83 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday

  1. That absurdly prolific man, Alexander McCall Smith, has another title in his series set in Zimbabwe. So I am reading To the Land of Long Lost Friends, for a bit of peace in our insane world.

  2. Been on a Dave Ramsey kick, so reading a couple of his books. Also listening to his podcasts!

    I’m also reading Joshua Becker’s The Minimalist Home.

    Next up is an YA called Rage I just got from the library.

  3. I just finished reading Elinor Lipman’s ON TURPENTINE LANE. It’s a breezy, fun, fast-paced story with very short chapters and many plot lines. The heroine, Faith Frankel, buys a house with a mysterious (possibly ghastly) past and deals with a fiance who’s gone on a walkabout and posts about giving out “free hugs” on his Instagram account (mostly to other women) while ignoring her texts and emails. Faith’s father leaves her mother to “find himself” as an artist–painting clients’ faces onto fake Chagalls. Faith’s job at a private day school is jeopardized when a confused donor makes out a huge check to Faith rather than the school. And then there’s Faith’s cute and personable co-worker, Nick Franconi always there to offer a friendly ear and sound advice in a crisis.

    How Lipman manages to cram all this story into a 300-page book baffles me! I’d forgotten how much I enjoy her writing until I picked this book up at the library last week.

    1. I love Elinor Lipman. She’s always kind to her characters and has such an abundance of affection for them. This was a nice escape read.

    2. love all her books

      bought good riddance, her most recent book, in bookstore b/c liked title and cover art

      started with that and worked backward through the oeuvre

      she is from massachusetts and lives in new york like me– everything about the people amd places ring true to me

      may have to reread them until new ben aaronovitch book comes out

  4. I am still in Danger Cove. That is one scary little town.

    I’m taking a break from the prerequisite on-line courses for my In Service Training classes next week – the site is broken.

  5. I read both of the Enchantment Emporium sequels this week. That tells you how much I burned through them, which tells you how excited I was to read them. The Wild Ways was fun as like an episode of “Leverage, but now with casual magic and Fae.” Future Falls was very Moffat, playing relationship angst against comedic farce, swirling in a complex genre plot structure. Will definitely be reading more Tanya Huff.
    However, I do have some mixed feelings about them. I loved TEE so much because it hit my sweet spot of emphasizing community building (both found family and blood family unconditional love!), as well as loving the relationship between Allie and Charlie. The sequels seemed to make a point of ruminating on how both of these things aren’t long-run tenable for their new protagonist. 🙁

    Started on “The Stars are Legion” by Kameron Hurley.

    1. I loved The Enchantment Emporium but I found the sequels increasingly problematic for me. The Aunties sexually harass young men who are in positions of less power relative to them. Try gender-flipping some of the interchanges between them and young waiters and see if you don’t cringe. It felt like a huge blind spot in the books.

  6. This has been a good few days of reading: Kristan Higgins Life and Other Inconveniences, Martha Wells Exit Strategy, Charlaine Harris A Longer Fall, and M. H. Boroson The Girl with No Face .

    All of them were good. Exit Strategy I had read before but so fast I could barely remember it so it was like reading a new book in the Murderbot series which is excellent.

    I had not read any Kristan Higgins before. The synopsis of her stories always strike me as something that I would not find appealing but instead of reading the synopsis, I started reading the sample and found it so engaging that I had to keep reading. It was very good.

    And I love Charlaine Harris Gunnie Rose series. A Longer Fall is the second in the series. I want the next one right now but it is not going to happen.

    A Girl with no Face is a follow on for A Girl with Ghost Eyes. I loved A Girl with Ghost Eyes and I liked A Girl with no Face a lot but I think that particular style of writing is wearing thin on me, i. e., lost of mythology intersperced with the action. I just want the action.

  7. I have been re-reading Nalini Singh Psy/Changeling but the new Michelle Sagara Cat book has just landed on my doormat so I’m now half way through that.

  8. Just half-way through Elizabeth George’s The Punishment She Deserves. OMG, this woman can write! This is another in the Lynley / Havers series, following Havers mostly, with all her foibles. At 600+ pages, I am savoring this murder mystery!

    1. Oh my goodness, I tried to read that two weeks ago, and got to page 40 and asked, “When is the story going to start?” I think I’ll give it another try when I have a big swath of time to sink into a big story. The writing is good, and I liked the characters…I was just waiting and waiting for the mystery to start.

      Should I start with an earlier Lynley/Havers rather than pick it up here?

      1. Shelley, this is a long-running series. I’d recommend putting this one away, and finding a copy of the first in the series; A Great Deliverance. I suspect this one seems slow because it is building so much on the previously-established characters and their past actions. Start fresh with the first in the series. It will move much more quickly! (As I recall, it is also shorter, maybe 350+ pages?)

  9. I also read, and recommend, Charlaine Harris’ new Gunnie Rose book, A Longer Fall.

    I also have started Michelle Sagara’s new Cast book, Cast in Wisdom.

    I read Accidental Necromancer by N.E. Connelly. A witch decides to become a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agent instead of offering her services as a magical consultant like the rest of her coven, and thus is effectively exiled by the rest of her coven for undercutting them. Then she keeps accidentally animating the dead, which is bad because necromancers are supposed to be extinct after they were all hunted down and killed after some of them kept trying to take over the world with zombie armies.

    I also read Death Comes to the Fair, book four in Catherine Lloyd’s ‘Death Comes to …’ Regency mystery series. My wife actually bought books four through six, after discovering the first three I had purchased.

    1. Reviews at AMZ are a bit mixed on Charlaine Harris’s latest, so it’s good to know that Arghers recommend it.

  10. I have managed to borrow Cotillion by Georgette Heyer and Twisted 26 by Janet Evanovich, I don’t want to start reading them on a work night as I will never get any sleep. So weekend, tea and peace and quiet

  11. Today I’m in the mood for murder/mayhem/thriller so I chose Karen Rose’s Say Your Sorry. The reviews are of the yoyo variety. Have not read anything written by her.

  12. I read a whole bunch of m/m romances last year, and now I find I’m having trouble reading m/f contemporary. I think it’s me?

    For instance, I’m reading a book by a super-well-recommended author who I have read before and really enjoyed. I can’t get through the first chapter. Every interaction between the heroine and hero annoys me. She cries and he hates to see her cry. She’s gentle and soft, but sharp (a feather pillow with a knife hidden in it, apparently). And I’m getting this a lot – books written by women, for women, that are full of gender stereotypes and inequality between the partners that is quite different than m/m.

    I don’t get any of this in Jennifer Crusie books, maybe these days I’m just picking up the wrong books? Or maybe it’s my filters are skewed. What do you think?

    1. I think you probably need to be more picky. There are loads of romances I can’t read. It’s an interesting point that m/m romance is more likely to be equal – although not always, of course. But that may well be part of its attraction.

    2. I think we’re at a kinda’ weird cultural moment for norms, not just with romance genre. I was watching a police procedural on Acorn recently, and it has all the elements that are my catnip, and it was even in French, so I could sort of play along with the subtitles and see how much of the dialogue I could piece together from high school French …..

      BUT. I couldn’t get past the way the male lead was constantly sexually harassing his female colleague. I think it was supposed to be okay (in the writers’ mind), because the male lead was a hottie (and he had a sad, conflicted past and was still mourning for his long-dead wife), but it wasn’t okay. I might have overlooked it in the past, but I can’t any more. The show was well-plotted/acted/filmed, but I couldn’t get past that aspect of the main character and that no one slapped him down for his behavior. There was eye-rolling, but no one said, “not cool, dude.” And I really got the impression it was supposed to be cute somehow, because he was attractive, so of course anyone he hit on would be feel complimented. Ugh.

    3. I’ve been having problems, too, but I just chalked it up to my general bitchiness. I read several that were almost there . . . argh.

      1. So what you’re saying here is that perhaps I’m just being bitchy? Ha ha! I’ll take it!!

  13. I was not very lucky in this week’s new books.
    Mary Jo Putney’s Loving a Lost Lord was OK, but I liked her earlier novels much better.
    Evie Dunmore’s Bringing Down the Duke was OK too. Sort-of. A duke and a suffragist in 1879 England. It sounds better than it really was, but not a bad read overall.
    Jojo Moyes’s The Giver of Stars was a DNF. I have a complicated hit-or-miss relationship with this writer. Some of her books I love, while others don’t work for me at all. This one belongs to the latter category. The dreariness of the characters’ lives was depressing. This book reminded me of Chekhov (I don’t like him either). Not in the details, per se, but in the atmosphere of desolation. If you like Chekhov, you’ll probably like The Giver of Stars.
    Then, to cheer myself up, I re-read Sarah Wynde’s delectable Tassamara novellas, the first three. They worked like a charm. I need to re-read the fourth novella and also start on her new novel… after I go through my current library bunch.

    Also I want to thank whoever mentioned the online thesaurus WordHippo. It’s wonderful, much better than Thesaurus.com.

    1. Bringing Down the Duke infuriated me. I couldn’t finish it. The main character’s motivations felt all over the place.

  14. I reread the Murderbot series. I am preparing for book 5 but for the only time in my life, I am early. They were as good the second time as the were the first. Based on recommendations here, I’m going to read The Traitor Baru Cormorant next. I’ll also pick up the new Charlaine Harris books from the library as soon as I can.

    1. I liked The Traitor far more than its sequel, which had almost nothing of what I liked about the the first book. So be aware that the ultimate payoffs of the story might be infuriating.

  15. Reading Sapiens A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s non-fiction but I keep thinking “Pratchett”.

    1. Sapiens is a truly wonderful book. Harari has such interesting ideas focused on the broad questions of why we humans are the way we are. And he is a good writer. I did not find it an easy read, but it was always interesting and challenging. My book club voted it our best read of the year.

  16. Last week I was starting the Sharing Knife series by Lois Bujold and liking it, but I just finished it and was loving it. I read a bit about the series today and realized that she first published an abridged version in two books only and wasn’t happy with it, so she reworked things, added some additional stuff that felt missing, and put it out as a series of 4 books, and it was really satisfying. Talk about building a community — two people who don’t quite fit in their families of origin meet in the first 30 pages or so and just grow and learn and connect with people, until the things that were really wrong about their worlds started to go right again.

    It reminded me a bit of Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses in that way. I could totally believe in the protagonists, in their world, and their love story, and wanted to stay there for a good long while. So glad I bought all four before I started the series.

      1. Really? Gosh — I might have to break down and get a Kindle! Even though it’s a rascally killer of physical books…. Grrrrr.

  17. My week in reading has been lots of trying and failing. Like I read the opening of The Twisted Ones and it is excellent writing and engaging and I could tell I’d spend the whole book worried about the dog and I couldn’t handle the stress so I quit.

    Might be a good time to re-read Getting Rid of Bradley, all the dogs are fine there.

    1. I’m about halfway through The Twisted Ones, and the dog is the only one I’m not worrying about. In fact, I expect him to save them all. Though probably not Cotsworth. I’m liking rather than loving it, though. I don’t read much horror and I can tell I’m missing a lot of tropes and references.

        1. This is why I always hit the Does the Dog Die? site before a movie with a dog in it. After John Wick, an otherwise excellent movie, I am taking no chanced.

        2. I read The Twisted Ones after learning that the dog lives! (Not exactly a spoiler as it’s on the first page if you pay attention to verb tenses, but I was worried anyway.) Happy no-dead-dog reading!

          1. PS There’s an NPR review of The Twisted Ones that talks about the classic horror short story it’s in response to, for anyone else who likes to know things like that. It’s not required imo, though.

  18. I just (half an hour ago) finished Floodtide by Heather Rose Jones. This fourth novel in her Alpennia series is even better than the ones before, which I thought was impossible. “Lesbian historical romance with magic” just doesn’t cover the depth and breadth of it.

  19. I read Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts and really enjoyed it, so it must have hit a sweet spot for me!

    Many thanks too, to the person recommending Melina Marchetta’s books. Reading them in the US, they feel as wonderfully mysterious as Narnia, and still extremely accessible. I loved the two I’ve read so far, and they have also made me cry which I am generally not up for in my reading recently.

  20. Thanks to all who recommended L.M. Montgomery’s “The Blue Castle.” It was the perfect read for gray weather.

  21. I took off from work early, using some of my sick time. Fortunately, the training site was back on line so I finished all my prerequisites for In Service Training before I went home.

    I’m back to wallowing in Danger Cove. The girls of the Clip ‘n Sip are annoying me.

  22. I’ve just re-read The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas, and I’m halfway through enjoying My Name is Not Peaseblossom by Jackie French. It’s a twist on Midsummer Night’s Dream with fairy Peaseblossom time-hopping between the politics of Titania’s court and a fantastic little pizza shop he’s found run by a rather interesting and snarky cook.

    And The Iron Will of Genie Lo just arrived for me today, so I’m itching to get stuck into that one.

  23. I’m in the midst of reading (well, audio-booking) two books. The first is Dante’s Inferno which I’m enjoying far more than I expected, although feeling woefully undereducated for not catching many of the references. Mostly I’m enjoying it because the it is read by Ralph Cosham (who read the first 10 Louise Penny books). His voice is wonderful and, in fact, is the reason I chose this book. I’m pretty sure he could have made a grocery list sound delightful and soothing.

    The other book is Rachel Maddow’s Blowout. I chose the book because I’ve enjoyed her way of telling stories on TV, but I probably should have taken a closer look at the topic of the book before diving in. It’s all about the oil industry and, if anything was every going to drive me to drink (or despair) it would be this portrayal of greed and corruption and evil. The book is making me think deep thoughts which, although not particularly entertaining, is a good thing.

    Currently I’m taking a break and watching a happily-ever-after Hallmark movie as a kind of palate cleanser.

  24. I’m 2/3rds through “The Water Dancer” by Ta-Nehesi Coates. He sucks you in immediately! It’s almost two but I may stay up to finish it. It’s about the Underground Railroad and it’s different factions.

  25. So what you’re saying here is that perhaps I’m just being bitchy? Ha ha! I’ll take it!!

    1. No,no, I’M being bitchy. I let myself get sucked into an online RWA argument, and I’m getting those “I’m so disappointed in you for being a racist, what would your heroines say?” responses. So I unsubscribed from the list. I think this is where I resign from RWA, too. It used to be a great organization if you were white, not so much for everybody else, so I understand why it’s going down the tubes, but I really hate what it’s become, or at least how it’s reflected on the lists. People are being vile to each other even though they’re on the same side. Of course, that’s most of the internet, too.

      I like it here and on Ravelry. That’s where I’m going to live.

      1. I like it here too. And facebook is fine because the people who like my author page like kids’ books and silliness. Beyond that lies the swamp. The internet seems to breed self righteousness.

        1. Ravelry is good, too. We’re all talking about yarn and tell telling each other how much we like what we’ve done.

      2. I was kidding, all good. It’s probably true, I’m so furious about so many things, romance is normally my happy place, but instead of it cheering me up, I’m dragging my rage in there… Which now you mention it is kinda like the RWA shitshow.

        Maybe I just need angry heroines. Good plan, I’m off to re-read Agnes. Where’s my frypan?

      3. I am so with you on this. I haven’t been a member of RWA for many years, but I’ve been following the brouhaha. I, too, get what some people are arguing. I don’t agree with the way those people are going about “making it better by making it worse.” Twitter is a level of hell I only very rarely venture into…wearing a psychological hazmat suit.

      4. I only know marginally about what is going on with RWA, but in my experience there seems to come a time with almost every group/blog/club when it implodes. After a time someone appoints themselves arbitrator or expert and starts chastising others in the group. Then it is all downhill from there. That is what I love about this group. We are from so many different backgrounds, locations and experiences but everyone is civil and supportive. Believe me this is not the norm!

        1. Someone appoints themselves arbiter? I can do that! I am now Gary the Arbiter – all others gather nigh and listen. In the words of Lady Sally, “Would you all please consider yourselves now and henceforth, and no matter what anyone else ever asks of you, free to do any damned thing you want that doesn’t hurt someone unnecessarily?”

          There. No further chastisements are necessary, and I resign the post forever.

          (Extra points for anyone recognizing the source of the quote.)

          1. Close enough, JeanineCallahan’s Lady, Mike Callahan’s Wife. She didn’t work in the crosstime saloon with Mike, she operated a brothel. A house of excellent repute. Spider Robinson was… weird. Great book, though, as was its sequel, Lady Slings the Booze.

        2. Oh, we’ve had a couple of tense moments (g). Then those comments disappear and everything goes back to normal.

          I really do believe that most people are kind and caring. That’s why I stay on the lookout for jerks here, and then ask them politely to be nice or leave. Moderators are so essential on the net. Ravelry is another place where people are generally decent, but they moderate the hell out of that site. A couple of months ago they banned any post about Trump, so they don’t fool around.

  26. I’ve been sucked into Lindsay Buroker’s Star Kingdom series. It’s space opera so think Buck Rogers (I know, I’m dating myself) with better dialog. But it’s really a lot of fun, and she’s doing something interesting with the protagonist/antagonist thing that will keep readers coming back. Doesn’t hurt that its available on KindleUnlimited, but I’d definitely be buying them if they weren’t.

  27. I read and greatly enjoyed “Akin” by Emma Donahue (who also wrote “Room”). He protagonist, Noah, is a recently retired professor who is heading to Nice France to investigate some family photos. He ends up suddenly responsible for a grand nephew age 11, and takes the boy to France with him. The characters are lively and real, and the book is well written. The central mystery of the photos lead to the French resistance, and a question of Noah’s mothers involvement.

  28. Well, dang. I held out as long as I could to spin it out, but The Iron Will of Genie Lo got me so hooked that I finished it in three hours flat. Now what do I do with the rest of my day??

    1. I have placed a hold at the library and will probably get the Genie Lo books in about a month. A new to me author. Thanks, Emily

      1. I hope you enjoy them. They just hit exactly all the right notes for me, and Genie is so beautifully snarky.

  29. I’m most of the way through Magda Szabo’s _Abigail_ and having trouble finishing it because it’s so frightening even though we know the main character survives and has a family. It’s about a naïve girl in Hungary during WWII, and the world is getting much much worse around her and we can tell but she can’t, and the feeling of incipient doom is just … oof. While all the characterization is light-handed and excellent, and the details of life in an unfamiliar culture (two, really; her childhood in a worldly city, and then a regimented girls’ school) are interesting.

  30. The snowdrops are out and the weather is good enough to read gardening books. “A beautiful obsesssion” by Jimi Blake and Noel Kingsbury is full of ridiculously vivid colours and inspiration.

  31. Stayed up until 3 am finishing “A Long Petal of the Sea” by Isabel Allende. I had to find out if the two principle characters survived & how it ended. Allende, as always, writes beautifully. Her translator does a wonderful job of capturing in English the rhythms of her native Spanish. Her characters are real, compassion and truth shine through. It’s worth draggin’ my tail through a Monday.

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