This is a Good Book Thursday, May 14, 2020

This week I OD’ed on Regencies, not a genre I usually read. But I’d re-read Heyer till I could practically recite the dialogue, so I moved along to Loretta Chase and glommed like mad. Her Olivia must be distantly related to Nadine. Great character.

What did you read this week?

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102 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 14, 2020

  1. Re-reading Death in the Stocks, re-reading Emily Climbs by L. M. Montgomery (I don’t re-read this one often because I have difficulties with how Teddy comes across towards the end of the book, and the whole Misunderstandings thing). Also reading vast quantities of fanfiction.

      1. Agreed. It would’ve been nice to see her dump both Teddy and Dean and sail forth on her own.

      2. By the end of the third book, most of what we get about Teddy is through Ilse and other people, and he starts to look like an insufferable prat through their eyes. I really wish there was more of him in person to counterbalance that.

  2. I loved “Love Lettering” by Kate Clayborn. I was a little nervous to read this one b/c her last books had not worked for me (I’m not a fan of alternating first person in romance, although I’m learning to deal) and this one had so much hype. It also had so much hype I was worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype.
    But it was delicious. It wasn’t mile an minute funny, but I think it was charming. I felt like the three main story elements, a love story, a friendship story, and a love for New York story, fired on all cylinders and complimented each other well. Left me with a bit of a book hangover.

  3. I finished most of the Loretta Chase books fairly recently so I’m just sitting back until the new one comes out in the distant future. It’s Spring so I’ve mostly been reading gardening books. Ordered up the few Christopher Lloyd books I haven’t already read. His conversational, well-informed and opinionated style is just what I need at the moment while I can’t visit other people’s gardens.

    1. I have almost every one of Christopher Lloyd’s books, including one he signed for me. He and Rosemary Verey presented a gardening seminar in Portland decades ago. He still had his historic rose garden at the time and it was clear from the tenor of his comments that it was unlikely to survive much longer because he sounded so bored with it. Rosemary Verey talked of her gardening theories and the work she had done at Highgrove House. She had a picture of herself with Prince Charles and it was clear from the dirty knees on his pants that he really was participating in planting the gardens.

  4. Re-reading Heyer, currently Pistols for Two, except my husband snatched it. That’s a good thing because I read while I’m on the exercise bike. But I have trouble not going back to the book after I finish my exercises. As a result, I’m finishing re-reads too quickly. If I don’t have a book to read, how am I going to ride the bike?

  5. I read KJ Charles’ new release, Slippery Creatures and it was good. I like almost all of her stuff, and this was completely up to standard. Not a favourite yet, but they are books that, like Jenny’s, reward re-reads, so I’m withholding judgement (my favourite otherwise being whatever I have re-read most recently).

    It’s a romance about Will, a soldier who comes back from WW1 and inherits his uncle’s second hand bookstore. Several parties come knocking, looking for info they think he has. There’s a fantastic character called Phoebe (not the love interest). “What I say is, one can be as moral as one likes, but one should have the courtesy to do it in private, like any other bad habit”.

    Warning, the author definitely throws rocks at her MC.

    1. Thanks to whoever recommended it, I also read a KJ Charles book – my first. The Magpie Lord. Made me behave very unreasonable – I read it in two nights (literally nights) and didn’t get enough sleep. Not a good idea when you are on an important project and a deadline…
      But it’s been so long that I found a book that kept my interest enough…

      I must refrain from checking out any other of her books though (too little time)

      1. But all those books to look forward to! Not least, the second two in the Magpie Lord trilogy. Good luck with your project, and catching up on sleep.

        I love how she turns the regency ‘earl’ concept into something original.

    2. I read ‘Slippery Creatures’ last night. 🙂 Had it on pre-order, so I knew it would be waiting for me at the end of the work day. Stayed up much too late to finish it. Would happily re-read immediately, but tonight I’m going to read some more of Agatha Christie’s ‘Pale Horse.’

  6. I don’t remember how I found ‘I Temporarily Do’ by Ellie Cahill (might have been an Amazon suggestion and it’s in Kindle Unlimited). First I was a little wary because of the ‘pretend marriage’ plot but it was really handled well. So I recommend this book and will certainly look for others by this author.

    1. Turns out the e-book is free at the moment. So I immediately snatched it up an look forward to reading it 🙂

  7. I’m re-reading Chaim Potok’s Asher Lev novels for comfort food (chewy, not soft-serve variety) and thinking about visual art (all of which applies to writing as well).

  8. I am still not reading much. But did finally start watching a new-to-me show, and made my rather breathless way through the first season of Killing Eve this week.

    1. I keep hearing that Killing Eve is really good, but where did you watch that first season?

      1. Another vote here for Killing Eve being really good. Definitely worth hunting for. I think it’s originally on BBC and BBC America, and eventually makes its way to Hulu.

    2. Killing Eve is amazing. And I’m not even sure why. In so many ways, it makes zero sense and is totally insane, and yet I keep watching. Third season has already aired on its original platform, and I’m anxiously waiting for when it will show up on hulu (and trying to avoid spoilers).

  9. I finished up Network Effect by Martha Wells last week, and then, even though I had just reread books 1-4 in March, I started back at book 1 and read through all of them (including Network Effect) again. I love Murderbot. Sarcasm, adventure, loyalty, emotional growth, it’s all there and gets better each time I read it.

    As soon as I finished Network Effect for the 2nd time, I thought about starting the series again (rereading books I love has the same effect as stress eating chocolate for me, I think), but I made myself switch over to something else.

    Based on reviews that some of you have given (and you have never steered me wrong), I have now started The Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold. I am not very far into it yet, but I am enjoying it.

    1. If you haven’t yet read Martha Wells’s backlist, it’s worth checking out. It’s a different voice from Murderbot, but I liked the Ile Rien series a lot and I think it’s Wheel of the Infinite, a stand-alone. I liked Cloud Roads too, but wasn’t enthusiastic about the world (although I could see how brilliantly it was built, just not my cuppa). I was really pleased to see she hit the NY Times list with Network Effect. I’ve thought for a long time that she was underappreciated and glad to see her getting the following she deserves.

    2. I have such a book hangover from Network Effect! I was worried about the jump from novella to full length novel, but it was excellent.

  10. I finished Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth. Excellent book, really hoping that the sequels don’t go all Baru Cormorant.

    Been dragging my feet on starting another book because I still don’t know when libraries will re-open. So reading a lot of blogs.

    1. Listened to the Goblin emperor. I had already read it on my Kindle but got it for my husband to listen to, so I “read” it again. I am in pure awe of the narrator. All of the names, titles, place names, etc are very involved and complicated and the narrator handled them all beautifully. I like to listen to some of my books just to hear how some of the names are pronounced. Amusing sometimes how far off I am.

  11. Continuing my love affair with Barbara Kingsolver by listening to Pigs in Heaven while taking my morning walks. I ordered Unsheltered from a local indy bookstore who offered curbside pickup. “Call us from the car and we’ll stick it outside the door.” Felt like a drug deal going down. :^) The Lacuna is on my TBRR pile on the hearth.

  12. I finished Castle in the Clouds last week, thanks to the recommendation from this group. It was terrific Modern Mary Stewart. Curious if her other series read as well as I am not much of a YA reader. Started on Gail Carriger’s Defy or Defend which is a fresh spark of fun. And before sleep reading has been Roald Dahl’s The Umbrella Man and other stories – which struck me as so familiar then i realized several of them had been turned into Twilight Zone or BBC adaptations that I have watched in the past – so smart and slightly dark.

    1. Modern Mary Stewart sounds like it would be a book I’d like to read, but looking for Castle in the Cloud did not return a clear result.
      Which author should I look for?

  13. Loretta Chase’s Last Night’s Scandal is next re-read. Maybe the Dressmakers series again. Looking through the non-fiction books for something. Biographies are always good. Have the memoir by Churchill’s daughter. I should read that.

  14. just finished the latest Anne Bishop Black Jewels book The Queen’s Bargain. It wasn’t bad. Seems as if she is foreshadowing a new war and a new part of the series…

    Finished the latest Anna Lee Huber Penny for Your Secrets with Verity Kent as well. I really enjoyed it. It’s nice to see Verity and her husband figure out a good working relationship where her husband doesn’t attempt to

    Working on Sourcerers by Pratchett.

  15. I’m listening to “Network Effect” as I garden and do chores. The reader give such a good performance of the character I love it. Also reading the Charlotte MacLeod Sarah Kelling series, as I can find free versions of them available.
    Just found a really fun site, cozy-mystery.com, which lists the authors’ series in order, which I really like. I had no idea I was so rigid!

    1. I haven’t listened to Network Effect yet, but I’m a huge fan of Kevin R. Free’s reading of the novellas. Loved what he said in an interview about approaching the books as “coming of age” stories for Murderbot.

      1. I have the 4 Murderbot novellas and just finished listening to them thru RBdigital
        an app I get from the Free Library of Philadelphia.

        Kevin R Free was great !!!

  16. I am rereading Judith Flanders Sam Clair mysteries. If you like mysteries with snark, you will like these. If you like Sarah Caudwell (Thus was Adonis Murdered) and Murderbot, the voice is somewhere between the two. Sam is a forty-something editor for a London publishing house and I love her take on it (“I know they [the marketing department] can’t spell. It’s just always a shock to find they can’t cut-and-paste either”). There are four books in the series so far. The characters are interesting. There is a time line but they can easily be read out of order.

    As soon as I finish my reread, I am heading off to read the new Penric novella.

  17. I seem to have slowed down this week. All I’ve read is ‘Frederica’ and ‘Black Sheep’, which I’ll finish tonight. Got an economics book to proof-read, due tomorrow, so will need more fun to balance it. Maybe the new K. J. Charles: sounds good. Plus I can make the type big on the Kindle if I want, which I may if the proofs have a lot of notes.

      1. PPS. My friend’s out of hospital. Apparently they thought a tumour or an abscess might have caused the cellulitis, but there was no sign of them. Hopefully it’ll go away once she finishes the antibiotics. Luckily her grown-up daughter lives with her, and is taking care of her. This has been a good day.

      2. I read all five in that mini-series. Was that Rupert and Daphne in Egypt? I love that kind of con man character.
        Was it Lord Perfect that was Benedict and Bathsheba chasing Olivia and Peregrine while they searched for treasure? The kids made that one for me, and the they were grown up in Last Night’s Scandal, such a great title. I loved Olivia saying, “I’m always last night’s scandal,” as if it were no big problem, liberating her to do whatever she wanted because she was always getting fingers pointed at her anyway.

    1. I like both of those a lot.

      I have to reread Devil’s Cub because Krissie and I are having an argument about rakes, and we’re both citing that one.

      1. Hmmm yes. Thinking back (it has been years….) I suspect I would not find Dominic as adorable now as I did back in my dewy romantic youth.

        1. I just re-read this last night, and he’s a good guy.
          He shoots a highwayman who holds a gun on him to rob him, and another guy in a duel the guy asked for, and he invites Sophie to go to Paris with him but he never promises marriage. He’s respectful to his father, and loving to his mother, and he’s good to his friends, and he doesn’t cheat at cards. When he finds out Mary has tricked him, he’s angry and rough, but as soon as she shoots him and he realizes she’s a moral woman who’s afraid, he says, “We’ll have to get married,” because he’s not the kind of a guy who would ruin a good woman. And then he spends the rest of the book trying to marry her and keep her from ruin. He holds up very well.

          1. When did you change your opinion? At the start of this Heyer read-a-thon you said that Devil’s Cub and These Old Shades (his parents’ story) were your least favorite of her romances. That stuck in my mind because they are 2 of my 3 all-time favorites and I wondered what you saw that I didn’t. So now I’m curious as to what changed your outlook.

          2. No, I didn’t. I don’t think I said “least faves,” but if I did it wouldn’t be those. That was somebody else.

            I’m not crazy about The Corinthian (?) because of the age difference and the fact that the heroine is portrayed as such a child (17/31). The Reluctant Widow and Bath Tangle are not favorites. But Devil’s Cub and These Old Shades are good books.

          3. I did a search, and the only thing I could find was a discussion of Alpha heroes where I said this:

            “That line has always been there, of course. Some of my favorite heroes have crossed it; I’m thinking Devil’s Cub where the hero assumes the heroine is a loose woman trying to trap him into marriage and tries to rape her and she shoots him, which makes him realize, as he bleeds out, that he assumed wrong. It’s not enough that he apologizes on the point of death, but it’s something. (He lives and adores her for the rest of his long life. Still a potential rapist, though. Dickhead.)”

            And I specifically cited him as one of my favorite heroes.

            Somebody else said that.

            Edited to add: I’ve searched and I can’t find anybody anywhere who said that. Do you know where you read it?

          4. No, I don’t remember. I can go back through old Good Book Thursdays and look, but if you didn’t find it in your search, chances of me finding it in my present brain dead state are not great. I think it was in a discussion of rakes, but since I also think it was quite a while ago, who knows how reliable my memory is?

            I apologize for misquoting you. I think that someone else must have said it and because you have been rereading and discussing so much Heyer lately, my memory attached the opinion to you. Perhaps I should go back through my Jenny Crusie file and see what I can find.

            The reason it rankled, whoever said it, is that every time I am forced to clean out my bookcase, I can never bring myself to donate the crumbling copies of These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub that I bought in London in the beginning of 1977. They both are a bit brown around the edges and have loose pages, I can’t bring myself to retire them.

  18. Going back to childhood favorite (and beloved read-alouds with our own kids) Elizabeth Enright. Just finished Gone Away Lake and am looking forward to my Return to Gone Away tonight.

    I was startled to find we don’t own The Saturdays etc. – may have to try our local bookshop’s curbside pickup.

    1. No Fourth Storey Mistake? I don’t think Elizabeth Enright was as popular in the UK. I read Fourth Storey Mistake in school, but it took some research and a trip to the US as an adult to get hold of a copy (before amazon)

      1. Oh, definitely! I was just too lazy to type out the whole series: The Saturdays, The Four-Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two.

  19. I’ve been re-reading some Jayne Castle novels and they hit the spot this week. I’ve read her work in her other names and enjoyed them but the Castle novels are the only ones I purchased. They’re light and there is just something about those dust bunnies. My favorite is Dark Light and I also read The Hot Zone and Siren’s Call this week.

  20. Iread the 8th Penric novelette. Loved it.

    But I have what I hope is a helpful PSA. Everyone told me all I needed for grocery shopping was a face mask/sneeze guard. They lied. Everyone else in Food Lion was wearing clothes.

  21. I devoured Network Effect (Murderbot) and then started in on the latest Lois McMaster Bujold Penric novella, but I’m having a little trouble settling into it (even though it’s only a bit over 100 pages) because it’s just a little too close to current world (an unexplained disease running through a fort). I was warned (from last week’s Good Book Thursday), so I knew about it going in, but it’s still been challenging. I’m confident that the book will at least have a happy ending, unlike the real world.

    Meanwhile, I was happy to hear today that another Murderbot novella is slotted for next April, and it’s a murder mystery. Kinda’ the best of both worlds for me.

    1. I just can’t justify the cost of the ebook – but am on my libraries wait list for Network Effect. I am #33 of #72 on the wait list for the 8 copies they have as an ebook.

  22. I too just finished Network Effect, and it was everything I love about Murderbot and more.

    I’d also like to thank whoever recommended To Say Nothing Of The Dog (last week or the week before?) because I’m about 1/3 of the way through it and enjoying it immensely. Though I have to say, the bit where the poor narrator is apparently never going to get any sleep is hitting just a bit too close to home…

  23. I was going to read Murderbot but continued with Pratchett’s witches-Witches Abroad. Murderbot will be there but I’ll have to decide if I want to go back to the first and read them all through or read the lastest and then go back and read them all. I’ve also been rereading some dust bunny books.

  24. I love the number of people on this site, starting with Jenny, who re-read books they love on a regular basis. I started re-reading the Others series by Anne Bishop, and it’s comforting me tremendously. Not just the community in and around the Lakeside courtyard, but also somehow the fact that the protagonist and others in the book are facing great hardships and managing to stick together and overcome them.

    1. I’m rereading a lot, like so many other people. I realised the other day that, apart from comfort, it’s because starting a new book takes a certain amount of energy, of which I don’t have a lot to spare at the moment. I can do it occasionally, but sometimes I just want to sink back into an old favourite, which hardly takes any energy at all.

  25. I have not read anything new this week, or rather I haven’t finished anything new. I’ve been reading a great many gardening books, but only in bits and pieces, even ones like Rex Stout’s sister Ruth Stout’s How to Have a Green Thumb without an Aching Back which I have read who knows how many times. This spring I’m just picking up gardening books and going from one to another.

  26. I got to read Nan Reinhardt’s ARC of The Baby Contract (contemporary romance, 4th in a series although it could be read as a stand alone). Took some standard tropes and really made them shine. I finished it at 2:30 in the morning 🙂

  27. I read a new author for the first time in forever (except memoirs).
    Evvie Strikes Back by Linda Holmes. Romance perfect for now – not light but won’t bruise you.
    As I commented earlier JAK’s new book Close Up is good.
    Reading Crazy Brave which is a memoir of sorts by Joy Harjo. Really good but it might bruise you.

    1. I really loved Evvie Drake. Especially the cereal races. At least I think I remember that it was giant cereal boxes the kids had to leave in. Such a great set piece.

    2. Thanks for reminding me about Linda Holmes’ book. I really admire her work on NPR and especially her thoughtful writing about popular culture issues. I’ll have to check it out.

  28. I read Badger to the Bone by Shelley Laurenstone. I love the badger books, I think because they are light and snarky and irreverent and don’t take themselves seriously which is just what I need right now.

  29. I have been enjoying a new one, THE WIZARD’S BUTLER by Nathan Lowell — our hero discovers that he rather enjoys being a butler after three tours in Afghanistan, for an elderly wizard having problems with dementia.

    Also, many thanks to the person who recommended THE DALAI LAMA’S CAT!

    1. I rather enjoyed The Wizard’s Butler. It was a little slow and the plot was mostly about the greedy relatives trying to have their elderly relative declared incompetent so they could get their hands on his money, but I regarded those as pluses. YMMV

    2. Thanks for the recommendation, Ann. I read The Wizard’s Butler last night and enjoyed it. I’d almost call it a cosy – there’s a lot of his daily routine as a butler, which he clearly finds comforting, and is enjoyable to read, as well as the overall plot of wizard/nasty niece.

      1. The flavor rather reminded me of the late Dorothy Gilman (Mrs. Pollifax books), especially THE CLAIRVOYANT COUNTESS. I finished it last night and it looks as if it’s likely to be the first in a series, which may be fun.

  30. Started the first Vimes book and plan to work way through all of them.

    So far, excellent.

    Also re-reading Bet Me, which I lent to someone and never got back so I bought a brand new one. Excellent as well.

  31. I read The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay. Thinly disguised Vikings, Welsh and English with a bit of fantasy thrown in, a huge great book, and every bit of it completely gripping.

    On the other hand, I started a book that was described as ‘a romantic suspense cosy spy-thriller-mystery’. It was a first novel, so I was prepared to give it a bit of leeway. And the premise was fun and the beginning was okay. But it just kept getting worse and worse, and the dialogue got clunkier, and people kept getting murdered in really horrible ways WHICH IS NOT THE LEAST BIT COSY. And in the end I couldn’t bear to read another however many hundred pages of it. I wish people would be more careful with their tags.

  32. I read Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie, and am now pulling out the mysteries books she set in that part of the world such as They Came To Baghdad.

    Prior to that I read The Domestic Revolution by Ruth Goodman, about the shift from wood to coal as a domestic fuel source in the UK. It’s absolutely fascinating and a must read for anyone thinking about writing an historical novel. Lots on how fuel affects house design, the food you cook, cooking pots and cleaning. And as a result we’re working our way through all the living history programmes Ruth has featured in, starting with Tales from the Green Valley. They’re all available on YouTube.

    1. Victorian Farm (my current binge) and some of the others are available on Amazon Prime as well. And once you start searching, you will go down a veritable rabbit hole of shows to watch.

  33. Other than the new Murderbot (long! wonderful! satisfying!), I just re-read mysteries this week. DH is on a Francis Hodgeson Burnett binge, but i did distract him with a Patricia Wentworth, because he heard me enjoying it so much..

  34. So much comfort reading, Discworld, Going Postal, Making Money, The Truth. I listened to The Nonesuch & Faro’s Daughter on audiobook, very good as I haven’t read them for ages, so ended up sewing to them.

  35. Speaking of rakes and Heyer-esque good historicals, has the author Patricia Veryan ever been recommended? A search didn’t bring up any results, so…

    Time’s Fool, the first of the Jewelled Men series, was my on-ramp book, but I recommend Some Brief Folly if you want just 1 to try (labeled as part of a series but can be read as standalone).

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