This Is A Good Book Thursday, August 30, 2018

We’re coming up on the end of summer in the Northern Hemi, folks.  Then it’s serious back-to-school time.  I’ve been plowing through everything Catherine Aird wrote, classic mysteries that are full of digressions.  She can get two pages out of a single line of dialogue because she muses on things practically between each word.   You can do that in omniscient, but it’s starting to drive me buggy.  Not that I had far to drive to get there.  

So what are you reading?

97 thoughts on “This Is A Good Book Thursday, August 30, 2018

  1. I inhaled Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews. It’s the tenth and final book of the Kate Daniels urban fantasy. I’m still digesting it though before I put up a review. One thing is clear-it’s impressive to complete a good series and have it end on a high note. Too many series just keep going and going…

    I should finish Artificial Condition by Martha Wells today. Glad to see she won a Hugo for the first Murderbot novella.

    I’m not doing very well with my nonfiction reading. I’ll be taking some books back to the library unread. Real life is hard going right now.

    The Labor Day weekend will be prime reading time as classes have started but there’s no grading to do yet. Next up will be Jane Doe by Victoria Stone (Dahl). Supposedly a thriller where the woman does the manipulation. And I got an eARC of the final Kate Clayborn book in the Luck series, Best of Luck. I’ve really enjoyed the other two so I’m looking forward to Greer’s story. Hard to believe Kate Clayborn is a relatively new published author. She writes so well!

    1. Just finished Jane Doe, it was a good read, she had me from the beginning and kept me all the way through.

      1. Me too – read it in one sitting this week because I couldn’t put it down. It was just so freaking satisfying, from beginning to end – a rare feat.

        1. Good to hear! I’ll set aside a time block then. I make too many bad book decisions at 10pm.

    2. I have ‘Jane Doe’ in my massive TBR pile in my Kindle, must bring it to the top of the list.

      I heard about Kate Clayborn in an author interview, so got ‘Luck of the Draw’ from my library

      1. I would say yes. “Iron & Magic” lays the groundwork for Hugh’s role in “Magic Triumphs.”

      2. Yes, I think so. There are connections and it’s so much more satisfying that way. Plus you get to read two new books in the series back to back and how often does that happen! The pace of new material from the Andrews’ team still stuns me sometimes. Especially since it’s quality stuff.

    3. Oooh, I hadn’t seen that Wells won a hugo for the first Murderbot book. So pleased for her. She hasn’t gotten as much recognition as she deserves.

    4. I got Magic Triumphs but am saving it to read on my upcoming vacation.
      I also finally read All Systems Red (twice within the last 24 hours) and just started Artificial Conditions. I find it very weird that a story involving a Murderbot is just so … cute…but it is!

    5. I really liked Jane Doe. I read about it here and on gofugyourself so decided to spend the two bucks. Very worth it! The comment that got me was “horrible things happen to horrible people”.

    6. Listened to magic triumphs through 30 kilometres of walking ( I walk slow), mostly satisfying (uncle stupidhead!) but definitely looking forward to spin offs due to loose ends.

      Currently listening to Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (spaceship bound murder mystery where six people wake up cloned and try to figure out what happened to their originals, ). Really entertaining!

  2. I’m devouring the “Fly Me to the Moon” series by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner. Set in fictionalized version of the space race in the ’60s, they’re romance novels where the “world” is the American Space Department (aka NASA). I picked the first one up on a whim since I have very little interest in space exploration (much to my husband’s dismay since he has dreamed of moving to Mars since he was a kid) and I thought I was burned out on the early ’60s after “Mad Men.”

    But these books are just. . . perfect. For me and where I am right now. The authors said when of their inspirations were the Doris Day movies like “Pillow Talk” and “Lover Come Back” and they’re definitely on the lighter side and short. Unlike Doris Day the bedroom door is definitely open, just fyi. I can’t speak for how well they would work for someone who remembers the era (my parents are Boomers), but they worked for me.

    Most of the heroes are astronauts, but my favorite has been “Earthbound.” The hero in that one is a very tightly wound engineer who is in charge of mission control. He “likes to make astronauts cry.” The heroine is a math Phd who works with computers (both people like fictionalized versions of Katherine Johnson and the huge analog beasts with punch cards). She’s the only one who isn’t intimidated by him and he’s the only one who sees and appreciates how brilliant she is. They start to have this affair and they’re both very tightly controlled. They never talk about their sex life at work and they never talk about their work life in their seedy hotel room (I mentioned the bedroom door was open, right? 😉 and they never talk about their personal backgrounds and feelings in either place. But slowly, they get to know each other in spite of themselves. Sorry I know I’m gushing, but it was just so, so good.

    1. I loved ‘Star Dust’ and can’t wait to read ‘Earth Bound’ – just got it from my library.

  3. Our 5 year old granddaughter is visiting as her parents enjoy a trip in celebration of their ten year anniversary. As you can imagine, I am reading stacks and stacks of children’s books. I am so glad that she enjoys books and that her parents encourage reading. Of course, she has favorites-anyone want to guess how many times I have read Peter Rabbit ?? Ha!

    1. I was only thinking of Jemima Puddleduck the other day, as I walked through some head-high rosebay willowherb. No sandy-whiskered gentleman appeared to lead me astray, alas.

    2. Last weekend at my niece’s memorial BBQ (she was in her late 50’s), I could not get “The Owl and The Pussycat” out of my mind. When she was 4 I took care of her for a summer and I had to read it every night at bedtime. I had it memorized before the first week was passed.

  4. I just read PIECES OF HER, the latest mystery/thriller by Karin Slaughter. I wasn’t familiar with this author, although I gather she has an extensive backlist, but I bought the book because the blurb on Amazon piqued my interest. I thought it was very good, gripping even, so I was a little surprised when I went back to read some reviews and found that apparently many of her longtime readers felt this new book was “not one of her best.” Does anybody else read Karin Slaughter? This new book was a standalone, but she has a couple of long-running series. I’m eager to read more of her work, but I have no idea where to begin. Any suggestions?

    1. I’m a Karin Slaughter fan. I would start with Triptych, the first of the Will Trent series.

      I read the Grant County books as they were released and got tired of the main character Sara, but the author also fell into a trap of trying to make each crime more bizarre, which loses me. She reboots when she starts with Will Trent and I love him. Sara does show back up (and she still annoys me).

      I also really enjoyed Cop Town which is set in the 70s.

      For other readers here, these books have intricate plots and are well written, but they are also violent and can get quite graphic, so if you are sensitive to that, you will probably want to skip them.

      1. Everything Diann says about Karin Slaughter matches everything else people about her books, well written and intricately plotted. And the first part of her first book was like that, but that was all I could read due to the graphic and disturbing violence. And I’m not even all that sensitive.

    2. I’ve just read Pieces of Her, too. Really enjoyed it, but I definitely like her series books more than her standalones. I agree with Diann– start with the Will Trent books. And yes, they are violent, but she is SUCH a good writer.

  5. I’m giddy in that the library networks I frequent are starting to loosen up the funds and add the e-books I recommended in January and are coming true in August. It’s a start. I know I recommended a few of yours Jenny, they haven’t shown up yet but I’m confident it will be soon.

    My husband and I dated during the Doris/Rock movie era. He’d take me to see the Rom/coms and I’d go to see The Great Escape style movies of his.

  6. @JillQ – I loved, loved, loved the Fly Me To the Moon series. So well done. I was almost 9 when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, so I remember the era very clearly, but not the nuances of adult relationships. So on that front, I got nuthin’. I’ve read a few non-fiction books about NASA in the 60s — The Right Stuff, A Man on the Moon, etc. — and from my limited perspective, the world the authors created rang very true.

    Right now, I’m reading Vulgar Favors: The Hunt for Andrew Cunanan, the Man Who Killed Gianni Versaci by Maureen Orth, which was the basis of FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace, and I’m listening to The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which is about the end of the Nixon presidency.

    Listening to things like the internal wrangling over what information from the tapes to reveal to the special prosecutor and the judiciary committee is, under present circumstances in the US, kinda surreal. I can’t really recommend the audiobook, because the narration isn’t good — sometimes the narrator is very, very nasal, so nasal he almost mumbles, and sometimes he isn’t, which is annoying, and he doesn’t pronounce Sirica (as in Judge Sirica) consistently. This is all stuff the director should have caught, but didn’t. I haven’t given up and returned the book because I find the story itself riveting. (I know the broad outlines of what happened, but the details are compelling.)

  7. Does anyone else here ever read something on the weekend and think, “I must post this on Thursday” and then either return it to the library (physically or electronically) or add other things to the device and forget the title?

    I know I wanted to talk about Talia Hibbert. I was initially put off by the descriptions of the type of romance, but maybe specificity sells. (Hah! I can say that ten time fast.)

    The books are set in England. They are contemporary romances with different races of characters. Really good HEAs. I particularly love diversity of characters as they experience autism, depression, medical conditions. But it never falls into some sort of inspirational weirdness.

    Ridiculously highly recommended.

    1. Y’all are the best.

      Deb – A Girl Like Her and Untouchable. I love the depth of characterisation and the humour and the, well, everything!

  8. I’m listening to Brothers In Arms at bedtime, so it’s not going too fast. Before that was Falling Free, which was okay, but not my favorite by any stretch of the imagination. Both are by Lois McMaster Bujold.

    I’m really kind of excited by my own work at the moment – but I mustn’t forget my ghostwriting clients. It’s a bit of a juggling act. Initially wrote juffling, and I kind of like it better!

    1. I have mostly been on a rereading the Vorkosigan Saga kick of late, except I finished them all again.

  9. I’ve been reading the first Muderbot book which I’m loving. Thanks to whoever recommended it here.

    On the nonfiction front, I’m reading Eager, The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter. If you have any interest in biology, ecology, or history, it is fascinating.

  10. Delurking here – I’ve been enjoying your posts forever it seems, but rarely comment. I’m not sure what flipped my switch today, but here I am.

    Just finished ‘Slow Horses’ by Mick Herron. British author, well plotted, interesting characters, good pacing and a surprising ending. Looking forward to the next in the series ‘Dead Lions’.

    Incidentally Jenny, I am the one who you commented to months ago about the author (who now slips my mind) who so ably demonstrated ‘competence porn’. His books were archived at my county library – I think I was the first person in years to request them.

      1. Yes! I just looked him up at the Free Library of Philadelphia and there are many of his books in e-format thru Hoopla.

        My county library has a reciprocal arrangement with the FLP, but if anyone is interested they offer a buy-in program for there digital platforms that includes Overdrive, Hoopla, RBdigital and Kanopy.

        Info at

      1. I wish I could remember where I heard about these books, I really enjoyed Slow Horses, the plot twists kept me guessing. Glad to hear that some else has heard of them.

  11. I just finished Thank You, Good Night by Andy Abramowitz. It’s about a middle aged lawyer, he’s pushing 40, who became a rock star right out of college, his band’s first album went platinum, was a critical success, and their hit single was used in a movie sound track and won a Best Song Oscar. Then their second album flopped, he refused to tour as the opening act for an even more successful band, and the band broke up and went their separate ways. 15 years later he gets a mysterious voice mail from his former drummer, laughing wildly and telling him he has to take a look at the exhibit in the Tate Modern Museum, in London. This leads to a series of humiliating and improbable events that leads him to want to write songs again, and what happens when he tries. Very well written and entertaining.

    1. Thank you. I tapped over to my library site and quickly put a hold on it before anyone else from Portland saw your recommendation.

      1. This reminds me: I am going on vacation tomorrow for over two weeks and I have like, five books on hold at the library. If they come in during that time, they only hold them for a few days so I would not get them in time. Ethically, should I take myself out of the line or not? What do y’all think?

        I think I am around 2-3 people in line for all of them, so it’s definitely maybe. I don’t want to take myself out if it takes everyone else 3 weeks to read, but…

        1. That’s a dilemma. Do they send you an email when they come in? If they do, and you have email access where you’re on vacation of course, then you could keep your place in line and simply email, or call, them when you won’t be able to pick them up on time. If you won’t be able to do that then you probably should. It’s something that no one is going to notice if you do or don’t though.

        2. Former interlibrary loan librarian here. Call or stop in at your library before you leave and let them know if you get books in and ask them to hold the books until you come back. If the items have been shipped to you – and your system is like ours – you can’t cancel them anyway. If they haven’t shipped, you don’t know when they will show up so there’s no point in taking yourself out of the line.

        3. Our system lets you pause while you’re on vacation then resume when you’re back, so sometimes you’ll slip back one spot, but not usually too far. We also have 10 days to pick up holds before we’re fined.

          1. Whoa. Your FINED? We just lose our hold and have to start all over again. Of course, they also are only held for 3 days.

          2. Our system lets you put a hold on your hold. Which I do if I’m going away. You can put begin and end dates on it, so you can reactivate it a few days before you get back. And you don’t seem to lose your place.

    2. I just put a hold on it at my library. I know I have at least looked at some book or books by Andy Abramowitz, but I don’t think I’ve read any. If so they dropped completely off my radar. This one sounds right up my alley.

  12. This week I read The Viceroy’s Daughters by Anne de Courcy which was based on the three sisters diaries and letters and they wrote a lot. It was very interesting even though I had a lot of trouble keeping the players straight. All three of the daughters were active in politics and charities.

    One of Lord Curzon’s daughters was married to the Duke of Windsor’s best friends and so there is a close look at the King Edward/ Wallis situation. The English were a lot better off going through the war with George and Elizabeth then they would have been with Edward and Wallis.

    It is a miracle that the English aristocracy have as many people who appear to be functional as they do because the genetics have been so intertwined for centuries. And the notion that you are doing a good job parenting because you write a loving note to your children daily, even though you rarely see them and you leave raising them to the professionals, i.e., their nanny and their governess.

    1. Edward gave the British Government nightmares, I believe they were actually relieved when he abdicated, before he caused much worse problems.

      No one likes a playboy King, From his questionable friends, leaving top secret documents lying around, and buzzing off to play tennis for a couple of hours when he was scheduled to go to a banquet on a good will tour (everyone had to stand in position for 2 hours & wait for him to turn up due to protocol) terrible manners on his part.

      1. So much better off with King George and Elizabeth. He was making deals with the Nazis if they overtook England. Thankfully they lost.

    2. I read this book several years ago and remember how strange the viceroy was. He was secretly engaged to this quiet, rich girl for years and also would not give his girls the money that was rightfully theirs by inheritance. And didn’t he have lots of houses that he insisted on keeping fully staffed? I got the impression that the 3 girls resented his controlling ways.

  13. I’m about halfway through Suzanne Enoch’s second Samantha Jellicoe book (Don’t Look Down) after finishing my re-read of the first (Flirting With Danger). A new book in the series came out this month, and it’s been so long a refresher was needed before reading that one. It’s a romance series about a cat burglar and a billionaire who meet when she saves his life during a heist at his estate. Sorry, I know people are sick of billionaires, but the first book is over 10 years old, so the current associations weren’t there when it was published. It’s still fun, which is how I remembered it, and I really like Sam – her skill in her illegal profession and her work at retiring/reforming. She loves the adrenaline rush of stealing and it’s all she’s ever really known (her father was also a thief), but she also recognizes it’s bad for her health in the long run. I don’t feel like this is a spoiler since it’s in the cover copy for the second book. So for anyone who likes thieves and romance novels, try those.

  14. I read (and reread in some cases) the short stories in the Dresden Files collection Brief Cases and they just made me happy. There’s a new story which is fantastic and 3-4 I hadn’t read for whatever reason.

    I’m not having any luck finding an audio copy of Seanan McGuire’s The Girl in the Green Silk Gown which is the (long awaited by me at least) second book in her Ghost Roads series.

  15. I just finished Medusa Uploaded and loved it! Futuristic sci-fi with a fascinating main character who kept me intrigued as we learned more about her culture and goals. It’s a touch dark, but ultimately hopeful.

  16. I just finished The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Absolutely loved it. I don’t usually go for long, slow-moving books, but hers are good — excellent historical research, and all those I’ve read so far had two stories intertwined– one in the present and one in the past. This was my favorite — so suspenseful at points that I had to read ahead, and an almost perfect ending. I guessed how she was going to wind it up, and was relieved that I’d got it right.

    1. She gives the best workshops and really great notes. Excellent teacher if you ever get to a conference where she is a presenter.

  17. Back in the return bag: hardback cozy mystery set in one of the royal establishments of younger generation, protag a female American professional. Reading was proceeding cheerily until twice in two pages the same back corridor is described in the same way, beige walls and wood floors. Hey, got it the first time. Then I came upon “quiet” for “quite” and I concluded author is sloppy and editor absent. The book is second in a series. I had contemplated looking for the first, but now oh no. I’m tempted to name the publishing house because it’s new to me, but I am working on mean girl tendencies. What I do wonder: do authors self-pub hardback? Oh, wait, can’t be because critique group, agent and EDITOR are all thanked. I *have* to be more careful in my library picks. Ho ho, and I’m back to Elizabeth Hoyt.

    1. It would be a service to warn us. I stopped reading a cozy author due to editing. I just couldn’t suspend disbelief.

    2. You can self-publish hardcover but it’ll cost you. And publishing isn’t the key, marketing is, and that’s a huge deal, so usually people don’t, especially since e-book publishing can be done fairly cheaply. Most self-published hardcovers are vanity projects, done for the benefit of the author and his or her family, like publishing a family history or Grandpa’s novel that he couldn’t sell but would like to see in leather.

  18. I’m reading “What Alice Forgot” and re-read “The All You Can Dream Buffet” and “the Keepers of the House.”.

    Sitting in the Air Canada lounge listening to the conversations around me…fodder for dialogue and ideas. Ha!

      1. Still working on the Michael Gilbert back list. I read Barbara O’Neal’s newest book, the Art of Inheriting Secrets, a few weeks ago. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t find it as moving as some of her other books.

        I also read “the Accidentals” by Sarina Bowen and really liked it. Its not a romance novel per se–I guess its somewhere between new adult and young adult. Its about a girl getting to know her father for the first time after her mom dies of cancer; she’s furious at him for ignoring her for 17 years, but afraid to show him in case he leaves her.

  19. I’m reading Kristan Higgins’ new women’s fiction, Good Luck With That. Lots of deep stuff about body image and fat shaming, but also uplifting and fast-paced.

    Also reading Written in Red, an urban fantasy by Ann Bishop. She’s going to be the GoH at our local SF/Fantasy con at the end of September, so I wanted to have read something of hers before I met her. I’ve mostly been avoiding UF, although I love it, because I just can’t handle dark these days, but I’m finding it gripping and not too dark for me, and have already ordered the second book in the series. Plus, this is the book I’m reading at night, and I keep finding myself looking at my watch and saying, “WHAT time is it?” I always figure that’s a good sign.

    1. The whole series is great. Every year when a new one would come out I was always afraid that the stories wouldn’t hold up. I’m with you, I can’t do really dark or scary, but she manages to have a light touch of humor and wonder interwoven so the suspense lets up some. Would love to hear her speak.

      1. Also, she does a very strong line in inevitable Justice, which appeals to me right now. The bad guys are always going to bring retribution down on their own heads, it’s just a question of how big the fall-out is going to be if the bad guys keep trying to do their bad stuff.

    2. I recently figured out that books in which kindness is rewarded and presented as A Very Good Thing are complete and total catnip for me. It’s why I so love Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible, it’s why I so love Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, and it’s why I love The Others books I’ve read (the first three).

  20. Amazon was having a sale on Loretta Chase so reading a lot of hers I missed the first time (2.99).

    Then because BookBub is evil, I recently started reading the Mr. & Mrs. North series by Frances & Richard Lockridge which I found very charming and that lead me to another one of theirs I Want To Go Home.

    I haven’t finished it because I found myself getting so nervous for the heroine that I was going to have to jump up and start pacing. And it was already 3 am.

    So I don’t know if it ends as well as it’s beginning but I’m really hooked in it.

    If anyone is looking for cheap books on the Kindle and is more disciplined than me, BookBub is wonderful, and a far shorter & helpful list than Amazon deals. But oh, good God, I’ve bought a lot of cheap books

  21. Just finished attending a bookparty, like a tupperware party but with children’s book. I found way too many books that i thinkthe grandkids would like.

  22. I’m reading Daughter of the Missing by Sahara K. Sandhu. Very interesting premise. Gaiian civilization. Black mermaids. Very cool legend.

  23. I am almost finished with Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. I like her Cromwell books.

    I am also reading Nanny McPhee: The Collected Tales of Nurse Matilda by Christianna Brand. It’s the collection that was released when the movie was made. So far it’s fun.

  24. I’ve just finished ‘The Secret Science of Magic’ by Melissa Keil. It’s YA, and I thought it was going to be a fantasy (not having looked very closely at the blurb on the back) but it turned out not to be. It didn’t matter– it was absolutely delightful.

    Now I’m reading ‘Packing for Mars: the curious science of life in space’ by Mary Roach. I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but her books grip me just as much as good novel. And she’s funny.

    1. I love Melissa Keil’s books. My favourite is The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl.

  25. I’ve been re-reading all of Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri books after having re-read all his Jimm Jurree books. Great stuff! Also all of your books… but I’ve run out, except I couldn’t find my copy of Welcome to Temptation 😢. It’s turning up… (mantra).

  26. I’m rereading “Strange Bedpersons” while following doctor’s orders to ride my exercise bike for 15 minutes twice daily. I’m usually careful not to go over by a second (exercise of any kind is not my preferred activity), but I’m finding that I ride beyond the required time while I’m reading.

    Right now, Nick Jamieson is so different from Nick the dead guy that I’m enjoying a new take on the story. I even had a quick image of Nick (Strange Bedfellows), Nick (Devil & Nita Dodd), and Nick (Crazy for You) casually meeting up in a bar — before quickly separating due to incompatibility.

    In which other book do Nick and Nita appear? Is it What the Lady Wants?

    1. Those are all different Nicks, not the same guy. Nick Giordano and Nita Dodd only appear in The Devil in Nita Dodd right now, although I’m making notes for a sequel (finish this one first, Jenny, and then there are the three thousand WiPs . . .)

  27. Sorry, I gave the wrong names. Nick and Tess — don’t they have a walk on in another book?

    Simon appears in Maybe This Time having been a secondary character in Faking It.

    1. Yep. What the Lady Wants. They’re at a party and then Nick get Stormy? Sunny? off a murder rap with the dumb-as-a-rock defense, as I remember.

  28. I actually READ A BOOK this week. A favorite from Dick Francis popped up on sale, so even though I have them all in hardcover I scooped up the e-book and re-read “Longshot.”

    Aging eyes like the e-books.

  29. I just finished Artificial Condition by Martha Wells, was so anxious for it to come in after I loved the first Murderbot story. This one I did not like quite to the “love it” point, but it was good and I will read the third when it comes out. I’m not sure overall why I didn’t like the second as much as the first, will have to cogitate on that….

    1. I just finished Rogue Protocol, the third one. (bounce, bounce) I loved it, but it was so action packed it literally left me breathless, so don’t start it near bedtime even if it is short.

  30. I’m on the Magic Triumphs train. So satisfying. The only thing wrong, I said on the authors’ blog, is that I really wanted to hang out in the HEA for a chapter or twelve. No story, no conflict, just to be part of the party and listen to the banter and relax with these characters we’ve followed for so long.

  31. I am grateful for all of these recommendations! I don’t read much any more (so tired!), but I have listened to Iron and Magic, and had somehow allowed Magic Triumphs to slip by me.
    I will have to come back to collect other good ideas!

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