This is a Good Book Thursday, November 29, 2018

I downloaded a romance by a writer I’d never heard of (not surprising, I am completely out of the loop on romance at this point), and while the leads were charming and the setting excellent, everything kept happening as expected.  It was fun to read–who doesn’t want to read about people falling in love with a happy ending–I felt no interest in buying more of the books in the series or even rereading that one again, even though I’d enjoyed it.  It was the first time I’d read something and realized I didn’t want to read it again, ever, even though it had been fun to read.  I think it might be the predictability of it–knowing there’s a happy ending is a romance staple does not mean knowing everything that’s going to happen is okay, too–or possibly that so much of the conflict was of the if-they’d-just-talked variety.  It is also possible that I’m just a jaded bitch.  

So what did you read this week?

85 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 29, 2018

  1. I read and loved “Posted” by John David Anderson. It’s a middle school pick about a group of misfit boys who are dealing with growing up and growing apart when all of the sudden a girl enters their group. I was worried it was going to be a “girls ruin everything” story, but instead she ended up saving them in a lot of amazing ways.
    It was kind of an out of left field pick for me. There’s a plotline about post it notes that intrigued me, but that really wasn’t what the book “was about. ” It was funny and emotional without being overwrought. I thought it captured that age well. No romance (it wouldn’t have worked for this story) just great friendships.

  2. I found that there’s a new sequel to “The 100-year-old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared” and bought it while I was waiting around Munich airport. It’s called “The Accidental Further Adventures of the Hundred-Year-old Man.”

    I am thoroughly enjoying it. The story thus far is far-fetched and silly (and will likely continue so) but the writing is absolutely wonderful. I love books where the words and images are just delectable — the formulations are vivid.

    I’ve read the other books by Jonas Jonasson (they’re translated from the Swedish) and they’ve all been great fun.

    I needed something light and engaging and this certainly is!

    1. I read the 100-year-old some years ago, but didn’t dare pick up the sequel because . . . well, because no good reason except sequels sometimes don’t manage to even come close to the original. . Should I give it a shot?

  3. I’ve been doing more rereading of comfort stuff; but did, as I mentioned yesterday, read a good new book for work. Just in case anyone here would like a clear and engaging account of the background to Brexit, it’s due out towards the end of January from
    Penguin and is called ‘A Short History of Brexit’ by Kevin O’Rourke. He’s a half-Danish Irish economist who grew up on the continent, is a fellow of All Souls, Oxford, and also a town councillor in rural France. (The book’s already been published in French.)

    I’m now crystal clear about the vital importance of not reintroducing any kind of hard border in Ireland; and generally ashamed to be British. The best bit was a useful new term: cakeism, coined in response to UK politicians’ stated intention of having their cake and eating it with regard to the Brexit negotiations. I can think of one or two people who are cakeist.

    1. Oh, I like cakeism, too. Pretty much sums up Trump and most of Congress.

      So is O’Rourke in favor of a do-over referendum? It would probably reject Brexit, right?

      I’m fascinated by this because it’s not watching my country crumble before my eyes, for a change it’s yours. The whole world went mad in 2016.

      1. I’ve been enjoying watching our recent state elections in Australia. Federally, the consensus seems to be that the party in power is being pushed further and further to the far right. At the state level, they ran a fear campaign for the recent elections, trying to convince us that our streets are overrun with crime and we’re all going to be murdered in our beds by rampaging gangs. They just got soundly walloped by the incumbent state government, who have spent the last four years actually doing stuff for the good of the state and mostly ran a positive campaign about other good stuff they plan to do in the next four years resisting the urge to buy into the fear tactics. And the incumbent party won in a huge and very unmistakeable way. It’s been fascinating to see, at the federal level, who has taken the right message from this victory, and who is in denial.

        The federal government also seems to be losing their moderates at a ferocious rate as they decide that the writing is on the wall and they can’t support the unspeakable policy trends. Which means that our current government is operating as an increasingly small minority government losing power by the day. Schadenfreude is a beautiful thing sometimes.

        1. Emily, it’s nice watching the moderate women step forward. And the Liberals (who are becoming less and less liberal) being castigated for their attitude to women.

      2. He ends by outlining all the different ways it could go, and saying it may end up being something he hasn’t thought of. He acknowledges his pro-EU bias, but tries to give an objective account. I’m definitely hoping for a second referendum, since the first was based on misinformation, and so was not democratic. But even then, the result’s not a foregone conclusion. Although the latest predictions about the economic crisis Brexit would provoke may start to swing things.

    2. I need to remember to look for that. I’ve tried to keep on on the whole thing through news articles, but something more in depth would be nice. Thanks!

  4. I read John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire which had a lot of different story lines that did finally converge. I liked the accidental emperor who had been raised as a mostly average person but became emperor when her older brother, the presumed and trained for it heir, dies in an accident just before her father, the emperor, becomes very ill and dies.

    I also gulped down the graphic novel The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. It is gorgeous, full of beautiful clothes. And although the ending didn’t ring entirely true to me, I loved the story about a 16 year old prince who likes to wear dresses.

    1. I liked the Prince and the Dressmaker, too, but it felt unsatisfying. Definitely worth the read/view.

  5. I’ve been hunting for Christmas/Holiday romance stories and came across The Christmas Letter: A Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas. It’s about a thirty year old woman who finds a brass lantern in a shop with a letter inside with her name on it. She buys the lantern, reads the letter, lights the lamp and is transported back to 1885 NYC. Pretty farfetched but it is only a story. Except for Outlander time travel is not my thing but yet again this writing couple has created a whole slew of that genre along with one I’d like to read, The Lost Mata Hari Ring. That one is about a woman who tries on one of Mata Hari’s pieces of jewelry and finds herself back in time as the spy.

    1. If you’re still looking for Christmas romances I recommend Courtney Milan’s A Kiss For Midwinter — it’s a novella in her Brothers Sinister series but reads well enough on its own, I think. I just discovered Milan this year and she’s my favorite romance writer in a long time; she manages to balance some very, very tough themes — the novella’s heroine is recovering from abandonment and miscarriage, the hero has a father sliding into dementia, and that’s just the tip of the iceburg — with humor in a really impressive way, so the characters come across as neither too flip nor too maudlin. And it’s a lovely little redemption/hope/healing story for the season.

      1. Courtney Milan is an automatic buy for me! I love all her work – the Brothers Sinister holds a place as my favorite intricately linked series. Her recent foray into more modern times also works well for me. I am so glad you’ve found her, and I envy you being at the beginning of reading all her work…

  6. I’ve been hunting for Christmas/Holiday romance stories and came across The Christmas Letter: A Time Travel Novel by Elyse Douglas. It’s about a thirty year old woman who finds a brass lantern in a shop with a letter inside with her name on it. She buys the lantern, reads the letter, lights the lamp and is transported back to 1885 NYC. Pretty farfetched but it is only a story. Except for Outlander time travel is not my thing but yet again this writing couple has created a whole slew of that genre along with one I’d like to read, The Lost Mata Hari Ring. That one is about a woman who tries on one of Mata Hari’s pieces of jewelry and finds herself back in time as the spy.

  7. Still reading Rick Riordan. Finished the second and third parts of the “The Heroes of Olympus” series and started reading part four, “The House of Hades”, today.

  8. I’ve been reading Connie Willis’ Miracle and Other Stories. They are her take on Christmas stories, with her typical twist. Love em.

    1. I have this book & haven’t read it in years. I love her imaginative stories. Will have to re-read soon. Thanks!

  9. I just finished The Vinyl Detective: The Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel. An entertaining, though somewhat unexpected, mystery. It’s about a guy living in southwest London who uses his knowledge of vinyl records, particularly early jazz, to find collectable ones at charity resale shops and jumble sales that he can sell to scrape by. As a joke he prints up some business cards advertising himself as The Vinyl Detective, and then one day a beautiful and mysterious, and rather posh, girl shows up at his door and actually hires him to find very rare early jazz recording on an obscure label for an even more mysterious employer. Then people start mysteriously dying. Is it related? It’s very well told and he has some quirky and unusual friends that help him along the way.

    1. Reminds me of the Beiderbecke Trilogy, a man goes missing and the main character hunts for him even though he barely knows him, but explains to a jazz fan, that the man was a fellow jazz fan, no more needed to be said 🙂

  10. Thank you Arghers!! After a long spell of nothing exciting, I have found so many excellent books here – The Goblin Emperor, Withering-by-Sea, Nevermoor. Last week someone mentioned Naomi Novik. Wow. I started with the Temeraire series. Dragons! Napoleonic War! England and China and France! Navel battles! Aerial battles! Love (not romantic) and making assumptions and slavery and politics and character growth! And that’s just the first two books. I still have seven more to go. I stayed up literally all night reading the first one, staggered through the next day reading in snatches between work, and am trying desperately to keep my hands off the third today so I can get some work done today. Not sure I’m going to succeed. It’s calling me.

    1. If you like the Goblin Emperor, then you should give Sherwood Smith, Sharon Shinn, and Patricia McKillip a try. I have a difficult time finding people in my life who enjoy slow building high fantasy sorts of stories, but I really like all of these authors. Also, Peter S. Beagle’s newest, In Calabria is really lovely… And Charles DeLint…

  11. I finished reading Stars Uncharted, which I really enjoyed. For those of you who liked Murderbot, I highly recommend it. Someone here recommended it a few weeks ago. Thank you.

    After a comment I read (I think it was in one of Chronicles of St. Mary’s books) that in Pride and Prejudice that Mrs. Bennett was a better parent then Mr. Bennett since the fate of unmarried woman was not good and she at least was doing what she could to see them married. And while Mrs. Bennett is still unamiable, Mr. Bennett on closer reader really is a poor excuse for a husband and father. So much of what was wrong with the family could have been avoided had he taken any interest in his children’s welfare. He was fond of Jane, loved Lizzie and was indifferent to the behavior of the other three, other than to mock them. Jane Austen really was a remarkable writer.

    1. Thank you for Stars Uncharted. I just ordered it from my library thanks to your comparison.

      I liked “Pride” which is a modern version of sorts but set in modern Brooklyn. Cool characters and great place.

      1. I reread Darcy’s comments on why it was such a struggle to realized that he wanted Lizzie regardless of her family because bottom line is that Darcy was a better judge of character than Lizzie and he wasn’t all that sold on Mr. Bennett being a sterling parent. Then later when Lizzie asked her father not to let Lydia go off with her friends, Mr. Bennett made some asinine comment about letting her behave badly in front of strangers instead of at home (where it might make him uncomfortable). He was not at all concerned about what kind of trouble she could get into or that she needed protection or guidance. And I found myself rereading the whole book, examining his behavior and basically it was “Don’t bother me”. He did not do anything where he would have to exert himself beyond his own immediate interests.

    2. Jenny, I think you made the comment about Mrs. Bennet being a better parent back on the old Cherry group.

      I’ve always remembered it because it changed the way I saw her.

      Another book which changed things for me was The Feminization of American Culture by Ann Douglas where she discussed all the women writers of the antebellum period and then admitted at the end that she was judging them by masculine standards. (Or that’s my memory – it’s been a long time since I read it).

      1. Yep, I argued that in a some of grad school papers. She wasn’t bright but she had a much better grasp of the basics than the father did, who couldn’t be bothered to save his daughters or help his wife.

        I did a short story based on that dynamic, two daughters and a father who played favorites and made fun of his wife. I was just so annoyed with that character, although not with Austen because she was brilliant in the way she drew him.

  12. Just finished Mary Balough’s latest Someone to Trust. It’ about a 35 year old widow and a 26 year old Baron. It’s an absolutely lovely Christmas book. (It starts with a Christmas celebration)

    1. I’ve just bought that, and am rereading the prequels first. Glad it’s good; I don’t think the earlier ones in the series are up to her best.

  13. Just finished reading the two books in Anna Lee Huber’s Verity Kent Mystery series – This Side of Murder and Treacherous is the Night – and really enjoyed them. I hadn’t realized it was a series when I picked up Treacherous is the Night, so I read them out of order (and then went back and re-read them in order).

    The series is set in Britain, just after the end of WWI and, while it’s a mystery story, what really kept me engaged and turning the pages was the relationship between the main characters, Verity Kent and her husband Sidney.

    The 2nd book starts when the war is finally over and done and the two of them are reunited. The author does a wonderful job of portraying just how difficult it is for them to move forward together, no matter how much they want to. Before the war they had been innocent newlyweds, but after, they’ve both seen and done things they don’t want to think about or talk about or let the other know about. They want to stay together but they aren’t at all the people they were before, and throughout the course of the book, they have to learn how to navigate their new reality. The mystery plot-line of the book served as a vehicle for them to do that, as well as providing and interesting view of the war and its aftermath.

    I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, which is due out in 2019.

  14. Argh. I am on day three of no power and not likely to get it back until Sunday. Read Artemis Fowl my flashlight on Tuesday. I’d read it with my kids a number of times so it didn’t really matter that I could only see about half the words.

    I hate not having power. No flushing and only the kitchen is warm. All the dishes are dirty and I’m out of water again. I know- whine, whine , whine. First world problems.

    1. No, I’ve been there, no power for a week in winter, and it just drags you down because you’re always working just to sustain normal life.

      I would have been a terrible pioneer.

      1. Me too, Jenny. It’s just impossible to be creative when you filling bottles to flush the toilet and chasing the dogs down the road because the radio fence only works if there’s electricity! God, If I’d been a pioneer I would have either rebelled or become a drudge. Actually, if I couldn’t get to a place with reliable amenities I probably would have offed myself.

        I would have made a very lovely rich person with servants.

        1. I have been trying to figure out why you would not have power to flush the toilet. Is it because the pipes are frozen? My toilets (two brand new, wall mounted and two 90 year old) work on water pressure. As long as you have water pressure, you are good to go, so to speak.

          1. With my sister’s, it’s because she’s on well water. No power, no pump.

            No pump, no water.

            She takes gallon jugs and cleans and fills them with water so that they can use toilets and brush teeth during an extended power outage.

          2. Thanks for the answer, Bridget, this makes sense to me now. My grandpa was on well water and I imperfectly remember many concerns about the pump (if you lost power, you had to re-prime it. This must have been 50 or 60 years ago.).

    2. Sympathies! We had a storm and were out for two days I then started buying more and more flashlights and lanterns because I hated it so much.

      1. I have a friend with a tesla power wall, but she keeps her house so cold that I’d rather put up with the dark to be warm. And I can’t take all the beasts with me anywhere, so I end up dropping in for a shower and to fill the water bottles (ten gallons worth) and then go home to gripe about how dark it is at four o’clock!

        1. Oy. No power in winter is no fun. Went through ice storm in late 90s in January and was without power pretty much for 2 1/2 weeks and intermittent phone (before cell phones everywhere). And we’d just moved so everything in boxes. Had same thought as Jenny re my powers as pioneer but we got through it and my son actually remembers it kinda fondly. My in-laws, in the country at the time, had the water issue like you re plumbing but they used snow–brought it in by buckets:)

    3. No power is pretty much a first, second, and third world problem.
      Our homes are built with the assumption of power, and they’re not set up to work without it. I live in a house with a well, thank God we got an automatic generator, so we can still flush our was through a blizzard.
      My sympathies.

    4. I did discover the benefits of a pit latrine compared to lack of regular water flow and poor pipe maintenance. I was glad to have the latrine in the end! My sympathies, but glad you have your friend!

  15. I read Kati Wilde’s A Beauty in Spring. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling that doesn’t shy away from the darkness of the story.

    I’m surprised that I’m really liking novellas these days!

  16. Here’s a weird one. I read Ethan Frome because my son was reading it in his literature class and I’d always been curious about Edith Wharton. It was totally depressing, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. It was like taking a master class in setting-as-character. More surprising, my son — who likes to read computer code more than English lit — liked it. I’ll take it as a win 🙂

  17. I read three very different books this week. First, Simone St James’ “Lost Among the Living”, which was a kind of gothic romance with a bit of haunting added in. Hugely enjoyable, and I’m going to look out for more of her books.

    Second, Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules for Life”. I stumbled across this at the library, and it’s fascinating. I gather he has a very popular YouTube channel, but I’d never heard of him before. It had to go back to the library, so I ended up buying a copy.

    Third, Russell Hoban’s “The Mouse and His Child”, which is one of those children’s books that is a delight for adults, because of humour. The animals and birds that the clockwork mouse and his boy come across are philosophers, inventors, and theatrical types, most of them self absorbed and eccentric. It’s a beautifully heroic story.

  18. I just finished Band Sinister by KJ Charles. Regency romance but it’s the brother and the Viscount who fall in love. I enjoyed it. No more graphic than your average modern romance.

    Am also enjoying T. Kingfisher’s novellas. Amusing and rich and set in fantasy world(s). Currently reading Swordheart about a middle-aged woman and the sword/warrior she end up inheriting (loose the sword in its scabbard and the warrior poofs into reality). Everything by Kingfisher is good. (She’s also Ursula Vernon of The Hamster Princess and Castle Hangnail.)

    1. I loved Band Sinister – I hadn’t read any of her others, but this was recommended here so I tried it, then went back and read pretty much her whole catalogue. Like Band Sinister the best thought (or maybe A Fashionable Indulgence).

  19. I’m reading The Unexpected Wife by Caroline Warfield. She’s one of the best newish authors of historical romance — good, solid storytelling, characters with genuine issues, and unusual locations. This one takes place in China around the time of the First Opium War (I think — I would go back and check the date but I’m still not too great with Kindle navigation.) If I have any quibble, it’s related to grammar — she sometimes doesn’t use the past perfect when I think she should. Yes, I’m picky, and it’s only sometimes, not like in some books where it’s not used at all and drives me nuts. I wonder if the pluperfect is now passé….?

    Also read A Burial at Sea by Charles Finch. It was pretty good, but not my favorite of the Charles Lenox series. Also Incognita by Jaima Fixsen — another good, solid, well-written romance.

  20. I just listened to a book by an author I have always loved, but over the last years, stopped reading. I actually had to go to her website to find out what year it was written. It said 2009, but there were no cell phones mentioned, the heroin pissed me off by constantly putting herself down and doubting herself and they used words like “neat”. To me, it felt very dated. I got through it and enjoyed it mostly, but I’m used to women like you and Krissy write, so someone constantly doubting herself made me crazy!

  21. New reading: I have some series about fake marriages – A Clean Fake Marriage Romance Collection – The Marriage Series by Victorine E. Lieske – and it might as well have been written by Betty Neels. Jenny, your latest romance read was entirely predictable. That’s my read as well.

    What else? I found myself re-reading the first issue of Eric Flint’s Grantville Gazette (Issue 1 of 80, now). It started out as an e-magazine to publish the stories that were good, but didn’t quite make the cut for the Ring of Fire anthologies, which in turn were stories inspired by his “solo” novel, “1632”. There are at least 20 novels in the series, 7 or 8 anthologies, and those 80 e-zines. It’s a phenomenon, or they’re pronominal, whatever. Some of my favorite books, at any rate.

    I got sucked into that series (this week, I mean) because my Mobipocket Reader Library wasn’t listing the stories in order, and it was driving me b*tsh*t. Anyone with this reading program knows you can edit the properties of books. Some title were like “Grantville Gazette Volume n” and some were “Grantville Gazette, Volume n” – that comma was messing up the order. Some used Roman numerals (up to about issue 22). Now there’s a new convention, whereby e-mags that have achieved hardcopy, or anthologies (best of) from the e-mags Get a Roman numeral and electronic copies are all Arabic numerals. ARGH! Anyway, I opened issue 1 when I mant only to open properties. And I started reading.

    What else am I reading? Well (*blush*) I have a few favorite webcomics, and I may have read a year or six’s worth of several this week. Too Much Information, El Goonish Shive, Misfile, Questionable Content, Living With Hipster Girl and Gamer Girl, and Grrl Power (my favorite on that list… mostly).

    More than enough to stay busy.

    1. QC is set in my town!! And Jeph used to work down the hall from our family circus classes. I love it.

      If you like webcomix, you might also like John Allison’s Bad Machinery. It has this sideways, understated humor that I find absurdly appealing, and it is long enough that you get to watch the characters grow through their school years. It looks, to the untutored USian eye, like roughly high school ages. Something like a Table of Contents is here:

      The other one I follow with pleasure is Namesake. I am not entirely sure I understand what all is going on at any given moment, but that means I can reread it and get pleasure from it for a while yet. You can find the beginning here:

  22. I confine my fantasy reading to Regencies, and I found an author new to me doing a riff on Peter Whimsey. I’d like Julian Kestrel to show more mannered and monied, but hey. Stumbled upon first of four in a library street sale and have ordered the remaining three, all written in the ’90s, I believe. I remember distantly author Kate Ross’ story: graduation from a posh school, practice as a lawyer, career switch to mystery writer, dead at 41 from breast cancer.

    I make a plea here, Arghers, for recommendation for a good thesaurus. I used a fine thick paperback for decades until the volume broke under its own weight. Before I tossed it (proper reverence given), I made sure the new hardback substitute was adequately stuffed with words. Alas, no, I find — there is no listing for “garden.” What does the damn book think I write about? So recommendations, please.

    1. re thesaurus: After a disastrous meet up with a thesaurus in “dictionary” form, I returned to my first thesaurus love, my Roget. His classification of the knowledge of the world was brilliant. The dictionary (and other copy cat) forms of thesauri (thesauruses?) lack all Roget’s subtlety and capture not one iota of the nuances of Words 🙂

      I recommend visiting a library that has several thesauri and examining them. Research libraries will have many. In the alternative, ask your librarians what they recommend. I have a go-to librarian for dictionary recommendations and I’m sure librarians who know their dictionaries would also know their thesauri.

      I’m going to look for a copy of Deborah’s recommended Super Thesaurus. You can’t have too many thesauri and one that suits one person won’t always suit another.

      I find lots of them at used book sales and book stores, along with other reference books. My latest and funniest find is called “Fifteen Thousand Useful Phrases,” by Grenville Kleiser, c. 1921. It’s past copyright protection so you will be able to find a copy online at Gutenberg ( But it’s funnier in book format 🙂

  23. Just finished Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient. Such a delightful book, charming, funny, and warm. One of the best romances I’ve read in years. The heroine, Stella, has Asperger’s, which makes her socially awkward, so she hires a male escort to teach her how to behave in any social situation, including sex. You can imagine the fireworks that ensued. Probably… although not the whole of it, I’m sure.
    As it happens, I have Asperger’s too, so everything Stella experienced resonated with me. I wish I had enough courage (and money) to have hired a male escort of my own when I was younger.

  24. I read Eric Idle’s “sortabiography”, “Always Look on the Bright Side”. I quite enjoyed the first section, but once he got famous, it was all very short takes on the many talented people he has known. It is sweet that he is grateful to all of them, but he doesn’t give you much of a picture of most of them, so after a while they all began to blur together.

  25. I’m almost at the end of Donna Andrews’ latest humorous mystery, Lark the Herald Angel Sings. Her books are always so satisfying and happy-making. Clever, funny, and lots of quirky characters.

  26. I read Caroline Warfield’s The Reluctant Wife and loved it. I have the next one in my TBR pile. I finished reading an old favorite Clouds Over Vellanti by Elsie Lee. I love Elsie Lee. Most of my copies are falling apart. Started A Christmas Miracle by Lynne Marshall. Last night, In the middle of this very enjoyable book, I realized I was supposed to feature a debut novel on my blog next Tuesday. Last night I started The Frameup by Meghan Scott Molin and I love it. It’s extremely Geeky and I adore the geek references. Longline is “By day she writes comic books. By night she lives them.”
    I took it to the set today and I have made it to page 101
    And I can’t wait to read more. It comes out Saturday if anyone wants to look it up on Amazon and read the blurb.

  27. My husband saw me (re)reading Brat Farrar and now he’s reading it.

    This time around I was really aware of Bee being inadvertent replacement for the Ashby kids’ parents just as Bart is the inadvertent replacement for Patrick.

    That got me musing on the challenges faced by a responsible person who takes on the role of another person.

    A step parent?
    A caregiver?
    The second fiancé?

    All food for thought

    1. That’s a great book. I think it’s Tey’s best, even better than Daughter of Time, which I also love. It really stands up to rereading, too.

  28. I’m just about finished reading the book “food what the heck should I eat” by Dr. Mark Hyman. It’s very informative and undoubtedly I would be healthier if I followed his advice. I’m still trying to get enough enthusiasm to do the diet/detox. I was quite happy to know that I’m actually doing a lot of it already and I’m able to make a few small tweaks that won’t hurt. It’s actually a really good book if you are looking to eat healthier.

  29. I just finished “The Coroner’s Lunch” by Colin Cotterill, which is the first book in a mystery series about a Laotian doctor who is forced by the new Communist government to become the nation’s only coroner. He’s got no experience with the dead, and he’s more than skeptical about the government. His two assistants are a man with Downs Syndrome, who is a miracle worker with the brain saw, and a nurse who wants to improve her situation. I enjoyed the mystery, and it was a window into the turbulence of Southeast Asia at the end of the Vietnam war.

  30. I am about half-way through Lethal White, the new Cormoran Strike book by Robert Galbraith, and I am loving it so much! I am even looking forward to a very long plane ride just so I can read the rest un-interrupted.

  31. Anastasia in space(Heart of Iron), not to be confused with Jane Eyre in space (Burning Brightly) that I read earlier this year.

  32. I read Deborah Blake’s *The Little Book of Cat Magic* this week, and it was adorable, but not cloyingly so. (-: I think we have very similar philosophies on cats.

    And, this week, I finally got around to reading *Crazy Rich Asians*. I had a Malaysian roommate for a year — not a crazy rich one, but a very nice one who introduced me to fantastic food and ended a lot of her sentences with *lah*. Boy, that book reminded me of her! And I loved the over-the-top, soap opera qualities. It was like the author was the lovechild of Amy Tan and Judith Krantz! I told my sister not to get me the sequels because I MUST order them and devour them myself before Christmas. So much fun!

    And so, I had to look around for alternative Christmas books. I found a bunch of non-fic that I want, but I should have stopped here, first. Elizabeth also rec’d the Anna Lee Huber Verity Kent novels over on Eight Ladies, and they definitely are things I should have asked my sister for. (-: Maybe my sister will see this over here!

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