92 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 14, 2019

  1. Walked past some Phryne Fisher books in the library, went back for them. I need some comfort reading

  2. I’m about to start re-reading Dogs and Goddesses to find the section where they’re talking about a made up word that I remember as being “buttigieg” If it it, I will feel happier about continuing to giggle whenever I hear/read about Pete Buttigieg running for President in 2020.

  3. I picked up a graphic novel from the library. I don’t usually read them but this one caught my eye: Quiet Girl in a Noisy World by Debbie Tung. She really nailed what it’s like to be an introvert. I found myself saying “yes, that’s exactly how I feel” over and over again.

    I also read Dragonholder by Todd McCaffrey. It’s a collection of bits and pieces of his mother’s life (Anne McCaffrey). It was written several years before her death so isn’t up to date but I enjoyed reading it.

    1. Have you ever read “Quiet” by Susan Cain? It’s a wonderful book on introversion. I’d like all extroverts to read it.

      1. Haha, yes, it actually helped explain extroverts to me – all those noisy people in offices weren’t just doing it to annoy me. Great book.

  4. I am mostly through Forthright’s newest book Marked By the Stars. I don’t know quite how to describe this author’s work. It’s a sort of epic fantasy, but always very gentle and comforting to me.

    I just finished rereading Dogs and Goddesses. It’s been a while and I forgot quite a bit. It was great. Thank you 🙂

    And I am listening to Keepsake by Sarina Bowen, another comfort author for me. I just always feel safe starting her books, even if I haven’t read them before. I guess I needed a lot of comfort this week. Everything seemed to go sideways or haywire. Bleh.

  5. I read That Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire, which is the 8th book in a series so I would not say to start there, but I really liked it.

    I also read A Question of Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro, which is now the end of a series I really liked. Sadly, the fourth book… was just not as good. The sendoff is okay, but it was a little weaker than I was expecting. Sigh. I still recommend the series, though.

    1. I liked the first one, but was ambivalent about going on to the second since I thought the first one went a little bit off the rails at the end.

      1. The second book does…rather go off the rails. It recovers from there in book 3 and to some degree 4. Still enjoyed it, mind you, but I think I expected it to be at least somewhat mad so I was less shocked.

  6. I’m still down the rabbit hole of “how far can I escape from reality” reading. This week I finished Crazy Cupid Love by Amanda Heger and I enjoyed it. Sweet and humorous (with one true spew the coffee moment of fun) and 100% improbable. A good antidote for the news.

  7. I read a brilliant book by a new-to-me author: ‘Something Human’ by A. J. Demos. (K. J. Charles recommended it.) m/m romance, set in a fictional version of the first-century BC Mediterranean. Loved the world and the characters and the story – which starts when the two of them meet in the aftermath of a battle, expecting to die. But it’s much more fun than you’d expect from that beginning.

    I immediately went on to her other novel, ‘One Night in Boukos’, but this wasn’t as successful. It’s more of a meander, although I still loved the world and the characters. I gather she also writes suspense under another name, but they sound too theological/Christian for me.

  8. The Murderbot novel has a release date (not soon enough, but still ….) of May 2020: https://www.tor.com/2019/03/11/announcing-the-title-of-martha-wells-murderbot-diaries-novel/

    I’m still re-reading (by audiobook) the Emperor’s Edge books, still sort of stuck on Book 3, and I was thinking last night — and wondering if anyone else experiences this too — that sometimes when I reread, I “remember” plot that was actually stuff that I thought was going to happen, rather than what actually happened. Like in this Book 3, I thought I remembered the reason for why the Big Bad was acting, but what I remembered was what I originally thought was happening the first time I read it, rather than what actually turned out to be the motivation. I did something similar with the most recent Dresden Files book, when I “remembered” some plot points that weren’t actually in the book when I reread it.

    It’s sort of like an extreme version of what’s said about story being a collaboration between author and reader. And I “write” my own story in my head, remember that instead of the actual story, and then I’m surprised on rereading that it’s not the actual story on the page!

    1. I recently reread Joan Aiken’s Midnight is a Place, a children’s novel set in Victorian times. In my memory, pretty much the entire plot was built around an enormous carpet making machine that every now and again crushed one of the small children who worked on it. To my surprise, that turned out to be a really small part of the story. A significant part, obviously, but not nearly as all-encompassing as I had remembered.

  9. I enjoyed the heck out of Gordon MacKenzie’s _Orbiting the Giant Hairball_. It’s a meditation of his 30 years working for both the corporate and creative sides of Hallmark and how to nurture and grow creativity in a corporate culture. I’ve never been tempted to describe a business book as “whimsical” but this little mixed media masterpiece does the trick.

    MacKenzie chopped the book up into short (one is only one line– “Wilbur Wright didn’t have a pilot’s license.”) sections that are a perfect little bob bon after a long day. I found myself reading very slowly to savor each idea, so much so that I renewed it from the library twice. I did keep reminding myself that he’s a white man who wrote this in 1996, so it’s a bit of a product of it’s time and creator, but he even touches on the uniqueness of what he was able to accomplish at one point. He seems to be a genuinely lovely man, a gifted corporate trainer, and someone who wants to make the world a better and more interesting place.

    If you can try to grab a hardcover copy of the book. It’s got photographs, watercolors, doodles, a fascinating relationship with typography, and a binding that really completes the experience. It’s a pocket-sized piece of art that I’m going to be giving to a lot of the people in my life this year.

  10. Finished the latest Incryptid book, That Ain’t Witchcraft. Not bad, but I just like Verity better than Antimony or Alex.

    Other than that I’ve mostly been reading mysteries. I finished the first two of Cherie Claire’s Viola Valentine mysteries. A women trying to reinvent herself after her five year old daughter dies of leukemia and then she ends up spending two days on the roof of her house in New Orleans after Katrina, and then she starts seeing ghosts. Pretty good, and I’ve bought the third one

  11. I am angry at what I had to do to read. Rant incoming.

    I amazoned a novella for free as one does. It was marketed as a prologue. It was the first 6 chapters of a novel. Grrr. I bought the novel. The novel ended with a resolution to the female MC’s growth, but no resolution on the romance.

    I had to get book 2. I read it. It wrapped up the romance but it so obviously existed between the other series this author had written, that it was like reading a D-grade “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” feeling I’d have to read D-grade Hamlet to learn the rest.

    I feel horribly manipulated and I loathe it. So I’m not naming the self-pubbed author and I’m certainly not reading anything more by them! Grrrrr.

      1. Huh and still GRRR. I one starred the “prologue.” I’m seething but avoiding reviewing the other two.

    1. Yep. Even if a series, every novel has to stand alone.
      One of the many things I loved about Buffy the Vampire Slayer was that every season had a complete ending, no cliffhangers. The Big Bad was defeated, the world was saved. I thought that was genius on Whedon’s part. The idiots who end a series on a cliffhanger to bring people back? Look, dummy, if we weren’t coming back to see the people and the world again, we’re not going to come back to find out what happens to the people and the world.

      1. And this is why I’m still furious about the end of season 3 of Veronica Mars. It felt like a betrayal of the viewers. They changed the arc structure, and then ended it on what felt like a downer of a cliffhanger. At least the first two seasons had wrapped their arcs at the end. And that was what I was expecting, and didn’t get, for season 3.

    2. I have given up on starting series from new authors and dropped series and authors altogether when authors have introduced tangential yet relevant mini-series that look super fun to write and yet are proportionately quite costly and not available in accessible formats.

      Whedon’s decency around story arcs and social contract with the audience is way too rare, which is frustrating, especially for those of us who get our media from legal sources.

      1. And yet, we are taught (not by Jenny, by some other writing instructors who will remain unnamed) to always end everything in a cliffhanger so that people will keep reading. I think what Jenny has to say is true. If you write a compelling universe with characters that readers like, they will keep reading.

        1. I’ve never liked cliffhangers or even those teaser bits, like the ones in the Sweet Valley High books. The main story would end but the last chapter would have an ominous lead-in to the next book.

          Cliffhangers and expensive sequels make it harder for people to buy, especially in current economic climate. It’s likely that the books aren’t bought in two months time when somereader has the money.

          Even if people don’t actively hate the author’s method like I do, there’ll always be a sense of dissatisfaction of not having finished the story. I’d think it’ll make people less likely to one-click that name again.

        2. It just feels like cheating to me. Like, if I can’t write a book that’s sufficiently satisfying on its own merits to make people want to read my next story, then I should trick them into reading the next book. No. Just no.

          I see it sometimes too with people seeking critiques, and they’ve started with a sort of flash-forward, with some big explosion-y action, or perhaps someone dies, and none of it really matters to the reader, because we haven’t been introduced to any of them enough to bond with them, and it’s clearly not where the story starts. So I ask why they started there, and the answer invariably is some version of, “Well, if I start with the next scene, which would be first chronologically, it’s boring, and everyone says I need a compelling first scene.” And I say, “then make that first scene compelling, because otherwise it’s still going to be boring, especially after an explosion-y first scene, and maybe they’ll buy the book based on the first scene, but they’ll stop reading at the second scene.”

          If you need a gimmick, the story isn’t strong enough on its own. It’s like scammers lying about their product — if you have to lie about something to get someone interested, then the thing isn’t worth selling.

          1. Totally agree, Gin. A lot of kids’ books that are aimed at boys start off with a wildly exciting scene that is not really exciting because the reader isn’t yet invested in the characters.

            It’s one of the things I love about Lois Bujold. Her books are so character based that I could spend hours reading about their everyday lives and not get bored.

          2. I agree with Lian about Bujold. Often, her characters ask themselves exactly when/what was the true beginning (all three Chalion novels, for example).

  12. I read Hero Dogs by Wilma Melville, with Paul Lobo as her very visible ghostwriter, about the founding of SDF, the Search Dog Foundation, out in California. After the Oklahoma City bombing, Wilma set a must-achieve-or-die-a-psychological death goal of training and deploying 168 search and rescue dogs, one for each victim of the bombing. It took many years, but she achieved that goal.

    She was 61 when she started. Now she’s 85 and she has a new goal: figure out how to get search dogs on the scene faster so they have a better chance of live recoveries.

    The book focuses heavily on the fact that most of those dogs were rescues themselves, some with pretty horrific back stories.

    It was uplifting, which is what I needed right about now.

    1. I talked to somebody back in Ohio several years ago who had a search and rescue dachshund. I said, “Huh?” and she said they were small and they liked to burrow and they’re absolutely determined (all true) so they can go places the bigger dogs won’t and they never give up. At which point I began to wonder why ALL search and rescue dogs aren’t dachshunds.

      1. Do you know, there is also a lot of work being done researching and training dogs for pest and invasive weed control? It’s astonishing, for example they are learning to pick out the scents of individual breeds of invasive fish pests in streams so it can be identified where the pest species are? And the same even for pest weeds – finding invasive pest weed species over large areas so they can be eradicated/controlled? Dogs are magic.

  13. It wasn’t this week, but two? weeks ago I read “A Slice of Magic” by A G Mayes and I mention it now only cause it involves a lot of pie 😆

    It was an ok book. The plot plodded along. It looks like it’s one of those series where the main character solves a different whodunit each book. It looked like it was going to be similar to Lucy March’s Nodaway Falls series, and it kind of was, just not as good. Maybe the second book goes deeper into the world building. The first is the heroine getting her bearings and just a lot of “zany” characters.

    But pie!

  14. I’m in the middle of The Body Keeps the Score which is about the effect of trauma on the body. It’s excellent.

    1. I found this to be a really excellent piece of work in many ways and I am so pleased you found it!

      1. My therapist said, “Read this,” so I started it last night. Then my head exploded. Great book.

  15. The Goblin Emporer has become a comfort read. Re-reading often twigs a plot line or turning point or magic insight I didn’t see before. Not sleeping well so if I read a comfort read I usually get back to dreamland.

    Gave the book to teacher son as he may be teaching English next semester. He is going to talk to English teachers about it. If any know about it. Told him I had read it a couple of times to which he said if I had read it twice it must be good. I’m a hard sell sometimes. Never read The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings or Narnia, etc. Ten years ago I read a Crusie and wow – hooked for life.

    Started Fludd too.

    1. Carol Mc: I enjoyed The Goblin Emperor too, when I read it last year. Now I’m listening to it in audio: it’s wonderfully read. I hear Addison has a new book in the works. Can’t wait.

      1. Working title THE WITNESS FOR THE DEAD, and said to be set at some point in Maia’s reign, though not a sequel. [Good for her.] No clue about even an approximate pub date, and I think the publisher is Tor.

  16. It must be a week of comfort reads all round. I read Grace Burrowes ‘No Other Duke Will Do’, and she continues to enchant me with her very real characters and complete lack of artificial and forced reasons why they can’t be together. I also read KJ Charles’ A Case of Possession, which is the second in her Charm of Magpies series. Hugely enjoyable.

    And I read about that amazing young Swedish woman, Greta Thunberg, who started the School Strike for Climate movement. I swear she will be President of somewhere one day. She has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. And I’m going to the Hobart strike this afternoon.

    1. Hobart! Be still my heart. Never have recovered from its glories — coffee, wine, beer, food, cafes, the Harbour Market, sloped streets, vintage shops, and, oh, the heritage roses. The views are a sublime stretch, and the people are the friendliest, wonderful folk.

  17. Finished “Sal & Gabi Break the Universe” by Carlos Hernandez and really really liked it. It didn’t really plot along the way I had expected, which kind of susprised me, and it was perhaps not as much a nailbiter as I had thought it would be, but I fell in love with the characters, the world, the ideas. Sal can retrieve whatever he wants form parrallell universes (even his dead mother) and that is perhaps not always the best thing to do to the universe where you live yourself. The book also has a lot of popculture/art/gaming references, a ton of dads and Terry Pratchett is mentioned, so it’s a winner for me. 🙂 And, the author answer to Twitter mentiones, which is nice, encouraging and fun. If he ever comes to NL, I’m definitely gonna go there and challenge him to a gaming session – he asked for it, sort of! 🙂

    After Sal & Gabi, I read “Falling for Trouble” by Sarah Title. It… was not a book for me. Perhaps it was bad timing that did it, perhaps I would feel differently another time of year/in another state of mind, but now I just couldn’t connect with the characters and relax and enjoy the story. It didn’t work for me. I’m sure it’ll work for a lot of other people though, but for me, not this time.

    Now rereading Fast Women, because I need comfort. Last months’ tension and stress crashed in Tuesday and I was a weeping heap, still not really back on track. Will probably go on to Agnes after Fast Women. Frying-pans are on top of my list right now.

    1. I like Sarah Title’s other books – especially The Undateable – much more than Falling…

      I have also been feeling the call of trying pan’s lately.

    1. A well seasoned cast-iron frying pan can do almost anything and will be your friend for life. I think mine is 42 now.

        1. My wife has her grandmother’s, and still uses it every week. She’s not sure of the exact age. but it’s 80+

        2. I got rid of mine when my arthritis in hands became too uncomfortable BUT I am still using my grandmother’s Revereware soup pot which I believe dates to the early 40’s or late 30’s.

  18. A friend loaned me Fellowship of Fear by Aaron Elkins. It’s the first in his mystery series about anthropologist Gideon Oliver. I loved it. A solid mystery with lots of suspense, and with the bonus that I learned random stuff about anthropology in general and forensic anthropology in particular. I will definitely read more of this series. Gideon is a lovely character, the kind one looks forward to meeting again.

  19. I read Good Omens by Pratchett/Gaiman, and struggled to get through it. Though it had moments I enjoyed, most of the time it seemed to be trying too hard to be cute, funny, topical, and a million other things.

    On the other hand, I loved The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. It kept me guessing throughout.

    1. Same here. I liked the beginning so much that I picked the book for our club. Then I hit the boggy middle and had to fight to get to the end.

      Most of the book club felt the same way, although one guy said he laughed so hard he fell off the couch. And we did have a good discussion.

      Plus, it was fun to plan the dinner – black-and-white table decor, angel hair pasta, devil’s food cake.

  20. I finished Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’ and it was SO GOOD. I’m not usually a big fan of books that win literary prizes, I like to be entertained. But this book is thoughtful and insightful and (apart from one thing that I’m not going to talk about, because spoilers) it really (ugh, I can’t believe I’m about to type this) spoke to me. Enough that I’m going to go buy a hardcopy. It’s about working out who you are, and how your path and identity is influenced by key people in our lives – the choices we make, how they see us. I recommend it.

    I’m still plowing through Roald Dahl’s biography. So not entertained, which is mad given what an entertaining writer he was.

    As antidote (avoidance), I’m re-reading Good Omens. And not sleeping enough. Must work on reading less.

  21. Am reading Amy Bloom’s latest book, White Houses, about Lorena Hickok’s relationship with Eleanor Roosevelt. It’s good, but not vintage Bloom. Still non-vintage Bloom is better than other people’s vintage stuff.

  22. I read Tempted by the Night by Elizabeth Boyle. The heroine has a magical ring, which makes her invisible, a quality I’ve often wished for. This is necessary for Reasons, and it comes in handy when she wants to have sex with the hero. There’s a lot of fun dialogue, too, as he tries to figure out who she is. A dog dies in it, though, killed by the Big Bad, which would be a no-go for some.

  23. I read Nicola Griffith’s So Lucky which was difficult – it’s topically difficult, in that it’s about a bright and high-functioning woman who develops one of the most rapidly progressive forms of MS and who is somehow surprised by the awfulness of medical care and illness when it’s applied to her and then there’s a mystery kind of wedged in which felt kludgy, and it’s difficult because it’s autobiographical which – I don’t have MS, but I hate for anyone to join this club, and it’s difficult because I have unabashedly liked and felt comfortable recommending all of her other work (it’s not cosy but it’s good) and this one is so prickly that I need some space from it.

    And then I read a novella – The Haunting of Tram Car 015, and I wanted to be more engaged than I was. It’s alternative universe with law enforcement in a djinn and magic-ridden Cairo. The world building is lovely and intricate and consistent and then I am not so interested in the people, which is a bummer.

    So I did a little foray into comfort re-reading of Elizabeth Aston’s Mountjoys – Brotherly Love with the truly awful brothers; and Kelly Link – Stone Animals, which is so spooky every single time and I do not know how she does it.

  24. I finished Argh’s Gin Jones – A Dose of Death – the first in her Helen Binney Mystery. I didn’t see the ending coming at all – so good on you, Gin! A classic cozy mystery with interesting characters. I wasn’t that enamored of the narrator (I mostly read audible books), but that’s such a personal preference that I wouldn’t put any importance on it.

    Also finished Sunshine – that Krissy recommended. Now I’m listening to it with my student and we’re discussing story structure. I’ve gone off the rails and I’m teaching to her interests rather to a specific curriculum. (Don’t worry, I’ve got permission. I deal with teens that don’t fit into regular schools, we’re just keeping her engaged and her brain working until she starts at an alternative school.)

    We’re listening to TED talks on climate change and plastic pollution, talking story structure and writing, doing a little math. We just finished a project about living on minimum wage. I think next week I’ll teach her how to write checks and balance a checkbook. Checks may be obsolete, but balancing your bank accounts shouldn’t be.

    While doing the climate change thing I came across a carbon footprint calculator, and projects you can invest in that balance out those times when you have to do something like take a flight or a road trip with only one person in the car. https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/footprintcalc if you are interested.

    1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for working with your student so that she is grounded on managing some of the practicalities of life. This will make a significant difference in her long term wellbeing. I used to manage many college students and easily 90% of them (across all family backgrounds, income levels, races and sexes/genders) had no idea how to budget, balance their bank account, sort out what was going on with their financial aid or comparison shop for anything. The general level of fiscal crisis and chaos became so outrageous that we made workshops in financial literacy a condition of employment in our department. It was shocking.

      1. I work for a financial institution and frequently (very frequently!) the kids come in complaining that they were charged insufficient fund fees and want us to fix it for them. When I ask if they keep a ledger, invariably they say no, they keep track in their heads!

        1. One of the many reasons I love Ally as my online bank: They keep my checking total front and center at all times. Even when I’m paying a bill through them, right next to the amount, it says, “Your checking balance is THIS MUCH, so don’t write the check for more than that, dummy.” Okay, it just says the amount, but I can read subtext.

    2. Money management is a crucial skill that is left out of many curriculums every where. My internal mini-conspiracy-theorist says that’s it’s because “they” want to keep people poor.

      🙌🏼 for the great work, Kate.

  25. I’m still reading Eleanor Oliphant and enjoying taking my time. Usually I gorge myself on a good book and tend to read it too fast. Second time around is always wonderful.

  26. Just finished Hissy Fit by Mary Kay Andrews. Lots of fun. Southern romance with humor. I may search out another by her. In the middle of Kristan Higgin’s My One and Only, and I’m enjoying it a lot.

    1. I’ve been a follower of Mary Kay Andrews for years and on the list for her latest, Sunset Beach, not out until May.

  27. I read Wendy McLeod MacKnight’s The Frame-Up, a novel for ages 8-12 where a boy discovers that the inhabitants of an art gallery’s paintings have a life of their own. It was a fun read, built around real paintings at a real art museum. However, I have one takes-a-whole-star-off complaint.

    Semi-spoiler ahead…

    As the action reaches a climax, the heroine sends someone else to do what SHE should do. Frustrating to find this storytelling tenet ignored in a book from a major publishing house, a book with otherwise competent writing.

  28. I’ve just finished Wintertide by Ruthanna Emrys and really enjoyed it. I didn’t know I needed a hopepunk version of Lovecraft mythology but apparently I did.

    There is some really rough news out of my country at the moment so a book that preaches tolerance and understanding is very welcome.

  29. I went back to last Thursday to see what I had been reading. Got reminded that I was out sick and not reading much at all. But I answered some stuff in that thread. Had to. 🙂

    Started back to work on Wednesday, still with a runny nose. Whatever I had, I passed on to one grandchild and one coworker.

    Reading, reading, reading.
    From the SF&F column, I read “On Basilisk Station” and “The Honor of the Queen,” by David Weber, part of the Honor Harrington (Horatio Hornblower in SPAAAACE) series.
    From the Crusie library, “Crazy for You” and the Crazy Stories, at the same time. What a trip.
    From the Wrede “shelf”, I finished the Celcelia and Kate trilogy.
    I’m somewhere into “1637: The Polish Maelstrom” by Eric Flint. That’s the latest part of the “Ring of Fire” series. At this point, there are over 20 novels and 82 issues of The Grantville Gazette e-zine, plus seven or eight anthologies. It’s the largest shared universe on record. With over a hundred authors, quality may vary. Some of the stories are among my favorites.

  30. I’m in Christchurch in NZ, where there was a terrorist attack by white extremists on 2 mosques today with 40 dead so far. I’ve got no words for how I feel, how shocked I am. We’re a friendly welcoming country and I just can’t believe this has happened. I know many argh people take political action against hate, I wanted to say how important that is and thank you. Please keep doing as much as you can.

    1. So am I. It’s horrific. Apparently we were picked because of our reputation for safety, but any time we give air to hate or racism, we fail. So ditto, love the safe space that is Argh.

      And yeah Jacinda is fucking awesome. #RespondWithLove

    2. I’m so sorry, Reb, I just read about that. It would be shocking anywhere, but in New Zealand?

    3. Horrific and hard to deal with. Christchurch, such a lovely city, has had a lot to handle lately. I once shared shandies on a summer day in Cathedral Plaza. A week after we returned home, the first quake struck, and that sweet spot in the cathedral tower’s shade was no more. And now … stay strong.

    4. So utterly awful. I’m so sorry this happened, and feel the need to apologise that one of the terrorists was Australian. I’m sorry we exported our dregs to you.

      1. Thanks, Lian. Actually, it helps a little that he wasn’t a local, though it does seem he had local support and that appalls me. Hate doesn’t seem to have borders.

    5. Unfortunately, we’ve had way too many opportunities here in the U.S. to practice dealing with mass shootings. I’m so sorry to hear this sickness has spread to your lovely country. May you all find comfort and peace in supporting each other as you go forward.

    6. Thanks, everyone, having Argh helps. I still keep wanting to cry but I guess that’s ok.

  31. Just finished the 2nd Murderbot novella ‘Artificial Condition’. I’m still not sure what’s going on but am charmed by the stories so far. I would never have read them uuf not for recommendations on this blog, so thank you😍

  32. My library system finally got in the next-to-most-recent Others volume by Anne Bishop, called “Lake Silence.” I’d just recently finished re-reading the whole 5-volume series starring Broomstick Girl, and I doubted that a story set in the same world would be anything near as good without that wonderful setting. But man, have I enjoyed it!

    I didn’t realize just how flexible her world-building had been until I started reading a book in that setting without any of the familiar places or characters of the series.

    But the setting felt wholly comfortable, and the author used some of the same elements that made the first series flow so nicely: there were external threats, some internal tension, a protagonist who was both innocent and honestly ignorant about the way things worked, and a lot of well-meaning people trying to work for slightly different, but overlapping, common goods.

    And the crows! the animals! the centrality of bookstores! It was both a page-turner that kept me up way too late several nights in a row and a true comfort read. I find it a sign of a book I’m going to love when I finish the last page and immediately put the bookmark at the first page in order to start over immediately to catch the detail and nuance that I’m sure I missed the first time round.

    In this book too, the author really explored several quite wounded, psychologically complex characters in a sympathetic, astute way. I enjoyed the Others as well, many of which were new types.

    I know people have posted warnings about the upcoming book ‘Wild Country’ so I plan to read it without overly high expectations but still, I hope Anne Bishop keeps writing books set in this world for a long, long time.

  33. I am a an avid reader so I usually am busy reading and listening to at least three books. I just finished reading the Wedding Guest by Jonathan Kellerman. It was a really good book and I love Dr. Alex Delaware.

    I’m nearly done listening to The Boy by Tami Hoag. Very good book. But James Patterson blow me away with how many books he has coming out in a year. I read EVERYTHING he writes. Currently, listening to The Chef…so good.

    I’m also a writer so I’m working on my craft and re-reading my first real project for publication. I’ve written three books just for myself which I shared with a few friends and family. I’m praying this project will be received well and eventually accepted by a publishing house.

  34. I just finished Bet Me again. It is one of my favorite books. I have to reread it at least once a year just to fall in love with Min and Cal again.

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