Good Book Thursday, February 6, 2020

I’ve decided I want to write a book called Surprise Lily. I have no idea what it’ll be about (aside from Lily, whoever she is) but I’m very intrigued. I am also reading for what I sincerely hope is the last time, a book called The Devil in Nita Dodd.

What are you reading?

76 thoughts on “Good Book Thursday, February 6, 2020

  1. I’m reading the Johannes Cabal, Necromancer 5 book series by Jonathan L. Howard. I love the dry humor. Recommend highly.

    Just finished the new Cast in … book by Michelle Sagara. Enjoyed it as always!

    Looking forward to reading the new In Death book by J.D. Robb. #50 in the series, wow!

    6+
  2. Having read what I considered a bad example of Regency romance, I needed a palate cleanser. So I went to Julia Quinn’s It’s in His Kiss, found at a free library at the coffee shop. I’ve read all of her Bridgerton series and probably everything she’s written. This was a re-read, but worth it. Quinn understands, as does Jenny, that adding humor to romance is a great idea. Surprise Lily sounds like it could be Regency!

    10+
      1. Me too, which makes it hard to find books I want to read because the vast majority of romances are not humorous.

        5+
    1. I’ve just completed a binge of all the Bridgerton books. It was perfect for January. I can read more challenging things when the weather is better.

      6+
    2. Thanks for the rec. Sounds like just what I need. I’m recovering from a concussion on Sunday, and I need light distraction while I try to rest. (My main moods these days are bored, irritated, and weepy, sometimes all at the same time.)

      7+
  3. Tuesday Mooney Talks To Ghosts gets two thumbs up from me. Near epic. It’s poetic. It’s modern-day Westing Game.

    7+
  4. “Puppy Problems? No Problem!” by Brenda Aloff. It’s a very good book on puppy behavior and training puppies (or older dogs, too).

    6+
  5. I’m still in a pretty deep fiction reading slump with fiction. But I really enjoyed “Tiny Habits” by B.J. Fogg. I’ve read a lot about habits in the last couple of years and I really liked how this one gave a very detailed road map on how to create new habits, deal with bad habits and basically said “don’t get down on yourself if you can’t create or break a certain habit.” Make tiny incremental steps to change, don’t be afraid to celebrate small successes and don’t be afraid to re-evaluate if something isn’t working. Helpful!

    6+
  6. I’m in the midst of a snow day and mostly sat with the dogs on my lap listening to Kobna Holdbrook Smith read Ben Aaronovitch. I did my #dailyfeb2020 ukulele playing and dyed my hair. This time of year is hell. A few years back I went to Florida with friends at the end of Feb and remember feeling fabulous. It’ makes me wonder if I should be a nomad and flock to warmer climes in the winter. I’m not sure how I would swing it, but I do understand why people become snowbirds. I don’t mind the snow and cold, but the depression is hobbling me.

    7+
    1. I don’t know how everyone in the snow belt – or even worse, places like northern Scandinavia with hardly any daylight in midwinter – survives year after year. I’m enjoying every inch of sun as it gradually sneaks back into my house and garden – a bit faster than expected.

      There have been years where grey overcast skies seem to go on for weeks and weeks, though.

      5+
      1. We’ve had about two days with any sunshine in a month, but the air is moist and I rarely have to shovel (mostly rain) and my skin loves the humidity. And finally I’m getting home after work and there’s still a bit of light! Summer is coming.

        7+
    2. Yes, I’m with you. I used to live in Seattle, which I adored. But I realize that I probably shouldn’t live there again, because of the overcast weather, and the rain. I think I spent a lot of time there mildly depressed, and just thought I couldn’t get my shit together.
      If I could have a winter get-away, I think New Mexico, in the mountains, might suit me just fine. Or, what the hell, Costa Rica. I’ve never been there, but I’ve heard great things.

      5+
  7. I’m reading Obama’s “The Audacity of Hope,” which is good for deep, long term thinking.

    I’m also reading my WIP, and seeing if I can trim 7,000 words off a 67,000 word draft by cutting just the flabby sentences & mediocre jokes. So far so good. Otherwise there’s a scene where the villain has a meltdown in a wedding dress boutique because he can ‘t find a wedding dress with pockets for his fiance’s gun, which could TECHNICALLY get cut… if ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

    9+
    1. pockets in a wedding dress sound like a hugely important plot point and I think I remember making some in mine, when I made my wedding dress, several, um, decades ago. Please keep that piece!

      6+
  8. I read a lot last week, but not everything worked.

    The Grammarians by Cathleen Schine and Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia were both DNF. Both books are well regarded, and many people like them, but I couldn’t get through the first 30 pages in either one, I was so bored. I then skimmed deeper into the books, thinking something might happen later on, but nothing attracted my interest. Why can’t I read literary fiction? Why does it bore me?
    Besides, what kind of a name is Tuesday? Who names their child by a day of the week. I know Justin Fforde also has a heroine named Thursday, but apart from fiction, I never encountered a real person named after a day of the week. Do they only appear in fiction?

    Roni Loren’s The One for You was great. It was the last book of her latest series, and I loved the entire series. The stories are bitter-sweet, with lots of painful stuff, but there is humor too, and the dialog is fantastic. She is a wonderful writer. I would’ve gone to reading all her back list, but… she wrote erotica before, and I don’t like erotica. I hope she is going to write more straightforward romance in the future, because I want to read it.

    Mary Jo Putney’s older books – Shattered Rainbows and Thunder & Roses worked too. Nice regencies.

    Overall: not a bad week for reading.

    4+
    1. Tuesday Weld, American actress, is the only one I can think of.

      I also could not finish Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. But it was because it wasn’t the type of book I was in the mood for when I finally got it from the online library.

      3+
    2. Years ago there was a Hollywood actress with the name of Tuesday Weld. Other than that she is the only name to come to mind.

      4+
    3. The Fforde book is being whimsical, her name is “Thursday Next” which is British? for next Thursday. I think.

      I do like weird names, though. My fave is Anathema Device. I’d have named my kid that if Good Omens had come out earlier. As it is, her middle name is after Amanda Campion because Amanda means “must be loved” and because I love Amanda Campion.

      13+
      1. The surname Agatha Christie reuses most often in her books is Strange. I’ve lost count of how many characters she’s called Strange – in Towards Zero, there are three of them in that book alone.

        4+
      2. I have a friend who gave her daughter the middle name Quetzal, as in the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.

        5+
      1. My friend called her daughter Sixtine which is an old but fairly common French name for girls among posh people. My husband who is British thought it was hilarious when he first heard it.

        6+
          1. From https://nameberry.com/babyname/Sixtine:

            The name Sixtine is a girl’s name of French origin meaning “sixth-born”.

            While Sixtine is a name with ancient roots that’s popular in modern-day France, it’s hard to imagine it gaining hold in English-speaking lands, given its similarity to the number sixteen and its even-more-problematic similarity to the word “sexting.” You wouldn’t do that to your daughter.

            I wouldn’t do that to my daughter?!? First, when my dotter was born, sexting was not a thing. Second, *I* wanted to name the dotter Brandy Alexandra. The late wife managed to convince me that Jennifer was a much better name than Brandy. The only reason I would never have named the dotter Sixtine is because she was second, not sixth, and there would never be a third.

            1+
  9. I’m rereading Jayne Castle’s Flower name series. I finished Amaryllis, almost through Zinnia. Then on to Orchid and that’s the end.
    I am sitting in the rehearsal room for Macbeth. We finished out final rehearsal and shooting starts tomorrow. I’m stuck here till my costume refitting at 3 so I brought my PC planning to start work on the query letter for Lord Byron’s Daughter. But I loved listening to the coversations around me. Listening to Denzel Washington talk to some of the younger cast members about training and other actors. It’s crazy to realize none of these kids have any idea who Spencer Tracy is.
    We talked about what it used to be like when housing was actually affordable in Los Angeles. In New York it was never very affordable for actors. I went to NYC in 1967. I had three roomates in a one bedroom apartment. Heck we all lived like that. Only rich people could afford to live alone. Now the only was to live in Manhattan is to inherit a rent control apartment.
    It’s bad in Los Angeles too. I don’t think you can get a one bedroom for under 1200 and you have to come up with first, last and security. And the landlord wants to know you have a steady job. Acting isn’t a steady job.
    Denzel said he came out in the 80’s for St Elsewhere. He paid 750 for a studio. But at least he had a job. I know I am rambling. It’s had to concentrate here. i hopped over to find Jen’s post on synopses and landed in Good Book Thursday. Back to searching.

    13+
  10. I read the last couple of the Others series and now I’m onto Daughter of the Blood, one of Anne Bishop’s other books. Not enjoying it as much, there’s more cruelty.

    Very promising that you’re reading Nita for the last time! That sounds like it’s nearly done.

    7+
      1. Ah. I will try again, then. I tried Daughter of Blood and couldn’t get past the first fifty pages.

        2+
        1. The rest of the series has some incredibly dark moments, but I find them easier to cope with than Daughter of the Blood.

          2+
        2. I stopped about a third through. Torture, savage rape including incest and child rape, and a plot that felt like it wasn’t going anywhere but towards more of the above. Then I read the last chapter and yep.

          If the next 2 in the trilogy are less like that, I’ll give them a go. I’d like to see what happens to a few of the characters.

          2+
  11. I finished The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley. It’s a space opera setting, but it reads more like fantasy, wherein the protagonists travel through a series of bizarre worlds, and the mechanisms behind why the bizarre things are the way they are are never really explained, so it’s just magical. The writing was very compelling, building its enigmas and mysteries into a thematic point, and Hurley is very good at writing ambiguously toxic relationships. Warning, though, this entire book is top-to-bottom all body horror all the time.

    In the complete opposite direction, I also finished Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan, a very cute teen summer romcom. Unfortunately, my expectations got set on enemies-to-lovers for a while, making me miss that it was actually a fake dating story until over halfway through. Probably because the next book I’ll be reading makes it very clear that it will be a teen enemies-to-lovers story.

    6+
  12. What a good news post that is.

    This week I read Alexis Hall books. I’d sampled one (Glitterland) last year and not loved it, but it must have been my mood because I tried again, and now have read 6 of hers in less than a fortnight (3 of the Spires books, and 3 Arden St Ives). They are excellent. m/m romances, with great 1st person voices. I don’t normally do angsty books, but while these sometimes hurt to read (characters pain and problems not belittled, antagonists that are believable), the tone is still light – in that way they are a little like Jenny’s books. While not really being at all like Jenny’s books!

    Anyway, I definitely recommend – as a warning though, For Real, and the Arden St Ives books have BDSM which is not my scene at all – but it really didn’t matter, they’re all about character and people (who are sometimes ‘damaged’) falling in love.

    5+
  13. Oh! And I forgot (school holidays), that I was also going to HIGHLY recommend East of Hounslow and Homegrown Hero by Khurrum Rhaman. Imagine if you will an MI5 spy thriller, where the spy is a reluctantly-recruited British-born Muslim small time drug dealer, who they want to infiltrate a suspected terrorist cell.

    This is another one with a fantastic character voice that gives us a book that is super entertaining and also about (and commenting on) totally serious issues, and friendship, change, loyalty, belief…. I liked the second one better, but they need to be read in order and they’re both great.

    A sample:
    “It was one of those old-school wooden sash windows…it was heavy and I was struggling. I gritted my teeth and lifted as hard as I could, those three gym sessions last year coming to fruition as the frame shuddered noisily past the sticking point and then slid easily up”.

    I love this – ‘those three gym sessions last year’ – within a chapter, you can totally picture this character. He’s no Bond, but I loved it.

    8+
  14. Reading Kelly Armstrong’s Rockton series because somehow I missed the boat on it until book #5 came out. Now catching up, devoured City of the Lost and mostly through A Darkness Absolute. Great romance subplot plus a great dog and of course a terrific mystery setup because whodunnit could literally be anybody and everybody.

    6+
  15. I found a book at a church bazaar that seemed like the perfect thing to read through January and February — a diary/memoir by a man who lives fairly close to me, focusing on the unfolding of spring in our area — largely birds and seasonal wildflowers & shrubs & trees, day by day.

    And the first 20 pages or so were fun to read — local place references, birds I see every day and ones I’ve never seen, and the optimism of things coming to life at a time when everything around me is basically dormant and greyish. But the more I read, the harder I found it, because while he SAID he was writing about the birds and the trees etc. etc., what he was REALLY writing about was himself, and what a superior human being he really was. He was flying to speak at international conferences, he was giving an address to the board of a nonprofit he chairs, his wife was cooking his favorite dinner with a really delightful aperitif afterwards, allowing him to truly savor that afternoon’s glimpse of the rare indigo bunting in an unexpected corner of a secluded little park he knows so well….

    Until I was ready to hurl the book across the lunchroom and scream.

    I’d read a book a few weeks ago by the wonderful Sue Hubbell, and it was the opposite of this book — so quiet and intelligent and graceful — which somehow made the experience of this man almost feel like a betrayal of nature writing. But in my garden, the tips of bulbs are showing, the grackles are migrating through the county, and I can tell that spring is coming, so I guess I’ll survive Mr. Wonderful and the lessons he didn’t mean to teach.

    9+
    1. Sometimes you just don’t like someone. Sometimes you read so you can hear the author’s voice. I find that with George Elliot and Jennifer Crusie, Margery Allingham, Ben Aaronovitch, I just enjoy their view of the world and how they say what they say.

      8+
  16. I’m rereading Good Omens. I think it’s being broadcast in the UK, but I can’t find anything locally. I don’t have Amazon Prime, so I’ve been waiting for the broadcast. Does anyone know when it will be on? Is it worth buying the DVD?

    6+
    1. It’s being shown on the BBC at the moment, but I’m afraid I bailed out halfway through episode three. However, I’m not a fan of Good Omens, so not a good judge. Not into satire, really. Not even Pratchett (don’t tell Jenny).

      7+
    2. As a Good Omens fan it was excellent. I’ve actually watched it twice. The only reason I signed up to Amazon Prime. You could sign up for the free month just to watch it.

      2+
      1. Oh, good: I thought the actors and the settings were excellent, so I’m glad to know the whole thing works if it’s your kind of story.

        1+
  17. I am still in Danger Cove, WA. I walk the beach, ride a bicycle to the bakery, look at quilts in the museum, get hassled by the most annoying detectives for my desire to carry hurricanes back to my room at the B&B.

    At least I’m done with In Service Training for another year. I am Furst Aid Trained – the Prince of CPR. My cultures are diverted. I have cultivated an awareness of Gangs. I am Good to Go!

    Of course, the cost of this training is the complete disruption of my circadian rhythms, resulting in an infestation of 17-year circadians. (Was that funny? It was supposed to be funny. I can’t tell – I’ve fallen off my sleep cycle.)

    9+
    1. Update: I have just finished book 9 of 20 (or more?) and started book 10, a book store mystery. I just have to say, “Danger Cove is the west coast sister city of Cabot Cove, Maine.” The FBI has to have designated it the Murder Capital of Washington state. They don’t need a Jessica Fletcher – half the town interferes with investigations and solves the crimes, often despite some of the police department.

      Also, I’ve read at least three others out of order, which only confirms the murder statistics. And some of the stories are written by the _natives_ of this “quaint, little village.” Scary, no?

      1+
  18. I’ve been reading THE WOMAN WHO WOULD BE KING, a biography of Hatshepsut by Kara Cooney, an Egyptologist. Excellent book, NOT soap-opera-y. One thing Cooney brought up that I thought interesting: she thinks it’s quite possible that using the name “Pharaoh” — “Great House,” or “the Palace,” to mean “the King” may have begun in Hatshepsut’s time, because the idea of a [female] Great King was so alien not only to the culture but even the language.

    7+
  19. Someone, or several someones, here recommended CatFishing on CatNet. I just finished that and I second the recommendation.

    I also read the 6th and 7th Kurland St. Mary’s regency mysteries, Death Comes to Bath and Death Comes to the Nursery (which just came out on Tuesday), both quite good.

    6+
  20. FWIW, I’ve preordered

    THE PURSUIT OF THE PANKERA: A Parallel Novel About Parallel Universes
    Robert A. Heinlein, David Weber

    THE ANGEL OF THE CROWS
    Katherine Addison [NOT a Goblin Emperor universe story; set in Gilded Age New York.]

    HOW TO RAISE AN ELEPHANT: No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency (21) (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency Series)
    Alexander McCall Smith

    RIVIERA GOLD: A Novel (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Book 16)
    Laurie R. King

    THE SHOOTING AT CHATEAU ROCK: A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel (Bruno, Chief of Police Series)
    Martin Walker

    3+
  21. I’ve been wanting to try Elizabeth Moon for a while, so I picked up Trading in Danger: Vatta’s War, Book 1. I am only half way through, but am enjoying it so much. I had been mostly re-reading things for some time, so its good to read something new to me.

    6+
  22. I wish I were reading The Devil in Nita Dodd.

    Yesterday I left Going Postal at the physical therapist’s. I was rereading it and was almost finished. Now I’m praying to Anoia.

    According to the internet, there was a 2-episode TV version of Going Postal. I’m not sure if it’s available — it might be on Amazon Prime. (My daughter linked her account to our TV.)

    Has anyone seen this? The trailer looks good.

    6+
    1. If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it was pretty cool to see the book world translated into film. I can’t remember if I thought it was good or bad though, just interesting! That probably doesn’t help you much.

      The Pratchett movie I’d like to rewatch is Hogfather (?). I saw it so long ago that I don’t remember anything about it except that I liked the actress playing the heroine.

      5+
      1. Michelle Dockery was Susan, and she was really good. And Susan might be my favorite Pratchett character.

        5+
        1. I’m reading an interesting fanfiction at the moment that crosses the Discworld with The Sound of Music. It sounds bizarre and unworkable, I know, but I’m really enjoying Susan dealing with the Von Trapp children and foiling nazis.

          6+
    2. Yes! It condensed many parts of the plot, but it was well done. The amazing Clare Foy played Miss Dearheart, Charles Dance did a wonderful job as Vetinari, and Richard Coyle, who I sort of liked in Coupling, did a very creditable job as the protagonist. And the wonderful Andrew Sachs, not at all Spanish, played the elderly postman Groat. Plus an interesting cameo by a fellow named Pratchett right at the end. We bought it on DVD and re-watch it pretty often.

      There are a number of small video interviews on YouTube with many of the actors. And the dance video with several characters. Totally worth watching, I think.

      6+
      1. Thank you all very much for your advice on Going Postal!

        My daughter texted me directions for turning on the TV set and getting to Prime. She’d “liked” the Pratchett shows on her Prime account so I could find them easily.

        Going Postal worked much better than DayQuil for giving me a comfortable afternoon. I love shows that have — or appear to have — few high tech effects. I also liked the casting a lot (I didn’t think I’d like a blonde Vetinari, but Charles Dance was great). Also, a surprising amount of the dialogue came out of the book.

        Now I’ll watch some of the interviews on Youtube before I take NyQuil and try to get some sleep. Thank y’all again!

        4+
    3. I saw the Going Postal tv version when it first came out, and they did a good job (and there’s a cameo of Pratchett toward the end, I believe).

      It’s on acorn tv now, and I re-watched the first half and just wasn’t into it, perhaps because I’d seen it before, perhaps because I wasn’t in the mood. In any event, I encourage everyone to subscribe to acorn tv. They have Foyle’s War and Midsomer Murders and the early Vera episodes and I forget what else in classics. Plus new shows, some unique to Acorn, like The Heart Guy and Brokenwood Mysteries (didn’t like the current season but previous ones are good) and the Good Karma Hospital and the Lucy Lawless murder mystery (My Life is Murder). I forget what else. For something like five bucks a month.

      3+
      1. I was going to add Life on Mars and then realized it’s on BritBox, which I subscribe to because I’m addicted to British TV. Just rewatched the first episode of Coupling which is still funny. Best was the giggle loop episode although the Lesbian Spank Inferno ep was outstanding, too. And I discovered The Coroner last week and binged through both seasons of that.

        3+
  23. DH and I both reading Dorothy Sayers. I finally finished the Dr. Siri mystery “Don’t Eat Me” which had been given to me as a gift. I have enjoyed the series, but this one had animal cruelty, which made it hard to read. I thought I read something else new recently too, but……. nope, “Gaudy Night” has wiped out any recollection.

    4+
  24. Just finished reading Donna Andrews Murder with Peacocks. A cozy mystery, no idea how I had never read her before, the book was very entertaining and funny if somewhat predictable, ok a lot predictable, but funny. Also finished Stars Beyond by SK Dunstall, space opera, sequel to Stars Uncharted. I love their (sisters) space opera, I don’t enjoy these quite as much as her Linesman series but honestly, I’m afraid that’s because I love Linesman so much that its hard for me to like these as much because of the comparison. Very good space opera, but if you haven’t read it, def. start with the first book, the second isn’t as good if you haven’t read the first.

    9+
  25. This week I’ve read ‘In the Heights,’ the book of the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes; ‘Regency Royal Navy Christmas,’ a collection by Carla Kelly; and ‘The Comfortable Courtesan,’ by L.A. Hall. Instructive, lovely/tearjerking, and delightful, respectively. Oh, and ‘The Dalai Lama’s Cat’ by David Michie, which is charming if you can get past your lessons in Buddhism being delivered by a fictional rescued Himalayan.

    5+

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