This is a Good Book Thursday, March 21, 2019

I’m reading cookbooks (Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halle’s Cookbook) and Nita’s book and some old Nero Wolfe mysteries for comfort, even though in hindsight, Archie needs slapped upside the head with #MeToo. Also a book my therapist recommended, The Body Keeps the Score, that gave me a whole new insight into the Nita book, which I’m still finding mind-boggling. Reading, it’s not for wimps.

How about you?

97 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 21, 2019

  1. I’ve been rereading Fast Women, Agnes and the Hitman, Trust Me On This and am almost finished with Maybe This time. I needed comfort reads, and more than that: I needed comfort reads that has round-butted women (Agnes), a healthy relation to butter and a lot of great food scenes. Books where curves are a good thing. Books where food is normal, comforting and delicious, and where the heroines aren’t walking clothes hangers with big boobs. Bet Me and Faking It, the first two Crusie I read and the ones I’ve returned to the most the last 10 years, are waiting for Andie to finish ghostbusting.

    Thanks, Jenny, for writing such amazing books with amazing people, amazing food and with top class comfort level all around. <3 <3 <3

    20+
  2. I’ve been listening to Lucky You by Carl Hiiassen. It was written in 98, however, it could have been written in the last couple of years. It is relavant and relatable, but more than anything it’s funny and interesting.

    5+
  3. Every year I look at my reread stats–consistently 30% since 2010–and promise myself I’m going to indulge in more of the great new books being written, and the great older books I haven’t read yet.

    However, first, I’m having a wonderful time with Tell Me Lies.

    11+
  4. I read Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra last week. WOW, is that a good book. It was a random library grab, not a recommendation, so I wasn’t expecting anything going in. Such a page-turner. On par with Educated. I put a hold on the “sequel” (one of her younger sister’s memoirs) and plan to binge read it this weekend.

    After I finished that I needed something comfort/lighter though so I re-read Welcome to Temptation and Faking it in two days. They were exactly what I needed to cleanse my palate. So much fun and inspiring (as I mentioned earlier in the week).

    On to Lisa Kleypas’ Mine ‘Til Midnight which someone here recommended. I enjoyed it enough to put a hold on the second one and just started that this morning.

    So grateful for good books provided by hardworking authors and libraries so I can read a book every day and not go broke in the process.

    11+
    1. You read a book a day? I do that sometimes but feel guilty about it. I really have found my tribe.

      7+
      1. Yay! Glad you found us! 🙂

        I don’t read a book every day – if I work late and/or have family and friend related plans or if I binge watch Netflix. But many days I do and those are good days. 🙂

        6+
  5. Here in southeastern Pennsylvania, it is a cold and stormy day, and I’m about to enter Anne Bishops ‘Wild Country’. Hooray for libraries!!!

    7+
      1. Just finished the book. In a way it’s a western story, it’s about a frontier town, albeit with The Others, Intuit and humans.

        There was, for me, some laugh out loud funny parts. And some sweet parts.

        The only down side is that we have to wait another year for the next book.

        2+
  6. Well, I read things but can’t say I was in love:

    * Famous In A Small Town: supposedly about the mystery of “why is our one famous person from this town now against the town?” except it is far more about hanging out with one’s friends and throwing in the occasional out of nowhere mystery. Also has terrible plot twist along the lines of Lost that comes the bleep out of nowhere and clearly the author was Being Clever by pulling it.

    * Penric’s Fox: I have heard there’s a novella series about this Penric guy that sounded mildly interesting, but I didn’t really love LMB’s previous Weald book so I didn’t feel like buying it in ebook and getting the books in print is apparently very expensive. Surprisingly found this one in the library, but was “eh.” Not much plot. Fox is possessed by a demon. Ho-hum.

    * The Guinea Pig Diaries: Writer fakes being a celebrity, lives life like George Washington, unitasks, waits on his wife hand and foot, etc. Not bad.

    * Extra Credit: Three Ivy Years Novellas: I liked the Ivy Years books by Sarina Bowen, so I enjoyed these. I miss that series, it had far more excitement and juice in it than her adult novels, which don’t have too much drama.

    * The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck: This turned out to be a Christian novel: woman gets divorced, writes “Fifty Shades”-type trilogy involving sex and baked goods that makes her $4.5 million (to all authors reading this, I apologize because I’m sure I now made you bang your heads into the wall), becomes Christian and now regrets it, falls in love with very nice pastor. Actually this was pretty good because everyone is honest with each other and nice and there’s no Big Mis and it’s very sensible. Go figure.

    * The Royal Runaway: Princess’s fiance doesn’t bother to show up at the altar, princess gets exiled to cold crappy island, princess is approached by her fiance’s brother who faked his own death, wanting to know why brother hasn’t been seen anywhere for the last four months. Pretty good, actually. The hero isn’t too developed beyond Mysterious Spy, but the princess actually does pretty good at the political finagling and even starts taking up learning fighting skills at the end.

    5+
    1. Jennifer, was the previous Weald book by Lois McMaster Bujold that you read another of the ebook novellas? If so, I suggest that you try The Hallowed Hunt. It’s a novel, pretty dense, and it sets up the world that her novellas refer to. I much prefer the novel to the novellas.

      1+
    2. Hi Jennifer: I listened to the entire Penric series, beginning with Penric and the Shaman, and found it both moving and fascinating (I love the idea of an ancient demon living inside me). Grover Gardner reads it beautifully. Also enjoyed the Hallowed Hunt, though it didn’t measure up to The Curse of Chalion and The Paladin of Souls, possibly because of the reader. I read Bujold, then listen.

      2+
    3. I’m not sure that becoming a Christian is grounds for regretting writing a sexy book… I would say more power to her. But then, I have a chip on my shoulder regarding organized religion.

      2+
  7. Don’t Date Rosa Santos sounds and looks like it would be some fluffy romantic YA that’s forgettable, but it is so good. Rosa deals with her family’s complicated relationship with their homeland of Cuba and her community and her tense relationship with her mom, and her mom’s tense relationship with her grandma, and first love aaaand it’s charming but also affecting.

    So good.

    5+
  8. I have had a bunch of books this week that I was over half way through and thought “This really is not worth finishing”. Some of them were new to me authors so it did not particularly bother me that I could not make a connection. It is worth trying someone new because sometime I find the one that becomes my new comfort read (Joanna Bourne) or a series that is enthralling enough that I don’t give up on (C. S. Harris). But the big disappointment was deciding after all those abandoned books to read a Dorothy Sayers I had not read in forever, or perhaps never read at all “Have His Carcass”. About the twentieth time a character was described as a dago, I gave up. And it wasn’t just secondary characters, Harriet and Peter used the term too. It was clearly meant in a denigratory way and used to describe men who were of mediterrranean descent and/or dark complexioned. Maybe it was intended to highlight social profiling that Sayers found distasteful because none of the men described this way turned out to be the murderer but it was still unacceptable.

    I am now rereading “Charlie All Night”. I was amused to note the “5 suits and a thug” in a bar. Unless you hang out in financial districts, you would be more likely to find “5 thugs and a suit” in a bar. Still, comfort read.

    6+
    1. It was the business district. Every time I end up in a bar in NYC, it’s full of suits, but I may just be in the wrong bars (business lunches/drinks).
      Besides I needed Charlie to stand out.

      9+
      1. Also may be a West Coast/East Coast thing. My husband commented in the late 90’s that his suits no longer fit but there was no sense getting another because the only time he wore a suit anymore was when he went to funerals.

        And my nephew’s soon-to-be MIL when visiting Seattle from Chicago said after traveling from SEA/TAC to downtown Seattle that she needed to go to Nordstroms’ immediately because she was dressed all wrong and didn’t have anything packed that she could wear. He said it was the first time he ever saw anyone pay $200 for a pair of jeans. And when he and his fiancé came to visit and I took them to an estate sale, she was ecstatic. She had no idea you could buy great clothes and furniture and stuff for so little money. So we are probably more casual.

        8+
        1. It’ so interesting that she just didn’t know… I assume that people don’t yard sale, thrift shop or go to auctions for various reasons ( I am an addict. No shame), but I never considered that there might be those who don’t know of it as an option.

          1+
      2. I’m in a bar as we speak (waiting for a friend). It’s thick with suits. It’s warm, everyone is in shirt sleeves. They look like grown ups who can’t break away from wearing a school uniform. Has anyone read that Beau Brummel rant on Twitter? About how we should blame him for men’s dress conventions even now.

        1+
        1. Pretty sure that’s been debunked by historians, Brummel is famous for wearing what was already popular really well.

          1+
  9. My daughter and I finished up the Blood of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. I think I’m moving toward the Magnus Chase series next. Daughter wants to start Trials of Apollo. I downloaded the ebook short stories that mix the Greek and Egyptian gods so I’m going to start that soon too.

    5+
    1. Yes, but Wolfe disliked all women – and most of humanity. But Archie is a “pat them on the butt because they’re so cute” guy who likes women but doesn’t see he’s patronizing them.

      5+
      1. He also has this annoying habit of calming hysterical women by kissing them, after which they blink at him and say, “Why did you do that?” but they’re much calmer.
        Archie would last two minutes in 2019. Also he keeps cheating on Lily, although Lily is undoubtedly cheating on him. I like Lily.

        8+
    2. Yes, but he was presented as a misogynist. As in, he’s just prejudiced about women. He never grabbed them and kissed without permission, and he did not size up every damn woman who crossed his line of vision as somebody he wanted to “see more of” or not. Also, no older women, Archie liked ’em in their twenties. Thirty was just too far along the trail for him (he was in his thirties for most of the series). I’m okay with Wolfe being a misogynist and presented as such, not okay with Archie being a sexual predator and presented as the Good Guy.

      I think that’s why I like Lily so much. She had no illusions about men, saw Archie and just collected him even though he wrote her off the first time they met as a ditzy rich girl. By the end of the book, they’re dating and they stayed together off and on for the rest of the series. I like the way he talked about her, too; lotta respect there even when he was being a smart ass. Lily redeems him, I think. I just wanted one of the women he grabbed and kissed to knee him in the groin.

      This is where I should mention I’m a big fan of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe series. Do not, however, go back and read his early stuff like Warner and Wife.

      I did like the way Archie described their relationship which was clearly sexual without ever saying, “And then we had sex.” One of my favorite lines like that was him saying they’d gone dancing and laughing until two AM and then gone back to her place where they could laugh louder.

      12+
  10. I’m reading The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley and it is really good. Dare I say, excellent.

    It is comprehensible as in being accessible to regular readers as opposed to being for academics. This is my bias showing as I expected essays to be less easily readable.

    I bought it a while back when it was discounted and didn’t read it because of bias and well, I’m addicted to novels. Now I wish I’d read it immediately. It is that good.

    4+
  11. I LOVE Nero Wolfe. Rex Stout was so brilliant. He also wrote a fabulous cookbook with the recipes from Nero Wolfe. Complicated, but beautiful.

    4+
    1. Nero Wolfe cookbook a great comfort read. Make sure your edition has all the pages. Mine skipped a few; a publishing mistake, I think.

      2+
    2. This week’s reading was Superheroes Anonymous (by Lexie Dunne), The Paper Magician (Charlie Holmberg), and Silent Blade (Ilona Andrews). I liked Paper Magician less than I was expecting, but Superheroes a lot more, so I suppose it evened out.

      Superheroes Anonymous was basically romcom meets superhero origin story: the MC opens the book as an ordinary woman who keeps getting attacked by supervillians and saved by the local superhero. Everyone’s convinced her boyfriend is secretly the superhero, she’s got a master’s degree in How To Survive Being Held Hostage By Mad Scientists, and she can’t quit her shitty, horrible job because the health insurance is good enough to pay for her revolving door hospital bills. Then the superhero leaves town, she gets hostage’d by a mad scientist who’s not very up on current events, and things get REALLY weird. It’s breezy and fun and unexpectedly touching and the romance is handled unexpectedly well. A good grasp on power dynamics in a superhero story, who would have THOUGHT?

      Paper Magician started out with an excellent premise — young magic school graduate is reluctantly apprenticed to a master in the dying art of paper magic — and the first few chapters were lovely. Then the master’s Evil Ex shows up and steals his heart (literally) and the intrepid apprentice sets off on a quest to save him via a rather heavy-handed allegory quest through his literal heart (??) because he made her a dog once and she Loves Him Now and blahhhh. Mentor-and-student romances are a hard sell for me but it *can* work (Uprooted! Howl’s Moving Castle!) but this went 100% in the wrong direction. Plus, quests are supposed to teach the questor about *themselves*, but that doesn’t happen here, it’s all about His Tragic Past. Just a waste of a good premise, IMO.

      Silent Blade was an assassins in space novella and pretty much the fun popcorn read I was expecting. 🙂

      5+
  12. No personal book recommendations from me today (still in a bit of a reading funk), but for anyone who reads romance, today is the announcement of RWA’s Rita and Golden Heart finalists, so if you check out Twitter #ritagh or the rwanational.org website later today, you might find some good books! You’ll have to wait to read the GH books, but the Rita ones are out there.

    7+
  13. I had taken out Savvy by Ingrid Law a couple of years ago and didn’t get far into it before deciding I wasn’t interested and returned it, mostly unread. I saw it listed somewhere as a favorite re-read so decided to give it a second chance. It sat there for days until it was due and then I picked it up, planning to return it (again unread) but something made me go a couple of pages further on and that was it. I sat down and finished it in a couple of hours (it’s a kid’s book so a quick read). I enjoyed it so much that I immediately put the other two books in the series on hold.

    6+
    1. I read that quite a few years ago now and remember really liking it and the first sequel (I don’t think I finished all three?). Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      3+
  14. I read non-fiction – Dave Grossman’s On Killing which is about the social and personal cost of training people to kill; William Dalrymple Return of a King (Afghanistan 1839-42) and Fanny Parkes’ Begums Thugs and White Mughals. All were good, none were easy and both things for very different reasons. Dalrymple’s voice is somehow very appealing.

    Yesterday’s post about food sent me digging up Laurie Colwin to re-read in the night – Home Cooking, Family Happiness and Happy all the Time and something about the precision of Holly in HAtT reminded me of Nell and that combined with Colwin talking about domestic sensualism and the ceramics collections and means now I’ve got Fast Women open on the kindle and I’m making gingerbread. All the gingerbread. Gingerbread forever! (My house smells great).

    6+
    1. I love Laurie Colwin! She’s a classic. And I make her gingerbread all the time (except with gluten-free flour). It’s the best gingerbread you will ever eat.

      4+
        1. I rationed her books. I hadn’t read any of the short stories when she died and when I knew there just would never be any more from her, I let myself read one story every other month. I don’t think I’ve had that degree of self control since. She was really something.

          4+
      1. Yes! I made 4 kinds – hers, Richard Saks’, David Leibovitz’s and the Marrow’s. Hers was surprisingly hard to get right at altitude. Gingerbread keeps well, but I will freeze almost all of this and yay.

        3+
      2. Also Wensley Cake and Rosemary Walnuts from More Home Cooking. I make them both at Christmas.

        I like M.F.K. Fisher’s gingerbread recipe the best but I would eat Laurie Colwin’s. In fact I think LC has a couple of gingerbread recipes and have made them both.

        3+
  15. Like many mentioned in the above comments, I have been re-reading recently, as most new books I tried didn’t work too well. So I re-read Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. I love Anna and Charles, much more than Mercy. It was a week of comfort read.

    5+
    1. I agree with you whole-heartedly on Alpha and Omega over Mercy. I think it is because Charles and Anna work as a team and each story builds on their relationship whereas Mercy is always separated from Adam, and scaring the crap out of him. A and O is just more character based, which is my preference, although the next to last one, where we get so much more of Adam’s perspective was my favorite in the series to date. Oh, and wasn’t Burning Bright fantastic?!

      0
  16. I picked up a couple of hardbacks at Goodwill a while ago. I figured, for a dollar a book, it was a pretty good deal for a book and a sequel. The first was the debut book, in a fantasy world. Two main characters, starting at two different places, both physically and psychologically, eventually intersect at the end. I was initially put off by the female, because she whined a lot. Meanwhile, the male was the adventurer. Halfway through, I’d switched allegiances, because the female was determined to do something about her situation, while the male kept doing stupid things and getting everyone he cared for killed off.

    The intersection of the two characters at the end was satisfying, as both characters had a chance to grow. Meanwhile, I’m looking at the sequel, and wondering if I really want to read it. The longer I wait, the less likely I’ll be to engage.

    I also finished off Under Gemini by R. Pilcher. It definitely shows its age, but at the end, I was also glad that the mc was an adult and talked through her issue. It made for a satisfying conclusion.

    I’m now looking at my TBR stack, and wondering if it is time to plunge into book 6 of the Expanse.

    4+
  17. I’m comfort-reading Sharon Shinn’s Elementals series for the umpteenth time. I love Zoe and Darien.

    6+
    1. I love Zoe and Darien too. The first book is definitely my favorite. In fact, if the author had left it as a standalone, I would have been perfectly happy.

      4+
      1. I really appreciated what she did with Corene in Jeweled Fire however. I did not like her character in previous books and couldn’t really imagine enjoying a whole book about her. But she redeemed the character for me, which was so surprising.

        0
  18. I read Lisa Lutz’s The Spellman Files, which was hilarious. And now I’m reading the first Rockton book, about the town for people who need to disappear. It’s not at all what I was expecting, but I’m completely gripped by it and sat up far too late last night because I kept wanting to read just another chapter.

    3+
    1. Thank you. I am off to place a hold on the Spellman Files since they appear to be so popular at my library, I can’t check it out right away. I liked the Rockton series too.

      3+
      1. I got stalled on the first book. But apparently that one is the hardest to get into. Just something to be aware of. I never tried again, but most people say they get better.

        0
    2. I love The Spellman Files. A more hilarious dysfunctional family you will never meet.

      3+
      1. That’s because you haven’t met my family. Which is probably why I enjoyed them less as I went along. By the 4th book, I found the family foibles a little repetitive, but maybe that’s because they reminded me too much of some of the weirdness I grew up with.

        5+
        1. I think the first Spellman Files is my favorite because there are laughs and real emotional depth over Uncle Ray. But all of them made me laugh.

          3+
  19. Thanks to whoever recommended The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib. I know flashbacks are not Jennie’s thing, but in this case using them was an interesting way to tell the tale of how Anna ended up in a house for women with eating disorders. Anna’s relationship with her husband was very sweet.

    3+
  20. I recently read In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick. A old rich guy hires a townie in a resort town to walk his show dogs for him, and then, out of spite possibly, leaves all his money to his dogs and names her their trustee. I really liked the main character and her fellow townies, struggling to make it amongst all the rich “summer people”.

    I’m now halfway through the latest Soulwood book, Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter. I had gotten kind of tired of her other series, Jane Yellowrock, that this is a spin-off from, but I have to say that you’ll want/need to read the latest Jane Yellowrock books to make sense of this book, and I haven’t, because it heavily references things that have happened recently in them. So much so that I am considering stopping this one and going and reading them, even though I don’t really want to.

    4+
  21. I’ve been reading a Felix Francis book which is sufficiently not-as-good-as Dick Francis that I’m slogging through to the finish only out of loyalty. Once done, I suspect I will pick up one of my actual Dick Francis books to remind myself how it ought to be done.

    4+
    1. yeah, I was so sorry I could tell the differences between Francis fils et pere – and have definite preferences too.

      5+
  22. This week I read Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One by Raphaelle Giordano and I can’t decide how I feel about it. Because I read it on my way home from my mother’s funeral, I picked it up and put it down more often than I ordinarily would have so I’m not sure how much of my reaction is due to timing. I wanted an upbeat somewhat escapist read to help fill in the waiting and transportation that filled the week and in the beginning it filled the bill well. But by the end I wanted a little more character development. At the end of the book, the protagonist reconnects with her previously rather distant husband in a satisfyingly romantic fashion. But I never got any sense of what had drawn the 2 of them together in the first place. There was plenty of advice on finding yourself and how one’s outlook can control how we are treated by the people around us, but not a lot about why it might be worth the effort. Yes, the heroine got fabulous results for her efforts, but was that enough to make me believe that it could happen in real life? I’m not so sure.
    But I did enjoy the character who was her guide/instructor throughout the process.

    4+
    1. Aunt Snack, I’m impressed that you could concentrate on anything immediately following your mother’s funeral. I hope you’re doing all right.

      3+
  23. Thanks for the recommendations on The Spellman Files. I’m going to read that after gardening this afternoon. Like others I’ve been rereading and enjoying David Eddings again with The Belgariad and the Mallorean series. When I started the first book I realised it had been a while since I’d read every word on the page. Obviously been reading junk lately! Pawn of Prophecy was like visiting with old friends I hadn’t seen in ages.

    3+
  24. I’ve been reading one book at lunch (Joanna Bourne — I’m slowly pacing my way through her spymaster series three or four pages at a time, to make it last) and re-reading one at night (Anne Bishop’s Others series — right now on Lake Silence).

    Reading a series (or in this case, two) all in a row brings home the strength of an author. These two offer the comfort and familiarity of a well-known group of characters (or, in the case of Lake Silence, types of characters) without writing to a pattern in a way that gets my cookie-cutter twitch going on, and because the writers also offer a kind of world view, or underlying moral values that I find comforting and reassuring somehow, the experience of being in these worlds gives me a hope for our own that isn’t really justified by current events in the unfortunately real one we live in.

    But I’m also learning a lot about what makes me like them. Bishop’s Others series depicts the honesty & vulnerability of a newbie/innocent by contrast with the self-centeredness of their adversaries, and does so by taking you inside their thoughts and reactions. And by paralleling all that with the struggles of police figures against the broader societal patterns that this kind of selfishness generates, it becomes a dance, with rhythm and harmonies that make you think.

    With Joanna Bourne’s books, I’m finding it really interesting how many of her romantic pairs work through a kind of distrust of the other person in order to figure out who they really are, which I find very appealing, because it makes the eventual resolution of that mistrust so much more nuanced than a RomCom kind of instant, one-dimensional attraction. (“He’s so cute! He was nice to me! I like his house and his pet/baby/motorcar/charity work! I’m in love!”). The heroines (and really, the heroes too) have to dig much deeper into the other’s personality to really get who they are and why they are that way, so the reader ‘s connections are deeper too.

    Anyway, love both series and both authors. And I found both thanks to this Thursday thing of Jenny’s. Thank you, Jenny!

    7+
  25. I love the Spellmans too.

    Started reading The Crime at Black Dudley, but I kept falling asleep and decided not to finish it. I’m not sure if it’s the narrator or the story. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell. Maybe I’m just saturated visa vi genre and time period.

    3+
      1. I’m stalled after reading a couple of the early ones. Where do you think it’s worth resuming? I’ve got ‘Sweet Danger’ on my wish list as a possible new starting point, but maybe that’s still too early?

        1+
        1. I love Sweet Danger (aka The Fear Sign) because it’s where he meets Amanda. She’s a teenager and he’s a world-weary twenty-something so there’s no romance because she’s too young, but they form a kind of partnership to defeat a really bad guy, and you can see what great partners they’re going to make. It’s part of the early, extra-dramatic, swashbuckling stuff she wrote that isn’t nearly as sophisticated, but Allingham hits her stride after that. There’s a book called Dancers in Mourning after that about the murder of an actress, and Albert falls for a married woman and they’re both too noble to do anything about it (good mystery though), and then his sister gets in trouble in The Fashion in Shrouds and he meets Amanda again, now an aerospace engineer (foreshadowed in Sweet Danger) and they work together to stop the Big Bad by pretending to be engaged, and the reactions of everybody around them are fun. And then there’s the war mystery about finance that starts with Albert with temporary amnesia, trying to remember who everybody is, deciding that Amanda must be his wife only to find out they’ve been engaged for five years and she’s breaking it off. The plot is sprained, but Albert deciding he must have been insane not to marry her as soon as he’d met her is fun. Yes, I read for romance, sue me. After that, Allingham wrote some of the best mysteries of her career, the absolute best being The Tiger in the Smoke which has very little Campion in it, although the little that’s there is great. I’ve always remembered the part where Amanda is in danger in a house, and Albert and the cops are outside, and when she walks out, the cop who’s the good friend of theirs tells her that Albert was a complete mess the entire time, came completely unglued, not at all the reserved, dry, nothing-ruffles me Campion. My daughter’s middle name is Amanda because of Amanda Campion (and because it means “must be loved”).

          But I’ve reread a lot of them lately and they hold up, except for the one where he starts out with amnesia, and even though the plot is all over the place, the community and romance stuff is so much fun, I liked it anyway.

          5+
          1. Thanks, Jenny. That must be why I put ‘Sweet Danger’ on my wishlist: I read for romance, too. I read quite a few as a teenager, but out of order, and I don’t think they included many of the early ones. I remember the title of ‘The Fashion in Shrouds’, but can’t remember the story. ‘Traitor’s Purse’ was a favourite, because his amnesia’s such fun. I’ll start again with ‘Sweet Danger’.

            1+
          2. The Fashion in Shrouds is a lot of fun. Albert’s sister is in love with a guy who’s dazzled by an actress married to a controlling Man of Industry, and Amanda comes to Albert because she works for the guy who’s been dazzled and he’s neglecting his work because of said dazzlement. It has a lovely ending, too.

            2+
  26. I’m reading The Child Prince by Honor Raconteur, which I’m pretty sure was recommended by someone here. (Since I’ve never heard of her otherwise, and I’m not sure why I would have ordered the book.) I’m 95% really liking it, and 5% wanting to smack the author for consistently using the word “alright” which I know is technically now an allowed word but I grew up being told it wasn’t, and doing a lot of repeat words in close proximity, which makes my author heart twitch. Still, fun story with good characters.

    7+
  27. I’m reading Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam. It is so beautiful, a graphic novel about a group of women doing reconstruction in space. That is a bland and incomplete description but if you feel compelled to pick it up, I don’t want to spoil anything for you. I read the first three quarters at breakneck speed and then forced myself to take a little breather. Can’t wait to read the rest.

    Last week I read Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Chicken Farmer. Thank you to all who recommended it here.

    2+
  28. I read Emily Goes to Exeter by M.C. Beaton and enjoyed it. It’s the first in The Traveling Matchmaker series and is a very fluffy, Regency(ish) romance and adventure.

    The main character is a housekeeper who inherits a fortune and decided to travel just because. In 1800!
    She’s very sympathetic even with all the meddling.

    4+
  29. I love Nero Wolfe too, but Jenny’s right about some of the oldest ones…I got one by mistake and couldn’t finish. (Sorry, Nero.)

    Right now, I’m reading my way through the romancy part of Susan Conant’s Holly Winter books. I would never have the…something…guts? to write a book in which [SPOILER] the heroine gets dumped at the end. Of course, it is a mystery, not a romance. Anyway, love the dogs. Oh yeah, and Holly.

    2+
  30. Nero Wolfe and food. Of course. I saw the TV show, I don’t think I ever read any of the books.

    I read Diane Mott Davison’s Goldi Shulz series or JoAnna Carl’s Chocoholic Mysteries. That’s where I mixed food and mystery.

    Just now, I’ve finished Weber’s The Short Victorious War and 20 chapters of Field of Dishonor. The only food in those is that Honor Harrington is a “genie,” a genetically modified human with an extremely high metabolism. She drinks hot chocolate by the pint where others would have a cup of coffee.

    Today, I ate two salads. Then I ate a toasted calzone with Ragu. Then I ate ice cream. It all got washed down with sparkling water.

    2+
  31. I listened to The Body Keeps the Score two years ago and thought it was fascinating. I also highly recommend You Just Don’t Understand by Deborah Tannen. For different reasons, but also fascinating.

    1+
    1. I haven’t read You Just Don’t Understand for years (decades) but I remember loving it.

      It was the three responses to trauma in The Body Keeps the Score that freaked me out (I’ve only gotten to chapter eight so far, but five blew my mind); there’s a speech that Nick makes in Act Three that corresponds to the last, most extreme response exactly. I read Nick’s speech to my therapist (who’d recommended the book) because I was gobsmacked by it, and even she said, “Wow.” It actually shut me down on the book for a week because I didn’t know what to do with that, but I think I’ve got a handle on it.

      Writing fiction = dancing naked.

      4+
  32. This week’s reading was Superheroes Anonymous (by Lexie Dunne), The Paper Magician (Charlie Holmberg), and Silent Blade (Ilona Andrews). I liked Paper Magician less than I was expecting, but Superheroes a lot more, so I suppose it evened out.

    Superheroes Anonymous was basically romcom meets superhero origin story: the MC opens the book as an ordinary woman who keeps getting attacked by supervillians and saved by the local superhero. Everyone’s convinced her boyfriend is secretly the superhero, she’s got a master’s degree in How To Survive Being Held Hostage By Mad Scientists, and she can’t quit her shitty, horrible job because the health insurance is good enough to pay for her revolving door hospital bills. Then the superhero leaves town, she gets hostage’d by a mad scientist who’s not very up on current events, and things get REALLY weird. It’s breezy and fun and unexpectedly touching and the romance is handled unexpectedly well. A good grasp on power dynamics in a superhero story, who would have THOUGHT?

    Paper Magician started out with an excellent premise — young magic school graduate is reluctantly apprenticed to a master in the dying art of paper magic — and the first few chapters were lovely. Then… blahhhh. Mentor-and-student romances are a hard sell for me but it can work (Uprooted! Howl’s Moving Castle!) but this went 100% in the wrong direction. Plus, quests are supposed to teach the questor about themselves, but that doesn’t happen here, it’s all about His Tragic Past. Just a waste of a good premise, IMO.

    Silent Blade was an assassins in space novella and pretty much the fun popcorn read I was expecting. 🙂

    1+
  33. I was sad to be out of Murderbot but I’d pre-ordered Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night and wowsa. Very thinky as all E. Bear’s books are, and worth digging into for the thinks as well as the adventure. (It starts off slow but the adventure builds, and who doesn’t love an engineer as a hero, having to invent the answers along the way?) Next I have Polaris Rising to look forward to. I seem to be on a space opera bender. If only Bujold would put out a new Vorkosigan next…

    1+
      1. Oh, man, hard to say. I think if you want to start off with some really crazy highjinks you might like the steampunk Karen Memory. Not sure where your tastes run, you could just browse her stuff and see what clicks. She was also part of a co-writing group that made a TV-series-that-isn’t, all written as screenplays, complete with theme song, Shadow Unit, which you can check out here. http://www.shadowunit.org/readingorder.html She writes very smart characters, which I love (competence porn!) but also flawed and human and frail.

        1+
  34. I spent some bloody, lovely time with Harry Dresden this week. Blood Rites which is #6. James Marsters reads the series and this one had some Buffy references, so I was in crossover heaven. Plus, the weather was all shiny which is always good for me.

    1+
  35. I listen to books on my commute, and read books at home.

    On the listening front, I finished Jean Edward Smith’s FDR this morning, and then started on Franklin and Lucy: President Roosevelt, Mrs. Rutherfurd, and the Other Remarkable Women in His Life. I’m apparently on something of a Roosevelt jag. These things happen.

    On the reading front, last week I read the second Daisy Dalrymple mystery, The Winter Garden Mystery, the second Vera Stanhope mystery, Telling Tales, and I started re-reading Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief, first in the Queen’s Thief series. The mysteries were exactly what I wanted/needed, and I’ve put a hold on the next Daisy Dalrymple. (Neither of my libraries carries the ebook of the next Vera Stanhope, so I might have to go paper…)

    0

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