This is a Good Book Thursday, November 14, 2019

This week I read YAs: The Deceivers, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, and I See London, I See France. I’m feeling old.

What did you read this week?

40 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 14, 2019

  1. I have just finished Amanda Downum’s The Drowning City and have started on The Bone Palace. They are fantasy which is on the dark side, not necessarily HEA although the main characters are alive at the end of it so that’s a plus. But it almost non-stop action and very engaging. Plus her writing is very good.

    I have given up on the Lowcounty Liz Talbot series. I can see why people find them enjoyable but I am so tired of each character having a “tic” (Liz and her hand sanitizer, her mother’s fetish about lipstick, every time someone says “eh law” and so on) which at first was okay but now throws me out of the story each time I encounter them. Maybe if I give it a long enough break before reading the next one, I will stop being annoyed.

  2. I re-read the entire Wearing the Cape series. I read reviews on SBTB – some of them were yours. I got Brenda Margriet’s book 3 of the Bendixon Sisters series – saving it for the weekend. You can highlight that one – it came out earlier this week.

    And I read book 14, The Chocolate Shark Shenanigans, of JoAnna Carl’s chocoholic mystery series. I think that was this week. I’m getting old, too.

  3. I finished K. Eason’s How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, and cannot wait for the next one to come out. Not exactly a cliffhanger ending, since there are no loose threads, but definitely a “What will happen to them next?” sort of ending. Because they’re the sort of people things happen to.

    I did not finish Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts, which I started out liking, and continued to like, but I kept putting it down to read other things until I decided it just isn’t for me, and life is too short. The characters were interesting, the plot was interesting, yet I just…got bored. I have failed to analyze why. Any ideas from people who did finish it? (I looked at the last chapter, of course.)

    1. I thought it was interesting enough that I finished it and then went and read some of the author’s other books. Which, I thought were also interesting but I didn’t like as much. That was because I didn’t like the plot as much.

      It might just be a case of the wrong book for the wrong person at the wrong time. I’ve had books I hated initially, but then went back to for some reason and loved the second time around. Who knows.

      1. That was The Awakening for me. Read it the first time and thought, “Meh.”
        Read it ten years later and was blown away.

  4. For book club, I read Late Migrations, Margaret Renkl’s memoir in brief essays, with her story braided with stories of her parents and grandparents and the bonus of art (a cross between collage and faux woodcuts) by her brother. Renkl is a NYT columnist. The book is elegiac, very right for November in the heartland. It’s just been nominated for the Southern Book Prize.

  5. Read Mary Balogh’s Someone to Remember and am midway through Kathleen Gilles Seidel’s Autumn’s Child. Lots of characterization envy going on. Mine, not theirs. Although the stories are good, it’s the people in them that draw me and hold me there.

  6. I *just* finished reading Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself by Dr Lissa Rankin MD.

    What started out with her questioning the placebo and nocebo effect turned into a different way for her to practice medicine. There’s a lot of value in some of what she writes about spontaneous remission/cures and what factors bring it about.

    I am wary because some of the complementary medicine practitioners are anti-conventional medicine.

    The biggest positive about her book is that she acknowledges that there are some aspects beyond control. She does not put focus on the individual that it becomes blaming someone for their illness. This is something books like The Secret inadvertently do.

    The questions that she asks patients are quite useful. I’ll be starting them tomorrow. I’m not sure that I’ll download the free kit, but it’s good that one is made available for people who want it.

    Worth a read, especially if you’re interested in self-healing.

  7. Read “The Stolen Voice” by Pat McIntossh in the Gil Cunningham series. I would like to read the earlier books in the series but my library doesn’t have them, so will have to save up.

    I’m back to Mary Stewart comfort reading, and just started “This Rough Magic.” The romance plot in this one is one of my favourites. I love cranky heroes. 🙂

    1. I’m glad Mary Stewart’s books are available on audio books again and I’m beginning with that title. Yay.

    2. I absolutely adore 95% of that book. Then there is the young greek couple where she ídolizes him and he patronizingly plans to marry her because her brother would want him to take care of her. Blech.

      1. I thought that there was character development: pretty early on, Adonis explains matter-of-factly to Lucy, the protagonist, that he will marry Miranda because that’s the honorable thing to do. Lucy looks in the rearview mirror and sees that Miranda adores Adonis. That is the disconnect, I think, that Debbie is referring to. But another side of Miranda comes to view much later, during the big action scene at the end of the book. When Adonis appears to have let the bad guy escape, Miranda hits at him and curses him — just like Beatrice treats Benedict in Much Ado About Nothing when Benedict doesn’t want to challenge Claudio. Miranda’s subsequent exulting when the bad guy is blown up in his boat and Adonis’s explanation of how he anticipated the explosion make their romantic union complete. All in all, I don’t see it as Adonis being patronizing about Miranda. I do see Mary Stewart’s explicit characterization of Greece and its people as attaching greater importance to violent resolution than Brits would. Yet there’s always the side of Stewart which seems to hint that the civilized Brits are closer to ancient violence and revenge than they would like to think.

  8. I just finished re-reading Georgette Heyer’s No Wind of Blame. It’s been several years since I read it and I found myself highly amused, especially when Vicky brings the police in on her act to get rid of the prince. (This was mentioned in a previous Thursday post so I figured it was okay to mention it here). Now I’m on to another GH mystery, Detection Unlimited.

    Brenda, I love Mary Stewart’s books too.

    1. I just finished The Children Act by Ian McEwan for my book club. Why don’t I like McEwan’s novels? I hope I can answer that before next week.

      I’m half way through Susan Isaacs’ Takes One to Know One. I liked her books back in the day. This one has some interesting digressions and some of her wit, but was really far too long (several hundred pages too long). Successful writer’s hubris?

      Once I’m done, I’ll go back to Deborah Crombie’s The Sound of Broken Glass, which I am enjoying thus far. I only recently discovered her Kincaid and James series. Such fun.

      1. I really, really hated Atonement by Ian McEwan. I didn’t like, as a reader, to be played for a fool. (In that book, several possible endings are given by a novelist character in order to atone for a lie she told when young. In effect, after destroying a couple’s life, a girl grows up to write an ending for them in which they are rejoined. But that’s just a fictional ending, not the lousy, real ends the couple experience.)

    2. Oh, I love that scene. It’s such a masterful use of multiple characters with multiple motivations being manipulated by one character who is absolutely ruthless while being absolutely charming. I think it’s that scene when you realize that Hugh’s falling for Vicky, too, because he does nothing to stop her even though Mary’s appalled and Vicky’s mother is going nuclear. And the detective just watches, too, with that great “haven’t learned my part” line. It’s just beautiful writing and it makes you feel so good because the annoying con man gets it in the teeth.

  9. Sarah Graves, one of my favorite authors from a while back has started a new series with the same characters. Jacobia (Jake) Tiptree and her BFF Ellie. A crime solving duo from Eastport, Maine. Where formally they were involved in construction now they’ve moved on to a bakery. And getting themselves in trouble again. Jake had moved to Maine from New York with her son Sam years ago to start a new life and also help her troubled son. There she bought a rambling house in need of many repairs, met her new husband and besty Ellie. I tell you small towns seem to never run out of crime.

  10. Tried to read Diana Setterfield’s Once Upon a River, but couldn’t finish. I’m not saying it was bad – it wasn’t; it was beautifully written – but it bored me. I think this book was too literary for me, too slow, with too many words and too little action. People who like literary fiction might enjoy it.
    Also re-read Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen – a Cordelia novel. Loved it as much the second time around as I did the first time. But then – Cordelia! No battles here, but so much wit and charm. A sci-fi love story between two older people. A pure joy.

    1. I haven’t really wanted to finish anything (other than Augusten Burroughs, see last week) that I’ve been reading. I’m getting bored at all of the romances I’ve been trying. Yawn. Big Deal series, too.

    2. I can’t agree that there were no battles in GJatRQ. There were no space battles. There were no <infantry (ground) battles. There were bureaucratic and political and generational battles, and there were explosions. Not my favorite Bujold, but there are twenty-five ties in my top ten Bujold. It helps that Baen re-released a lot of them in mega-book or anthology format

  11. Genie Lo is so good! I can’t wait for F.C. Yee to put out more books.

    I finished Kushiel’s Avatar. There was a lot of “the emotional journey is basically over, now we’re just tying up obligatory loose ends,” but I suppose the point of fantasy doorstoppers is to build up so much character and world inertia that you just accept some of that in order to stay with these characters a little longer. And that inertia is enough for me to skim through the next round of books.

    What I’m actually currently reading right now is Kameron Hurley’s The Stars are Legion. It’s depressing in a good way.

  12. I’m having trouble focusing on reading this week. There was a family medical emergency and I kept trying to read to take my mind off things and finding the stories boring and unengaging but I’m pretty sure it was me. That said, I am enjoying every word of No Plot? No Problem! which I am just getting around to reading now. It’s a terrific reminder of why writing just for the sake of writing is a pretty wonderful way to spend your time.

  13. one handed typing. so copy/pasting my review

    The Circle Unbroken

    The Circle Unbroken by Nancy Massand

    I fell in love with the cover and then the description of the story. This is a beautifully written first novel that kept completely absorbed until the very last word. I was fascinated by it. I loved Mavis and her family. .And I loved Harris and his family. I felt like I knew all of these people.
    Blazing with all the color of the civil rights movement, I was transported back to 1964 with a set of people I was glad to be experiencing it with. This is Nancy Massand’s debut novel and I won a copy on a blog. I look forward to buying her next book.

  14. I read a stack of good books this week. The standouts were Emily Tesh’s Silver in the Wood, which is a novella loosely based on the Green Man mythology, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice which I’ve read before but wanted to reread before I read the others in the series, Jonathan Auxier’s Sweep: the Story of a Girl and her Monster – Middlegrade and utterly gorgeous – and Diana Biller’s The Widow of Rose House, which was a romance with a touch of supernatural.

  15. Yesterday something happened tbat made feel old but also that I haven’t wasted my time.

    I run webinars for A partner organization and the partner staff organized a webinar and I was the moderator. I usually prep in advance but it has been a horrible week and I only got 5 hrs of sleep the last three nights so I looked at the slides 30 min before we started. It was all about a new data set that I spent a decade or so lobbying for. It had finally happened.
    So I knew exactly what to say.
    But also talking about something I worked on starting almost 20 years ago made me feel really old.

  16. Sarah Wynde commented a couple of weeks ago in the favorite author post about why no one had mentioned Andrea K. Host, I went ‘who’? So I checked her out on Amazon, and I have since been reading her Touchstone trilogy, starting with Stray. I strongly recommend it.

    Cass is a graduating high school senior from Sydney, Australia who takes a shortcut home and somehow ends up lost in the woods, on a different planet (not only are the stars different but so is the moon). She ends up lost in the wilderness for a month, until rescued by humans from yet another planet. With technology several hundred years ahead of Earth.

    They have no language in common, so as Cass struggles to learn the language of the people who rescued her, who seem to be what she calls ‘psychic space ninjas’. Eventually she learns speak the new language with the skill of a three year old and she gets fostered out to a family. But it turns out that almost everyone on this new planet has some form of psychic powers, but it turns out that touching Cats while using them causes those powers to go berserk, and Cass ends up in the hospital and then back with the ‘psychic space ninjas’ who rescued her. It turns out that touching Cass strongly enhances those psychic abilities, and the space ninjas, called Setarii, are involved in a long war against extra-dimensional monsters that keep coming in through tears in space, and only those advanced psychic abilities of the Setarii have been allowing them to keep the monsters at bay. So Cass’ ability could be a game changer.

    There’s romance and drama and adventure, and terror. I really think the Argh’ers would like it.

    1. My own favorite of hers is the Medair duology, which has some of the neatest (as in efficient, succinct, totally misdirecting) foreshadowing I’d read in years. The only reason it isn’t perfect is that she eventually split one manuscript into two volumes, which meant duplicating some backstory in the second volume in a rewrite; it’s still good, but not quite as smooth as the original. The print titles are THE SILENCE OF MEDAIR and VOICE OF THE LOST; the Kindle version includes both.

    2. p.s. the first book, Stray, appears to currently be free in the Kindle and Apple Bookstores.

  17. I spent today at the dermatologist’s, mostly reading in the waiting room, HOW TO BECOME A FEDERAL CRIMINAL. Recommended light reading, and I am now prepared to advise every resident of the United States NOT to import a pregnant polar bear [50 CFR §18.12(c)(1)] “For a Congress that so often gets criticized when it comes to laws governing human reproduction, the legislative history of the MMPA (Marine Mammals Protection Act) reflects an impressive degree of familiarity with the intricacies of marine mammal pregnancy . . . . to criminally import a pregnant polar bear or any other expectant marine mammal, offenders need to confirm, or at least suspect, a near-term pregnancy. Unfortunately, there is currently no definitive polar bear pregnancy test on the market . . . . “

  18. I read 2 Sarah Zettel sci fi novels and I’m well into a third. Thoroughly enjoying them all, though I did find the storyline of one was too complex to read it a few pages at a time late at night. Half way through, I went back to the beginning so I could figure out who was betraying who (answer: almost everyone).

    Her books do have humans but some of the viewpoint characters are aliens who view things quite differently from humans, I’m especially enjoying reading those POVs.

  19. Started SAra Wynde Tassamarra series (think it was recommended here). Plowed through. I’m on gift of grace now.

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