This is a Good Book Thursday, March 19, 2020

. If there was ever a good time for escapist reading, it’s now. I’m finally getting to books that were recommended here, and my new fave is Red, White, and Royal Blue, a terrific romcom by Casey McQuiston, funny, fast-moving, and emotionally true. You should read it.

Enough about me. What have you read this week that was fun?

71 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 19, 2020

  1. I read “The Wedding Party” by Jasmine Guillory and found it very charming. Some of her books are so low conflict they don’t work for me and I say that as someone who likes “quiet” books, but this one was just about perfect. It also was a “hookup partners become something more” and more sexy than I usually expect from her, so it is fairly explicit if that’s a stumbling block (or a selling point! :-)) It’s part of a series and there are references to other characters, but I haven’t read all of the series and still followed it fine.

  2. I need romantic comedy in my life, thanks for the book rec. I am reading A Winter’s Tale by Trisha Ashley and it’s a balm to the soul. Also stayed up far too late reading Patricia Briggs’ newest, Smoke Bitten and have never been so happy to have escapist reading as Washington grows more surreal by the day.

    1. I can’t concentrate on any of the books that I have. I’m going to try Trisha Ashley’s The Christmas Invitation next. I think it will be light and happy enough for me to engage.

    2. I somehow managed to forget that Smoke Bitten was released this week. Thank you! That’s my weekend all planned!

  3. I’m reading Josephine Tey’s The Man in the Queue. I’m enjoying it but also can’t help noticing how long ago 1929 seems.

    The New York Times had a piece interviewing several authors about their favorite comfort reads ( The first book mentioned was The Princess Bride, a very comforting read indeed. I might check out or reread some of the others on the list.

    1. A lot of good books there and then some very angsty ones that would not be my comfort read at all.

  4. Just finished a pre-breakfast of probiotic yogurt, banana, honey and cheerios, it settles my tummy but not my mind. For reading I’m morphing between Pamela Kelley’s Nantucket series (I’ve pretty much memorized every restaurant and bar). Nostalgia has led me to The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews a gothic laced with hero with scars, orphaned heroine, crumbling hall on top of a hill in Devon with the only way to get to it is along an equally crumbling road. The third I haven’t started yet is The Simple Wild by K. A. Tucker about rural Alaska, a pilot and a heroine who is being asked to return to reconnect with her father. Escapism that’s the ticket.

  5. I’m taking the day off from work and stress to read Patricia Briggs’s Smoke Bitten, the latest in the Mercy Thompson series.

  6. I stayed up late last night finishing Scalzi’s Redshirts, which Tor had a free ebook of this month. I’ve read it several times before, but getting the ebook led to me neglecting my library books (which are miraculously not due until three weeks after the library reopens, whenever they were originally checked out) to dive straight into it. I had not realized, until reading it in the context of now, how much it is about people cooperating to problem-solve.

  7. Since my library system is closed because of COVID-19, I don’t have access to new things to read. I’m like some grungy medieval scholar, limited to peeling parchment books I own or volumes lent by others.

    So I’m re-reading Faking It because these visions of Nadine that, well, conquer my mind. And finding that art theft is an excellent antidote to virus paranoia! 🙂

    1. I still have a few books from the library I haven’t read yet, but my attention span is kind of shit right now for that. I’m glad Jenny’s into Red, White and Royal Blue though since I rec’d that last week. I’m still rereading it again, intermittently.

      1. Same on the library. Thankfully they extended my card that was about to cancel. All cards that expired or would have before april since the start of the year. thought that was lovely!

  8. Finished Iron Will of Genie Lo. Loved it. It was like an A. Lee Martinez book in its scale and humor, but where with Martinez I tend to only get truly invested in one character per book, F.C. Yee’s way with characterization and relationships is almost exactly to my tastes.

    I managed to find a library still open the day before lockdown hit, so I’m stocked up with 5 more books + 3 graphic novels that will hopefully last through the next 2.5 weeks.
    But here are a couple of posts detailing online options, for when the physical books run out:

    I’ve been especially enjoying the opera series.

    1. Urgh, stay at home is now indefinite, but meanwhile, Scribd is making their online collection of ebooks, magazine articles, and audiobooks free for 30 days!

  9. Looking through all my books in the bookcases, many to read. I bought The Matrimonial Advertisement just now. Thanks, Mary.

    Going to buy paint as we will probably be in home quarantine for quite a bit. May as well clean, freshen up the house. The weeds are growing so there is always weeding. Sun is still shining, that is very good.

  10. Reading the Ellen and Ned books by Jane Smiley. I don’t like some of her adult fiction (grim), but her books about kids are delightful! I had read the first one of these before, but didn’t realize #2 and 3 are available until yesterday.

    If you can read Dick Francis, you will be able to take the heavily horse oriented stories. Start with the Georges and the Jewels to avoid spoilers.

  11. I read and really enjoyed Smoke Bitten, the new Patricia Briggs novel. I was number two on the waiting list at the library for it and was really bummed that they closed the library the day before it came out. So I stalked the e-book section and was happy to snag a copy.
    I also read a couple of mysteries that I thought were okay but I’m not going to look for the rest of the series.

  12. I read David Ahern’s new Madame Tulip mystery, Madame Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree. Just as good as the previous Madame Tulips and I am eagerly awaiting the next one. Mysteries set in Dublin, Ireland, with very mild paranormal elements. Derry O’Donnell is a struggling actress with an Irish father and an American mother and no money at all. Her best friend talks her into creating her own character and telling fortunes at parties. Things get weird from there. Really great characters and interesting mysteries.

    I also ready Battle Bond by Lindsay Buroker, the sequel to last months Sinister Magic, an her new urban fantasy series. Lots of mayhem but I have found them very entertaining.

  13. So agree about the escapist reading bit:)

    For my readers, I offered the prequel ebook from my series for free at Amazon this week (as long as the system would allow). I figure we all need a break now & then from the news and sharing a book for free that was accessible without leaving home was a good thing. And although my series is mystery, the prequel predates my MC’s PI work so less mystery and more light reading for a dose of fun amid reading the news.

    For my own escapist moments, I’m leaning more towards shows/movies. And feeling very lucky that as a writer, my home is set up well for homebound time.

  14. It’s interesting what makes the covid-19 REAL to you, that thing that somehow shocks you. For me the first NO!!! gasp was the cancellation of the NCAA tournaments last Thursday and the second gasp was the first of the area libraries to announce they were closing this past Saturday. I grabbed books from several libraries before they shut and between those, the great piles already here and the kindle, I’m set.

    Between work slowing down a little and social distancing I may have a little more time. The pace of current events is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced.

    The only fiction thing I read this week was recommended to me (not from anyone here). I did not like it. At all. It’s one of those alpha male novels where (1) excuse the hero’s violence–he had a rough childhood and (2) the heroine must blindly trust the hero but he can’t say why and it’s for her own good. Retching sounds here.

  15. Contemporary romance has been my anxiety relief for the past couple of weeks, and I read the new Nalini Singh – Love Hard. Really enjoyed it. The family the series focuses on just always makes me feel good. The couple knew each other in high school and re-connect at a wedding. Understood none of the rugby talk (hero is a pro rugby player), but I didn’t care. Love the characters. There is a scene where the heroine publicly crushes her slimy ex-husband that was hugely satisfying, her competence at work is awesome, and part of her history is that she got detention in high school for beating up a bully twice her size and was never sorry about it. It’s part of a series but it makes sense by itself.

  16. Read Lyssa Kay Adams’ The Bromance Book Club. What a delightful book – a romcom from the male perspective. Super charming and funny and heartwarming.
    Courtney Milan’s Unveiled was good too. I keep waiting for one of her books to convert me to become her fan (she has so many), but so far, nothing bites. She is a solid romance writer, but there is no rapport between us, which only proves once again that art is subjective. Still, I want to read more of her.
    Also read Maggie Robinson’s Lady Anne’s Lover. That one was not for me at all – too much sex, not enough of any other element of fiction. I had trouble finishing it. But if you like erotica, that might be a book for you.

    1. Have you tried Courtney Milan’s contemporaries? The first, ‘Trade Me’, is the best, I think. But I can completely understand why she might not be your cup of tea; and though I do love many of her books, there are definitely some that are duds for me.

  17. I just bought through Amazon Susan Fanetti’s Carry the World on sale for .99 cents. A book similar to JoJo Moyes The Giver of Stars. The story is about a widow during the thirties who joins the Pack Horse Librarian Project delivering books to rural families. I love a good sale.

  18. Books? I can’t even focus on the TV. Keep pausing, wandering away and forgetting what it was I was doing.

    Found out today that someone I had contact with this week was exposed to the COVID-19. Damn it. AND people that were exposed to her are not self-isolating. “The work I do is too important. Someone has to answer the phone.”

    Shit heads.

    I am self-isolating. And if they call me in to work again I’ll tell them to stuff it. The only people who should be there are the ones providing food to kids who wouldn’t eat otherwise. My two cents.

    I’m pissed. SHE KNEW She’d been exposed and came to work anyway. I’m saying all kinds of bad words in my head.

    1. Bit confused about the woman’s job. If she answers phones, can’t she work from home and have the calls forwarded? Even folks who provide crisis phone support can usually arrange a forwarding when necessary.

      1. The woman who has been exposed is a teacher and should know better. The woman who refuses to isolate is the assistant to the principal and basically runs the place. (The job I used to have.) She wants to be there to support the parents. And that’s fine except now she’s been exposed she needs to stay home. IMHO.

      2. One would think phone reps could work from home. The Call Center where I used to work still has everyone coming into work. The have to share desks, and Corona is in the cities where most of the people live. (And techs are still installing services… the reps have to write on the work order: “Cust has Corona Virus, is isolated in home”. The techs who object are told to ‘wear their protective gear’). It’s nice to know how the lowest of the low employees are valued by the company. (sarcasm). (Sorry to offshoot the thread).

    2. That gets a serious What. The. Fuck? That’s really rich from a teacher who should be setting a good example. The admin lady just sounds like she’s on a massive power trip. Support the parents by being a good citizen and not putting other people in harm’s way. Sheesh.

    3. I just talked to my brother, who said he thought the leftist media was exaggerating the virus. I said, “How could two parents have such different kids?” Then we both laughed. He’s self-isolating anyway and so is his family so he’s not endangering anybody, but we’ve been agreeing to disagree for so long that now we just look at each other and sigh. They think this will be over in a couple of weeks. I think it’s going to be September. Good thing we all love each other.

      1. What I don’t understand about that argument is how does it do anyone any earthly good to tank the global economy? People out of work, businesses closed, companies and people bankrupt for what if not real life or death risk?

        1. China’s cases started going down after two months of lockdown, so it won’t be until September. Also, the virus is somewhat dependent on temperature, so as summer rolls in, we get a reprieve. However, that doesn’t mean that the virus won’t come back in the fall, so things will be dicey until we get a vaccine in a year.
          Meanwhile, various labs around the world have been successfully finding treatments for just the symptoms, so it’s not like we don’t get any new technology to combat the virus until the vaccine. The FDA approval process for these treatments will likely take at least 6 months, though.

        1. Yeah, but that got them to Christmas. Imagine if they’d know it was going to be years.

  19. For my trip I grabbed a pile of unread magazines, mostly home garden and decor plus a couple Smithsonians and I’m slowly reading through them. My love of magazines began early. My mom used to get McCalls and she always let me have the Betsy McCall paper dolls. I loved Highlights for Children and my brother’s Boy’s Life. Then Seventeen Magazine Until I discovered Cosmopolitan. I loved the monthlies that had a novels and short stories – most weren’t romances but more woman’s fiction. I can still lose hours in a New Yorker. I had a mom friend acquaintance who invited me to a Woman’s bible study group (I was a stay at home mom at the time and you know how you get gently roped into groups…) who knew I liked magazines. She gently recommended I give up buying magazines as a sacrifice (it wasn’t even lent). Maybe she’d seen my coffee table or something. But I couldn’t even wrap my head about giving them up! I mean, first I thought she was joking. But, no. Then I realized she just might be a bit fruit loopy. Anyway, me and God might have some issues but I don’t think he’d ding me for reading magazines. Anyways. Since I’m not going anywhere I’m savoring them slowly. I pre ordered Elizabeth Hoyt’s new romance that might be first in a new series and it got auto delivered on my kindle. So I’ve got a nicely built TBR pile ready when I run out of zines. Like you all, the daily life has slooooowed.

  20. The last local public library, aka purveyor of fiction, closed this week. I got there on the day of and loaded up with Julia Quinn and Jenny Crusie. They reliably make me laugh and tell good stories about people I care about. These are all re-reads, because I don’t have a lot of extra energy to put into something new and I already know I like them. So far, I’ve gone through Just Like Heaven by Quinn and Anyone But You by Crusie. I think my m.o. has to be giggling through this sheltering in place stuff that my governor is so thrilled about. That he’s right isn’t the point. Even introverts grow fond of and miss people!

    1. Phone calls. Or Skype. Chatting for hours (for free with my phone package) is the next best thing to actually being with people.

      1. PS. What’s App voice calls over wifi also don’t run up any bills (my mobile signal at home is dreadful, so this is the fallback for friends who don’t have landlines).

  21. I adore Red, White and Royal Blue! I’ve read/listened to it 3 times already.

    Because I need something not at all related to my current reality, I’m reading Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians series. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered.

    In COVID news, I’m gathering supplies for a friend who is self-quarantined with her husband who is awaiting test results. I’ll leave them on the doorstep, and keep on texting her so she doesn’t feel completely isolated.

    1. Phone instead! No, really: I’ve felt a lot more isolated since everyone switched to texting as their default method of contact.

      (I feel I’m an expert on social isolation, having lived alone and worked at home for years.)

        1. Not for me. I’ll read anything you write, but I only answer the phone if I’m expecting an emergency call. Voicemail is there for people like me. Phone, not warmer, but more annoying.

          1. Mary Anne, I agree if there’s too much of it. I’m not usually a phone person at all, but now I find myself more reconciled to it. Only for the duration of the virus, of course. Then I’ll go back to not answering it.

  22. I decided that this was probably a good time to reread the DECAMERON. My copy has disappeared, probably long ago, but it’s available electronically.

    One of my Amelia buddies reread Judith Flanders’ A MURDER OF MAGPIES, so I read it too — giggled and snickered and whooped my way through it, and promptly went out and bought the other books in the series. The heroine, Sam Clar, is an editor, and I always enjoy reading snark about publishing. Recommending to all.

  23. I just got the new Katie Fforde book from across the pond, just in time for some escapism. It’s called The Springtime Affair and it is just lovely.

    And Jenny, I know I was supposed to email you the info about my new self-pub release, KING ME!, but I can’t find your email address anywhere. I swear I had one. Maybe more than one. Argh. If you can find mine, email me and I’ll email you back with the info.

    It’s distinctly possible I’m just losing my mind…

  24. Rereading ‘Getting Rid of Bradley’ and ‘Charlie All Night’. ‘Anes and the Hitman’ is still on the pile because ANGER.

  25. This is kinda off topic, but I just saw the release from Audible about their new service – Audible Stories – that they are offering for free. These are stories for all ages from very young listeners to teens and also classics like Jane Eyre or Three Musketeers in six different languages. I’m sure this isn’t done from pure altruism, but for parents looking for diversions for the kids not able to go to school or group sports, an opportunity to just listen to a story instead of watching a screen could be a pleasant change.

    1. Congratulations! And of course you’re reading the judges’ comments. These were obviously very smart people.

  26. I read Patricia Briggs latest, among other things, and while I really love her books, I have the feeling that not much is happening in the last few. We get a bit of Bran over the phone , a bit of Stefan over the phone too this time, a bit of every character. There is a bit of a bitch about Christy, Mercy fixes a few cars with the help of the dark smith and his son and yet overall by the end, once the big showdown is done, we get back to some sort of status quo… There seemed to be much more at stake in the earlier books…

    1. That can happen in a series book — all the previous favorite characters drop in and wave to the reader.

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