49 thoughts on “This Is A Good Book Thursday, January 3, 2019

  1. Huh, the time difference between Germany and the U.S. giving me a head start, I’ll be the first to comment for once (usually, I’m late to the party).

    The first book in 20219 was also the last one I read in 2018. I had hoped someone would give me Michelle Obama’s book for Christmas, and my son did. Which was great because I would have chosen it for the best book I read last year if I had been able to finish it in time. I can only recommend it because I like the style as well as the objective she chose: describing how she became the person she is.

    I think I already mentioned a line from a MaryChapin Carpenter song before: “We got two lives, one we’re given and the other one we make”. Maybe I’ll make a poster out of it and fix it to my office wall once we’ve moved in February so I’ll be constantly reminded that I should count my blessings being privileged in many ways (being born in a free democratic country, having every opportunity to learn and develop myself, marrying the right guy, having wonderful children, etc.) while at the same time I should not forget that it is my own responsibility to grow and learn all life long, taking chances and standing up for them if they turned out to be wrong.

    Michelle Obama shows this beautifully in her book. I really appreciated it.

  2. I really enjoyed “Transcription” by Kate Atkinson. It’s a thriller with more a literary bent about a woman in two different time periods. You see her as a young secretary, transcribing an audio record of Nazi spies for MI5 and you see her as a much more jaded radio producer at the BBC in the 50s. The story goes back and forth in time until you get a sense of why she is who she is and how her past lives and present life connect. Kate Atkinson loves to write a twisty story and some of the twists I saw coming, some of them I didn’t. I did listen to it on audio, so I’m sure I missed some of the nuances, but it really sucked me in.

  3. I finished up The Fated Sky, the sequel to The Calculating Stars, an alternate history by Mary Robinette Kowal. In this volume, the space program is heading to Mars, to start the colonization of that planet, as a refuge from Earth. I’ve been enjoying this series.

  4. In between books I’ve been reading Mary Balogh’s Under the Mistletoe a series of five novellas. One story here and one there. Yesterday I was thinking that Judith McNaught was supposed to have a new book published. I know I’ve had it on order at the library so I double checked Amazon for a release date and low and behold it won’t be released until Dec. 31, 2045. Yes, 2045, probably a mistake, a joke or to see if any one was paying attention. If I can wait for Jenny’s with patience I can certainly wait for Judith’s. Of course I’ll be 100 years old but so won’t she.

  5. I’m digging around the Kindle recommendations for 1920s mysteries. I was not impressed with Murder at Archly Manor so I’m not going to be working on the rest of the series.

    I’ve been re-reading Rivers of London, in random order, as well. I’m sort of trying to figure out the “haunted car” references from the latest volume. I’m missing footnotes on this sort of thing. I think Sayers and Pratchett spoiled me on this – they were both good about indicating which previous story they were referencing and now my standards are set.

    1. The haunted car was from one of the comics. I read a couple of those and then stopped. I think there was another one about mold. You didn’t miss anything.

    2. Have you read the Phryne Fisher series by Kerry Greenwood? It’s wonderful. She becomes a private detective in 1920s Australia.

      1. Greenwood’s Corina Chapman series is my favorite. She is a baker who solves mysteries.

  6. I’ve just been working my way through The Lyre Thief, and Retribution (books 1 & 2 of the War of the Gods series) by Jennifer Fallon, and enjoying the twisty ways everything comes together. Now I’ve got to wait for book 3.

  7. First book of 2019 was actually Winnie the Pooh (read aloud to kid) and Milne just never gets old. Also read Every Day because we watched the movie over the holiday break and I wanted to compare the book. I’m not sure if it worked better as a movie or book honestly.

    Of course the book I am waiting to read in 2019 is yours. : D I’m so excited that you’ve got another one coming soon. (Maybe it’ll be 2020, I don’t care. Just yay.)

  8. Book one for 2019, which I read most of New Year’s Morning instead of cleaning the house for New Year’s dinner guests, is Val McDermid’s Broken Ground.

    And then, despite a late start on clean-up and general prep, I STILL finished in time for my guests, which proves, I think, that I normally spend far too much time preparing for company.

  9. I spent NYD reading Todd Fisher’s “My Girls.” As a diehard Carrie Fisher fan, I loved it. Dude has good stories. I was addicted and drained my phone reading it (ebook was $1.99).

  10. I was down with the plague for New Year’s (okay, a cold, but this one made me quite whiny for some reason) so wound up reading, one after another, the first 5 of Mary Jo Putney’s Lost Lords series – there was an excellent Kindle deal on them as a package in November, I think. Perfect for Nyquil-addled me – Mary Jo is a delightful writer and her characters are a little out of the Regency norm, even if they are all titled.

  11. If this seems like a lot of books for 2 days, it is because we (1) loaned our guest bedroom to friends for a week, followed by (2) out-of-town guest for another week and I have taken the last two days off to catch up on my downtime, also to clean up some. So I have read in the following order:

    1. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer by Kelly Jones. Juvenile book but really enjoyable, even on a kindle where it was difficult to read the illustrations. A very good choice for something to read for that period between supper and bedtime in that it was entertaining but it did not take me until 2 am to finish it. This was recommended here. Thank you.

    2. Moving Pictures by Terry Pratchett. This is a reread and it is not going fast. I see why I only read it once. This is still on the back burner. I am connecting with it.

    3. The Cobbler’s Boy by Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Addison. This is really good. I read it through in one go on New Year’s Day. It brought to mind the Alchemist’s Apprentice by Dave Duncan for some reason although the Cobbler’s Boy is a quasi-historical mystery and this boy is Kit Marlow, there is no magic and Kit clearly prefers boys. Someone mentioned this within the last few weeks and I was able to get it from the library instantly. Thank you for the heads up.

    4. Night Train to Rigel by Timothy Zahn. Some of his books I have really liked, some I could not get into. So far I enjoy this one – interesting world. I will let you know if I continue with the series.

    I finished the 2018 out by reading the 3 books in the Linesmen series by S. K. Dunstall. For those of us here who read SF I can recommend this. The romance in this, if it can be called a romance, does not occur until book 3 and is more after thought than romance. But still, good read.

  12. First book of 2019…

    I broke down and shelled out $15 for the eARC of “1636: The Polish Maelstrom,” by Eric Flint. I’m not certain whether this was the first of ’19 or the last of ’18 – or both. Due to peculiarities of my Chromebook, I read it online, connected overnight to the Baen website. At the same time, I was re-reading the “Wearing the Cape” series, by Marion G. Harmon. I believe I was finishing “Young Sentinels” but may have started “Small Town Heroes.” No matter, I’ve advanced to “Ronin Games” now, on Joe the Kindle.

    Off to one side, skimming Lois Bujold’s blog for when she became self published has caused me to open “Penric’s Demon” on my other Kindle. (Have I ever mentioned that Bujold is a Crusie fan and it was her recommendation that got me reading you?) Anyway, Penric’s Demon, self-published, dates back to 2015, and her deal with Subterranean Press to August of that year. She discusses the deal on what is currently page 27 of her blog on Goodreads. (Page numbers change, just like here.)

    Time to get ready for work. All y’all have a blessed day.

      1. You are very welcome.

        Warning: Her blog is very frustrating, beyond a certain point. The bulk of her comments were on MySpace, which I am unwilling to join. Since 2014 or so, it’s all on GoodReads. Or she has a FaceBook account maintained entirely by a fan (by permission) that echoes the GoodReads posts. (Lois, herself, does not Facebook.)

        So if you go back to page 80 or so, and you see an excited Crusie recommendation that says “read more…” in a link, it goes to MySpace.

        I’m not sure how far back her posts on Baen’s Bar/Miles To Go conference go, and truth to tell, that has to have been where I originally read most Crusie praise and links and recommendations. No fee to join, but must be a member to read.

  13. Ooh,ooh,ooh. Mr Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau. It’s Kwan Sisters Book Two.

    It has first person alternating perspectives. I’m generally not a fan of this style and didn’t enjoy it too much in the first book. But I love Jackie on twitter and decided to give the book a chance. I’m SO glad I did. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

    Truly, my doctor ordered me to find some balance in my life. One character who doesn’t know how to enjoy life – the Hotshot of the title and the other who deliberately aims to see the joy everywhere. I just LOVE this book. It’s also quite humourous in parts, not uproariously so, but definitely smile-inducing.

    Go get it.

  14. After one or two false starts with book samples, I bought ‘Tinker’ by Wen Spencer, and am enjoying it. I’ve got a whole store of samples from recommendations here, but of course they don’t all jell with me. Still, it’s good to be exploring new authors in the new year.

    1. First book of the year has been Believe Me, by Eddie Izzard, one of the smartest funny guys and funniest smart guys out there. I’ve seen some of his stand-up acts on YouTube and can’t praise him enough. In addition to the writing and the performing, he runs marathons. One project was to run a marathon for every year Nelson Mandela was in prison. If he were an American, I would want him to be President; he would be a million times better than that [ahem] we’ve got now.

      1. Yesss! Oh, thank you. I’m doing the PopSugar Reading Challenge this year and since I’m not into celebrity culture the prompt, “a book by a celebrity you admire” was causing me no end of trouble. This will be perfect and since I had an audible credit on hand I didn’t even need to spend any money and will be able to listen to Eddie telling his own story. Result! Highly chuffed.

    2. I liked Tinker better than the fourth or so book of that series. Definitely a different take on Elfland and Human lands crossover. Enjoy!

      1. ditto this. Loved Tinker, liked the next book, and then not so much. I really hate when a first book is exactly my cup of tea and then it moves out of the realm of what I enjoy in subsequent books with problematic issues I can’t get over.

        1. That was pretty much exactly my reaction. Tinker was great, the next book so-so, and the rest wandered off into unreadable territory

  15. First book for the new year was Susan Hill’s ‘The Comforts of Home’, the latest in her Simon Serailler crime series. I love this series so much – there’s crime, yes, but it’s more of a study of characters and how they interact. Plus, being Susan Hill, gorgeous writing.

    My second was a reread of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Another series I love, and it was really interesting to go back to the beginning of it. She hasn’t had a new book out for a while – I heard from someone that it was because her husband had died, and that there might be a new book soonish.

    I’m just about to start on Kate Atkinson’s ‘Transcription’.

  16. I’m rereading (yet again) Murderbot: All Systems Red. And seeing yet new things I’d missed (mostly setting at this point, which I generally skim over). It’s not the first book of my year (it’s the 3rd already, and I read a lot!) but so far it’s definitely the best. The others were mediocre Regencies that had me skimming and skipping they were so dull.

  17. I am still finishing up my December reread of a bunch of Trisha Ashley books ( British romance with quirky heroines, sometimes older and often not skinny). They’re my comfort food. My brain isn’t quite ready to deal with anything new yet, and despite the zillions of unread books on my TBR shelves, there is nothing I am exactly in the mood for. So the reread continues.

    1. Deborah Blake, where do you find these Brit books? Some at my library, most not. Local bookstore is hopeless. Please let me know your source.

      1. Ask your librarian about interlibrary loan, if you don’t want to go the ebook route. Most public libraries have one. It can be tedious, but it is good to have options.

  18. My first book of the year was Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse. It is a post-apocalyptic novel in which climate change has caused massive flooding and most of the US (and everywhere else) is under water. The Navaho reservation and it’s people have survived, along with their legends, gods and monsters. Maggie Hoskin is a young woman who slays monsters. It’s hard to describe, but has a very intriguing premise and engaging characters. I am looking forward to the next book in the series which will be released later this year.

  19. Someone here recommended the Kate Shackleton Mysteries and I’ve started the first one, Dying in the Wool. The narrator irritates me somewhat and I think I’d like it better if I was reading not listening, but still is holding my attention.

    I also read Men at Arms but I think I started that last year so it doesn’t really count as the first.

  20. Thanks to all your recommendations, I read both The Goblin Emperor and All Systems Red (the first in the Murderbot series) over Christmas and loved them both, especially Murderbot. I’ve been working with a group of teens recently, and Murderbot helped me remember what it was like to be an adolescent. I may survive the encounter after all 🙂

  21. I re-read “Innocent in Death” this week. The last book of 2018 was “The Vacillations of Poppy Carew” by Mary Wesley. Am not 100% sure how I came to that, possibly my mother, at any rate by 30% in I was rage-reading.

    I’ll say one thing for it, I rage-read straight through to the end, so maybe there is more to it than I thought, but … feckless heroine and just a lot of nonsensical, impulsive, takes-the-plot-nowhere behavior from nearly every character. Fie upon it.

  22. Big thank you to whoever recommended The Frame Up, by Meghan Scott Molin. It was clever, funny, geeky, and respectful of the boundaries of work romances. Partner/ office romances get it wrong so often that this is a huge selling point for me. Some things are just inappropriate in the workplace, even when it’s consensual, and these characters acknowledge that. A good start to the reading year!

  23. After finishing 2018 with Anne Bishop’s The Others series, which was engrossing and fun, I picked up a book on a whim at the library, and read it starting New Years Eve. By Marian Keyes, it was called “The Other Side of the Story”. I can’t say I really liked it, but after skimming portions of each of the three narrators, I got curious about the other two, and skim-read on.

    Maybe because it was a book by an Irish author, set partly in Ireland, there was a lot of cultural nuance that I probably missed entirely. Each protagonist is connected to the stories of each of the others, and all three violated some norm that irritated me from the get-go. One has an ongoing secret affair with the boss; a second ‘steals’ the third’s boyfriend; the last one becomes the slave and confidant of her passive, jilted mom. And there are literary connections, and coincidences and so on. Some events happen in London; someone is ostensibly American, which I kind of doubted. The whole book almost/kind of worked; it left me wondering how I wish the author would have done the whole thing differently.

    So now I’m re-reading Reaper Man by Pratchett and enjoying the hell out of it.

  24. I’ve discovered the Jodi Taylor St. Mary’s series on time traveling. I’m a sucker for authors that help me understand history. Before that I reread Sara Donati’s Wilderness series. This also gives me a feel for history in a different way. I have been reading constantly through the holiday break to deal with the stress.

  25. Last new book of 2018 was With Love, Wherever You Are by Dandi Daley Mackall.

    First book of 2019 is a re-read; Stephanie Laurens’ The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae, started this morning. I have been reading through the short story submissions for an anthology. A lot of SciFi and Fantasy. Started on New Year’s Day. Had to have a HEA to scrub my mind before diving back into the pile. Crazy stuff.

    Some good and some oh-hum stories amongst the gems. The gems are terrific.

  26. The first is a sci-fi FBI thriller called suitcase girl by ty Hutchinson, then I read its sequel The Hatchery. I loved reading Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles. It’s a British RomCom. I liked the Unscripted Life of Lizzy Deringer by Marianne Hansen. I’ve got some health stuff going on so reading and rewatching Sandra Oh in Killing Eve has helped.

  27. Thanks to Jill Q I picked up the space race romances by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner and am loving “Star Dust” right now. Can’t wait to read the rest! FYI – they are on sale right now so you can get the first 3 in the series individually for cheaper than the box set of the same.

  28. My first finished book of the new year was the re-release of Ilona Andrews’ Kinsmen novellas. I stayed up way to late getting to the third one, which I hadn’t read yet. But it was worth it.

  29. I learned that Kindle now has a bunch of Noel Streatfeild books for Kindle, so I reread several “Shoes” books — still rereadable as an adult. They also have a bunch of her adult works, which I’ll get to. They’ll probably be more dated, but I like period pieces.

  30. I also read ‘The Cobbler’s Boy’ by Elizabeth Bear and Katherine Addison. I simultaneously really enjoyed it and was slightly disappointed but I think that was because my expectations were unreasonably high.
    Also ‘Vita Brevis’ by Ruth Downie in my favourite ancient Roman detective series. I love these more for the ongoing relationship between Ruso and Tilla than for the actual mysteries but I love them a lot and, unusually for series novels, they only seem to be getting better.
    Also ‘Swordheart’ by T Kingfisher which I preferred to the Clocktaur books – absolutely adored it.
    And now I’m getting towards the end of ‘Greenglass House’ by Kate Milford which has also been deeply engaging.
    Yes, I’ve had some holiday time over the festive period and yes, I consider it very well invested!

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