This is a Good Book Thursday, July 25, 2019

Instead of reading, I’ve been binge watching old seasons of Grimm, which apparently. started to go off the rails about the time the Black Claw showed up.  Why is it that episodic shows always shoot themselves in the narrative foot with big mythologies?  Character, not plot, people.  Definitely time to get back to reading.

So what did you read this week?  

90 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 25, 2019

  1. I read Kill the Queen, which I enjoyed but I wish it had begun further in when the real action started. I’ve also been binge-reading a lot of fanfiction, and found some excellent authors I hadn’t come across before.

    1. Hmm, I kind of stalled out a few chapters into Kill the Queen. Perhaps I should try it again.

  2. I would love if you did a breakdown of Grimm like you have the other shows!!

    I’ve been listening to the fourth book in the Temeraire series. It’s hooked me more than the last couple of books, and I’m veeeery curious where it will go next. I’m also trying to either read or delete all the samples on my phone. Too many things not being read but taking up space. I’m learning to let go of books that no longer interest me that I’ll likely never read. Hard to do, but good I think.

    1. I’ve been binge-reading the Temeraire series this month. Just about to start book 9 of 9 and feeling quite nervous about whether all the supporting characters will survive. They’d better!

      1. Ugh, yeah. I just finished book four – it was much more powerful than the last two books! Im veeeery curious how she’s going to dig them out of this hole. I think my favorite part, though, is hearing the dragons represented on audio. XD they make me giggle so much! Book five was available, so I snatched it up, but damn if I don’t have three other audio books to finish first.

  3. I admit I may have been indulging my movie fix. I started with Ballerina, which one would swear is from Pixar, but is instead from a Canadian company. Then I broke out the complete Harry Potter 8 DVD set. They’ve just gotten rid of Umbridge – Harry will be a sixth year on the next DVD.

    I finished The Cowboy’s Fake Marriage, The Orphans of Raspay, and <Agnes and the Hitman. Oddly, I went through my Kindle directory at Amazon and Agnes wasn’t on it, so I bought it again. I assume my original copy came from a different source, but haven’t the foggiest where.

    Rising Sun is still open on the little Kindle. I suspect the next read on Joe will be I’m Not A Hero by Mia Archer, one of the continuing adventures of Night Terror, “the greatest villain the world has ever known!” And, of course, Fialux, her superheroine girlfriend.

    On the geek front, I have installed MS Office Professional 2019 on the new computer, and resumed the MS Access Nutritional Guide database to once more keep track of my diet. For me, it works. After hitting a two year high in weight gain last week and stirring fears of Congestive Heart Failure, I have shed over seven pounds and have hopes of forty more by Christmas. (Ha!) Just something else to be mildly happy about this week.

  4. Alas, the thriller I’ve got to proof-read is as hideously graphically violent as I feared it might be (bear in mind I don’t watch or read any of the violent melodrama that’s dominated TV, etc., for the past twenty years or so). Just knocked off after doing sums and concluding I can get away with three hours a day on it for the next week or so – and will cram my imagination with garden design and romance for the rest of the time.

    After a couple of duds from the library, I’m rereading Amanda Quick’s ‘Rendezvous’; will look for something just as fun but maybe not quite so familiar – and so more involving – to follow.

    1. Is having to read horror cosmic balance for the Jane Austin? Fate could not be so cruel.

      1. It’s down to me being desperate for paid work, and to make a new contact; and then soon after I’d said yes, I was offered two much more enjoyable jobs. I’ll have to tell the new contact that this sort of thing is outside my comfort zone.

    2. Ouch, I’ll read some stuff with graphic violence but I skim those pages. I’d hate having to read it slowly enough to proof it.

      I got a Lee Childs book in German a couple of years ago, on the theory that it’d help my German skills. I gave it up halfway through because my German isn’t good enough for skimming and I couldn’t stand the violence.

  5. I read a YA book called The Possible about a teen who is asked to interview for a true crime podcast about her birth mother, who killed her baby brother years before. The part that hooked me: Her mom was one of those supposed psychic teens, and the podcast wants to determine whether the whole thing was a hoax. Meanwhile, the main character wonders if she has psychic abilities, because things seem to happen when she wishes for them…

    It was really fun, although the MC is a bit of a jerk.

  6. So I actually picked up a book since it was on BookBub and cheap. I’ve had the latest Eloisa James chilling on my Kindle, but want to give that proper attention, so waiting for this weekend when I will have the house to myself and can indulge. But THIS OTHER BOOK. I stopped not even halfway through. It’s called August Sunrise and UGH. Look. I get that bad things happen to people. I get that bad things can happen to our heroines. This heroine of a historical romance is pregnant, ends up in a carriage accident, loses the baby, and then the quack doctor ruins her ability to ever have children again. And this may all be very real and true to the time period but FFS ARE YOU KIDDING ME. It’s one thing for her to lose the baby. It’s another to take away her ability to have children forever. I don’t know, this REALLY struck a chord with me for some reason. I get that shitty things happen, BUT THEY DON’T NEED TO HAPPEN TO MY HEROINE. I even skimmed the rest of the novel to see if they were wrong and a miracle baby came along and nope. She really is barren now. Maybe it’s critical to the plot for her to no longer have her childbearing abilities, but I don’t know, and I won’t know cause I stopped reading and I may even return the stupid e-book to Amazon just to make a point.

    So I’m not recommending that book.

    1. Salpy, you just might get your baby fix if you read Roxanne St. Claire’s 13th book in her Barefoot series, Barefoot in Moonrise. The story is about a couple who broke up as teenagers and meet again at a high school reunion some 25 years later. They are both in their forties and of course hook up that night because they can. Beth tells Ken that she had a tubal ligation after losing a baby and her then husband talked her into it. So without a condom they go on their merry way and consummate this reunion. They are both divorced, have family issues which causes some grief with Ken. But there are also some fun characters too. Like the people at the firehouse that Ken is a captain of. They take bets on anything including Ken’s happiness. Also Ken’s two friends both silver fox’s who have their own books, one of which (Law) is next in the series and comes off in this one as a total asshat. I may have read one or two Barefoot stories but I chose this one because the characters are older and don’t give me a toothache like younger characters.

      1. I am going to try that book! I love it when the main characters are in their 40’s & 50’s and still active. And I’m a sucker for a series. 🙂

  7. In the throes of Tombland, the latest Shardlake by CS Sansom. Am finishing off a big review/report for work now and hope that once it is done, there will be more time for reading and relaxing before school belongs in earnest mid-August. I have a big, healthy TBR pile to work through.

  8. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson.

    So much delightful competence porn. Like, the entire book is competence porn.

  9. I’ve reread all the Vimes-books now *sob*, having finished “Thud!” and “Snuff”. Quietly grieving the fact that there will be no more new Discworld books, ever.

    Picked up “Metro 2033” by Dmitry Gluchovsky. Hi, Dystopia! It’s slow-going because I feel I need to pay attention to not get lost in the winding metro-tunnels, and it’s so damm hot here I can’t do that for very long. I’ve settled for reading one or two chapters at a time and then let it rest until I feel fit enough to continue. I really want to read it, I’m just so tired all the time.

    Sooo I’m reading “Witches Abroad ” )Hi, Pratchett and non-dystopia!) to have something relaxing and funny to fall back on when the Sci-fi gets too dystopic.

    1. …there will be no more new Discworld books, ever.

      I’m sure it’s out there, but I’ve never even seen discworld fanfic. Or Discworld Slash. (Vimes/Vetinari?) Nor have I an urgent desire to seek them out. There was only one Pratchett.

      1. I second this. I won’t go look for any fanfiction of Pratchett, for they could never come even close to the original anyway and would only annoy me, and that wouldn’t be fair to the author of the fanfiction in question.

    2. Just realized I’d spelled the author of Metro 2033’s name wrong: It’s Dmitry Gluhkovsky*. Not Glychovsky. Think either the Swedish library had spelled it wrong or I did when I named the book file. Sorry for the inconvenience.

      *It is on Goodreads. But he’s a Goodreads author, so I guess it’s safe to assume it’s correctly spelled there.

  10. I read “Meant to Be” by Nan Reinhardt and really enjoyed it! I loved that the characters were older and also the slow but steady transition from friends to lovers. I also liked that Sean didn’t bounced out of his hospital bed like a superhero after being shot twice. 🙂

    I am still working my way through all the Lord Peter Wimsey novels. I’m currently on “Murder Must Advertise” and have to say, the best part of it is the insight into advertising almost 100 years ago. Given most of my career has been doing small market TV commercials, it is so funny to see how attitudes between clients and creative have changed so little! The mystery itself is a bit involved and we spend way too much time away from Wimsey, but it is still good fun.

    1. I just recommended ‘Murder Must Advertise’ to a friend who wants some summer reading, for exactly those reasons. Warned her off the harlequin bits.

      1. Yes, the Harlequin bits are odd. But they do seem very true to the era of the book (both in which it was written and in which it is set). Had a very Great Gatsby vibe to it, I thought.

        1. When I first read it, aged about fifteen, it was a new insight into how the First World War turned the world upside down. I grew up in the aftermath of the Second World War, which had overshadowed the earlier one.

    2. I haven’t re-read Lord Peter Wimsey since reading them the first time. Might be time for another round through them. I remember enjoying them so much when I read them in college, but being really irritated by the woman character he fell in love with. It seemed in one book that she was doing her level best to get herself convicted of a murder she didn’t commit, and I found her behavior incomprehensible, but I am probably not remembering the plot right… it’s been decades.

      1. She’s extremely prickly and defensive to begin with; but trying to be an independent woman when the times were against her, I think.

      2. No, you’ve got it right. That’s “Strong Poison” when Wimsey falls in love with Harriet Vane while she’s on trial for murdering her lover. It would have been very risque (I think) at the time, and she would have good reason to keep herself aloof.

        What’s interesting after that book, if you read them in published order, is that Harriet doesn’t show up in every book, but Wimsey is still pursuing her because they do end up together.

        You might want to try “Gaudy Night” which is more Harriet than Peter and I’ve always enjoyed the most.

        1. And then I went to a women’s college at Oxford; tho’ not as high-falutin in real life (certainly by the mid seventies). Although we were all addressed as ‘Miss Birdsell’, etc.

          1. After many years, I reread Sayers’ Clouds of Witness and was amazed at how well plotted it was and how fully developed the characters were.

            1. I caught hints of what was to come, yet the characters’ reasons for not recognizing the foreshadowing really worked.

            SPOILER 1.
            Peter guesses twice about why Grimethorpe’s wife recognizes him, and each guess is reasonable. But twice the real reason is shown in metaphoric language in descriptions — I guess you would say they are made by the author or by the point of view. (The brothers’ similarities show in deeper ways than their differences.)

            2. Sayers illustrates her theme of networks versus isolation by using parallel situations. There’s the Wimsey family which bickers at each other, yet comes through for each other.

            SPOILER 2.
            There are also two images which show Sayers’ comparison. The dying man, thirsting as he loses blood, pulls himself towards the house. Alone with arms extended, he dies as he reaches water. In comparison, Peter almost sinks into the quicksand, but Bunter grabs his arms and eventually gets a rope around Peter’s torso so he can be pulled out. Arms extended, Peter is in great pain, but his companion has saved his life.

            Anyway, there’s lots more to this book than I remembered.

  11. A few years back I read and really liked The Burning Sky, a YA book by the always-excellent Sherry Thomas. I knew there were two sequels, and I kept meaning to find them. Finally got around to it, but realized it had been so long I needed to reread The Burning Sky first. It was even better than I remembered.

    I’m halfway through book #2, The Perilous Sea, and enjoying it as much as the first one. Book #3, The Immortal Heights, is on the Kindle waiting.

    These stories are set in the 1880s and feature Iolanthe, an elemental mage, and Prince Titus, the 16-year-old Master of the Domain where Iolanthe lives. The first book is about how Iolanthe turns out to to be way more powerful than anyone knew, and as such is the target of Atlantis, the creepy nation that has taken over the Domain.

    Titus, essentially a ruler in name only, is determined to overthrow Atlantis. But at 16 and “encouraged” by them to attend a school in a non-mage country (Eton College, in England) he isn’t sure how to start. When he stumbles across Iolanthe just as her powers are revealed, he realizes that she is the answer to a prophecy for which he has prepared for years. So Iolanthe becomes Mr. Archer Fairfax and hides in plain sight at Eton.

    I especially loved how Sherry Thomas managed to combine her magical world with the (I think) reasonably realistic depiction of boys/young men (and Iolanthe) at an elite school.

  12. I’m in the middle of The Missing Corpse by Jean-Luc Bannalec and don’t really have a verdict on it. This is #4 in a series but it’s the first that I’ve read. That may explain why I feel a little like I was dropped in the middle of something. Good news–I haven’t guessed whodunit or why yet! More good news is that it’s different; I’ve been in a reading rut lately.
    In the past, I rarely read a series and that has changed over time to where it seems like I read series more often than not. Of late, this has not been satisfying somehow. Thanks to the folks here, I do have authors/novels to try.

  13. I have been picking randomly and reading books by Dorothy Sayers and Georgette Heyer. They work, people. Some better than others, but they all work, unlike new stuff, which doesn’t always work well for me. Of the newer fiction (not so new but newer), just finished Elizabeth Hoyt’s For the Love of Pete: a truly nice romantic caper.

  14. I will be making banana bread for the first time ever. I’ll be re-reading Maybe This Time, in anticipation of the blackening of the banana skins.

    Yes, the plan is to use the recipe from Argh.

  15. I’m 100 pages into THE SILKWORM, the second book by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). This mystery series features private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Elacott. The murder is awful (had to skim the description of the corpse) and it’s definitely more downbeat than I like, although it’s often very funny—mostly due to subtle “throwaway” lines that you’ll miss if you’re reading too fast. Of course Rowling’s writing and her characters are terrific. First book in the series is THE CUCKOO’S CALLING. I highly recommend them both.

    Just before starting the Galbraith/Rowling, I finished Jim Bucher’s STORM FRONT, which I also recommend. It’s the first book in another P.I. series, The Dresden Files, but in this case the private investigator is a wizard. It seems that magical mysteries have become a sub-genre these days, but Bucher started this series back in 2000, when the idea was new, and it’s excellent. Main character Harry Dresden is a classic noir private eye—lonely, smart, witty, self-deprecating, attractive (but doesn’t realize it), and extremely capable, as both a wizard and a detective, yet filled with self-doubt. Lots of funny “throwaway” asides in this one too, as one would expect in this genre.

    1. Warning: the later Dresdens get less amusing and more depressing. I have, however, read them all anyway. The TV series was pretty good, too.

    2. The Harry Dresden books are amazing. Although Caryn isn’t wrong when she says they get tougher later on. The protagonist is fabulous and the writing is stellar. I actually saw the short-lived series on TV and that led me to the books.

      My claim to fame (such as it is) is that Harry follows me on Twitter. Okay, @HarriedWizard maybe isn’t the actual wizard (and he definitely isn’t author Jim Butcher), but he never breaks character, and is a lot of fun to follow. He has 22.2K followers and only follows 51 people, one of whom is me. I actually mentioned him in the dedication of my first novel 🙂

      So yes, definitely read the books. (Also, Jim Butcher has some great short stories about the character in a few Urban Fantasy anthologies, if you want to get a brief taste of what Harry Dresden is like.)

      1. Thanks. I’m going to try to track down the TV series on DVD. How FUN that Harry is following you! Not quite your only claim to fame, Deborah, but very cool!

  16. Am starting “This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Got great reviews with warnings to keep a box of kleenex handy.

      1. I haven’t read it yet, but Gladstone’s worldbuilding is consistently pretty great. I stayed with his craft sequence because the worldbuilding was so extraordinary. There are a tumble of authors like that in sci-fi/fantasy for me recently.

  17. Thanks to the commenter who mentioned that Lois McMaster Bujold had a new Penric and Desdemona novella out, The Orphans of Respay, I acquired and read that. Pretty good, but not the best of them.

    I also read Ilona Andrews Sweep of the Blade. Enjoyable, but different from the earlier Innkeeper stories. The Vampire Prince, Arland, proposes to Maud. She says no, she did that already, but goes to visit his home world with him. Politics, intrigue and violence ensue.

    Also, Susan Copperfield’s new Royal States of America novel, Bonds. A search and rescue diver is forced to reveal his true strength in order to prevent an ecological catastrophe when someone tries to blow up a fully loaded super-giant oil tanker off the coast of France. Politics and terrorism raise their ugly heads in the aftermath but the doctor they bring in to treat him turns out to be the Princess of Maine, who takes her doctoring very seriously

      1. Not hugely different. There’s more detail on Maud’s feelings, why she goes with Arlan and the general setup with the krahr (sp?) and sort of more background overall but it’s done very incrementally/subtly so it would be hard (at least for me) to call out big chunks.

        It’s like the room of the story now has wallpaper instead of paint and one or two of the chairs got reupholstered but the furniture and layout and color scheme are all the same.

  18. I finished binge-rereading Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed them all the second time around. And particularly book 5, which is about an older pair with an unlikely matchup. Shinn writes so well about how groups of friends are formed and develop and deepen over time that the series truly succeeds in making you feel you know these people and would enjoy spending time with all of them. Just a really rewarding re-read.

  19. Haven’t really read much this week. I’ve been binging Person of Interest, and wish I could read the PoI posts here. ;). Then playing Bet Me and Manhunting audiobooks. Fun all around!

    1. Good choice-and I agree about the posts. The graph she had showing the interconnecting story-lines from “Mors Praematura” was a thing of beauty.

    2. Argh. I’ll get them up. I’m trying to get. them all linked with a master page so they’re not so hard to navigate. Organization. Not my strength.

  20. I read ‘Julius Caesar’ to educate myself. Also yesterday during the can’t-work-too-hot episode, binged on KJ Charles with ‘Think of England,’ ‘Jackdaw,’ and ‘The Henchmen of Zenda,’ which is a Ripping Yarn. All three highly entertaining and the love story in ‘Jackdaw’ is wonderful.

  21. I clearly lost my mind briefly last week, and read Grief is the Thing With Feathers by Max Porter. No romance, no magic. And while I recognise it was excellent, why did I do that to myself?

    It’s back to the light and fluffy for me this week please, grim reality is too grim.

    If you do however want to read some objectively Very Good Literature, then I recommend it. When I’m over climate change and Boris et al. (like, probably never) I might read it again, and catch the references I skimmed the first time.

    1. PS I forgot to say, I have never read Crow by Ted Hughes – it would have helped to before reading this.

  22. I’ve been reading a couple of cozy mystery series as research before starting to write one. My favorite is by Krista Davis, the Paws and Claws series, which is set in the fictional town of Wagtail Virginia, the top pet-friendly destination in the country. Lots of cute cats and dogs, a pleasant protagonist with lots of elderly sidekicks, and a faster pace than most cozies. The first one is Murder, She Barked and I just finished number 5, Not A Creature Was Purring. If you like cozies, or need a break from reality, I definitely recommend these.

  23. Because I went to ReaderCon in Boston recently (because I am a huge SFF nerd, and Readercon is All About the Books) and because Rosemary Kirstein was present at a panel on the Steerswoman books, I just reread them all.

    The panel was wild – the series is still in progress, and it has so many moving parts and mysteries and things you the reader knows that Rowan the hero does not, and so many other cool things going on. At least part of the session was just speculation on what exactly was going on, and what might happen next. Kirstein kept quiet, but she was grinning like crazy. At the end, she said we were the best readers an author could hope for, and she was telling us nothing.

    Every time I reread them, I find more delights.

  24. Last night I rewatched the pilot of Good Omens. Love it.
    And then I finished reading Tinseltown, a delightful Hollywood Christmas ms by a friend of mine, Allison Morse. I’m starting Relative Fortunes by Marlowe Benn tonight.
    I have a romantic comedy with a touch of magic coming out on August 14th. Irish Magic is a light read with some laughter. I hesitate to ask anyone if they would like to read it because you are on Jen’s blog and her books are so good and I wither easily. BUT if anyone wants an ARC, let me know in comments if that’s OK.
    TomeTender’s review is better than my blurb. “A sweet, fun romance that finds one bitter author discovering the magic of a four leaf clover, a leprechaun, a matchmaker and love itself are too much for her broken heart to resist when she travels to the Emerald Isle in search of a hero for her latest romance and finds a hero for her heart.”
    Happy Reading all!

    1. Goodness, if we didn’t read stuff that isn’t as good as Jen’s that would only leave us with about three authors to read. And Terry Pratchett is dead!

      I’d be happy to read your book.

    2. Sue, do you want an Argh Author post? Aug 14 is a Wed, but you could have Aug 16, Friday.

      I should add that if Argh Authors in general don’t give me a head’s up, I’ll miss your books since I am currently (always?) distracted by the alligators. As long as you chat in here regularly, I’m all for you, but I’m lousy at keeping up.

  25. Has anyone here read Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden Universe books? Do they hold up to time? Would you recommend them? Where to start?

    1. In response to Kelly’s query about the Liaden Universe stories by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, I love them and would recommend them. A number of readers have described the stories as having a flavor of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels combined with space opera setting. The characters are engaging and the action is non-stop.

      In terms of reading order, I might suggest: Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B, I Dare. Plan B is probably my favorite in this subset of the novels. There are many more novels and short stories. You can download Agent of Change from the website free. Enjoy!

      1. Local Custom is probably the first in time, followed by Scout’s Progress. My memory is that those two were written first but Agent of Change and Conflict of Honors were the first ones published. Local Custom, Scout’s Progress and Conflict of Honors can be read as stand alones and probably should be read first. The last ones can have a lot of jumping back and forth between characters, which drives me crazy.

        Charles de Lint does that switching between characters too but the chapters are clearly labeled as to who’s on first. In some of his book I have only read half because I like to stick with what’s happening to one character and if I start switching back and forth between characters, I lose interest in all of them. Then I never bother to go back and pick up on the sections I skipped.

  26. Totally off-topic: I got the job. I don’t know if I should be happy or devastated. However, I will take it if the money is even close to reasonable because – dead car. And a regular paycheck would be novel. For a while at least.

    I do feel almost like a failure, but I’m not going there. Being self-employed is great but has it’s downside. Plus more retirement. All good.

    1. Kate, almost everyone I know has changed jobs, if not careers, multiple times in their lives. One person started out in mechanical engineering, went to work for the Navy, worked as a nuclear engineer, started in graduate school in zoology, transferred to another school and took a degree in regional planning. Took a job as a research engineer doing assessments of nuclear and power sites. Then did environmental assessments for generating resources, then moved to forecasting regional electrical power. Most people I know do not settle into one job and spend their lives their. Even my optometrist who has a ph.d was rhapsodizing about his one-man show in photography that he just mounted at a local gallery and it was clear that he was thinking of just hiring more people to work for him and become a free-lance photographer.

      A few different jobs along the way will only add to your data base for writing. And you will have a bunch of new characters to populate your novels. A job is not a marriage. You are not committing for life.

    2. Well, hopefully it’ll be relaxing, compared to the freelancing – and that can generate a lot of happiness. I get really fed up with my (freelance) day job quite often, but it’s far more stressful not to be earning.

      Really hope there are things about it you’ll enjoy: some good people, for example, and a change of scene. Good luck!

      1. Jane, I know so many people there. And the stress should be far less than my old job. My best friend works in the building, so there are many positives, not the least a steady paycheck and health insurance.

        The hard part will be getting out of bed in the morning and leaving my dogs behind.

        1. Out of bed and leaving the dogs sucks but not as much as not being able to pay bills. Or trying to write 3000 words about people getting off an airplane.

          1. I’m sorry if this sounded really jerk-ish, I didn’t mean it to but sometimes how things sound in my head isn’t how the sound out loud.

        2. Silver lining, the dogs are so thrilled to see you when you get back, that it just makes you happy.

    3. Most people change jobs, shift back and forth. I think I’m on my third career with writing, fourth if you consider “art teacher” and “English teacher” two different jobs. And the thing about working outside your home is that you’re forced to interact with people which is really good for your writing. So it’s all good except for getting up and leaving the dogs.

  27. Reading new books downloaded over the past 3 years. This week is Finding Colin Firth and reread Manhunting again because it was there and it was 3 in the morning.

  28. We are going to Disney world in three weeks. I am obessively reading guide books. And looking at menus. So many possibilities. I probably should be reading wealth building books to pay for this vacation.

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