66 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 9, 2020

  1. I read HEADLINERS by Lucy Parker in the London Celebrities series and it was absolutely delightful, but probably not a great place to jump in. Two feuding newscasters get stuck trying to revitalize the morning “fluff” broadcast. But someone is trying to sabotage them and they have to work together. .
    . No real mystery. Just absolute rom com escapism with enough grounding in the real world to be believable (for me). Also the characters both adore the kids in their life but don’t want kids and are on the same page about that right from the start. That’s still rare to see in a romance and I like it! (I have 2 kids that I love dearly,but I don’t think children are the be all and end all for happiness in life).

  2. Finally read Knife Children by Lois McMaster Bujold. Really good short story which explores the feelings of fatherhood in a man who only gets to know his daughter when she’s an adolescent. And, the story resolves a conflict left unresolved in the original 4-part series.

    1. Me too! I had to break down and ask my husband to lend me his Kindle and get the dreaded e-book thing from Amazon. Really enjoyed it, although it makes me think there could be many more books set that world that I would love to read. *sigh*

      Not having those, I settled down with Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, which is just a romp throughout. Just finished the delicious Dinner With the Families part, which goes a mile a minute with an overcurrent of emotional introspection by the protagonists, and an undercurrent of competence porn among the older generation and their complicated histories and political maneuvering.

      This is why the author just keeps impressing the hell out of me. Skilful AND deep. And funny, which is a wonderful thing for these weird times.

      1. Capt. Vorpatril’s Alliance is the family book club book for the next meeting. We’ve been working our way through the Miles books, and Ivan gets his turn and then we just … pretend Cryoburn doesn’t happen. la la la la – I don’ want to hear any different.

        1. Cryoburn came out just after my father died which made it even harder to read. I have reread it only a couple of times since but the last time I did, I enjoyed it a lot.
          But I agree Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is a great comfort read alongside the splendid A Civil Campaign of course.

  3. I read The Shattered Court by M.J.Scott. Interesting romantic fantasy novel. It’s well written and a pretty decent plot.

    Irritated by what seems to be a lovely large book split into 3. IT DOES NOT STAND ALONE. It’s not a book with a cliffhanger as much as chapter 1 of book 2, The Forbidden Heir, begins with exactly the last line of book 1.

    Book 3 comes out on 28 April.

    I know that publishers have their reasons. But does market research really show that people would rather buy 3 books at approx $8.73, $2.29, and $4.59 (including sales tax) apiece rather than one large lovely tome of 1016 pages at $15.61??? If anyone can answer, I’d love to know.

    I don’t feel that I need to be gamed into buying a good book. It’s frustrating and likely to ensure that I never buy another series from this cool author until all books in a series are released. 🤦🏻‍♀️

  4. I (proof)read a biography of King John: also a bastard. Am just starting another on the invention of western medicine in ancient Greece.

    I’m not enjoying various films, TV shows and books as much as I usually would. Bailed out of a (probably quite good) sample on my Kindle this morning in favour of rereading Loretta Chase. It’s tricky, because even rereads don’t necessarily have their usual magic. But I definitely need lots of fun and romance right now. Have resolved to watch more romcoms, too. Plus read some gardening inspiration.

    1. Thanks to your recommendations last week I dug out some old JAK’s to read.

      I read Grand Passion, Absolutely Positively & now onto Trust Me.

      Enjoying them a lot !!!

      1. My favorite part is when a heroine admits she reads the ending first. I think that was in Running Hot.

  5. I have a question. I have been tearing through audiobooks lately and am frustrated with the selection from my library. I am considering audible, but am out off by the cost. Is it worth it or are there other options that I can explore? Thanks!

    This week I read Mhairi McFarlane. Both of the books available to me were great. Interesting characters who show growth, and a slower, comforting pace. Recommended.

    1. Do you do it through the app Libby? Quite a few library branches in our area connect to Libby, and I was able to get a variety of cards that expanded the catalogue a ton.

      1. Thanks! I have Libby for both my regional library and local one. I just have very specific tastes and their selection tends to run more toward best sellers than titles recommended here…

        1. Does your library allow you to recommend books through Overdrive every month or so? I’ve found that mine often purchases audiobooks quite shortly after a recommendation.

    2. First, I would suggest seeing if your public library is part of a consortium that might expand your options.

      Hoopla is another app that might give you more options.

      Finally, I am a member of Audible. It has been worth it for me but I can afford it. The majority of the books I’ve gotten from it, have been during the sales. They will often have sales where the audiobooks are $4.95 each, or buy one get one free and you can use your credit. They have a thing called audible originals which now you can get all six for free each month. They tend to be shorter stories in a variety of genres so you may or may not want to listen to them. They have a huge selection. Also if you wish to buy more using cash, there is a members discount.

      1. Thank you! I have Hoopla, which is great, but am limited to 5 check outs per month. I only have three left for this month… Eeek.

        1. Check about the limit because I got an email from them saying that the limit was increased to 10 and that they had “free” borrows that didn’t count toward your limit.

    3. I have an Audible membership and the credits can be used via Amazon as well.

      But since I’ve also been turning my own series into audiobooks, I’ve learned a lot about Audible’s unlimited listening program called Audible Escape. This has a few subscription price points and offers unlimited listening to books in the Escape library for a monthly fee (ranging I think from about $7-$13 but may be different per country). There are some rules to the lending but very basic. Not all audiobooks are in the library, but the catalogue is getting pretty big and seems to offer a lot on the romance side in particular.

      But if you’re thinking more of buying books with Audible credits, I’ve found it worth it for me, though I’m mindful of what I get and check the buying price and length of book before deciding on whether or not to use a credit or do a straight buy (sometimes cheaper and sometimes very cheap add-on if already have a kindle version of the book but want the audio as well).

      Hope that helps:)

    4. It might be worth signing up for audible escape (you pay a monthly fee and can have up to 10 audiobooks from a limited selection at any one time) for a few months?

      I’ve found myself expanding my listening (it was responsible for my currently shelly laurenston addiction as well as an expanded interest in Ann Aguirre and Molly Harper) and generally trying out authors I wouldn’t otherwise have tried.

    5. Hoopla. Overdrive. Libby.
      I know the audiobook of Irish Magic is on Hoopla. My other books were done through audible and I can’t get them into libraries because I chose the wrong option.
      Also Chirp. Through Bookbub has lots of sale audiobooks.

  6. I took a recommendation from last week, and we watched the National Theater’s ( sorry, Theatre’s) production of One Man, Two Guvnors on Youtube. It was so silly, and very funny. I’m not a big slapstick fan, but I have laughed at the sight of someone falling off a horse. (Both were fine.) We all laughed, and it was beautifully relaxing. Maybe these aren’t the times for witty repartee.

    I have two more days to finish a project for the company before the layoffs take hold, so not thinking about new books. Except I am, because, dammit.

    1. I watched it a couple of nights ago, and loved it to bits. Brilliant acting and amazing comic timing, and the script was wonderfully hilarious.

  7. Read a NEW book by a NEW author this week, suggested by a fairly trusted friend. It was ok.

    Out of nowhere, I decided to re-read Francis Hodgeson Burnett’s “T. Tembarom”. It is a delight. For those of you with Kindles, I think she is out of copyright and you can find a free or super cheap bundle of everything. Some of hers were meh, but this one and “The Shuttle” are fantastic, provided you can stand Victorian lack of political correctness.

  8. This week, I’ve read two Danger Cove mysteries, #21, Deadly Thanksgiving Sampler and
    #22, Killer Eyeshadow and a Cold Espresso. Two more to go until the next (last?) one comes out. I’m also in the midst of The Persistence of Dreams in the Ring of Fire series, by Crawford and Waters. I think it’s just a coincidence that Danger Cove mysteries and the Ring of Fire series are “shared universes,” with many authors contributing to the richness of the giant quilt(s) they make. I’m not wedded to that format.

    I also re-read Harmon’s Recursion.

    Tomorrow, I wonder if I’ll be reading a letter of reprimand. I mentioned, yesterday, the way my cow-orkers are treating the pandemic? Last night I emailed the Power Plant Superintendent, telling him the same thing I’ve mentioned here. I told him – and since I copied to all my coworkers, them as well – that if I found the same thing Friday at 4 PM, I would get back in my car and call in well (instead of sick) and go home. One of them could work a double shift. In fact, I said, “The day shift can use their sneeze guards as jock straps all day, and I won’t care, but their faces had better be covered during turnover. If there isn’t room in the office for distancing, we can turn the shift over in the main bay.”

    I may have let my alligator mouth overload my hummingbird butt, but I meant every word.

    Be well, Arghers! Be well.

    1. Risky step — I hope you get away with it. Depends on the personalities involved. And, what state you work in.

      One of the ways employers in “right to work” states clean out their opinionated staff is to set up a “complaints about customers” email box and encourage their workers to use it. My brother did so and was fired the next working day. He was in his 60s, had worked for the company for a decade, and had won “employee of the year” at least 8 times.

      However, unlike you, he did not work for a state or governmental agency. Again, I hope your complaint leads to the changes you demand.

      1. My boss responded to my email thusly:

        Let’s all be professional about the policy put out by the DOC on proper wear of the face mask. We are all adults so there is also no need for the language either. Wearing the mask is not an option. Don’t put anyone else at risk of getting sick. All turnovers will be conducted in the Bay with masks on. Let’s follow the rules Guys and get through this.

        It was emailed to me and all my cow-orkers, and noted on the whiteboard as well.

        Naturally, the butt-head I did turnover with today stood five feet into the bay and forced me to back up so he could leave – but he was wearing a mask until he walked past me.

        1. I was at the grocery today–that was a surreal experience–and they were only letting 150 people in at a time, masks required. One woman showed up without one and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t allowed in. I don’t get it. EVERYBODY is wearing masks. Everybody. What was she missing that she thought she was exempt?

          I also saw guys–always guys–walking near people with their masks pulled down to their chins. Really?

          One big surprise: I couldn’t use my own bags. When I thought about it, that made sense, a little–the virus doesn’t live that long on packages, rights?–and it was no big deal, but everybody is clearly taking things seriously here. All the checkout registers had plexiglas in between the workers and the customer and there was tape on the floors every six feet. But everybody was being patient and polite, so it wasn’t awful. Just surreal.

          Hard to believe there are still people thinking they don’t need masks. Of course, I live in northern New Jersey an hour from NYC, so this Death Central right now, so we’re not fooling around.

  9. Yesterday I picked up the movie Howl’s Moving Castle and watched it. It wasn’t bad and had some good moments but I definitely prefer the book. Afterwards I re-read the book to get my pictures of the characters back in my head.

    1. It’s an interesting adaptation. Definitely its own thing. We’re going through all the Ghibli films on Netflix at the moment and it’s one of my favourites.

  10. I read THE ASPERN PAPERS, by Henry James, something I had never read before. This unexpected foray into literature was prompted by sitting up late one night and catching a new (2019?) movie version of the book, starring Vanessa Redgrave and her daughter Joely Richardson and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He was a bit wooden—isn’t he always?—but the women acted circles around him and I enjoyed the movie. It’s streaming on Kanopy, the service I get free through my library. (For that matter, I found a PDF of the book free online, so this was definitely cheap entertainment.) Now I’m going to dive into some of the cozy mysteries I have accumulated in recent months. My TBR pile runneth over.

  11. I started the Rowland Sinclair mystery series by Sulari Gentill which takes place in the 1930’s in Australia. I am finding it very interesting. My father was born in 1907 in North Dakota and was a miner, a cowboy, a rodeo rider, a butcher, a soldier and a farmer. Also a labor union member. So I once asked him if he ever was a member of the communist party. He never answered yes or no but said that things were different in the 30’s and you went along with what everyone else did if you valued your skin. So these books are filling in a particular period that almost no one in the US talks about other than the Great Depression and life between the wars stuff.

    There are things about how she organized the first one that I am less than thrilled with but I love the characters. In some odd way it reminds me of the Phryne Fisher books by Kerry Greenwood. I have finished the first A Few Right Thinking Men and highly recommend it. I will let you know if the series holds up.

    Other than that I have returned several books to the library that did not seem to grip me and am rereading The Grand Sophy for the zillionth time.

      1. I did a written interview for my Ukrainian publisher’s facebook page a couple of days ago, and one of the questions they asked was, ‘What would you recommend to read during the pandemic?’ I said that I was reading mostly comfort books, and mentioned Georgette Heyer – which Facebook’s often dubious translation-into-English turned into George Heier.
        It also mentioned that I am currently reading “Invitation to Temptation” by Jennifer Crussie.

  12. I read the two latest of Mary Balogh’s Someone series, and liked them. My liking of her work varies from lukewarm to enthusiastic, and these were closer to the enthusiastic end.
    I gave up on C.L. Polk’s Witchmark, which in reviews I’d read sounded like just my thing, and in ways this was so, but after a hundred pages or so–by which point I’ve usually either given up or am enjoying myself–I still couldn’t stand any of the characters, or care what happened to them, so I sent it back.
    I’m having a similar problem with The Flanders Panel. I’m invested in the mystery, so I will finish it, but I dislike every single character so much I’m having to take long breaks from it. At least I’m not having my usual problem with translations of a language I know, and jerking out of the narrative to ask “Wait! What did that Really Say?” which tells me the translation must be really good, and I’m wondering if I could find a Spanish edition and see if I like the characters better that way?
    Could I be getting grumpy in my old age?

    1. I am having the same issue. Life is upside down, and my mood is mercurial, so it is really hard to find something that I can sustain through the entire book. I don’t think it’s age, just the emotions trying to cope with all the strangeness going on.

    2. I had the same reaction to Witchmark, though I finished it. It should have been right up my alley.

  13. Rereading Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy, which I always enjoy. Started reading the new Sarah Maas House of Earth and Blood, but it’s not catching my mood these days. And a quick revisit to Devil’ Cub and Faro’s Daughter.

  14. So far this week I’ve read ‘Return of The Thin Man,’ by Dashiell Hammett (two full-length treatments that were turned into movies, and a short piece that wasn’t; if you want snappy dialogue, step right up, but MAN some dated stuff) and am now re-reading ‘The Masqueraders’ by Georgette Heyer. Expecting that to send me straight to the Stella Riley Georgian romances in my queue.

  15. I read A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet (enjoyed it very much), The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz–recommended by someone here, thank you, and reread Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown. The word pictures that man paints are just so wonderful.

  16. I read The Tale of Briar Bank, another of the Beatrix Potter mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert. Another lovely comfort read.

    Also finished Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate Griffin. It’s the fourth and last in the Kitty Peck series which are dark Victorian-era and definitely not comfort reads, but it’s a fabulous series, and the last book wrapped it up nicely and was therefore comforting to me.

  17. Those Vikings, there’s just no way to loot and plunder without getting a reputation.

    I only managed to read Cotillion by Georgette Heyer this week, but I did appreciate Freddy and his father, being very frank about his surprise engagement.

    1. I read Grand Passion by Jayne Anne Krentz after someone here recommended it. A nice example of romantic suspense.

      I also read mystery called One Woman’s Junk, by JB Lynn, A Psychic Consignment shop mystery. Three sisters inherit a consignment shop owned by their godmother, the woman who raised them, and while scattering her ashes in the ocean they get struck by lightning, which seems to cause some very unusual things to start happening. Also the landlord is trying to evict them and the quirky neighbors from the strip mall in Florida where the shop is located. Also, the circumstances of their godmother’s death start to look suspicious to the sisters, despite it having been ruled an accident.

  18. Nearly at the end of the Brothers Sinister books by Courtney Milan. Great books on every level, but I really appreciate the complexity of the characters. A real change from the standard tropes.

    1. Reading ‘The Heiress Effect’ now and am enjoying it.

      I’ve been unable to read much fiction during the day. I read right before bed. Must be a lock-down thing.

    2. I ADORE Courtney Milan’s historicals. Her modern day series is good, too, but there’s something special about her historicals. I re-read them over and over.

  19. So nice to see other Georgette Heyer fans! I finished re-reading another Regency by Eloisa James. Tonight I picked up Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night for re-reading. Pretty much every paragraph has some beautiful sentence, a nice distraction from real life.

  20. I have THEORIES OF INTERNATIONAL POLITICS AND ZOMBIES, Revived Ed, by Dan Drezner, which had a hysterically funny podcast interview with the author on Lawfare; his newest book, THE TODDLER IN CHIEF, was released a couple of days ago.

    Also new this week is THE GLASS MAGICIAN, by Caroline Stevermer, one of THE ENCHANTED CHOCOLATE POT duo.

  21. I read Circle of Shadows by Imogen Robertson, the fourth book in her Crowther and Westerman series. Mysteries/murders with a great protagonist in the form of Mrs Westerman, a widow with a penchant for solving things.

  22. I read Chase Darkness With Me by Billy Jensen and Pretty Little Killers by Daleen Berry. I love me some true crime when I need a break from fiction.

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