62 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 23, 2020

  1. I’ve been reading a lot of Young Adult Romance lately, which is a genre I read, but not necessarily my favorite usually. I think maybe it feels a little bit more distant from the real world b/c the characters are a different generation from me.
    I’ve been enjoying almost all of it, but the one I would in particular like to recommend is “Castle in the Clouds” by Kirsten Geir. It was set in a slightly faded hotel in the Swiss Alps at Christmastime. The author is German (sadly, I don’t read German so mine is the translation). It just felt a little bit different than most YA, in a good way. It was atmospheric, with a little bit of mystery (that I found easy to solve) and romance. Even though it was contemporary, it didn’t lean heavily on current pop culture or technology. It reminded me a little bit of Mary Stewart or Elizabeth Peters. Maybe that’s not quite a fair since those are two of my favorite authors ever (I didn’t like it quite that much!), but “lighthearted slightly gothic book with romantic elements” is a long description.

  2. Murderbot is great! I hadn’t realised the new one is a novel, not another novella. Exciting! I read Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes which was a fun YA revenge plot book, and Sarah J Maas’s new one which is a fantasy with a LOT of a world but it sucked me in in the end. And then It’s Not Me It’s You by Mhari McFarlane which was also good but UK romance which means it leans a bit more woman’s journey than most US romances I think. But I will check out some of her others.

  3. Today is World Book Day and I wish I had time to read. I downloaded “Not Forgetting the Whale” by John Ironmonger which is supposed to deal with a pandemic and the biblical story of Jonah. But book revisions come first so that I can publish it soon.

    By the way, the European Writers’ Council suggested that authors should honor the day by publishing pictures with their head behind their book, hashtag #behindeverybook and #worldbookday2020. Here’s my Instagram entry: https://www.instagram.com/p/B_UNK8mA1RA/

  4. I want to thank you for the rec of If I Never Met You by Mhairi McFarlane. The main character really grew through the book, and I was really racing towards the end. I’m following up with a reread of Thief of Time because I didn’t want to pick up anything else new.

  5. When I am not reading for work or for my course, I am re-reading your books–last night I finished Faking It and started Welcome to Temptation. Both books are now in 2 pieces and I have a taped-up page that I rescued from the dog. When I get through your books, I will re-read the Rivers of London series. Thank you for your books and this blog!

  6. I dashed off to the Murderbot downloads, but alas am the wrong nationality. Perhaps the price of the third novella will come down once the new book’s published: I balked, and my library wasn’t buying when I asked.

    Reread ‘The Crocodile on the Sandbank’, planning an Elizabeth Peters binge, but then hesitated. Read a couple of near-misses by new-to-me authors, and am currently reading ‘The Thief of Time’. Love the reincarnated abbot. But once again, am not swept away by Pratchett: he’s funny and stuffed with clever ideas, but I don’t get lost in the story. Still, he was a nice balance to Aristotle.

    1. A friend loaned me one of her favs,”I Capture the Castle,” by British author Dodie Smith, who also wrote “101 Dalmatians,” which isn’t what this 1948 pub. is. Journal entries of an almost-18-yr old younger sister, watching her older (gold digger) sister in the midst of all kinds of family craziness. The adjective that kept coming to mind as I read was “charming.” Also funny in places, and some really lovely writing.
      Now down to my last Regency from the library, and it’s not very good–characters aren’t all that interesting. It’s too easy to put the book down and go do something else.

      1. Watched the film with Romola Garai, felt sorry for her, hard to be the sane person surrounded by crazy

  7. Yes! Thanks so much for Murderbot! I shared the link, so hopefully more people in my life will know the joy.

    I was very much enjoying Lucy Parker until I hit what looks to be a Big Misunderstanding very near the end. I will probably still finish it. I know that everything is going to be fine, but am feeling disappointed in the heroine at the moment.

    So I switched to Sarina Bowen’s The Accidentals which I have been putting off because it is YA and I have to be in the mood for that. So far, pretty good. She is a big comfort read go to for me.

    And I bought the next book by Forthright, who is a huge comfort read for me. It was very sweet, if a little darker than her norm. Short, so I did it in one sitting.

  8. I love Murderbot so much.

    I’m currently reading Ruthless Gods (Emily Duncan), the sequel to Wicked Saints – slowly, because it’s a lot to take in. It’s a YA Dark Fantasy (emphasis on dark) with heavy flavor of Russian folktales to it, and the main characters are a bunch of glorious, tangled messes. Highly recommended if you like mysterious gods, blood magic, eldritch horrors, enemies to lovers to enemies to maybe both at once? and that sort of thing.

  9. I reread Thief of Time. Now I want a box of chocolates.

    Was going to listen to N. K. Jemisin’s newest book but wanted something familiar instead so am relistening to a Rivers of London book instead.

  10. Ereading Frederica again and Diary of a Provincial Lady which I put in my Christmas stocking. It is a beautiful little collector’s edition with gold edged pages, blue ribbon marker, embossed cover in pale blue fabric. So pretty.

  11. I downloaded a bunch of free books from Apple’s Bookstore. I don’t know if they’re free anywhere else, but Apple was promoting this list of first books in series for free. Sadly the only one I’ve liked so far was Wedding at the Riverview Inn by Molly O’Keefe, about a guy who builds an inn in the middle of nowhere and desperately needs a chef to handle the fancy wedding that they booked, so he goes to his ex-wife, who has her own problems.

    I also read Dead Witch on a Bridge, and it’s sequel, by Gretchen Galway, a very good urban fantasy novel, about a young woman living in a small town after getting discharged from the Protectorate (supernatural police agency) for having an Incurable Inability. Apparently she’s too squeamish to actually kill things. But it turns out that something big might be up in this small town. My wife loved them as well.

    And if you’ve read any of The Last Oracle books by Melissa McShane, The Book of Havoc, book six is out. A nice entry in the series where the war between the Magi and the demonic Invaders heats up. The first book in the series is The Book of Secrets, about a mundane young woman who gets a job in a bookstore, and when the proprietor gets murdered a few hours later discovers that *she* is now the proprietor of an oracular bookstore frequented by a previous unknown community of magi.

    1. I read those this month and loved them. Was very pleased to see there are more to come.

    2. Gary, am I allowed to say omg thanks? I’ve been a longtime Jenny Crusie groupie since I began writing. Seeing your comment here about Dead Witch was pretty much the best thing to happen in… what day is it? Well, several years at least. Seriously, big thanks.

        1. *fawn* I got to touch the hem of your garment once at RWA. If we meet again, it will be from safe distance, and no hem-pawing. <3

          1. My hem was probably either coming down, muddy, or covered in dog hair, so I apologize now. So nice to see you Argh now.

  12. My most important read was the expired warranty information on my dead refrigerator. The canned sodas, juices, and bottled water were recoverable – everything else contributed to a certain odor. An odor of certainty. That sucker was dead.

    I’ve been online to Lowes, and I ordered an 18 cubic foot replacement for my 10 cubic foot corpse. At least I’m gaining some space. I’m going to miss some of the contents. I’ve had them forev… on second thought, maybe it was time to clean the fridge, anyway.

      1. I wish! The contents are gone (and the trash can stinks instead), but the fridge is still sitting on a piece of plywood on four cinder blocks, on carpet. I’ll take the doors off, then I’ll tilt it off its pedestal onto cardboard and slide it on the carpet. Lowes will haul it away (next Tuesday).

  13. Jenny – off topic but they just announced a Leverage re-boot. Everyone except Nate (Noah Wyle is taking his place) will be back. It is going to be 13 episodes on IMDbTV and the original executive director Dean Devlin is going to involved. Going to be interesting to see if the writing will be as good and the chemistry is still there.

    1. Well, hell, if John Rogers and Tim Hutton aren’t there, the soul is gone. Darn.
      But thanks for the head’s up!

      Also we don’t have topics here, we just have starting points.

        1. They’re not gone, they’re just resting. Maybe I’ll repost them tonight. They needed to be linked and that is a pain in the ass.

          1. I started a rewatch yesterday because the news of the show coming back made me so excited, and so I was looking forward to reading your analysis about why I love them all so much! 😀 Thanks for taking the time, whenever you do!

    2. They could have just given me Elliot, Hardison and Parker and I would have been happy. Like in the Rundown Job

      1. Didn’t they leave it that Parker was running the crew? I’d have tuned in for that.

  14. Been re-reading only. Have some new ones that I am trying to save to make my May “vacation” special. We’ll see if I hold out. Meantime, reading a very silly Peirs Anthony which is undemanding. DH is now reading T. Tembarom, because he saw me enjoying it so much last week.

  15. It was very generous of TOR to offer 4 Murderbot novellas for free. I already downloaded them and re-read the first one. The others will be next. I read nothing new during the last week, but I’d like to share other book-related news, not so uplifting. Some or all of you might know it already, but I only learned about it a few days ago.
    In February, there was a terrible fire at a public library in Porterville, California. The entire building was destroyed, with all the books, and two firefighters lost their lives. The author Anna Lee Huber started a campaign on her website to restock the library, when it is built again. She is asking for book donations. Your can read the details here: http://www.annaleehuber.com/porterville-library/

  16. Still in steampunk mode. Reading a short story collection called Steampunk’d edited by Jean Rabe. Good mix, short entries, perfect for a Read-1-Before-Sleep reading. Already thinking of next read…maybe some good non-fiction a la Bryson or Roach…any thoughts to share for recs?

    1. Sue Hubbell wrote a wonderful book called Waiting for Aphrodite: Journeys into the Time Before Bones. It talks about her growing interest in the kinds of animals that aren’t very appealing to most people but whose histories go back millions of years — things like horseshoe crabs and sponges (and bees, of course). It’s so beautifully written and personal, along with so much scientific information delivered very clearly and simply. It makes you think about evolution and the environment in a quite different way than you did before you read it.

  17. I’ve reread the World of the 5 Gods novels by Bujold, Cotillion by Heyer, and Unseen Academicals by Pratchett. I’d had Heyer’s Sylvester by my bed, but my husband picked it up before I was finished with whatever I was currently reading. I am surprised that he liked it.

    I haven’t felt adventurous for a long time now — if I don’t know a book by heart, I really don’t want to chance reading it. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Fortunately, I have plenty of unread books around for the time when I’m ready for something new.

    1. Comfort reading. Me, too. I want predictable stories, which of course is easiest to get if I already know what happens.

    2. Nothing wrong, it is just effort, you have plenty of comfort reads that will deliver, while a new book takes time and energy and has the potential to disappoint. I’m there too, been re-reading Cotillion this week.

    1. I love that book, but weirdly I only liked it the first time. I read it again and enjoyed it more, and now it’s on my calendar Again pile too. Same with Spectred Isle.

  18. Aaargh! I could only get the last one because each book could only be downloaded for one 24 hour period. 🙁 And given the price of the novellas, it will still cost me almost 30 dollars Canadian to get the first three.

    I also read “You Had Me At Hello” by Mhairi McFarlane. I enjoyed it, and its wonderfully well-written, but I didn’t like it as much as the first one due to the divorce plot.

    I have “Funny, You Don’t Look Autistic,” a biography of an autistic comedian coming up next.

    1. I missed the third one for the same reason and e-mail them, and they’re sending me the file.
      It’s really good marketing because I had no intentions of buying the novel and now I am there for it and talking about it. Very smart, Tor.

  19. I’m finishing the most recent Patricia Briggs book, Smoke Bitten. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it wasn’t as grim as some of the latest ones, and I’ve really been enjoying it. Will be sorry to finish it off tomorrow.

  20. I have dropped everything I was reading to burn through Murderbot again, now that I have my own e-copies. I am number one on the reserve list for Network Effect. That will have to wait until the library reopens, whenever that is.

  21. I’ve been rereading Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith – it’s a mashup of detective and cowboy novels, and is gorgeously written and very funny. Plus the relationship between the two brothers, Old Red and Big Red, is understated and wonderful. I also just discovered that there are another four books in the series, so I’ve bought the boxed set.

  22. I read the latest St Mary’s book (Plan for the Worst) and thoroughly enjoyed it. And ditto the first of her Time Police spin-off series. Now I’m most of the way through book 1 of the Raksura series by Martha Wells and enjoying that too, though not as much as murderbot.

    But my book highlight was Red, White & Royal Blue. Loved it so much that I got to the end and went straight back to the start. Uplifting and brilliantly written.

    1. Same! Read straight through RWARB yesterday, then got up today and read it again. Not good for productivity! But I have it on very good authority that coping = working. 😊

  23. Still working through Courtney Milan. Just finished Turner and started on the Carhart series. I’m also reading (or honestly mostly looking at) Gardens of the High Line – it is both an inspirational garden book and reminds me of a holiday in New York that I would like to repeat when we can travel again.

  24. My book club met last night via Zoom. We all had our glasses of wine, but it was still a weird experience.

    We’ve been meeting for years, and frankly we mostly just catch up more than we discuss the book.

    The book this time was Elin Hilderbrands ‘Summer of 69’. We didn’t love it but we all reminisced about the year 1969 in our lives.

  25. My good news is that I got ‘Thief of Time’ via Overdrive. Nothing but good times ahead !!

  26. I also love the Murderbot series. A while ago they were discounted at Amazon, so I bought them then for a re-read. I had read them as actual books from the library when they first published, and am now listening to them on RBdigital.

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