most readers, but I loved it.

  7. I’m surprised you didn’t tweak the teacup to be a Diet Coke can. 😜

    Finishing up SEP’s Wynette, Texas books with “The Great Escape.” I think this is only my first reread of this book. I had forgotten a lot of the details. It has definitely inspired me to plan a trip to one of the islands in the Great Lakes.

    1. At this point, I’m doing good to find the right graphic. Taking me a while to get back on the horse here.
      But the Diet Coke can is a good idea. Hmmmmm.

      1. Not unless Diet Coke offers you a deal for product placement! (I only drink a can a week anymore, so I’m a poor advertisement for them Also, mine is caffeine-free.)

          1. A term you can find in the right sort of 19th century novels is “recruit.” As in “She needed a cup of Lapsang Souchong to recruit her strength after the tortuous canoe ride down the Falls so she could find needed insight into her decision-making.” About once a year I need to recruit my strength. Usually involves an ordeal by heat.

  8. Waiting for the 4th installment of the Lina J. Potter Medieval Tales book which comes out the 23rd. It’s a truly interesting twist on time travel. A young surgical resident and her parents are in a deadly car crash and she really doesn’t want to die! She wakes up in a fictional country in Medieval times. She’s in the body of a very overweight young woman who evidently was dying during childbirth. Instead of the usual fall in love with some dude who saves her from a villain she saves herself! She’s married to a jerk who sees her once a year and in the meantime sleeps with any female he sees.. When she comes to terms with her new life she starts losing weight and inventing things and making money. She’s great and stops some slave traders who have been preying on the peasants. She’s a healer and a great believer in equality which doesn’t go over too well. In the meantime someone keeps trying to kill her. The books in order are: “First Lesson,” “The Clearing,” “Palace Intrigue” and the “Royal Court” which comes out the 28th of this month.

    1. Amazon has First Lesson for 99 cents so I tried it. The idea is very interesting but unfortunately it is basically a serial with a cliff hanger at the end. I don’t think I would have bought it had I known that.

  9. Caught between loathing the discomfort of modern travel and nostalgia for a time of foreign study in college, I’ve split the difference by reading “Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris” by Sarah Turnbull.

    1. Just finished Alyssa Cole’s A Princess in Theory, which was a fun what-if-an-orphan-turned-out-to-be-a-princess story. The first half is set in NYC (her territory) and the second half in a mythical African kingdom (his territory). It worked, but I have to say I have a great appreciation for Aristotle’s unities these days. It’s just easier on the reader not to have to adjust to a new setting half-way through, and you interrupt the through-line for the character arc by switching.

      Next I’m starting a beta read for one of my RWA chapter-mates.

  10. I read Rogue Protocol (the 3rd Murderbot Diary by Martha Wells). I enjoyed it, but not quite as great as the first two Murderbots. Then I re-read The Fall of Il-Rien (also by Martha Wells), really good series. Now I have started Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers; I like it but the chapters are very short and each is told from a different character’s perspective. The plot/theme will probably get all tied together cohesively , but for now I am coping with just learning a little bit about a character and then losing their story arc.

    1. It does tie together in the end. I didn’t like it quite as much as the first two but it’s still very good.

  11. I’m reading To Catch a Stolen Soul by R. L. Naquin. It’s urban fantasy with possibly a romance sub-plot. I just started it today and am enjoying it so far. I like the characters and plot, the author writes well and it has a mildly amusing undertone.

  12. I’m reading Sarah Fisher’s Unlock Your Dog’s Potential. It uses the Tellington Touch method to help dogs through difficulties.

    It has the added bonus of a few pictures of Anthony Stewart Head – Giles from Buffy. He is Sarah Fisher’s partner and the one that told her about the T-Touch method.

  13. What am I reading? I’m just going to steal my post to another forum and put it here. Comments on the post are in [brackets].

    I finished Goody Two Shoes (adult romance, as it turns out, with sex and stuff. [more than a Crusie novel, even.]) I did a complete re-read of the entire Wearing the Cape series, read a couple or three Jennifer Crusies (Sizzle is on Joe [my Kindle Fire] now.) I did a Dresden File book (Fool Moon). It’s about a wizard named Harry. Sound familiar?

    Godsfire [by Cynthia Felice] is still on the older Kindle. I only read it in the bathroom.

    Neither Kindle for PC nor MobiReader are open just now. I was converting Cupasoup stories to mobi and testing them in Reader. It’s hard to test files without reading them and getting hooked.

    I opened “I Am Not a Villain” by Mia Archer. Nice series. But I also dowloaded several freebies from the Fussy Librarian. Speaking of which, I finally finished Caroline Michelson’s Christmas Collection.

    I started to read “I’ve Seen You Naked and Didn’t Laugh”. Wrong mood, went to Cape stories.

    Here’s the opening of the prologue for one of my Kindle freebies:

    “My life was a disaster. I sat in my car with a white-knuckled grip on the steering wheel and watched the rain pound against the windshield. I was soaked to the skin, my skirt was ripped, and blood seeped from both knees. There were scratches on my arms and neck, and my face was blotchy and red from crying. Along with the external wounds, I’d lost a good deal of my sensibilities, most of my faith in mankind, and all of my underwear somewhere between a graveyard and a church parking lot.

    “_Hart, Liliana (2013-12-27). Whiskey Rebellion: An Addison Holmes Mystery (Addison Holmes Mysteries Book 1) (p. 1). Liliana Hart. Kindle Edition. “

  14. I haven’t even gotten through a magazine this week. But did go see “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” which I thought was 100% more entertaining than Mission:Impossible XV or whatever it was. Really funny, loved Kate & Mila, kickass foul-mouthed heroines.

    Saw a review that noted the preposterous plot and thought “since when do I care about plot in a spy movie? never, that would be never.”

      1. If they make Idris Elba Bond, I will go see it even if there is no plot. I just want to see him in a tux saying “Shaken, not stirred.”

  15. I read both of Carl Hiaasen’s books with Mick Stranahan back to back – first Skin Tight then Skinny Dip. It was the first time I’d read Skin Tight, and I barely remembered Skinny Dip, so it was a really fun three days. The depth and breadth of graft Hiaasen imagines for his books is really spectacular. His bad guys are always a hilarious combination of vile of ridiculous. I’m glad I read the books one after the other because they were written almost 15 years apart, and it’s interesting to see the character that way and to have Skin Tight fresh in my mind when the events are referenced in Skinny Dip. Stranahan seemed to mellow a little in the years between the stories. He moved even farther from people and the mainland, got a dog, and had fewer violent tendencies. Honestly, reading Hiaasen makes me want to visit South Florida and avoid it like the plague simultaneously. When I first started reading his books, I thought he exaggerated the insanity for comedic effect, but every news story about the place makes me think he’s being far more realistic than I originally assumed.

    1. I met him once and he said that he gets his plots from the news. I asked him about his character “Skink”. He said he had a childhood friend who became schizophrenic and later killed himself. Skink is Hiaasen’s homage to his late friend. He was very sweet and very friendly.

      1. That’s good to know about Skink. He’s a wonderful character. Makes sense that Hiaasen gets plot ideas from the news. There are a couple of collections of his columns available; I may have to check those out.

  16. I finished To Say Nothing of the Dog at 2 a.m. Tuesday. Life interrupted the book for a bit and when I finally got to the second half I just kept going. It was great fun. I opened the bottle of sherry I had bought for half off on Monday night to sip while reading.

    Someone here mentioned Judith Flanders and she’s an author my local library actually carries so I got her first mystery and her non-fiction called The Making of Home:The 500-Year Story of How Our Houses Became Our Homes. The Homes book is very interesting so far.

    I think I’m going to go see Crazy Rich Asians in the next couple days. I want to contribute to opening weekend numbers. I look forward to getting the book before long as I’m creeping up the library hold list.

    1. I am such a fan of Connie Willis and I have to rave about her book, “To Say Nothing of the Dog.” Many of her timetravel books are extremely powerful and intense but heartbreaking. “To Say Nothing of the Dog” is joy all the way through. Also read “Three Men in A Boat” as a result and loved it as well. Good memories!

      1. Well, I do have most of a bottle left. I can experiment with cheese and book pairings to see what complements okay sherry!

  17. I’ve been reading Michael Gilbert’s backlist. Most are available for Nook on Barnes and Noble and I read them on my phone using the nook app, so if they have books that Kindle doesn’t that is one way to get them.

    1. I just checked iBooks, and two of the titles I wanted were there.
      There is another writer named Michael Gilbert, so you have to be careful not to get his stuff (which I haven’t read, so no idea if he’s good or not).
      Even iBooks doesn’t have The Long Journey Home. I’m pretty sure i have it somewhere in hardcover, so it’ll be be back to paper for me.

  18. I read Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. It took me awhile to get into it, because of all head hopping, which was made worse by the fact that it was all in the first person. A couple of times I almost gave up on it, but I’m glad I kept going, because it did get a lot better.
    Then I read Elizabeth Moon’s new book, Into the Fire, which was hugely enjoyable.

    1. ARGH, headhopping. That one is on my TBR list, because I loved the previous one so much. I’m glad you warned me…

      And wait, Elizabeth Moon has a new book?

      1. It’s multiple first person POVs. With no indicator in the scene breaks to give you a hint that the POV has changed like some multiple first person POVs do. It took me a little while longer to get into it than it did with Uprooted.

      2. It’s the second book in the Vatta’s Peace series. Came out this year in the UK, which is where my library’s edition was published. (Though I’m in Tasmania.) I assume it’s also out in the US, but I don’t know for sure.

  19. I have been re-reading Mary Balogh’s “Slightly” series. Love them all: the Bedwyn siblings and their love stories. The latest one I finished was Slightly Married. It is chronologically the first one, but I have already read three others. Two more are waiting for me at the library before the series is over. On one hand, I can hardly wait, but on the other, I want to stretch the pleasure, so I’m not rushing to get them.

  20. Also I want to brag: I got the latest Sarah Wynde’s book: A Gift of Grace, #4 in her Tassamara series. If you didn’t read her previous Tassamara books, go get them. They’re wonderful romance novels with a paranormal twist and a lot of humor. The latest one just came out a few days ago.

    1. Thank you so much for this recommendation! I binge read all four books but now I want more!

  21. I’ve gotten hooked on a Southern romance novelist, Sally Kilpatrick. Sweet, poignant, and funny. I’m currently reading Bittersweet Creek, which is part of her Ellery series. Highly recommended, the lot of them.

  22. I read The Watchmaker of Filigree Street which was intriguing…sort of mystery, slight romance, touch of paranormal set in Victorian England. Now reading the author’s second book which is the same universe but not a direct sequel (in fact, I think it’s set earlier) which involves an illicit mission to Peru to try and get cinchona trees for quinine for the East India Company. Again bit of mystery and hint of paranormal. Not sure yet if there will be a romance. So far one mention of the intriguing character from book one so I’m hoping he turns up.

  23. Still listening to The Nix. I keep thinking it’s got to end soon and then I look and there are seven hours left. Ugh. I kind of wish it would get to the point. The narrator is good. The story is well written, but it goes on forever. It jumps back and forth between time periods. The sixties, now, some time in between. It’s just taking way too long for the type of book it is.

    I just looked it up. It’s 21 hours long. No wonder it’s going on forever.

  24. Reading a recommended mystery author, at this point with slightly gritted teeth. Subtle inconsistencies and illogic. I’m tolerating the humor. In the midst of my read late last night, the thought came – having just finished Tell Me Lies – that I’ve been soldiering through the poor person’s Jennifer Crusie.

    1. Hmm, it seems to me that the poor person’s Jennifer Crusie should still be pretty darn good

  25. Finished Claire Davon’s Shifting Aura’s. Rocky start, then great fun. Started Sarah Wynde’s new Tasamara book, A Gift of Grace, and I love it.
    Apropos of nothing, my critique group ran into the publicity team from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -all garbed in asshes of-roses fitted pink dresses. They didn’t have a start date for season 2, but I snagged a notebook and a lovely picture. I’m giving away the notebook cause I needed a post this week.

  26. Ok, I know I just hyped Gail Carrick’s Parasol Protectorate series as my favorite steampunk series, but there’s a new contender: Shelley Adina’s Magnificent Devices. Binge read all 15 of them, there’s a new on out on Monday at it’s on pre-order. They’re funny and action packed, and Our Girl’s motto is “Take stock of your resources, then use your intellect.” No paranormal elements, just flat out ubercompetence and engineering superachievers. So much steamy fun, although no sex scenes. Tons of fun.

    1. The Magnificent Devices series is YA Steampunk. The first few (five?) are indeed a lot of fun. The later ones I found to be more hit and miss.

  27. I’m reading Larchfield, a novel which seems all realistic and has one bit of magical realism in the middle. It’s about two poets, Auden and a modern day imaginary poet, coming together as they share the experience of living in a small provincial Scottish town. I am not sure about it. I am enjoying the sections that follow Auden, but the bits with the imagined character, Dora, work less well for me. She’s suffering from some kind of postpartum trauma and I don’t think the writer quite pulls it off.

    Finished a detailed read of The Iliad for teaching reasons, but that has been my best book so far this summer. Last week I also finished a best-seller, The Immortalists, by Chloe Benjamin which had all sorts of amazing write ups but I didn’t like it much.

  28. I am reading “Be Shot for Sixpence” and it’s another Michael Gilbert with a thoroughly dislikable hero that you can’t put down.

    1. I just finished the last of the Petrellas and both Calder and Behrens collections. Michael Gilbert is very good at competence porn.

  29. Relaxed with a super comfort reread: Sorcery and Cecilia, or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot. I don’t know why I enjoy the book so much: I detest non-Georgette Heyer regencies and I only like magic in a non-normal universe. Yet Kate and Cecy and Thomas and James and Lady Sylvia amuse me every time I return to them.

    1. Agreed. It’s a fun book, maybe because it doesn’t try too hard? There are two later books in the series, but I haven’t read them for fear that they won’t live up to my memories.

  30. I read The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell this week. Reading The Little Paris Book Shop by Nina George. I’m on a Paris kick.

    After the beauty of the Arctic I’m ready for cosmopolitan setting. Bruised and tired and in my own bed last night after the renovation. Left some work for others. 21 days was long enough. Now thinking of stuff I have to or should have done but just wanted to be home. Going to see granddaughters today.

  31. Ruth Moore’s 1972 novel “Lizzie and Caroline,” about a voyage on a sailing ship. I’m rationing myself on Moore’s novels, which aren’t all wonderful, but her voice and the details of life in the islands off Maine always draw me in.

    I’m now in the middle of Alan Hollinghurst’s new one, “The Sparsholt Affair,” which is beautifully written as always, hard to put down, but also reminds me painfully of love affairs in my early 20s.

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