67 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 28, 2020

  1. I read The Goblin Emperor for this first time this week. Wonderful book, I’m looking forward to a re-read.

    This week I’ve ended up reading all new books – starting with The Goblin Emperor, then Susannah Nix, Remedial Rocket Science plus the 3 books after that in the series (loved reading about smart chicks), interspersed with the first and second books in the KJ Charles Magpie Lord series, and all of these have come from recommendations here! So thank you!

    (I’ve just realised how much I’m flipping between genres, I’ve now moved to Melinda Leigh, Cross Her Heart, which is a murder mystery.)

  2. I binge read the rest of Martha Wells books, or anyway, all of them that were on Kindle. I loved the Raksura books every bit as much as Murderbot. She’s brilliant.

    1. She is brilliant! I’ve thought for at least ten years that she was wildly under-appreciated. Glad to see her getting the recognition she deserves.

    2. I am So Pleased more people are reading Martha Wells – I love all of her stuff, with especial affection for the Fall of Ile Rein. A dear friend loves the Raksura best, and one kid is completely smitten with Murderbot – SO MANY EXCELLENT BOOKS!!!!

  3. I had some decent reads this week, but my favorite was actually a listen ;-). I read “Well Met” by Jen Deluca last year and really enjoyed it. It’s a romance (heroine only POV first person) and it’s set in a Ren Faire. It’s funny and cute without trying too hard to be “wacky.” The only recent thing it reminds me of is “Love Lettering” another favorite.

    I loved that both the hero and heroine are both fairly ordinary people. No one is royalty, or a billionaire, or has a secret destiny to save the world. She’s a college dropout and a bartender who is trying to find some purpose after a bad breakup. He’s an uptight high school English teacher who spends his summers at the Ren Faire as a swaggering pirate. The way they start out as antagonists and slowly get to know each other is delicious.

    There are some misunderstandings, but nothing I found egregious. And it personally has one of my favorite “oh, no he’s hot” realizations of all time. And and! it’s a small town but it’s not overly cutesy. (There is a bookstore, which is my kind of small town. The one I grew up in had no bookstores. Just bars and meth labs.)

    I needed something really calming and predictable to listen to this week, so I checked the audiobook out on a whim even though I almost never re-read anything. And it made for a delightful experience. The reader, Britney Pressley, has a young, “light” sounding voice and I was worried she wouldn’t be able to do the hero’s voice convincingly, but she did a great job (I thought). I make no promises about her English accents. But she is doing Americans doing English accents, so if they’re not great that’s still authentic to the story 😉

    Sorry for the rambling recommendation. As a matter of a fact, I may go for a walk and relisten to my favorite parts again. I really just want to live in this world right now.

    1. Ooh, I read a kindle sample of that and put it away only because £8.49 but you have reminded me why I liked it…I may have to go for it after all. The sample stops before you get to the swaggering pirate, which sounds irresistable!

      1. I feel like you get two heroes for the price of one in a delightful way. 😁
        When I read M/F romance, I generally feel like the heroine is my best friend and the hero is the guy who better have his stuff together to show himself worthy of my awesome friend who I want to protect.
        And don’t get me wrong, I love Emily the heroine. But when I say Simon/Ian might be my book boyfriend, that’s not a term I throw around lightly. 😉

    2. The second book in the series, WELL PLAYED, is scheduled for release in September 2020. Make a note of it, or can be preordered at Amazon.

  4. I went to bed early last night so I could finish up the last of Network Effect, the Murderbot novel. I loved it. I’m now sad I lent my novellas to a friend so I can’t reread those right away. Luckily there is always a stack of TBR waiting for me (and I’ll add to it after reading everyone’s comments today).

    1. I finally reached the head of the hold list for Network Effect and read it Tuesday, and yesterday. I’ve sometimes turned from the end to the beginning to read an especially appealing book again right away, but this is the first time I’ve done it three times.

  5. I read my first Loretta Chase novel and followed it with another Loretta Chase novel. I’m now reading Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston. It is well written, but I’m having a hard time staying focused on it.

    Jenny talks about an author’s contract with the reader. I think the problem is that I’m not sure what I’m reading, so I’m not sure what to be hoping for and that is keeping me from being excited about getting to it. Is it a coming of age story? Is it a gay romance? Is it something else? I don’t know. Which makes me think that part of the issue may be that there is no antagonist, maybe? I’ll definitely finish it, so I’ll find out soon.

  6. Not a book, but a 6-year-old YouTube video of a Deutsche Welle English language interview with a young woman who looked like the daughter of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. It was absolutely gripping, in that the young woman was serious and thoughtful in all her answers and the way she listened to the interviewer, and told an extremely touching story about discovering her connection to a war criminal.

    I’ve always disliked people who interview in the style of Charlie Rose — sentence after sentence of prologue and opinion, moving towards a brief leading question. The man interviewing this woman did his questioning in that way, and interspersed his long questions with intros to other pieces of film (that were redacted from this video for copyright reasons), but her answers were always framed like a writer would explain something. Clearly, simply, and introspectively. I would like to read the book she wrote about her story, too, but this interview was second best.


    1. Her book is My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family’s Nazi Past. I recommend it.

    2. Gripping indeed. Jennifer Teege could be any woman. A woman who is intelligent, intuitive, and blazingly open and honest and who happened to find out her grandfather was a high-ranking war criminal.

      Of particular interest to me was her take on the nature of man relating to good v. evil. She said she thought people were born as a blank [slate]. I myself am much bleaker (thank you Original Sin training) but her story–and who she is–gives me hope. I’m definitely getting her book.

  7. I was trying to explain competence porn to the House Guest last night. I think I’m going to have to show her Leverage.

    Finished reading a cozy mystery by Krista Davis, which was okay, and I’m continuing on my reread of Dorothy Gilman with The Clairvoyant Countess. Lovely.

  8. Sorry, I’ve been away–super overloaded with editing work right now. In the 10 minutes before I fall asleep at night, I’ve been reading a fascinating time travel romance called “Dear Maude.” These people are traveling all over time from 1892 to 2125… cool concept and well done. It was free on Kindle and still is, I believe. I’ve read one and I liked it enough, I may order the next one… or maybe just order the trilogy, which is on kindle for like six bucks. Anyway, fun story.

    1. Yesterday I was reading in SBTB’s a HABO (help a bitch out) that is a column where anyone can ask a question to help them find a title and or author of a book that they read a while back. It was regarding a time travel romance. In one of the answers back a woman had a list of time travel books and authors. I started to go through it scrolling away and scrolling on and on, just to see if any I read were included. I got as far as almost 400 books. The nineties was a pretty good decade for that genre. Myself I have only read a handful, Outlander (recently), Nora Roberts wrote a couple and just a few more. Wonder what the twenties will bring.

      Today I started Hello, Summer by Mary Kay Andrews. I must have been the first on my library’s e-book list for her new book, yay me.

    2. Okay, I’ll bite.

      I love time travel, when it’s handled well (e.g., Connie Willis). Sometimes, it can be a mess, when the author hasn’t a clue.

      Got it.

  9. I’ve newly discovered Lilith Saintcrow, and ran through her duology that started with The Hedgewitch Queen. Also have her fantasy under S C Emmett called The Throne of the Five Winds, and her western The Damnation Affair. She also blogs, which makes me always super happy!

    1. The Hedgewitch Queen and it’s sequel are fabulous. I never knew she wrote under the name S C Emmett, I’ll have to look those up. She has an excellent YA series (trilogy) under Lili St. Crow.

      1. Seems like a pretty new series! She talks about it all the time on her site, so I think just a publishing preference to have a penname.

  10. I reread Beauty by Robin McKinley this week – such a comfort read. Now I’m onto Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, but I’m finding the authorial voice a bit too smug and annoying.

  11. I’ve been reading…the Murderbot novellas, from the first all the way through, then I’ll listen to the new novel again.
    I’ve been trying to finish The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, but it is slow and melancholy, so I’m not sure I’ll make it.
    I have Terminal Alliance by Jim Hines reserved from the library, which I believe I heard about through this site.
    Got a haircut. Hallelujah!

  12. This week I read “Beach Read” by Emily Henry. She writes romances, he writes literary fiction and they challenge each other to try writing in each other’s style. I normally don’t like it when writers write about writers because it’s so interesting to them and dull to everyone else but actually the central conceit works well and the conflict is more about the characters’ general philosophy of life than their jobs.

  13. Depending on the device at hand, I am reading Georgette Heyer’s Greatest Hits – quite enjoyable after all, and I’ve joined the throng of Murderbot Readers.

    On another device, I’m re-reading Patricia Wrede’s A Matter of Magic. Weber’s On Basilisk Station marks the start of an Honorverse re-read. No rush on that one – too many books, and the later ones make good door stops. Reader’s Digest should condense them… to novellas.

    1. I forgot to mention finishing Shaman of Karres. Someone asked for a recommendation – I can give it no more than 4.3 stars. It’s about Karres, or at least it is about Captain Pausert, Goth, and the Leewit aboard the Venture with crewman Vezzern. Sometimes. Things happen. Magic is sometimes involved. Fun.

  14. I read “Mildred Budge in Cloverdale,” which reminded me so much of the Miss Read books my mom used to read (only not British). I admit to skimming some of it because it was wordy, but I loved the not-really-simplicity of the story. It’s the first book in a series, and I’m going to read more.

  15. I discovered Sharon Shinn had a fantasy romance trilogy that I had never read, starting with Echo In Onyx. Really good. The a third world sort of regency fantasy but the only magic is the Triune Goddess has gifted the high nobles with Echoes. Which are like people who mimic the originals every move. The main character in the first book gets a job as a ladies maid to the daughter of the governor of a fractious province who has three echoes. The more echoes the higher your status. But then the crown prince sends for her to consider making a political marriage and things go downhill from there.

    I also read The Entity Game by Lisa Shearin. A mystery where the main character and her grandfather are psychometrics who run P.I. Firm specializing in art forgery and theft, but end up investigating the murder of a U.S. Senator. Pretty good.

    And I stumbled across a Prime Reading selection on Amazon, which was free to read for Amazon Prime members, so I downloaded Hot and Badgered: A Honey Badger Shifter Romance (The Honey Badger Chronicles Book 1) by Shelly Laurenston. It was freaking hilarious. Kind of violent, but absolutely hilarious. I’m reading book two now.

      1. They were a bit dark, but I really liked the main characters in each one.

  16. The first read this week was Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch. An English heiress falls for a sexy highlander and moves with him to raise their family. After the birth of their fourth child and only daughter, she can’t take the isolation and moves back to London with the daughter. When the daughter turns 18 and gets engaged, the mother decides that it is time she reclaimed her place in her sons’ lives. She then sends word that she will not release the funds needed to maintain the ancestral lands unless they marry English women.
    The sons are none too happy about the machinations, but move in with the Countess and try to get to know their little sister again. Once there, the middle brother discovers that his sister’s fiancee has been taken in by a card sharp who demands the fiancee’s sister’s hand in marriage to repay the debt. Despite being aghast at the possibility of his sister marrying a person who would wager away his sister, he decides to see what can be done about it.
    In order to do so he has to go to various clubs and gambling hells which makes the wagered sister very nervous as well as the preconceptions they each have about the other one’s lifestyle and character. Sorting it all out and getting to know the real person behind their social roles make this an engaging read.
    In that book there was mention of how the whole family came together to rush the youngest son and his love off to Gretna Green when her parents were holding out for an earl. That lead me to read the first book in the series, It’s Getting Scot in Here, which I also enjoyed. It was another successful escape from the frightening day to day news.

  17. I finally started Murderbot ‘Network Effect’ and I’ve been staying up way too late reading it. I really want to make it last a couple more days.

    Then I’ll pick up something else TBD and then, maybe, all the Murderbots.

  18. Re-read:
    Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. It’s probably my favorite of all her books. The heroes are older. He is 50. She is 74 (galactic). There are no fights, no battles, no intrigue. Just a gentle comedy of sci-fi genetics and a triumph of hope and love. Not a romance, but a true love story with subtle humor. Cordelia at her best. I adore Cordelia.

    New this week:
    Patricia Rice’s Dixie Rebel was an OK contemporary romance. Nothing special.
    Susannah Nix’s Intermediate Thermodynamics is #2 in the series. I loved it. I’ll definitely read more of this series. I already bought #3. It’s sitting on my Kindle, waiting. The anticipation is sweet.

  19. Well, I also am part of the Murderbot reading crowd! The second time around was just as enjoyable as the first. I’ve put the novel on my wishlist and when I have the guts to pay $15 Canadian for an ebook I’ll go for it!

    Just started “Say Yes to the Duke” by Eloisa James. She never disappoints. 🙂

    1. I was so enraptured I bought it without wincing AND preordered the one coming out next April.
      But then I got all the novellas for free from Tor, bless them, so I owed them some coin.

      1. I preordered it last week along with the new Jim Butcher Battle Ground coming out in September. So you are not alone. Speaking of Butcher, a few months ago, I also preordered the Jim Butcher Peace Talks coming out in July. 2 new Butcher books to read soon. I’m excited!

  20. I reread K. J. Charles’ Magpie Lord trilogy, but stopped there because I wanted to be in a lighter world, especially since the day job was ‘Reflections on the Guillotine’. So I switched to Susan Elizabeth Phillips: Call Me Irresistible, and now The Great Escape. Not my favourites of hers, but that also means they’re not as familiar; and they’re doing the job.

    1. I think my favourite SEP is “Ain’t She Sweet.” And it only became my favourite after a re-read. I didn’t like Sugar Beth that much until the end of the first read, so on a re-read it was easier to like her right from the start.

      1. I felt the same, and I do like that one. But my favourites are ‘Breathing Room’ and ‘Natural Born Charmer’.

  21. In the past week I read two M/F historical romances that I didn’t think were very good at all and basically only finished because in each case it was close enough to bedtime that I didn’t want to start a new book. When I logged them in my journal I wrote myself a note: if not thoroughly engaged at 10%, DNF.

    Then I read Cat Sebastian’s ‘The Ruin of a Rake,’ which I totally loved. After that, Aaron Elkins, ‘Twenty Blue Devils,’ which I’ve read before but it was on sale. Then M. Ruth Myers’ new short story in the Maggie Sullivan series, ‘The Deadly Redheads.’ And then I re-read KJ Charles’ ‘Slippery Creatures.’ Clearly I have limits for New Material right now.

    Yesterday I started reading a thing that I think I will like, but tonight I am too tired for a new book. I am going to get off the computer now instead of sitting here till 11:00 obsessively staring at the latest thing I’m writing. And I’m going to re-read ‘The Ruin of a Rake’ as a reward for finishing an important thing at the day job.

  22. I’ve just read THE SHOOTING AT CHÂTEAU ROCK, the latest in Martin Walker’s series about Bruno, the chief of police. I’ve liked most of the books and like this one, too. Bruno gets through an amazing amount of home cooking as well as crime . . . .

    Not out yet, but Kerry Greenwood reported that she has finished the proof corrections for the newest Phryne Fisher, with a working title of DEATH IN DAYLESFORD. She’s about to begin a new Corinna Chapman. I’m delighted, since all the books took a back seat to the admittedly excellent three season series and recent movie (THE SPOTTED DOG excepted), and I’m glad to see them in production again.

  23. I’m rereading The Spring of the Ram, which is the second book in Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Niccolo series. The writing is wonderful, and the book is fascinating, but it’s so intense in parts that I have to take occasional breaks from it and read something not so emotionally demanding.
    So I’m also rereading the Penric and Desdemona novellas, and leading up to the new one. And I’m currently reading Patrick Ness’s Burn, which is as intriguing as all of his books. And as unexpected in the directions it takes. What I thought was going to be the climax actually happened in the middle of the book, at which point everything swerved in a completely different but utterly convincing direction.

  24. Your books were featured in a SLATE article on 5/22/20 about books to get through the quarantine with. You were under RomCom and they mentioned Fast Women, Faking It, Bet me and went into raptures about Welcome to Temptation. May you gain many new readers and sell lots of books from the publicity. Congratulations!

  25. Forgot to mention it, but I followed up the reference to Fated Mates podcast and its episode on BET ME. Their site referenced another site:

    HISTORY IN THE MAKING: A Guide to Category Romance Series (1965-1989), where Rob Imes links to lists of category romance from most of the various lines from the period. Worth checking out if category is your thing, or if you have been wondering if it was possible to identify that book you read decades ago, and all you remember is which now-defunct line published it.


    1. Did anyone notice that on the book covers from the time period the couple, with the exception of a few, were buttoned up to the neckline for the men, no six packs, and no heaving bosoms for the women?

      1. I once gave an after-dinner program on category book covers and how you could identify the degree of steaminess by the neckline on the heroine and hero — steamy couple in front, blizzard in the background always left me shaking my head — but mostly it was the lower the neckline and where the hero’s hands were; those were the tells. At the heroine’s waistline was medium, the farther up or down, the steamier.

        My mother came with me and was especially tickled as I’d gone to the second-hand bookstore and brought back an armful of samples to use to illustrate the points and then gave them away. They all went.

  26. I have a question that is baffling me. Just got an ad/email from Barnes & Noble plugging various upcoming summer books including a group of Cozy Mysteries. Every one of them (I think — at least based on title or one-sentence description) started with a murder.

    WHY is murder part of the formula for these books? I get that there’s an urgency about solving the question of who did a murder, but why is that the only foundation for a book that’s otherwise cozy? No archaeological conundrums? No serial thievery of valuable things? No smugglers/drug dealers/rascally politicians? I want to try a cozy mystery, but I find the murder thing really irritating, since I don’t get it.

    (Thanks for tolerating my irritation…)

    1. I think a murder is a given for any mystery, just as a love story is a given for any romance.

      I mean, technically, finding a community is a romance, establishing a loving relationship with a child is a romance, or at least they’re love stories.

      My theory is that it’s because anything short of murder isn’t an attack on society and community. Theft and other crimes are violations, annoyances, injustices, but they don’t strike at the heart of humanity the way taking a life does.

      But that’s just me.

      1. In the cozy, I understand, several murders can take place, but nothing is allowed that might shock the cat.

  27. I finished listening to Witches Abroad by Pratchett. I also listen to the novella Lucky Suit. It was cute.

  28. I finished the last of the Queen’s Thief series last night; Thick as Thieves, by Megan Whalen Turner. I hate it when I finish the last in a series and have to come back to reality. The actual final book in this series comes out in October and I can’t wait to read it.

    I have started Sharon Shinn’s Echo series but am not very far into the first one.

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