62 thoughts on “This Is a Good Book Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018

  1. I’d like to thank whoever recommended the Samatha Jellicoe books by Suzanne Enoch last week. I was sick with strep and they were the perfect medicine. I will admit though it was a bit jarring to read about Trump and Mar al Logo as just scenery for conspicuous wealth. I’ll have to check the publication date but they are pre-iPhone/app world for sure.

    I’m starting book 4 this weekend which seems to have a time split between modern and Regency periods. Should be fun!

    Thank you!

  2. I discovered Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax this week. One of the stories is about theft of plutonium, which reminded me of Alistair MacLean and ‘Goodbye, California’. Then, of course, I had to dig out all of my favourites. Now I am reading the two authors alternatively.

    MacLean’s stories have the element of competence porn, as in the TV show Leverage. It’s been almost fifteen years since I read any of them, but a lot of details are coming back to me because of numerous re-reads in those days.

    1. I’ve been in the mood for Mrs. Polifax too. I’m not sure where my paperbacks are and I can’t find the later books on Kindle, which is frustrating.

      1. i read about four of them late this summer: that was how many of my paperbacks have survived this long.

      2. If you want you can try used bookshops for paperbacks. Bookfinder.com and Biblio.com are good resources.

  3. I am trying to resist a binge-watch of the Netflix version of One Day at a Time, so I hear you. Today is laundry day, so that is permissible binge watching.

    I did read the very adorable “A Kiss at Midwinter” by Courtney Milan. Not the season yet, but it was a novella that I could finish off in a night or two.

  4. I reread Bet Me which was just what I needed.

    I also started The Glass Ocean by Lauren Willig, Karen White and Beatriz Williams and so far I’m enjoying it. I’ve enjoyed their other collaboration so I don’t see why this one won’t be good as well.

  5. I read more in the Baleful Godmother series by Emily Larkin. They’re just wonderful.

    Jenny, it’s Ganesha festival. 😉

    Blessings to all Arghers, Betties, Cherries, and Refabbers. May obstacles be removed from your path.

    1. Oh dear. He must be so lonely. Good luck with getting him out.

      Jane, I agree, he’s just who you need to remove the obstacles to your forever home.

      1. Ganesh is wonderful. I was told that mantra when I was living in Sydney, years ago, and the first time I used it I was driving home in rush hour and needing to cross a fast, busy dual carriageway. I closed my eyes, focused on the mantra, and almost immediately heard a car horn: they’d stopped to let me cross!

        So he’s helpful for stuff like that on up. He’s also to do with prosperity (but of course, Sure Thing’s the expert here).

        1. 🙌🏼 It’s sort of like how I use the St Anthony rhyme. I learned it in 1998 and it’s never failed me once.

          I won’t say I’m an expert, just another seeker on the road. Ganesh can ease one’s way, or impede it.

          In one story, his broken tusk is such because he gave it to the sage Vyas to write, (I can’t remember why). Vyas wrote the Vedas. So Ganesh is a patron of literature too.

          1. I have family members for whom it’s a habit to mutter ‘Hail Mary full of grace, help me find a parking space’ when the need arises…

  6. I read book 4/Royal Court by Lina J. Potter. Meh. She obviously used a translator who didn’t have English as her/his first language. It needed a better translator and an editor. It was disjointed. I still enjoyed it, but not as much as the other 3 . Reread Agnes and the Hitman last night and it was still so much fun. I’m on to Welcome to Temptation this morning.

  7. Still managing to keep September as “new to me” books. I am currently reading Danielle Steel’s Magic. It has been a long time since I have read one of her novels. The story is interesting as it tells about the year in the life of several people that attend the Diner en Blanc… The annual White Dinner where a huge group of people by invitation only picnic with fancy food and ambiance at different locations each year in Paris.

    The fact that I am managing to read at all while I have my 2 dogs plus my daughter and son-in-law’s 2 dogs is a small miracle.

  8. The novel that left the greatest impact this week was Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time. No spoilers here, but this mystery had me determined to solve. I didn’t quite do that. Great info on elephants, interesting characters, good setting details. A bit of a twist at the end that had some readers upset, but I liked it. This is not a new release, somewhere around 2015 I think.

  9. I have been reading a lot of recommendations from Good Book Thursday and have enjoyed them all
    Seanan McQuire: The Brightest Fell. I reread this in preparation for reading the next one when it comes out. This is one of the few series I have stuck with. Most of them I abandon about 4 or 5 books in.

    Kelli Barnhill: The Girl Who Drank the Moon. This was good. It did not grip me all the way through but I think that was me and not the book.

    A Lee Marinez The Automatic Detective. Good

    Also I read Daughters of the The Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone. The whole Stuart era is one of the weakness of my understanding European history. (The Winter Queen was James I daughter who married the Elector of the Palatinate). And I have to say my take on the Stuarts has changed. A more treacherous bunch would be hard to find. It was not particularly easy going to read.

    1. When we were in Scotland earlier this year my husband mentioned to a guy in a pub that my maiden name was Stewart. I told him we were peasant Stewarts as we somehow resisted murdering our cousins. He laughed.

  10. The Devil’s Intern, by Donna Hosie
    YA, so there’s some frustrating lack of self-awareness from the teenage boy protagonist, but otherwise, fairly fun. Short, abrupt ending to set up sequels, which I am looking forward to reading.

    Indigo, by Charlaine Harris, Christopher Golden, Kelley Armstrong, Jonathan Maberry, Kat Richardson, Seanan McGuire, Tim Lebbon, Cherie Priest, James A. Moore, Mark Morris
    About a lady superhero who discovers that her origins may be a lie, while she battles an evil cult.

  11. I read the Ilona Andrews Innkeeper series. There was a Kindle sale on the first one, and I’m sure you can all guess what happened after that. The world was really fascinating; there are aliens, magic, portals, space travel. It was nice to see characters from the Edge series, too. Definitely recommend it. I even caught up on the current serialized installment on the authors’ website, which is about the protagonist’s sister. That one takes place on a different planet, while the first three books only had visits to other planets, so it’s a whole new part of the world to explore.

    1. Are you me? All of the above applies. 🙌🏼

      I like the Edge books in a way I could never enjoy he Kate Daniels books!

      1. I have the first few Daniels books. I want to read them, but the length of the series has been a deterrent so far since there were other, shorter Andrews series to read. They’ve all been great, so I’ll get to Daniels eventually. Hidden Legacy is still the favorite.

  12. I enjoyed ‘The War for the Oaks’ by Emma Bull, but I’m not really into fantasy so I didn’t look for others by her. I was feeling very end-of-tether when looking for something to read after that (due to life, not Emma Bull) and all my paperbacks seemed over-familiar; but I went through my Kindle and decided to reread K. J. Charles’ Society of Gentlemen series, which has been great. It starts with a novella, ‘The Ruin of Gabriel Ashleigh’, though I think the best in the series is ‘A Seditious Affair’. They’re Regency romances (though m/m and explicit), and the setting is key to the stories. I like the way that each story plays into the others: I think it’s best to read them in order, since it’s quite a large cast of characters by the end.

    I’ve segued into ‘The Secret Casebook of Simon Fexinall’, to be followed by ‘The Scepter’d Isle’. Must look and see when the next in this series is coming – I’m hoping it’s due soon.

    1. Excuse me. CRAZY RICH ASIANS. I’m using voice to text and it first came out CRAZY RICH ALIENS. Which might be a better book, but it’s still too long.

    2. I agree that it’s too long. Too many descriptions of excess and access(ories). Yawn! I loved the movie, though.

  13. I’ve been reading MA and PhD theses that come up on google and relate directly to my writing research. It’s fascinating — many of the theses are really good. They come with requests not to use, so I can’t post them on Goodreads and say, “Hey, this is solid stuff!”

    Then I find published books that aren’t as good as the theses, but what the heck. No one are reviewed as particularly good. I can’t imagine being an academic.

  14. I think someone here recommended the Fly Me to the Moon series—thank you! Not sure what I will read next.

  15. Finished The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark. Frankly, I’m not impressed. I wanted to be. It is a steampunk novella with airships and gods and magic in an alternative version of New Orleans. From the blurb, it should’ve been fascinating, but the writing was not up to the quality I require these days. I’m spoiled by good writing. Maybe its intended YA audience would like it better.
    Now I’m reading The Truth by Terry Pratchett. What a difference! I can’t believe I haven’t read it before. Such a powerful book!

  16. I just started “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang which was a NYT recommendation. Even though I’m only about 10% in, I think it’s one of the few books in which a sex scene (or more, I suppose) makes sense – a successful business girl with Asperger’s hires a male escort. (I know, this was a different thread, but I wanted to throw in my two eurocent’s worth.)

    So far, so good. I’ll keep you posted.

  17. I read ‘The Denniston Rose’ by Jenny Pattrick.

    I liked the portrayal of life in New Zealand’s West Coast in the 1880s – life, and politics, mining, and the environment. I liked less, I don’t know how to put it, a lack of emotional depth maybe? And I especially didn’t like the unexpected child abuse. Books with child abuse should come with a warning. If you read it, consider this your warning.

    Oh, and I really liked the quoted rhyme at the beginning. Says so much. Denniston today is deserted, except for mountain bikers, hikers, and tourists.

    “Damn Denniston
    Damn the track
    Damn the way both there and back
    Damn the wind and damn the weather
    God damn Denniston altogether.”
    from J.T. Ward ‘Reflections of a lifetime on the West Coast of the South Island’. Westport News, 1884

  18. I read “Dragon Lords: Bad Faith” by Jon Hollins. This is the final book in a trilogy about how a peasant farmer along with some friends gave some very bad days to dragons and gods. I liked the series, although it is pretty bloody. Lots of people get squashed by an insane god.

    Also, “Princess at the Midnight Ball” by Jessica Day George. This is a retelling of the Dancing Princesses. Knitting is involved. I think if I had read this when I was younger, I would have loved it.

    I also just finished “The Golden Tower” by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black. This is also possibly the final book in their Magisterium series. The hero is someone who was expected to be the Evil Overlord and subverts expectations.

    1. Anything by Jessica Day George is good, no matter what age you are. I highly recommend Tuesdays at the Castle.

  19. After finishing the Nurse Matilda anthology I haven’t been inspired to read any books. Sometimes my brain wants to shift gears. I’ve been watching Gavin and Stacey, a decade old British comedy. Good community, a believable main couple, and some glaring flaws.

    Due to expected power outages after Florence, I stocked up on books to read by lamplight. I checked out Mary Beard’s latest and Only You Can Save Mankind by Pratchett. I got a few more books that just sounded interesting so might discover an author new to me.

    1. Gavin and Stacey is great! Gav-a-lah. I think the Christmas episode with them both singing ‘Do they know it’s Christmas’ in their cars is a classic Christmas moment for me – that feeling when you’ve finished work and it all of a sudden feels like Christmas and that’s a good feeling.

  20. I started reading Anne Bishop’s The Others series (because she is Guest of Honor at our local con at the end of the month and I hadn’t read her yet). I’ve been avoiding urban fantasy because I can’t deal with dark at the moment, but her writing really drew me in, and the dark isn’t unbearable. I’m midway through book 2 and about to order the next couple. Highly recommended.

    1. I just today finished my re-read of The Others. I really like them. The audiobooks are good too. I twice tried to start the Black Jewels series but its not my piece of cake.

  21. The Midnight Duke, Elizabeth Hoyt, 2015. Needed to cling to a comfort read because house and routine in uproar upset because Workers. Novel is everything I needed, and I devoured the pages. Sole irritant is several times I wanted to shout out to male protag, “Look what’s hanging around her neck, will you.”

    In re: discussion here on sex scenes, these were necessary and moved plot and characters along.

  22. I reached into my To Be Read pile during the blackout days, and pulled out Ancillary Justice, which was quite a good read. It’s a bit slow, but I think that’s necessary when things other than the plot are busy developing. First, the book is about an AI that used to be thousands of different parts . . . the over-arching consciousness, kind of like our minds are the over-arching consciousness over our individual cells. I have always loved thinking about that kind of idea; whether my left hand has a mind of its own sort of thing.

    Second, and this was widely publicized when the book first came out half-a-decade ago, the AI speaks a language with no gender, and when it speaks to us in English, it defaults to the generic “she”. It’s very startling to read about “she”s who have been in fist fights and bloody arguments . . . then realizing it’s a “he” that the AI has defaulted about. It shouldn’t matter — violence to a man should provoke the same sort of sick reaction as violence to a woman does. But . . . there are so many nuances, and the nuances are highlighted when the generic “he” is flipped to a generic “she”.

    So, half the time I was reading, I was thinking about things other than “the plot”. I am glad it went at a slow pace. The book ended at the sort of cliffhanger I’m OK with. The quest was completed, and at the last minute, the author threw us into a new quest that made sense. But, I don’t have a burning desire to get the next book right away. I want to sit and think about this one for a little bit, and then get the next book in a few months.

  23. I read Seanan Mcguire’s The Brightest Fell which I’ve had for a while but somehow hadn’t read and I just realised the new one is out. New one now ordered. Then I re-read Ilona Andrews Hidden Legacy series. There was a longish gap between Book 1 and 2 and I wanted to read the three of them together. Still loved it. And today I’m having a relax on the couch afternoon and just read Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren which was fun.

  24. I am ignoring the directive about new books, and rereading Eileen Wilks’ World of the Lupi series. Thoroughly enjoying it.

  25. I’m kind of with you — I don’t see how I could spend an entire month just reading books I’ve never read before, since I have no advance indication that I’m going to be able to finish any of them.

    However, in the spirit and so on, I am continuing to soldier on through the Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series. Sarah W. was kind enough to point out that there’s a lot of backstory that only appears bit by bit through the series, so I waited until Book #1 came in to the library, read that, and then went back to #2, which now doesn’t feel so jarring in terms of infodump.

    The books are a little dark for me, and I’m a little put off by the surfeit of Gorgeous People (per the descriptions, anyway) showing up. However, Sarah’s second point — that the author(s) do good recurring secondary characters — is holding up for me, so I think I will try to get through the series despite folks with ripping muscles stabbing evil villains/creatures in the eyeballs.

    Meanwhile, there will be a new Deborah Harkness book coming out soon to add to her All Souls trilogy which I loved so much, and until then, I’ve decided to try Longbourn, which is a retelling of Pride & Prejudice from the viewpoint of the servants.

    For that, I’m crossing my fingers, in case that torpedoes my enjoyment of P&P, which would be a loss.

  26. This week I read The Shimmer and while I found the beginning difficult to get into, the story does take off pretty quickly and it took me with it. If you want a story that’s like Close Encounters and a Stephen King novel taking a road trip to Texas, it might be your bag.

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