99 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 7, 2019

  1. Finally got to read “Wrong to Need you” by Alisha Rai. Man, that lady can WRITE. Solid plot, rounded characters, and the range of fleshed out supporting characters!

    I finally realised that I do overspend cash and it is time to do more than just track my spending. It is time to put in buffers to stop me overspending, like, eat before I shop! I do it but inconsistently. The days I don’t, I come home with too many food impulse buys.

    12+
    1. FWIW, I really like Keep, the google version of Apple’s Evernote app. I keep my grocery list on there, which helps reduce the impulse buys. Not that it eliminates them completely — not going to the store hungry is important too — but it does help me to focus. And if I already have a planned treat on my list, I’m less likely to be tempted by unplanned treats.

      2+
    2. So as regards the impulse spending out in the world – it is a thing that I am circumstantially very vulnerable to, and it’s sketchy for me on many levels, not just financially, so I have figured out/developed workarounds that are convenient and protect my wallet to some extent and – yeah. I live in a rural community on the outskirts of a largeish town and I am homebound. It is infuriating. Anyway, hopefully this stuff is helpful to someone.

      Where I live, you can submit your grocery list online and they will find, pack and load your groceries for you, free of surcharge or subtle markups at Krogers/Smiths/KingSoopers/CityMarket and Walmart and do not require a minimum purchase or that you be disabled. If you’re purchasing so many dry goods and have a Costco membership, they have second day delivery for a $75 minimum. I believe this also to be true for Sams club. There is always Amazon subscribe and save which (IMO) requires an uncomfortable level of forethought and can lead to problems like incomprehensible quantities of mustard. (I adore dijon sauce, why do you ask?)

      Also, there is a local university, and I have posted jobs on the student job board which are basically “errands” – I order store cards for stores I want specific things from (Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Pet Store which does not deliver, garden supply store), and either provide a very detailed list or call ahead and speak to someone so that the items just need paid for and loaded, and then send student off with cards and lists/pick up instructions. I have never had this go wrong in 3+ years, and I have had kids go to 6 stores including a nursery for seedlings and the entire circuit, including unloading & putting away, has not taken more than 3 hours. Frankly, I wish I had done this last one before I got squished bc it is far less expensive and much tidier than even one of my hungry tired trips to TJs.

      2+
    1. It’s hilarious, isn’t it. Monday: slept. Tuesday: slept.

      The author, Jackie French, has had a number of wombats, so she knows what she’s talking about.

      4+
    2. There’s a Christmas wombat story too. In which he confronts some pesky creatures with horns who keep on trying to eat HIS carrots. Oh, and he hitches a ride to the sky with someone, too.

      4+
    3. I read this every single week with my nieces. We have been reading it every single week for two years. The younger one (now 4), when particularly exhausted or overwhelmed, will take it off the shelf and curl up around it, unopened, in the dog bed, and recite the entire book to herself. My brother reports she also recites it, with some vivid describing and acting out, to unknown children who are weeping on plane flights.

      4+
  2. I read In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire, the latest in her Wayward Children series, and it was wonderful and heartbreaking. You can see the train wreck coming but that doesn’t make it any less compelling.

    4+
    1. I just got “That Ain’t Witchcraft” by the same author. I look forward to it!

      I finally finished “Thornbound” from last week and liked it.

      3+
  3. I’ve been reading little tidbits from Blush Magazine sort of like the thoughts in Reader’s Digest. This one I’ve never thought of, “Everytime you get dressed, remember: If you die, that’s your ghost outfit forever”. And then there is a picture of sneaker socks with “Fuck” stamped on the left sock and “Off” on the right. Those would be for when granny is in a mood. And another “she wasn’t looking for a knight, she was looking for a sword”. And on they go.

    10+
    1. Also, we have Starz network free this weekend so I can see four days of Outlander season 4 ahead.

      6+
    2. Every time I am wearing a crappy outfit, like yesterday because I got utterly soaked in downpour so there’s no point in dressing up, I think “oh god, I don’t want to die in THIS OUTFIT and be stuck in it for life.”

      9+
        1. No, I’m thinking that pre autopsy you would be wearing the clothes you died in for all eternity, so if you were run over by a bus you would have the tread marks of the tires running along your torso, to add character to your ghostly image.

          3+
  4. Still sick. Still home from work.

    Unable to concentrate on reading anything. I tried listening to an audiobook – when I woke up, I was seven chapters past anything I remembered.

    9+
    1. I re-listen to audiobooks to help me fall asleep. Some narrators voices are so cosy, it helps.

      6+
    2. Chicken soup chased down with a hot toddy made with a good splash of Irish whiskey or your preference

      6+
      1. I managed to go to the Walmart Pharmacy for meds. Heart meds. My PCP had me disccontinue Lysinopril and Metoprilol – My cardiologist just added them back in. I think the Lisinopril is for Diabetics with heart issues. My A1C is under 6, which is why the PCP stopped it.

        Anyway, I grabbed a pack of Theraflu. I haven’t used it yet. I made the mistake of reading all the chicken soup labels. They should say, “SODIUM SOUP (with a little chicken and noodles)”. I don’t want cures that kill me a different way.

        I have some No Sodium Broth (beef) and some beef and some I Can’t Believe It’s Not Salt. I’ll make my own soup.

        6+
        1. Lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor and it’s used for controlling blood pressure. If you have heart issues why would your PCP discontinue 2 heart meds? Glad you listened to your cardiologist and went back on them.

          4+
  5. Aside from reading Tayari Jones’ excellent “An American Marriage” (highly recommended) this has been a “little book” week for me, which is great for busy weeks and short attention spans (g/)

    I’m reading the William Marchant “The Desk Set” play, which is different from the movie, but both are super. I’m learning how to edit Wikipedia and the Desk Set Wikipedia page could use some fixing so I’m doing my homework.

    I just discovered Yumi Sakugawa who writes and illustrates little books. The one I’m reading and laughing over is called “There is no right way to meditate and other lessons.” It’s a delight and very wise. If meditation has defeated you, try this book.

    I’m also reading David Biespiel’s “Every writer has a thousand faces,” which is “for writers, artists, musicians, dancers, and anyone else who leads a creative life.” It, too, is funny and wise and humble – and concise. The author founded “The Attic Institute” a Portland writing haven: http://atticinstitute.com/

    I love little books! But I am gearing up for re-reading Dickens’ “Our Mutual Friend.” Maybe I need a long bus or train ride for that.

    5+
    1. I saw the BBC version of that before I read it, so it didn’t take me a long time to get into it. Besides, how could you not love a book where the protagonist is named Noddy Boffin?

      3+
  6. I had to reread my latest manuscript this week, but at the moment I hate it so much (part of my process — when I loathe it this thoroughly, it’s done), so I can’t recommend it as a good book. Yet. Maybe in August when it’s released.

    Beyond that, still re-reading the Emperor’s Edge series. For some reason, the third one isn’t connecting with me, at least in the audio version. I don’t remember having a problem with it in print. It may just be me, not the book.

    4+
  7. I’ve been reading Empire of Magic: Medieval Romance and the Politics of Cultural Fantasy by Geraldine Heng. It’s a challenge for me because Heng represents a “new,” contemporary view of 12th century history. I may not be ready for “new.”

    4+
      1. Emily, That is so interesting! She has me going around in circles. She seems to conclude that Geoffrey of Monmouth realized and incorporated several psychological elements (Giants = Muslims; Cannibalism moves from Christians to Muslims; Arthur slays the Giants which has the effect of slaying the cannibalism in Christians) that I think would have necessitated generations of anonymous storytellers. In order to evolve.

        On the other hand, I can prove that early 12th century England was wracked with horror at the Harrying of the North in which William the Conqueror decimated the north of England from 1168-1169. Destitute survivors depended on cannibalism.

        1+
  8. Finished my RITA books (deadline was today – finished yesterday, ftw). Had an excellent short contemporary and novella out of my 5 entries – the novella was in a subgenre I don’t normally read, but it was so utterly delightful that I was swept up, and the short contemporary was a perfect little thing – prince of a fictitious country, done right.

    Turning back to my tbr, thanks to whoever recommended Getaway Girl – it was a delight! I have Runaway Girl in the batter’s box, but I’m reading Lisa Kleypas’ new one, Devil’s Daughter, first. So far so good….

    6+
  9. Since none of the library books I took out held my interest for more than a couple of minutes, I re-read The Thin Woman by Dorothy Cannell. It’s a bit dated now (no cell phones, Internet, etc) but I enjoyed it anyway.

    8+
    1. I met her years ago at a conference (around the time the book came out) and surprised myself by just gushing at her! Fangirl moment.

      6+
  10. Finished 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle. I can’t say I recommend it. It was clever, and different but left me cold. I found the ending very unsatisfying. And In the middle, I kept thinking ‘how many hours of this do I have left?’ YMMV

    Spoiler::::

    I really didn’t like that you never really got to meet the protagonist except through the mirror of the characters he inhabits. Again. YMMV.

    3+
  11. Finally read the first Murderbot. Enjoyed it, but for some reason it made me want to re-read Games of Command by Linnea Sinclair. So I did! That started me on a re-read of more of Sinclair’s books. So far: The Down Home Zombie Blues and Accidental Goddess.

    3+
  12. I have been reading at both ends of the scale this week, and in the middle too.

    At one end was a historical romance from a very popular author and, although I love historicals, she is not for me. It started with such promise that I read til the end, at which point it was so bad (not my taste) that it was almost funny. I can’t decide whether I more disliked the inconsistently drawn characters or the writing. Lines like this: “She sipped at each of his lips in turn, softening their stern set”. Oh god, now I’m reading the rest of that page and giggling and I want to quote you all kinds of morsels. The heroine ‘sighed helplessly’ and used ‘bold touches’ (those two are in the same sentence by the way), is ‘sweet’, and ‘innocent’, and “she knew she had the upper hand. He’d surrender to her now”. Classic.

    On the other end is Sally Rooney’s Normal People, which I am only part way through and have to post about already. I want to quote you bits just to share the love. Like a late-teens boy describing a late-teens girl: “She didn’t shave her legs or anything”. That “or anything”. Saying so much about him, and her, and society, and so good. And another bit about your life going on as expected, or taking an alternative path and then: “But the old Connell, the one all his friends know: that person would be dead in a way, or worse, buried alive, and screaming under the earth.”.

    In the middle, I read and liked The Understatement of the Year by Sarina Bowen, contemp m/m which is a genre I’ve never read before, and it was really good. On any week that didn’t include Normal People, it would be nearer top of scale.

    And for book club I’m reading Roald Dahl’s biography. 600 pages of fineprint. A statement which by itself pretty much sums up how I feel about it.

    12+
  13. I just finished Grandma Gatewood’s Walk by Ben Montgomery, which was a perfect read for Women’s History Month. This is one of the most inspiring books I’ve read in ages. Emma Gatewood was a 67 YO woman, who decided to hike the Appalachian Trail after reading a wildly inaccurate description of it in National Geographic. This was in 1955 and at the time, it had only been thru-hiked 7 times, all by men. Thru-hiking was not a “thing” back then LOL.

    Anyway, she did the entire 2000 mile trail in sneakers and jeans (she wore out 7 pairs of shoes), carrying a homemade knapsack over one shoulder filled with about 20 lbs of food and supplies. Sometimes she slept in strangers’ houses and barns, sometimes she slept on top of picnic tables in shelters on the trail. She didn’t even have a sleeping bag! Then, once she was done, she turned around and did it again 2 yrs later. I’d never heard of her, but apparently she’s like the patron saint of modern day AT hikers.

    6+
    1. I read that book a couple of years ago. It’s thanks to her that the A Trail received much needed publicity which made it become so well known (and maintained). I wish I had her guts and savvy; I’d love to through hike it myself but myst admit I don’t really want to go through all the hardships I’ve read about that are encountered.

      3+
  14. I’m reading Making Up by Lucy Parker, book 3 in her London Celebrities contemporary romance series set in the London West End theatre world. I loved the first two, and the next is due out soonish. Besides, the 3 book set was on sale on Amazon. Even though I already owned books 1 & 2, I couldn’t resist. I adore the worldbuilding in this series as much as the characters.

    6+
  15. Based on last week’s recommendation, I started Tanya Huff’s Valor series. I have now finished 4 of them. Lots of action. Interestingly, I usually get bored with fights and battles and skip them but I did not with these books. I doubt they are the kind of stories I would reread but I really enjoyed them on the first read.

    I was reading a cookbook from the 50’s this week and one of the contributors started waxing poetical about going home to Georgia for Christmas and being met at the door by their “colored butler, handyman, cook and best friend” After I decided not to barf and tried to cut the guy some slack because 50’s and trying to impress the reader with what an upscale family he came from, I started wondering if it would be possible to read “Gone With the Wind” without feeling that same sense of revulsion. Has anyone here read GWTW lately? Was the inherent racism that intrusive?

    9+
    1. I have never read the book but watched the movie about a year ago and it was APPALLING.

      4+
      1. I was afraid of that. The older I get the “romance” of the Confederacy seems more disgusting than anything.

        4+
        1. There is a trick to it. It’s realizing that the attitudes of the characters are not the attitudes of the actors, and probably not the attitudes of the producers, screenwriters, directors and so on. It’s a historical romance. That means it should be historically accurate, and that means unthinking prejudice and superiority and so forth in and on the South of that time.

          That said, I never did like that movie.

          7+
        2. I suspect the book has more to do with attitudes in 1936 when it was published than during the Confederacy. Unfortunately, being a reader and not an avid history student, the pre-teen me took Gone with the Wind as a reliable witness to the civil war. My bad.

          1+
    2. I don’t know about GWTW, but I recently tried to re-read Eudora Welty’s Delta Wedding and just couldn’t. It made me sick and disgusted with myself as a child, how I loved that book.

      2+
  16. I read “A Dose of Death” by Gin Jones a.k.a our Gin here on Argh! It’s one of her cozy mysteries and I really liked it. It was indeed cozy, a puzzle keeping you guessing in sorta modern Agatha Christie style – nothing and no one is what they seem… I love me a good puzzle once in a while. Helen, the MC, also fitted my mood perfectly last week, so we’re best buddies now. Thanks for the read, Gin! I’m looking forward to returning to this world whenever I need a cozy guessing-game <3

    I have also read cookbooks, again. Or an anti-cookbook with the most disgusting food you can imagine. It's written by a youtuber who's made it his thing to make parodies of cooking shows and cooks absolutely horrible food with whatever he finds in his cupboards. I have not seen the show. The book was a fun read (at 5.30 in the morning), but it won't get any 5-star ratings from me. It did get some laughs, though. 🙂

    I reread "High Noon" by Nora Roberts, and it was even better than I remembered it so I updated my rating on Goodreads to 5. Suspense, strong characters with depth, emotions, love, not too much sex scenes, a heroine that stands up for herself but not so much it gets annoying, just stays realistic for how a strong woman behaves, and a guy that is funny and charming without beign too much, and doesn't let the strong woman walk right over him yet still manages not to be a douche – yep. This is definitely one of my favourite Roberts.

    Currently reading "Sal & Gabi Break the Universe" by Carlos Hernandez. It's another one of the Rick Riordan Presents imprints, and I'm kind of in love with it. At first I had to get used to the narrator for he speaks quite fast, but once you get into his way of reading, it's a delightful ride. Middlegrade Sci-fi with fun and charming characters, dangers to the time-space continuum and other twists that makes it well worth reading. Gonna go pick it up again now so I'll get to know how it ends – good night!

    8+
  17. I wonder if anyone at Amazon has tracked samples/sales of certain books on Thursdays and wondered why…….

    17+
  18. I’ve wanted to read since I first knew it exists Classical Principles for Modern Design, Lessons from Edith Wharton and Ogden Codman’s The Decoration of Houses, by Thomas Jayne. First published in 1897, and I’ve tried to get through the original, but Jayne’s interpretation is more approachable and fun. The chapter on Kitchens focuses on a room never touched on in the original. And a great final Chapter 13, Color, the Traditionalist Weapon, kept me up until the small hours. Perhaps I’ll reread 1904’s Wharton, Italian Villas and Their Gardens. Around that time, here in California, Italian gardens were in vogue. I grow a rose or two left from that time.

    All is not, um, precious around here. Whizzed through Lisa Kleypas Sugar Daddy, and found it delightful enough to pick up tonight from the library her successor Brown-eyed Girl.

    7+
  19. Thanks for the recommendation to Margery Allingham, who is now my favorite author. She’s such an elegant writer, as Agatha Christie wrote of her. I am now reading Ngaio Marsh, who is really the mystery queen of alibi and motive.

    11+
    1. I had some friends who liked Ngaio Marsh so much that they named their cat after her. Of course, they may have just thought that her name sounded like a cat’s meow. However they chose the name, she was a very sleek and beautiful cat.

      6+
      1. Dancers in Mourning! Tiger in the Smoke! The Fashion in Shrouds! The Case of the Late Pig!

        I love these books. I had the extraordinary good fortune to meet and fall for a bunch of authors mostly in those little orange and green penguins over a series of childhood summers. I was grown before I learned that no, the books weren’t coincidentally magically in every house we went to (I was a simple gullible child, which characteristics were encouraged by my parents), boxes of them were toted up and shelved before I ever arrived because you can’t go somewhere for months without *books*.

        7+
  20. I am taking my first dip into Terry Pratchett’s world with Going Postal. Jenny mentioned that the bad guy lived in a Trump Tower, so I figured this was my kind of book. Also my library has it in Overdrive to easy reading on the eyes.

    9+
    1. I hope you enjoy Going Postal!

      I entered by way of the witches books, then started, inadvertently, with the first Sam Vimes book. Guards! Guards!

      It all worked out well. 😉

      3+
    2. I would be interested to hear how you liked it. It’s one of my favorites, but I don’t know anyone who started with Going Postal. It should still work though.

      2+
      1. Going Postal was the first Pratchett I read, recommended by my daughter-in-law. I stayed up very late reading it, and she was so happy that I liked it!

        3+
      2. Delurking just to wave that I started with Going Postal – the only (fun) book in English I could find after a few months in very rural Germany, and it was a brilliant gateway! I’d never heard of Pratchett before, but I devoured the non-Rincewind oeuvre and now force Pratchett on all my friends.

        I still think GP one of the best satires I’ve read, and a masterpiece of humor and just plain fun. These days I start people with Thief of Time or Hogfather (Susan!) more frequently, but GP remains in my top two Pratchetts.

        5+
        1. I think Going Postal is brilliant, and it’s a great gateway Pratchett. But Thief of Time will always be favorite.
          I actually remember my first Pratchett being Small Gods, which was fantastic, but probably not the best intro to the books. But then I read Feet of Clay, the third Vimes, and that was it. Went back and got the first two Vimes and Pratchett had me for life.

          9+
    3. Tump Tower. I love that book. Any book that has a hero named Moist Von Lipwig is for me. (Every time he says, “Hello, I’m Moist,” I crack up. As does Adorabelle.)

      9+
  21. I had some friends who liked Ngaio Marsh so much that they named their cat after her. Of course, they may have just thought that her name sounded like a cat’s meow. However they chose the name, she was a very sleek and beautiful cat.

    4+
    1. You prompted me to look up the ngaio tree (there is a wellington suburb called ngaio and I had a vague sense it was some kind of vegetation).

      Appropriately the ngaio is very very poisonous and pretty 🙂

      7+
  22. I have been reading Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope mysteries which are good but nothing out of the ordinary. Also Jason Reynolds’ book Lu, about a middle school track star. All of the books in this series feature distinct and compelling voices although my favorite is a Ghost, the first one. Lastly I’ve been browsing Peg Bracken’s I Hate to Cook Book, a view into another time. So much cream of mushroom soup.

    7+
    1. That was my very first cook-book and I loved it so much that my husband bought me a signed first edition a few years ago. I still use it for some recipes, keeping in mind that the spicing on a lot of dishes, like the curry, is way too mild. The one other problem is that the canned mushroom soup of 60 years isn’t the same as it is now and does not cook the same way. Years of engineering to produce the “same” taste with cheaper ingredients has produced something that rarely has ingredients that I would consider food similar to Cool Whip and Hostess Twinkies. What I do in place of mushroom soup is sautée a few mushrooms, chopped shallots and add them to a simple white sauce. It works just fine.

      7+
  23. Devoured Anne Bishop’s “Wild Country.” I really like her writing. I really like the world she’s created in this series. But I didn’t get that happy buzz I normally do when I finish a book. I finished this one feeling edgy and upset. The only explanation I’ve been able to come up with is that the end comes so soon after the climax. You’ve barely had time to digest all the consequences and then the book is over. I may have to reread and see if I feel the same. But still actually really upset with all that happens.

    If you haven’t read her The Others series, this is not the book to start with. It’s a fun series though.

    6+
    1. I felt the same way – glad (I guess?) to know I’m not alone. Lake Silence was so well executed that I actually scheduled Tuesday off work for Wild Country. I agree about the rushed ending post-climax.

      I think the fact that it overlaps with the events in Book 5 but from a slightly different perspective left me dissatisfied. I wanted an independent story about Jana that was more along the lines of Lake Silence.

      3+
    2. I read Wild Country this week also, and I felt that (especially compared to lake silence and the lakeside books), the ambient tension/stress level of WC is much higher, is not entirely resolved by the climax and usually in the Others the climax happens towards the late middle and so although the bad is bad, it’s also definitively over. There may be more bad coming but this particular bad is done. That doesn’t happen in WC – it still feels ominous, and I think that you’re right on it with the cause being the climax being so close to the end. The pacing would’ve been easier on readers as a longer book or two (cliff-hanger free) shorter books.

      3+
      1. Well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who felt this way. It does make me wonder if her next book will be set in the same town and pick up where we left off.

        2+
        1. Huh. Or not. I just checked her website. We’re getting a new Dark Jewels book. But will it be pre- or post-High Lord’s Daughter? I really don’t know which I want.

          1+
  24. Forgive me, but I am going to rant.

    As a reader, I have to say to all the writers on Argh – never, never, never, never write a hero in one series and kill him in the next. Never write a romantic pairing that gets the readers invested, and then break them up (or kill the love interest) so the hero/heroine can have another romance. No matter what your reasons, don’t do it. For all the readers who are reading to forget the problems of real life, who want to believe, even if only for a little while, that good can overcome evil, that love can win, that Happily Ever After can happen, you have just destroyed their trust and you will never get it back.

    If I sound bitter and angry, I am. I went to a writer for comfort and he betrayed my trust.

    19+
    1. There used to be a series that I think was called Angelique where the heroine went through at least three husbands. I should google. I think the author’s name was Golon. I just remember being surprised when the first one died and the new guy showed up, but the books were so obviously about Angelique and not the Guys that it made sense.

      If you’re writing traditional romance, yeah, don’t kill the hero. If the romance works, you’ve just destroyed the just universe the heroine deserved. If the romance didn’t work, you were already screwed.

      13+
      1. Thanks for sending me down the rabbit hole that is the Angelique saga. Oi, what memories! BTW, I believe that there was only one love of Angelique’s life (Joffrey) who kept having miraculous recoveries from prisons/kidnappings/amnesia/death, etc.

        5+
        1. Was he the first one? I thought he died, but it’s been a LONG time. Off to google.

          ETA: You are, of course, right. From Wikipedia (spoilers):

          “The eponymous protagonist is a 17th-century woman born into the provincial aristocracy in the west of France. In successive books she marries at a young age the romantic and talented Count of Toulouse; gets her domestic bliss destroyed when King Louis XIV has her husband executed on trumped up charges; descends into the underworld of Paris; emerges and through a turbulent second marriage gets admittance to the court at Versailles; loses her second husband in war. . . finds that her first husband is after all alive . . . sets out on a highly risky search, gets captured by pirates, sold into slavery in Crete, taken into the harem of the King of Morocco . . . stages a daring escape along with a French slave who becomes her lover; gets back to France, only to be put under house arrest in her ancestral home and raped by rampaging royal soldiers, which arouses the province to a rebellion which is brutally put down . . . is saved in the nick of time by her long-lost first husband appearing at La Rochelle and taking them all to America in his ship; and being reunited also with her children, which she thought dead but were alive and well in America. Then follows many more adventures in colonial North America – specifically, in French Acadia – involving French and English settlers, Indians and pirates.”

          Didn’t she have like 13 kids and still have a fabulous body that everybody wanted?

          10+
          1. “Didn’t she have like 13 kids and still have a fabulous body that everybody wanted?”

            Obviously, she had good genes.

            5+
          2. I remember Angélique being one of the few books in my French penfriend’s room, which I slept in (she was relegated to the lounge). I think I gave it a go, but my French wasn’t up to it. Not surprisingly, by the sound of it.

            4+
    2. OMG who would do this? Didn’t we all learn our lesson from HIMYM? I want to make sure I never read this series.

      3+
    3. I read a crime series a while back where the relationship between the protag and her husband was wonderful for the first three books – then apparently the author and husband broke up, because in the fourth book the husband was suddenly a complete rat. The book was so full of bitterness – it was dreadful. Up till then, the series had been fun.

      4+
    4. I LOVED the Wolf Walker series when they came out. So gripping and great characters. And then they got dark and killed off the hero and it was just so sad and traumatic. I feel you!

      1+
  25. I flew from London to Johannesburg this week – lots of time to read. And now I’m in a hotel for ten days on my own – work all day, read all evening. I finished Valor’s Honor – thank you to Gary Hayenga who convinced me to keep reading last week when I was having trouble getting into it. I am listening to Wild Country by Anne Bishop (for when I’m knitting), so I am interested in the comments about it here. I love the series and have read and listened numerous times to them all but am having trouble getting into this one. It seems this is a common complaint. I am also in the middle of the third book in Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series. This is so good! The vivid descriptions of crab fishing in the Aleutians here are riveting. (I know – it doesn’t sound riveting, but believe me, it is both thrilling and educational.) I am enjoying this series so much.

    8+
  26. I wholeheartedly agree with not killing off the HEA hero – except Lois McMasters Bujold managed to do it well. The after Aral’s death book about Cordelia’s next steps was fabulous. I think it was okay, even though I loved their relationship because they did have the happy life – he was just never going to live as long as she did. Anyone else?

    10+
    1. I love Aral Vorkosigan – far more than Cordelia. It is, of course, sad that he died, but they were together for decades, maintaining their respective integrities, despite disagreement. And everyone dies – putting it in the book where it happened made it obvious that it is the natural order (and probably for the best). I enjoyed the widow relationship, but it’s not in the same ballpark.

      I like Miles, too – and Ivan, but Aral is my favorite. I also really like what’s his name from “The Sharing Knife”.

      3+
  27. I’m reading Susan Mallery’s newest women’s fiction, California Girls. Not my favorite of hers, but good.

    I’m hoping I don’t feel the same way about Wild Country that everyone else does once I get to read it…

    1+
  28. I have been re-reading Dorothy Dunnett’s Johnson Johnson series – specifically Dolly and the Bird of Paradise and Dolly and the Nanny Bird. Every time I read them there is some new enchanting layer of detail I pick up or re-notice and it makes them so enjoyable, I just have never regretted any of the (many) times I have purchased them. The Johnson series is less rigorous than either Lymond or Niccolo – you can miss something and not be gobsmacked 3 or 4 pages/chapters/books later.

    I also read Wild Country – good, but not relaxing and would be a rough introduction to the Others bc context/installed knowledge issues; and Strange Weather in Tokyo, which is not a romance but very much a book about love and loneliness and the cover, at least for the kindle version, is just weird and wrong – it makes the book look whimsical which no, no it is not.

    8+
  29. This week I finished “Cici and the Curator,” by S J Wynde, which I found out about here and which was a lot of fun. Call me crazy but I was ‘shipping the title characters and kind of hoping for a sequel where they have more fantasy space adventures and etc.

    3+
    1. Okay I do not how I missed about this when it was on here before but now I have gone and read it and it was really fun. Thank you for bringing it up.

      2+
  30. I read a romance written in 1997 by a very respected author – and the hero kept standing too close to the heroine, because he could see how uncomfortable it made her. And then he grabbed her by the arms and shook her. And at the point I gave up. Can’t read this stuff anymore.

    Grace Burrowes’ Too Scot to Handle was way better. I really like her books, despite the dreadful titles. Intelligent heroines, sensible heroes.

    2+

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