This is a Good Book Thursday, February 20, 2020

This week I ordered a book on organizing and a book on cleaning and they’re both beautiful: The Complete Book of Home Organization and The Complete Book of Clean. And as soon as I get this place organized and cleaned up, I’m gonna read them.

What did you read this week?

75 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 20, 2020

  1. I gulped down the newest Preston and Child Pendergast novel, Crooked River. It was exciting and over the top and entertaining as usual.

    I’m also reading Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw. It’s the first Greta Helsing, doctor to the monsters of London and I’m loving it. Actually it’s in my purse right now so I can read at any opportunity!

    1. I enjoyed the Prendergast too. It didn’t seem to be as weighty as prior Prendergasts.

      The Vivian Shaws are great. I think there are 3 now. Definitely recommend them all!

  2. I regularly read books on organizing and arranging small spaces, none of which spaces
    are configured like my duplex. The latest one I read, “Real Life Organizing,” from Clutterbug, says throw out 21 things, regularly–she doesn’t know why, but 21 is the perfect number. I’m working on it.

    I’m back to Regency, reading some novella collections. Also biography for book group–Sr. Helen Prejean’s “River of Fire” and “Haben,” about Haben Girma, a deafblind young woman who went to Harvard Law School. I am a slug.

  3. Laura Anne Gilman, Gabriel’s Road. Fantasy novella in the Devil’s West series. I enjoyed it – would definitely recommend, although I’m sorry that the two main characters from the Devil’s West have gone separate ways. Would like more in this world but the series appears to have come to an end.

    Jenn McKinlay, Buried to the Brim. A continuation of her romance/cozy mystery series set at a hat shop in London. The mystery part wasn’t bad but the romantic part bothered me. I think it’s because I’m starting to get really really irritated with traditional expectations for women and for romance and marriage. Plus the main character is starting to get on my nerves for other reasons. Would still recommend to people who like cozies and are ok with traditional expectations.

    Wicked Bite, Jeaniene Frost. Fantasy/romance involving vampires. If you like her other books, you’ll like this one. I personally don’t think I’ll be continuing on with this series. I don’t find attacking an unsuspecting human, stealing some of their blood, and then sending them off with a gap in their memory to be very sexy, it’s just criminal battery. Having trouble putting that aside when I read these vampire novels

    Alone in the Wild. Kelley Armstrong. Continuation of her mystery series set in a secret community hiding in wilderness Canada. Main characters are law enforcement for the town. Enjoyed it, would definitely recommend. Not a cozy mystery though, so be warned.

    A Blight of Blackwings. Kevin Hearne. The second book in his new fantasy series about an invasion of giants. Too depressing for me.

    Iron Will of Genie Lo. F.C. Yee. Young adult fantasy novel about an asian heritage teen girl with superhero powers. Second in series. I enjoyed this even more than the first, although the ending seemed a bit abrupt. Based on the ending of the book, I’m wondering if this is also the end of the series which would be a shame.

    I know some people here recommended Genie Lo, so thank you! You guys are really expanding my shopping list and enabling my reading habit!

  4. I read Cold Flame by Susan Copperfield, part of her Royal States of America series. It picks up right after Huntress, and involves a lot of characters from the previous books in the series. It’s good, but you really do need to have read the previous books in the series.

  5. Several days ago I read stories by Connie Willis (Inn, Samaritan, Cash Crop) that are still giving me nightmares. I doubt that she intends them as horror stories; in fact, I’m pretty that if I were a (Connie Willis kind of) Christian I would be shaking my head in understanding of folks’ biases. Willis’s religion doesn’t bother me in the sort of intelligent design she uses in To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book, both of which I love.

    Also, I’m feeling out of place in a Florida beach resort — my husband and daughter like coming down for a couple of days during baseball preseason. They are having a fantastic time. I’ve just gotten over being sick from the heat and humidity. I feel like a jerk who can’t enjoy her good fortune. Fortunately, I enjoy doing my knee exercises in the pool.

    1. +1 on the Connie Willis. I don’t know what it is, but some of her stories are super disturbing so I need to take a good breather between them.

      1. Thank you, Romney. I appreciate your corroboration of my feelings.

        Also, the weather went chilly and overcast here in Fort Myers Beach. I love it! I can breathe now, and the mobs of beach goers have gone elsewhere. And I no longer chat with anyone so I’m not hearing political opinions. Remember the song “Hello Mudda, Hello Fadda”? Well, Camp Granada just improved a whole lot. Today the first Red Sox game of the season and tomorrow we head home.

  6. I flailed around reading the Trisha Ashley 3-book bundle. I now wish Skint Old Northern Woman was a real thing. Looking forward to reading John Muir’s Wilderness Essays and Jodi Taylor’s St. Mary’s spinoff Doing Time. I had kind of a crap week in reading but then between getting a respiratory virus and injuring my knee it was kind of a crap week. Onward!

  7. I read Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes and am now on to the sequel. It’s mostly pretty good but I don’t like the last minute plot twist that was thrown in. In general, I like her books though.

    I also read “Help Me!” by Marianne Power, about how she spent over a year trying to follow one self-help book per month, had it go well at times, had a nervous breakdown for a while, etc. I’ve been listening to the “By The Book” podcast (in which the creators follow a self-help book for two weeks) and hers is definitely a different experience from THAT one. Marianne’s sounds more realistic, for sure.

  8. I read Eli Easton’s Seattle trilogy (starts with ‘The Trouble with Tony’), which was fun. Then reread her ‘Snowblind’, which I should have marked the first time round, ‘Don’t reread’. it starts as a romance but suddenly turns into a violent thriller.

    Segued into Michael Gilbert’s ‘Smallbone Deceased’, which was fun. I enjoyed the social history as well: I’d no idea the GPO were still using horse-drawn vans in London in 1950.

    I’m now rereading Loretta Chase’s ‘Lord of Scoundrels’, which is always fun.

  9. I read Lisa Kleypas’s newest, Chasing Cassandra. It was a very pleasant, easy read. Looking back, not much plot or conflict, but yeah, just a nice book.

    1. I kind of liked that about this book and the prior one, Devil’s Daughter, as a contrast to Devil in Spring and Hello Stranger, which were very dramatic. Too, while I enjoy stories about women who were extraordinary for their times (female game designer! First woman doctor!), I also like stories about women who do things that were more conventional but still important.

  10. Finished the first two Murderbots, picked up the next two. Love the novelette format, it’s like reading TV, with the focused plotting that comes with constrained episodes.

  11. I re-read a very old Jayne Ann Krentz called “Hidden Talents.” It held up better over time than I’d thought it would. I was in a fog of exhausted new mother of twins when I first read it, so I couldn’t be sure I’d actually enjoyed it back then. But it was a fairly fun bit of light reading.

  12. I read Charlaine Harris’ A Longer Fall and Jayne Ann Krentz’s The Vanishing. Since The Vanishing is volume 1 of 3, I have high hopes for a dust bunny in one of the remaining books in the series. In her Jayne Castle novels, there’s a creature that makes me think of a combination of a cat, a dog and The Luggage and they are endearing.
    I have just started Kill the Farm Boy by Delilah Dawson & Kevin Hearne.

  13. Yesterday I went to the dentist (I love my dentist) and then the grocery. Today I went to the therapist (I love my therapist) and then the grocery. Plus the only craft store in town is going out of business so I went there. For me this is Extreme Gadding About. And now I must make things–chicken dressing casserole, sesame orange stir fry, tuna salad for tuna melts–so that I can blitz through the last of Nita this weekend without stopping to cook. Also the craft store has a 48″ square canvas that I covet even though I have no idea what I’d paint. I have lots of ideas for painting, just not 48″ ideas. But I want that canvas . . .

  14. Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long. Wonderfully funny and tender – one of the most enjoyable Regency romances I’ve read for ages. Also One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus, a YA novel about a murder that takes place during a detention class, and the four teenage suspects. But really it’s about stereotypes and family pressure, and friendship, and four kids discovering who they really are. Such a good book.

  15. I actually read a totally new to me author this week – so proud. “Grave Sight” by Charlene Harris. I liked the sample enough to actually pay for it, and enjoyed the whole book enough to buy the next one. Of course, someone here suggested it and thanks for that.

  16. I finished The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and I really liked it. Apparently the author finally put out another book, so I’ve got that one coming from the library.

    I’m currently reading an unusual cozy…it has a male protagonist, which I’ve never seen before. It’s Murder Past Due by Miranda James, and I picked it up because the protagonist works in a library (although it turns out he is an archivist in a university library) and has a gigantic Maine Coon cat who goes almost everywhere with him. So far it is okay, although I’m not sure I’m loving it.

    1. There’s a bunch of books in the librarian series. I’ve read about 4-5. I didn’t warm up to the series right away but it grew on me after a while. I might not shell out my own $ but they’re available in my library. If nothing else, the cat is a good character!

  17. Read The Wolf of Oren-yaro by K.S. Villoso and loved it. Heroine is a beleaguered leader of battling warlords, married to the son of the opposition. Complications abound. If you like major fantasy (first in a series) and tough but sympathetic heroines (Queen Talyien has a seven year old son) this is worth a try.

  18. Last week someone recommended “Less.” Normally I stay away from prize winners, especially big name awards like Pulitzer, but I thought I’d give this one a shot. I do wonder if it had been the same story but about a middle-aged woman avoiding her ex’s wedding if it would have won the prize, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the writing is very clever and unique and I quite enjoyed it.

    Am also reading “A Set of Sisters” series which are cozy romance/mysteries with a cheeky tone that I am enjoying, too.

  19. This week I finished my re-read of Pratchett’s City Watch books with The Night Watch and Snuff
    …and then re-read The Cinderella Deal (absolutely wonderful again though it has led me to import at vast expense a box of Constant Comment teabags to the UK )
    …followed by Crazy In Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
    …and have now started Paladin’s Grace by T Kingfisher
    All brilliant work in different ways by authors working at the top of their game.
    And I’m starting to feel better from that awful bug so it has been an excellent week.

  20. I’m listening to (because when do I actually have time to sit down and do nothing but read?) My Darling Duke by Stacy Reid. I’m enjoying the story, which is good, because I don’t care for the narrator at all. If I weren’t hooked on the plot, I’d delete it off my phone. I’m going to have to find reading time for the other books in the series, because I can’t listen to six books with that woman narrating.

  21. I’ve been meditating a lot on re-reading. After finishing the wonderful Sharing Knife series by Bujold, I read Book 1 again before lending it to a friend (because I knew if I loaned it, I’d suddenly want to look something up again). And I found so many connections and nuances in it that I’d just missed before, when I was reading for character and plot alone. S0 I re-read the other three books, and this time, found my self liking the books I hadn’t liked as much as the others, and continuing to find new things to notice, or turn over in my mind, or just appreciate.

    Bujold somehow creates very real characters with a lot of breadth and depth, which I think makes the re-read particularly rewarding. And this experience was not at all like the ones I have with Pratchett or Heyer or even Jane Austen, which all offer me very different things to enjoy. Does anyone know if there are blogs or books that treat the subject of the re-read?

    1. Lois is VERY re-readable — I don’t know how often I’ve reread the Five Gods books, and this week I’m rereading GENTLEMAN JOLE AND THE RED QUEEN.

      Also rereading Ann Bridge’s THE PORTUGESE ESCAPE, which is a period piece from the 1950’s. I’m fine with this, but some people have problems with it. She was a meticulous researcher, which I also like.

      1. Ann Bridge also wrote one called Illyrian Spring which I read because my mother liked it and liked it myself.

        1. I think my favorite of hers is THE DARK MOMENT, which is about Turkey and Atatürk just before, during, and after WWI. There’s a lively account of the research she did for it in her memoir.

      2. I actually really enjoy the entire Julia Probyn series by Anne Bridge but you do have to be able to read them in the spirit of the time that they were written

  22. I have not finished a book since last Friday. (That was an anthology, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, editors,The mythic dream, which was so good I now have their earlier two staring at me from the TBR pile.) I have so many books leering at me insisting I read them First! I went to the library on my lunch break today to pick up three more reserves–they’re all coming in at once–and returned one book I despaired of finishing. It was quite nice, and if I had nothing else to read I’d have read it all.

  23. I joined a Historical Mysteries group on Goodreads, partly because I’m writing historical mysteries now but mostly because that’s probably 75% of what I read. I’m glad I did, because I’m finding some great new authors. They have a sort of reading challenge where you spin a virtual wheel of fortune thingy and choose a book from the category you land on. Each category has at least one list of books, often more. I’ve been choosing my books based on price (usually $5 or less), as long as they sound somewhat intriguing. I’m just not prepared to pay $10-$15 for an e-book by an author I haven’t read before. In fact, I’m often not prepared to pay that much even if I love the author’s work. It’s just too much. Fortunately, the expensive books are often found in libraries.

    Anyway, my two favorite discoveries are the Beatrix Potter mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert, and the Lady Adelaide mysteries by Maggie Robinson.

    The Beatrix stories are quite whimsical — we see things not only from the humans’ POV, but often from the animals as well. The stories take place in the Lake District in England, they’re sweet and comforting, and there’s lots of interesting info about Potter’s life.

    The Lady Adelaide mysteries take place around 1925, mostly in England. Good, solid mysteries with lots of Roaring 20’s stuff going on. They’re fun, because Lady Adelaide is saddled with the ghost of her philandering husband, who has to do some good deeds before he can go to heaven. There’s a love interest too, which is developing slowly.

  24. I’m slowly going through Mary Jo Putney’s back list. I’m sure most of you read her early novels when they first came out, but I missed her somehow. At the moment, I’m reading Angel Rogue and enjoying it.

  25. I read Paladin’s Grace by T Kingfisher and I cannot praise it enough. It’s funny, it’s got great characters, I want to be the middle aged (female) Bishop Beartooth who is not the romantic heroine but I crave a book about her. It makes me want to quote bits. And somewhere underneath it is how do you give meaning to your life after your god dies…

    She apparently started to write a sequel to Swordheart (still planned) and got sidetracked by the idea of a perfume maker heroine.

    1. Bishop Beartongue, not Beartooth. And yes, she’s a great character and I also would love to read a book about her.

  26. I read the last of the Others books and whimpered for a while, then googled other books like them and discovered Ilona Andrews. So now I’m reading my way through those. Started with the Innkeepers series, which were funny and well-written, with great kick-ass women. Fourth one wasn’t as good, it had fewer funny moments and a higher body count. Don’t know why I hadn’t run across them before but now it means I’ve got a good long backlist to work through.

  27. Sidebar, I’m extremely amused by the cover of that “Home Organization” book. Some librarian types might pitch a fit over organizing bookshelves by color. (Though I’ve seen some cool seasonal library displays for books based on cover color!)

    1. I both love it and hate it. I would LOVE to organize by color, but it would drive me batty in a heartbeat when I went to find a book. Spine colors I never remember, covers somewhat, where I placed and sorted the book always. So… torn lol

    2. Organizing by color is what designers do with fake books, not books with real words inside them. It reminds me of the time the “downsizing consultant” wanted to throw away all my parents’ paperbacks and move only the hardcovers because all that matters is how much you spend on the book, not what it says.

  28. On various home decorating programs, I’ve seen talking Barbie or talking Ken blithely recommending that you sort your book covers by color.
    My reaction is always the same; are they INSANE? Do they never need to find that book again?
    Of course these are the same kind of programs that seem to think bookcases should contain only a very very very few books with a smattering of decorative objects and lots of open space. no no no.

    1. When I was in junior high school (age 13 or 14) I only owned about 30 or so paperback books, and knew them, and their contents, all by heart. It was easier and more aesthetically comforting to organize them on my desk by color, and I could find each one almost instantly.

      Since then, the ballooning of my assorted book collection has made that into a less pragmatic option. 🙂

      1. In case I haven’t mentioned it before, some years ago the local newspaper published a vocabulary quiz meant to tell you whether you had an Educated or, I guess, an Uneducated vocabulary. Most of the “use This word or That word” choices I didn’t disagree with, but one question said that the Uneducated choice was “bookshelves” and the Educated choice was “modular wall unit.” Been laughing about that one for decades, as I and all my friends tend to have our Modular Wall Units two books deep stuffed end to end.

    2. Organizing by color is why [insert deity of choice] created colored paper, paper which can be turned into book jackets. Or even just color inkjet printers, where you can save ink by only printing the spines in color. Imagine the possibilities. 🙂

  29. I had a wonderful time reading Return to Christmas by Anne Stuart(Krissie). It was just what I needed to distract me from the fact that my computer has died. I have been cat sitting this week and the combination of being across town from my own place and no internet has been driving me crazy. So a lush, sentimental romance with a wounded, artsy hero was just what the doctor ordered.

  30. I read Jennifer Fayer’s new novel, The Prince and The Wedding Planner. It’s a nice romantic story and didn’t take long at all to read. Now, I am reading Husband Material by Emily Belden. It’s a compelling story of a woman’s search for inner peace after losing her husband. Charlotte Rosen thought she had put her grief behind her, locked away, but no. After her husband’s ashes turn up unexpectedly, her whole world is turned upside down again. Fate gives her a second chance to grieve, maybe the right way. Her late husband’s best friend, Brian, becomes a constant in her life, and romance simmers below the surface. Give it a try, it’s a great story! I did a review of it for Romancejunkies.

    It’s funny you talk about organization. I have all my TBR books sorted by authors, genres and alphabetized. I currently have over a thousand books that I haven’t read it. LOL! I know, I can’t resist a good book and go to book sales!

  31. For the last few weeks, I’ve been reading William Manchester’s The Last Lion, a three-volume biography of Winston Churchill. I am at the end of Volume Two, which ends in 1940 when Winston becomes Prime Minister. (He hasn’t yet, but I’ve read this before.) The appeasement years were a deadly slog, partly because the bad behavior of some of the people in Chamberlain’s government is just appalling, and because it’s agonizing to read how convinced Chamberlain was that you could deal reasonably with Hitler. Winston’s just about to make another one of his blunders (Trondheim, in Norway) and I so couldn’t deal with it that I started re-reading The Litany of Earth, by Ruthanna Emrys.

    With Anne Pillsworth, she writes a weekly column on called the Lovecraft Reread: “Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.” The Litany of Earth is a prequel to Winter Tide, the first of her books about Aphra Marsh and her found family. Aphra was born and raised in Innsmouth but then in the 30s, the US Government rounded everyone up and interned them in the desert (which was the worst place for people who eventually transform into sea-dwelling beings). Later those that still lived were joined by Japanese Americans interned during WWII. The novella and the two novels take place after Aphra is released, along with the Japanese American family that more or less adopted her. They’re lovely books — I highly recommend them. (Winter Tide and Deep Roots — I’m hoping for a third, but I haven’t heard there will be one…)

    1. I found the second volume of THE LAST LION to be absolutely fascinating — absolutely un-put-downable, even though I knew how it would end!

  32. I finished the last two Murderbot books. Love them! GIVE ME MORE!

    Then read a novella set in New Orleans called the Black Gods’ Drums by P. Djèlí Clark . Steampunk with African Gods and such good writing. I would love more stories set in that world. He has two other novellas set in Cairo, so I’m going there next.

  33. My best friend has been recommending Courtney Milan for years and I’ve been ignoring her because usually we don’t like the same sorts of books. Well I was VERY WRONG and now I am reading all the books. They are brilliantly well built romances about people who are both realistic and interesting and funny. Hopefully this will hold me over until the next Loretta Chase comes out.

  34. I don’t buy cookbooks. There are more than enough free recipes and how-tos on the interwebs for free and worth every penny!

    But… there is Facebook, and food-related humor:

    Tired of Boiling Water Every Time You Make Pasta? Boil a Few Gallons At The Beginning of the Week and Freeze It For Later.

    I grinned hugely at that but the I read the comments below it and laughed aloud.

    “I tried this but the bags kept melting. Any tips?”
    “Let the water cool on the stove before bagging it.”
    “Use boiling bags.”
    “Dehydrate the boiled water. A liter of tap water will reconstitute roughly a quart of dehydrated boiled water.”
    “For a single serving, try just a few ice cubes.”
    “Get married! You shouldn’t live alone.”

  35. Hello Argh people. I’m two days late and two dollars short. I’ve been re-reading Georgette Heyer mysteries for fun. Took a class on mosaics Thursday night. Fun but not worth $50. I don’t know what I expected.

    I have another ghostwriting gig because – well money. But I like my client and it’s stuff I like to write. And the pay is good. So no complaints.

    I’ve have strange dreams twice this week where all the Argh people are getting together to DO SOMETHING with La Crusie as our leader. Darned if I know what it was that was so important that we had to be organized into groups. But I was quite disappointed to wake up and find we hadn’t all gotten together after all.

    1. If I’m your leader, we’ll eat chocolate, pet dogs, and discuss crochet, sewing, TV programs and movies, and writing. While reclining.

      1. I need to start a local get-together club with those items as our mission statement. I’d be beating people off with sticks, I’d think.

  36. Oh, books about cleaning! I’ve had one about decluttering on my shelf, unread, for three years now: “A Year to Clear.”

    I re-read “Maybe This Time” along with skimming “The Turn of the Screw.” Fun to compare and contrast.

    Also re-read Shirley Jackson’s novella “The Bird’s Nest,” which I find unsettling but satisfying; it’s not as dark as much of her other work.

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