This is a Good Book Thursday, October 3, 2019

The new Aaronovitch book has been pushed back to Feb. 2020. I would. say something snarky about writers who don’t meet their deadlines, but then karma would bitch-slap me. I had no time to read fiction this week, but I’m accumulating a nice collection of research for the winter, so I’ll be reading as soon as I get Nita out of here. (Please god let that be soon.)

What did you read this week?

69 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, October 3, 2019

  1. I finished the Raven series by Maggie Stiefvater, and I’m in a bit of a post-fantastic-book malaise. So I’m re-reading from my manga collection, and working my way through a whole lot of fanfiction, some excellent and some not so much. And reading up on the Silk Road.

    7+
    1. Silk Road is so interesting, isn’t it? So much money to be made from crime, if only you don’t get caught! I’m writing a crime novel now based loosely on those events, trying to update the tech a bit, which is tricky because I’m not all that technical. But I find the story riveting.

      5+
        1. Right! I’ve been so caught up in the dark web one that I didn’t even think of the original one. That would be very interesting, too. 🙂

          4+
    2. Next week Jenny should post that she just finished and enjoyed the Encyclopedia Brittanica, vols. A-Z.

      I’m reader 429 of this blog in the middle of the Raven Boys series.

      Enjoying them, damn it.

      6+
      1. I do not have the Encyclopedia Brit. I will however be reading many interesting non-fiction books on ghosts, butterflies, and magic. Brace yourself.

        6+
  2. I reread Agnes and The Hitman, because I needed it, and then Big Sky by Kate Atkinson.

    I missed last week, so I’ll also include the Ile Rien series by Martha Wells. I’m sad that it is over. Sometimes the action was a bit much, but the characters were amazing.

    I’m starting the Raven Boys now.

    12+
    1. Hey, I re-read Agnes and the Hitman, too! So much fun! I’m a fast reader, but I read all Jenny’s stuff super-fast because it is non-stop action and dialogue and there’s no good place to put it down. I really should read some of Bob Mayer’s stuff, because the blend is seamless and that bodes well for me enjoying his work, too.

      8+
  3. I’m rereading The Fixer and The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Really, really good. I’m sad this never caught on as a series because.

    6+
      1. I highly enjoyed these books. Competence porn, but also more complex than I expected, running the fine line of having the greater world out there and still letting our teenagers make a real difference.

        6+
  4. I too reread Agnes and the Hitman.

    I poked around Archive of our Own and found a lovely short work called “The Daleks Invasion of Discworld” which I’m happily sharing all over the place. I’m continuing to poke around AO3. I even found a couple of fanfics based on Beth Byer’s Lady Vi.

    10+
    1. Weirdly, I was thinking about Agnes and the Hitman this afternoon, but decided I need to finish a lot of library books first. Is it in the air or something?
      I finished Marie Brennan’s Turning Darkness into Light. Yay, dragons!
      I’m reading New Suns, short story collection of SFF writers of color, and enjoying the ones I’ve read so far. In the middle of five more library books.

      7+
        1. Okay, I’m totally annoyed. You have a Kindle version of Agnes? My daughter ran off with my paperback copy years ago and I have a real hankering to re-read this on my flight to Johannesburg tomorrow. Just re-checked after reading your post – you can’t buy Agnes on kindle in the UK. I always assumed this was because there was no kindle edition. Oh, woe is me.

          7+
    2. I recommended Agnes and the Hitman to a coworker. I’m loaning her a copy to get her hooked.

      6+
  5. I just tore through SHARD AND SHIELD by a member of my critique group, Laura VanArendonk Baugh. I had a very hard time putting it down despite knowing major spoilers, but I’d never seen it more than 10-12 pages at a time (our monthly limit) and it sure did make more sense edited and in order! Hahaha. I thought it stated off a bit slow but the action scenes once it got rolling were GREAT (shushed husband once when he came home during a swordfight scene and tried to say hello, lol) and she sets up vet interesting power dynamics.

    Of course I immediately bought the (800+ page) sequel and then my phone died before I could start it… Hahaha.

    But it’s the perfect thing for a road trip, which I’m currently on! So here I come, BLOOD & BOND!

    8+
  6. I’m really needing third person, well plotted fantasy novels with found- family element. I really LOVE Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic and what I’ve read of Lindsay Buroker’s The Emperor’s Edge.

    I liked Emperor’s Edge more than Chains of Honor because the setting is fixed to Turgonia and the family is not travelling as much in their quest.

    8+
    1. Can’t go wrong with Diane Duane (Young Wizards), or Diana Wynne Jones (Crestomanci books, Derkholme books).

      7+
    2. I recommend Shard & Shield by Laura VanArendonk Baugh (described above). Ebook is like $3.99 and it’s got several brother-from-another-mother/found family pairs (and some serious struggle & strife with blood-family).

      4+
    3. Have you tried Patrick Weekes’ Rogues of the Republic triology, it’s a series of fantasy heist books in 3rd person with a motley crew who come together.

      Also Drew Hayes’ NPCs series is 3rd person (I quibble a little with his writing style but I love his characters) featuring a group RPG background characters who have to take up questing.

      4+
    4. Honor Racontuer does great stuff along those lines, particularly the Deepwoods and Artifactor series

      1+
  7. Still working on How to Invent Everything. It’s still delightful. Every few pages there is a terrible pun.
    Notably, though, nonfiction is so much more information dense. With most fiction prose, I can get to a speed of 3 pages per minute. Definitely not happening with this book.

    (As mentioned in the other thread, I now have a pound of dried chickpeas. Soup, hummus, curry, I need one more non-salad recipe.)

    4+
  8. I just finished Sorcery and Cecelia, The Grand Tour, and Mislaid Magician by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Excellent and amusing. I’m not sure what to read next that won’t feel second best.

    And, nothing to do with books, but I’m contemplating the rest of today in a mood of grim resignation. I’ll be bathing both dogs, washing all the bedding, and vacuuming – one of my dogs picked up a flea.

    9+
  9. First, authors missing deadlines. M.G. Harmon was shooting for an October 6 release for the newest book. Now he says:

    “This is taking forever!”

    That’s Shell inside my head. I’ve overrun my self-imposed writer deadlines before, but never like this. I find myself constantly apologizing to her (again in my head, because out loud would be weird), and to all of you patiently (or impatiently) waiting. I haven’t put up a blog-post since July because I kept telling myself I was about to hit that part of writing where the major issues of the new story have been ironed out, the sailing is smooth, the winds at my back, and completion is just weeks away.

    In other words, I wanted to put it off until I had great news.

    Well, now I’ve got great news.

    Completion is just weeks away. Possibly as few as two.

    In other words, “Maybe sometime in October.” He then added the entirety of Chapter 2 to the post, and it is a doozy. So, for this Good Book Thursday, I have read the first two chapters of Haunting Alice and Repercussions. I’m also nearly half through Archer’s Vampires Don’t Sparkle. As a result, I’ve found that this isn’t the first book in this series, or at least it’s the sequel to A Date With Death, which I just bought but have not read. Moreover, the books take place in the same universe as the Night Terror series.

    An admission here. Mia Archer writes lesbian romance. I got into her books because the Night Terror series is superheroes and supervillains, and I was hooked on the sub-genre via Harmon’s Wearing the Cape series and the Grrl Power webcomic. Loving the books, despite being an old white male heterosexual.

    And at this point, since I also read webcomics, I will share the link to Grrl Power, starting at the first comic from August 2010. In comic time, the calendar has only advanced, at best, a few months. After the first few comics, the protagonist says, “Let me back up a few months.” Everything since then has been part of that flashback – nine years of flashback, so far. Sydney still isn’t a corporal, just a recruit private.

    2+
  10. I checked out The Raven Boys since it was mentioned last week. I’m enjoying the series, but a couple of character descriptions that I might have taken for granted in the past made me pause:

    1) Neeve, “plump but strangely elegant”. Why not plump AND strangely elegant?

    2) Gansey, the “All American” war hero with his brown hair, hazel eyes, and straight nose from his Anglo-Saxon heritage. I’m weary of the image of “All Americans” being white.

    10+
    1. I took the strangely elegant to be because nobody else in that family is elegant, but you’re right, the “but” makes it conditional.

      I think Gansey being a white All-American is kind of the point, though. He’s perfect, but he’s also completely screwed up because he’s been raised in that entitled bubble. It takes him forever to figure out why he can’t use his money to help his friends. I loved the part where he tries to fix Blue up with Andrew and when she says that she has to work, tells her he’ll pay her for her time, not realizing he’s essentially offering to make her a prostitute. He’s a White American Do-Gooder who absolutely means well but has no clue.

      I think that the point of the privileged school. All of the boys except for Andrew come from money, and they’re all screwed up for various reasons and just trying to figure out how to become good adults. I had more of a problem with Blue being the Magic Girl (instead of the Magic Negro), the one who comes in and transforms everybody just by existing. I liked her character, I just wanted her to have more agency, which does get better in the later books.

      Overall, I really enjoyed all four, though.

      10+
        1. Except Gansey is seventeen. Tom Holland maybe, but I’d go younger.
          That’s the thing about all of those characters. They’re kids. That’s why they buy into the legends. Well, that and the fact that they have solid evidence of the supernatural.
          But a seventeen-year-old Chris Pine? Sure. Beautiful white bread. Croissant maybe.

          5+
  11. I’m nearing the end of an epic reread (well, relisten) of the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. It was timed nicely with the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. I started the series about two thirds in, listened to the end, and then started over at the beginning in preparation for the latest book which came out earlier this year.

    I need to go back to my rule that I can only listen to books while walking though! I am getting lazy.

    4+
  12. Thanks to recommendations found here, I’ve read Sharon Shinn’s Mystic and Rider (enjoyed it) and am currently reading the next in that series, The Thirteenth House (looking good). Way back when, I enjoyed reading her Archangel books and I have no idea how I missed this series. Fantasy feels like a great genre just now. This sounds whiny but there are days when it’s a pure blessing to live in someone else’s world for just a little bit.

    5+
  13. So… in the midst of trying to discover why I had no space on my phone, I discovered 54 downloaded books samples. 54!!! No wonder I have no room. No idea how many NOT downloaded. So I’ve been kicking through those, slowly, and some decluttering books on my library app. Anyone read the young adult Roar? I loved the sample!

    5+
  14. I read some wonderful books this week. ‘Linesman’ by SK Dunstall (a pen name for two sisters) is space opera that someone here recommended. It had its flaws – there were two povs and the secondary one wasn’t nearly as gripping as the primary one, plus there was such a major climax about two thirds of the way through that I was quite sure it was the end of the book – except it kept going (reading it on kindle and couldn’t get it to show me how much more I had to read). Despite those things, I loved it. The main character was so on-the-outer to begin with, and it was a delight to watch him finding his family.

    My second terrific read was ‘How to be a good creature’ by Sy Montgomery. Only a short book, its the story of thirteen animals she has known, and their effect on her. The whole book is so filled with love and joy.

    And lastly, ‘The Land before Avocado’ by Richard Glover – about Australia in the 60s and 70s. Hilariously funny and at the same time horrifying. To quote: ‘Ever wonder why a previous generation of Australians was protected from nut allergies and asthma? The answer is free school milk, supplied to all schoolchildren from 1951 to 1973. By delivering it to the school at 7 AM and then leaving it in the full sun for the four hours until “little lunch”, thus to curdle and incubate a thousand strains of bacteria, the government created a drink that was fatal to all but the strong. It was a eugenics scheme written in dairy. If you made it through kindergarten alive, you’d never again have a day’s sickness.’

    9+
    1. I liked The Linesman series too but I enjoyed their book The Stars Uncharted even more. It was one misadventure after another and engaging characters too.

      4+
  15. I read I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, recommended by someone here, and it was well worth it.

    I also read Dachshund Through the Snow by David Rosenfelt, the latest in his Andy Carpenter dog-lover murder mysteries. Very enjoyable, but start at the beginning of the series if you’re going to.

    My wife discovered my collection of Mary Balogh in iBooks (now renamed Apple Books), and read all the Westcott novels in one binge (Someone to Trust, etc.), and really enjoyed them.

    5+
    1. I capture the castle has one of the all time best opening lines. “I write this sitting in the sink.”

      3+
  16. I am reading the new Ann Cleeves book The Long Call which introduces a new detective. I’m enjoying it but am worried about how a story line about a missing woman who has Down’s syndrome will end. I hope she will be found unharmed.

    I’m also listening to Well Met which someone here mentioned recently. It is light but engaging.

    4+
  17. I finished “Atomic Habits” by James Clear. It is a good merging of ideas from “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg and BJ Fogg’s “Tiny Habits”. He also has a very nice summary of how to create habits you want and eliminate ones you don’t want. I’d recommend it.

    4+
  18. Finished Dorothy L Sayer’s short stories ‘Striding Folly’ and now onto a few Allingham books. Read ‘Sweet Danger,’ Traitor’s Purse,’ and just starting ‘Dancers in Mourning.’

    Loved ‘Traitor’s Purse’ absolutely terrific book. Looking for ‘Fashion in Shrouds.’

    Read bits of Jenny’s books in the wee hours, but, mostly getting three or so hours of sleep reading Sayers and Allingham.

    4+
  19. A friend really wanted me to read Year of Yes. She promised to read any book I chose. Cool. Thinking of Agnes and the Hitman. I’m also considering The Belgariad, (which I loved but…5 books), or The Unofficial guide to Disneyworld, but that would be because I’m mean, (also loved but I love details about theme parks). I just ponder.

    6+
    1. Years ago, when reading the Belgariad, I finished Book 1 in the middle of a snowstorm and HAD TO drive to the nearest bookstore to get Book 2. That was an addictive series!

      6+
  20. Now I’m thinking between Alice and the Hitman or Faking it. Right now I’m glad Nita isn’t out. Life is full of difficult decisions.

    5+
  21. Comfort reading week. I’ve been dealing with trying to get a website up using WordPress and it fried my brain. I requested help from Blue Sky – the help arm of Blue Host. I paid 99 Monday and that entitles me to as many 27-minute phone calls as I want 9-4 Weekdays.
    So far it’s a hopeless mess. They steered me on to Elementor which ought to be called Dementor to make a custom heading. It keeps getting worse. You can’t see it properly on a phone, the heading is a disaster, and the font choices seem nil. I don’t even have buys links. All the pictures are the wrong size . . end of rant. Back to the red. I am rereading and loving Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. So my next read will be Trickster’s Queen.

    5+
    1. Good luck. I remember the work involved, and the dead-ends. I used SquareSpace, and the free support was good but there were unforeseen glitches, mostly related to it being a photography website. This was in 2014, so I daresay they’re better now – and I recommended them then; I just think creating a website for yourself is a challenging job.

      Must revisit mine!

      4+
    2. I like website builders and loathe WordPress. I like GoCentral at Godaddy, but maybe you need WordPress? What’s your site for?

      3+
  22. “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by” Douglas Adams,

    I remember the preface of Hitchhikers guide to the galaxies, where he mentioned going so past his deadlines his publishers got desperate and turned up and took what writing he had done.

    I finally managed to read some new books, Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen, I found good and quirky, Carl Hiaasen is always worth it.

    The 12 clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen was fun, a nice take on Murder in the country village.

    The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, is a light entertaining read, but with a few little flaws. She changed her co-writer and he opened with having the protagonist openly go to a meeting in FBI HQ.

    Which shouldn’t have happened as the protagonist has a secret deal with 2 men in the FBI and is still officially being hunted. The continuity bothers me and little bits of the dialogue. But I did enjoy it, so will check out the next one.

    3+
  23. I read (listened to) The Last Continent, by Terry Pratchett, I hadn’t read it in years. Still very fun. Rincewind gets to got home.
    I’m reading Donna Andrews Owls Well that Ends Well. I enjoy them, but I’m waiting for a real connection. She should do more blacksmithing, or something. But I need a series.

    1+
    1. I am having the same problem with Donna Andrews. I have read about 5 or 6 of them and am becoming less engaged with each one. It is not her writing or her plotting. I think I am just not very interested in her characters anymore. That is a problem for me with a lot of series. I just drift off. I did enjoy the Steven Havell Posadas County Series and read them all. But they aren’t cosies with cute characters.

      2+
  24. I started reading Ghosted by Rosie Walsh and it’s good. It’s about a couple who meet and spend 7 intense days together and then, after he leaves for the airport, she doesn’t hear from him but suspects it’s because of a secret he didn’t tell her.

    2+
  25. This week my find was “Grave Importance” by Vivian Shaw. It is the third book in the series about an English doctor whose practice is the supernatural community in London. It had her traveling to France to help cover a colleague’s clinic for mummies. It has vampires, vampyres, ghouls, demons, etc. as well. I highly recommend.

    1+
  26. I recently did a binge-read of KJ Charles ‘Sins of the City’ trilogy, am no less in love with KJC than I was in the middle of summer.

    Started my new job Sept 16 and am using new public-transit commute time to READ. My word, I’d almost forgotten how. DNF’d ‘Girl with a Gun’ and then happily glommed ‘Sorcerer to the Crown’ by Zen Cho.

    Now in the middle of ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins, and loving it.

    2+

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