91 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, September 27, 2018

  1. I gobbled up “Lethal White” by Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling. The last two were a bit gory, but this one was not and I love the slow burn between Cormoran Strike and his partner, Robin.

  2. I finally read Spinning Silver while I was in the hospital. I adored it. Bonus — my pulmonologist also loved it!

    I finally read A Scholar of Magics by Caroline Stevermeyer. She’s an old favorite author. The book was from a Male POV for most of it which was a switch for me, but I really liked the ideas of both finding and making a place for oneself in the world.

    I also might have mentioned, but I’m on a slow reread of Joan Hess’s Claire Malloy books. When the steroids make it difficult to sleep my husband will often read half a chapter or so. I know how they all turn out, but it’s been at least half a decade since I read them so they feel fresh.

    If he’s too tired, I put on a Georgette Heyer audiobook. 🙂

    1. Hi Bethany,

      Hope you don’t mind me jumping in. The chemo nurse told me not to take the steroids too late in the day. I take one in the morning and one around 2:00 p.m. and it doesn’t jangle me or keep me awake. Ask your oncologist’s medical team or a nurse. I find the chemo nurses know so much.

      1. No worries. I pop mine the moment my eyes open in the morning since I’m annoyingly sensitive. I’m also on CBD and melatonin, a long with gabapentin and ativan to help counter the awake effect.

    2. I love Caroline Stevermeyer. A College of Magics was tough for me as a younger person, and I think jiggled my brain about story structure a lot, which is great. I really enjoyed a Scholar of Magic as well. Have you read the Enchanted Chocolate Pot? It’s a comfort read for me 🙂

      1. Love that trio!! My husband and I read them together. He enjoyed them so much he looked up the kids book by Stevemeyer that’s set in the same world!

  3. I’ve just started Jayne Ann Krentz (as Jayne Castle)’s Harmony series, since I need undemanding comfort stuff. I didn’t keep the first, ‘After Dark’, since it didn’t work for me, but I’ve got several that follow it; currently on ‘After Glow’, which I think is a good place to start. Or there’s a novella, ‘Bridal Jitters’. The series is too samey, but I’m happy revisiting the first few.

    Have just finished my proof-read for Penguin, and for once it’s a really excellent book – though not out until the end of February. It’s non-fiction, about dementia, but really about life and how we connect and how we die. Beautifully written and engaging. ‘Words Fail Us’ by Nicci Gerrard. (I also discovered she went to the same college as me, a year or two later; so I’m – illogically – taking this as evidence that I too should be writing books.)

  4. I read Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh this week. I loved the depictions of big Indian families, the dynamics, the food, the expectations, etc. I did feel as if the book morphed from being one thing to being another. I liked them both but the change didn’t quite feel organic to me. I wolfed down the first half and then read the second half in little bits and pieces which may be responsible for this feeling. More likely, I was distracted by my reading about the Kavanaugh case. The misogyny revealed at every level here is astonishing, even to those of us who expect it. I am feeling increasingly sickened and depressed this week. I hope to cheer myself up over the weekend with Lethal White, so thanks Jill Q. for your comment above. I love Strike and Robin but could do without too much gore right now.

    1. Yeah, I’m getting bad flashbacks to things I put up with that I should have reported, not that it would have done any good back then. The good news is #MeToo is really working.

      1. Is it really working though? Doesn’t seem like the end results are much better.

        Sorry, just feeling super cynical over here. =/

        1. Oh, hell yes, it’s working. Hatch called Ford “attractive,” pretty clearly meaning it to be a statement of her appeal as a truthful witness but still completely tin-eared and it made the front page of WaPo. Harvey Weinstein is destroyed. Jeff Flake was completely shaken when two MeToo protesters stopped him in an elevator; he changed his vote from “yes” to “yes but only if there’s an FBI investigation.” People are talking about sexual attacks, getting fired for called victims “skanky hos,” losing jobs right and left. There’s been a huge change.

          Don’t base the impact on the reaction of the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee. They’re old, they’re white and they’re used to disregarding anything that doesn’t fit their view of the world And they’re getting clobbered for it. There’s a huge shift in public opinion. It’s working. And stuff like this just strengthens it.

          1. I’ve been reading up on that, and evidently he’d been talking to a lot of people, trying to get his ducks in a row so he could make that demand. The political maneuvering he was doing is fascinating, meeting with Murkowski, Collins, and Manchin, pulling Chris Collins out of the meeting. I think she was just One More Thing that pushed him over the edge, but I’ve seen pictures of him during that hearing, and he was pretty clearly in Hell.

          2. But why is he in hell? He’s not running for re-election this November. I would think that that would free him to vote his conscience, but maybe I’m just naive that way?

    2. I agree with you about Rebel Hard. I loved Nayna and really associated a lot with her struggles, but just didn’t manage to connect with Raj. Still, the look into another culture was fun, as well as the complicated tangle that is family.

    3. I hear you. I had to take a break from the Supreme Court news because it was just sending me into a rage spiral.

      Hope your weekend reading refreshes you.

  5. The last time I went to the library was sadly dire, in terms of nothing catching my eye. (And sadly, couldn’t get a hold of Murderbot books) The couple of hard scifi books have been fine, and I have one YA sequel I know I want on the next trip, but otherwise, sigh.

    I’m looking for recommendations of a genre story with a queer lady protagonist and zippy prose. Anyone?

      1. Ooooooooooooooooh I’ve flipped through the Soulless books before (the comic adaptation is even better!) and much look forward to her prose deployed in the service of lady-lovin’. Thanks!

    1. I really like Alexis Hall. Mostly I have read his m/m work, but I think he has some female protagonists as well.

  6. I have read a remarkable number of DNFs this month. I’ve read Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron, and enjoyed it, and await the next ones enthusiastically. It has a diverse cast, pirates, a lost princess, and a robot who manages to fall in love without actually having emotions to do that with. What more could I ask?
    I’m now re-reading Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which is always such a relaxing read in spite of the fleeing and almost-dying. I’m in the middle of Yoon Ha Lee’s Revenant Gun, which as usual will make more sense the second time I read it.

  7. Any comfort recommendations? I just found out I didn’t get in a trial at NIH I had stupidly pinned most of my hopes on and just want to get lost in something lovely with humor, a happy ending. and a heroine I can really root for and love. Like Beauty crossed with Welcome to Temptation, if such a thing exists.

    1. Oh dear. Love and hugs. And giant super-duper healing vibes. Not what you asked for but my fave type of comfort series tend to involve community or found family. So the YA fantasy of The Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce is a go-to for me.

    2. Some of my all-time favourites are Katie Fforde’s ‘Living Dangerously’, Susan Elizabeth Philips’ ‘Breathing Room’ and Nora Roberts’ ‘Jewels in the Sun’. They’ll all take you to other places, too.

          1. Jenny’s unique.

            I love ‘Living Dangerously’, which was her first – and I suspect was heavily edited, because none of those that followed worked as well. I count the next two ‘The Rose Revived’ and ‘Wild Designs’ as keepers, but she then changed publishers and her books became less and less convincing; I keep trying them, but they’re almost unreadable for me now. I daresay they read better if you’re not British – they’d come over as more fairytale-ish, I expect.

    3. If you don’t mind a slow burn type of book, I really love Sherwood Smith. Her heroines are stalwart and human. My go to is Crown Duel, which is YA, but I really like any of her fantasy stuff. Not sexy, though, but lots of swords, magic and court intrigue.

        1. Oh, and she wrote two books, Crown Duel and Court Duel, which were later rolled into one. That’s what I am recommending. It’s a little cliff hangery otherwise.

          1. Ah. I second Sherwood Smith and her YA, and or romance stuff. A Posse of Princesses sounds like just what you’re looking for. The Trouble with Kings. Once a Princess/Twice a Prince (republished in one volume as Sasharia en Garde)

            I recommend picking them up from https://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/. You can download them as either ePub (iPad) or mobi (kindle) format.

    4. Oh, Bethany, I’m so sorry to hear this.

      I’m not entirely sure about the humor, but I loved like a mad thing Lucy Parker’s first two releases, Act Like It and Pretty Face. (I have her third in the TBR mountain range — I’m not sure why I haven’t read it, except I suspect I’m saving it. Go figure.) They’re set in London’s theater world and they just seemed really smart to me.

      I also love Loretta Chase like a mad thing. My two favorites are Mr. Impossible and Lord Perfect — Lord Perfect is one of the few books I’ve ever read where as soon as I finished it, I started it again. There is humor in both books, and two lovely heroines who could not be more different, but who are equally root-able.

    5. Do you read fantasy? They’re not really what you’re after, but Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest and Son of the Shadows might be nice. They are lovely and at the core are about strong women getting their happy endings, even if those happy endings weren’t 100% what they started out wanting.

      1. Thanks. I appreciate the sentiment. Sadly. I need *a* trial. This treatment is essentially just meant to keep me alive until the right trial can be found. At this point (tumors affecting and in my airways, plud in my liver and abdomen) a trial is my best hope 🙁

        1. Crossing my fingers and sending good vibes and praying and hoping that the right trial for you is coming. In the meantime, I hope you find a truly perfect book.

        2. Are you at an oncology hospital or a wing in a regular hospital? Just that sometimes a research hospital has a more creative approach. Good luck!

          1. I’m lucky enough to be seen by the head of Hopkins Sarcoma Center. He’s one of the top oncologists for my type of cancer and very into research.

    6. Penny Reid. Neanderthal Seeks Human is the beginning of the Knitting in the City series. I just started Grin and Beard It. And so far it’s great fun. You already know my other comfort reads. Unless you’d like to try Tamora Pearce. They are middle grade. But she is such a great world builder. Alana is the first book. I can’t temper what I read during my heart and cancer surgeries. But probably Tamora Pierce or LM Montgomery. I kept telling myself “some day this will just be a memory. “
      Now it is. I wish the same for you.

      1. I adore Tamora Pierce! I should do a reread of her world and make sure I didn’t miss any.

        And I hate that you have those memories, but am glad they’re in the past.

        1. See, now I tried reading Janet E. because everyone said, “She’s so funny, she’s right up your alley.” Read the first one, hated every character in it, including the protagonist, and never read another. So you just never know.

    7. I’m putting the Carmelites on your case. They’re like Feng Shui — I don’t believe in it, but it works for me.

        1. Bethany, hope you are able to get into a new trial. And so sorry you were not included in the one you were waiting for.

          For comfort reading and strong heroines, I re-read Martha Wells “Wheel of the Infinite”, and I also love re-reading The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (also Sunshine but that is a little darker).

          This week I re-read Cathryn, Called Birdy by Carolyn Cushman and really enjoyed it. It’s the diary of a 14 year old girl in medieval England, trying to finagle her way out of being married to someone (actually, many someones!) who repel her.

    8. Bethany, I really sorry you didn’t get into the trial. Are there others you can try to get in? During my first line of treatment I watched cooking shows for most of the day. I found I couldn’t concentrate on books. Now I’m devouring cozy mysteries. Helps.

      1. My doctors and I are searching for others and I’ve requested two other branches at NIH review my medical and tumor records to see if I match any trials. It’s just a long and kind of confusing process to find a trial for patients like me. Plus with my cancer being rare, it’s harder to find a trial. I understand it — better to research something that can save thousands rather than hundreds.

        1. Are you familiar with NORD (National ORganization for Rare Disorders)? https://rarediseases.org/ I believe they have a member group that’s focused on rare cancers. (I didn’t realize yours was a rare one until now.) Might they have some resources you’d find helpful? And I’m sure you know about clinicaltrials.gov, but just in case I figured I’d mention it.

  8. Just read Lauren Dane’s romance Diablo Lake: Moonstruck. Small-town safe-haven for Witches and Shapeshifters.

    The focus is on the relationships and the small-towniness of the politics. Doesn’t focus on info-dumping magic or details of pack structures. Very pleasant read with really good romance protagonists.

  9. I read a lot last week, including two Mary Balogh’s novels (both regency romances) and two Ilona Andrews’ sci-fi romantic novellas: Silent Blade and Silver Shark. All four, despite their artificial differences, are at heart the same story: a Cinderella story. A rich and powerful man meets a poor powerless woman, although she is kind and proud. They fall in love. Some tribulations ensue. He pursues her. HEA triumphs.
    In my experience as a reader, many romances utilize the same plotline. I wonder: is it ever the opposite? What romances do you know where a rich and powerful woman meets a poor, powerless man with a kind heart and a proud disposition? Does it ever end well?

    1. The Kiss Quotient! I really enjoyed this book, though I think it shows that it is the author’s first work. Anyway, the Female protagonist is successful in her field, from an affluent family, with a gigantic trust fund. Her romantic interest is a young man who….

      Spoilers here,

      Who’s father left his family destitute and then had to give up his career to support his terminally ill mother and the family business by prostituting himself.

      Also, not to be nit-picky, but Ilona Andrews’ heroines are rarely powerless. In Silent Blade, she is hunting him down for revenge and in Silver Shark she is actively attacking and making her life, and the lives of those around her better. She is the hero’s equal. True, both men have money and status.

    2. Its not exactly a romance but the Queen of Attolia and the King of Attolia.

      And one of my favorite romances by Jo Goodman, My Reckless Heart, falls in that category.

  10. Right now, I’m reading Michelle Tea’s Modern Tarot, and listening to James Gleick’s Chaos: The Making of a New Science. I’ve read Chaos twice and only kind of understand it — I’m not sure I’m doing any better listening to it, but it makes my hour-long (one way) driving commute zip by more quickly.

    1. Tom Stoppard read Chaos, and then wrote the play Arcadia – you can see him struggling with what he read in Chaos and trying to explain to himself via all the characters – to each other, and to the audience…

      1. Really? That is amazingly cool. Tom Stoppard’s play Arcadia and A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession influenced each other. I can’t remember which came first. I love them both.

  11. I started Ann Aguirre’s Dred Chronicles this week and made it about a third of the way through before I ran aground. Has anyone else read these? Should I push through? I love the premise, but something just isn’t gelling for me.

    Now I am starting Christina Lauren’s Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. I have read her before, and was not blown away, but I am really enjoying this one, and Hazel is a hoot.

    1. Ah! I really want to read Josh & Hazel – Very curious to hear what you think about it when you’re done. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

  12. Firstly, Bethany: I wish you a swift and good recovery! Many healing vibes and hugs your way!

    Since last time (I need to catch up on a couple of weeks’ posts, again…) I’ve read:

    – Reread “Snuff” by Terry Pratchett. Loved it. Again. Vimes <3

    – "The Obsession" by Nora Roberts (Swedish translation). I quite liked it but unfortunately I figured out who the bad guy was too early to keep the thrill in the thriller… I probably read too much Agatha Christie in my teens to be easily fooled. So that was a pity, but except that drawback it was a good and cute story. Pluspoints for the dog! And the guy is cute.

    – Started (and today finished) rereading "Raising Steam" by Terry Pratchett. I had to go to Sweden for a funeral (daughter of friends of ours, a girl of 7 🙁 ) and haven't had much time to read last 2 weeks. But anyway, I like that book. Not the best Moist, but still good.

    – I also read 3 childrens' books by a Swedish author called Eva Bexell, books I read when I was what… 5? 6? Comfort reading because of family troubles. Was nice to revisit, very cosy books. Particularly the one where they celebrate christmas. I got so much christmas vibes…and I'm not even a christmas kind of person!

    – Oh and I also reread Astrid Lindgren's own narration of Pippi Longstocking when I was in Sweden. Just because I could. The love. <3

    Today I started reading The Storm Runner by J. C. Cervantes. It's another of the Rick Riordan Presents-promoted books, this one about Maya mythology. I've only read about 12 %, but so far I like it. Again plus points for dog in the story! A story with a dog can't go wrong, right?

  13. I grabbed Prisoner of Zenda while I was riding the stationery bike. I read it many decades ago. I’d forgotten how formulaic it is; in fact, it has the pretty much the same pattern as the first chansans de gestes from the 12th century. Second son goes to exotic country where he falls into a series of scrapes in which he proves that he can fight/plot/love as well or better than a true king. At the end he must return to his old self, leaving behind the Queen (she’s the love of his life) and the proof of his great worth.

    Turns out, the sequel was even worse. Its plot is driven by the weakness of the beloved woman which leads to the deaths of many men, including the hero.

    I guess this might be an alternative situation to the Cinderella/Prince Charming pair that Olga Godim describes, but I bet it’s not one Olga would enjoy.

      1. Thanks to chachal and Lupe. I’m glad that KJ Charles and Sherwood Smith challenged Anthony Hope. While neither of their books interest me (at least, the descriptions don’t), I think there have been wonderful female fighter protagonists (Alanna is just one) in recent times.

  14. I just finished the third book in Anne Bishop’s The Others series and started the fourth. Just loving them.

    I have the new Susan Mallery book waiting after that.

      1. Anne Bishop is the Guest of Honor at the SF/fantasy con I’m attending this weekend, and I hadn’t read anything by her yet. I figured I’d at least read the first one, but I’m completely hooked.

  15. Imminently going back to “If We Were Villains” by M.L. Rio, because last night we saw the streamed-to-theatres live recording of Sir Ian McKellen’s King Lear (and WOW) and now I can read the Rio book less ignorantly. I loved it the first time anyway but … .

  16. Lindsay Buroker just released the first book in a new series (spin-off from a space opera with romance, which I enjoyed), so while I haven’t read it yet, I read a prequel short story, and it’s got a dog in it as a sort of main character, which is a plus. Her books are always fun and light, and the good guys (that’s a gender-free “guys”) always win through their wit, bravery and skill. Just the ticket right now, and I’m heading for my kindle as soon as I sign off here.

  17. I’ve been on a bit of an urban fantasy kick lately. I read and enjoyed the first Cainsville book, and then picked up another book (different author) which should have been my catnip, got almost to the end, and gave up. There was enough in the writing that I kept going, but I found myself waiting for the heroine to Do Something, and at the three-quarter mark if your heroine hasn’t Done Something by then, then you might as well pack it in. So I spent a three hour plane flight reading the first book in Jacqueline Carey’s Agent of Hel series instead, and it was just what I needed.

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