This is a Good Book Thursday, August 27, 2020

I’ve been reading a lot of new romances and old favorites (went back to Murderbot again). Reading the new romances is reminding me why I like the genre and why it so often doesn’t work, so that’s been helpful. And Murderbot is just comforting. Just started Allie Brosh’s book, Hyperbole and a Half and so far it’s as funny as her blog.

What are you reading?

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67 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, August 27, 2020

  1. I’ve just started reading Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff. I really enjoyed the first in the series, and so far Aurora Burning is rollicking along at a clipping pace. And I’m re-reading Moving Pictures, because I needed some more Terry Pratchett.

  2. I read two books this week: Eligible, an updated version of Pride and Prejudice, which I found very funny–Mrs. Bennett has a shopping addiction, for example. Joanna Trollope’s Mum and Dad is also contemporary–three grown children (and their children) step in after Dad has a small stroke and needs help running his vineyard in Spain. Everybody gets a happy ending, after much angst. It’s not very realistic, but reality has never done much for me anyway.

  3. I’m definitely in the happy-ending-only mode still. New books only if I am sure that I won’t be sad afterward. And I can’t focus on anything complicated.

    I reread the entire Chesapeake series by Nora Roberts after it was mentioned here. I didn’t mean to, but those books really suck me in. I have always enjoyed her family-centered series.

    I read Thorn after it was recommended here. I’m not entirely certain how I feel about it. I made sure to read a summary of the Goose Girl before I started so I could decide if I could handle the Grimm-ness of the story. In the end, I’m glad I read it.

  4. I’ve been in kind of a reading funk. I liked “Pale Rider” by Laura Spinney. Another 1918 influenza book and yes, I realize it sounds morbid, but I much prefer reading it to the news. But nothing is sticking with fiction. I think I’m going to try to take the afternoon off from all the stuff I “should” be doing and try out some new books and see if one takes my fancy.

  5. I’m almost finished the novel “Someday, Someday, Maybe” by Lauren Graham, the actress best known for playing Lorelai Gilmore on the “Gilmore Girls.” It came out in 2013 and tells the story of a young actress struggling to make it in New York in the 90s (much like Graham was). I didn’t get into it immediately, but once I did, I was hooked. It’s thoughtful, often very funny, and completely charming. There’s some romance too, and credible (considering the source) insider show biz talk. There’s also an author interview at the end of my library ebook, so I hope to find out how much of the story is based on her own life.

  6. Read Emerald Blaze and it was everything I hoped it would be, ahhhh. Then I read Silver in the Wood and it knocked my socks off which fantasy so rarely does. I have the sequel ready to read next (Drowned Country).

      1. Oh, thanks for the reminder. I loved Silver in the Wood and have been waiting for my library system to get a copy of Drowned Country. Turns out they have it in audio. Now it’s downloaded to my phone and guess who has a long drive coming up on the weekend?

  7. I’m alternating non fiction and Regency romance, currently rereading What Are You Hungry For, by Deepak Chopra. Trying to get a handle on the carbohydrate marathon I’ve undertaken during the Covid stay home orders.
    I told a friend yesterday that I’m grateful at this time for being an avid reader. Otherwise my anxiety would have been unbearable. Have increased my walks, so between that and being more aware of what I’m eating I’ll do battle with the bulge and my stress level. I love Chopra’s take on all of this.

  8. I in reading “a blizzard of lizards” by Dave Kellett. It is book for in the Sheldon comic series, but you can read all of the comics online for free at https://sheldoncomics.com it is a sweet and wholesome comic which makes me laugh and feel good.

  9. Right now I’m in a bit of a Diana Wynne Jones mood. Also, I have a bit of flu (hopefully not the Dire One) so I reread Conrad’s Fate, which is kind of a lovely young-adult interpolation in the very expansive Chrestomanci series. It’s interesting in that it starts off in the MC’s childhood, passes seamlessly up to age 12 and school-leaving, and sets the MC suddenly off into a rollicking nonstop mystery kind of adventure that keeps the pages turning, and ends (after a classic DWJ all-hands-on-deck culmination scene) with an epilogue. I would love to know what Jenny or Bob would make of it. But it was just the thing to fall asleep snuggling under the covers to.

  10. I listened to The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones and read by Moira Quirk who does a wonderful job with the Welsh. It’s a fantasy/fairy tale about a grave digger and a map maker who have to stop a sudden influx of the restless dead but it’s not zombie scary.

  11. Hello all! I finished a great graphic novel, Prince of Cats, a modern take on Tybalt from Romeo and Juliet.

    I also marathoned through Clare London’s “Romancing The…” series of 4 M/M romances. Her writing reminds me of 80s/90s romances where the characters had interesting, well researched professions and a cast of believable family and friends. Also good for those who like a grumpy MC trope.

    Starting a staycation out in the woods 3 hours west of here, so taking Guy Gavriel Kay’s Lions of al-Rassan for some good historical fantasy.

  12. I had three wins this week;

    The Sugared Game by KJ Charles, book two in a series and just excellent. You have to read book one first. It’s a 1920’s kind of mystery/thriller/romance, with great characters, a love interest who is accurately described as a one man game of fuck, marry, kill, and yeah, I just really enjoyed it – even more than book one.

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – coming of age story about friendship and family, culture and self discovery and secrets, and it’s just really well done.

    And thanks to all those who recced T. Kingfisher’s Wizards Guide to Defensive Baking. It was great! Darker than I normally expect from her, but perfectly formed, a little subversive, had a point, and quite good fun. I’m about to give it to my 12.5 yo to read, will be interesting to get her take.

  13. I finished several books that were fairly enjoyable but bland, so I won’t look them up and name them. “It was OK,” is not a great recommendation. Possibly reading them after I finish Network Effect for the third time was unfair to them.

  14. With the impending dual launch of my child’s new virtual school year and my return to workplace (comically terrible concurrent timing), I’ve been feverishly devouring my favorite Neil Gaiman books for some much needed escapism. When I turned the last page on the final book and still had the itch for more… I picked up Kracken by China Mieville as it was rumored to be ‘Gaiman-esque’.
    I’m about halfway through and am really enjoying the ride, but this Brit loves his big and obscure words! Thank goodness I picked up the Kindle edition because I find myself utilizing the dictionary function every other page – which, as a fairly well read person, is a new experience for me.
    Perhaps the universe is just sending me a message to slow down and breathe.

  15. Rachel Gibson’s ‘How Lulu Lost Her Mind’ is a wonderful mother/daughter story.

    I also read Alyssa Cole’s ‘A Hope Divided’, the second book of a 3 book series (I’ve already read book 1 and 3, it doesn’t matter) as a way of ‘remotely’ viewing the horrors of slavery and racism. A lot of hisotry gets left out of the official record. It seems that the South was much more divided in support of secession and the war.

    1. I haven’t read those Cole books — clearly will have to — but whenever someone murmurs “it wasn’t about slavery, it was about States’ Rights,” I strongly suggest that they read the actual instruments of secession published by those states when they seceded. The Victorians had no trouble expressing themselves in print, and in the first or second paragraph of those documents they are clear that it’s about slavery. [If it’s the second paragraph, that’s because the first paragraph is an homage to the Declaration of Independence. It’s actually about slavery. That’s the State Right that actually matters.]

  16. I read Dance Away With Me by Susan Elizabeth Phillips last weekend. It was just what I needed.

    The news this week has unsettled me so much that I’ve only been able to read a page or two of everything that I’ve started before I have given up.

  17. In the past week I re-read the Magpie Lord trilogy, then the Sins of the Cities trilogy, and last night glommed The Sugared Game by KJ Charles. And because of a tease in there I’m probably going to go straight back and re-read Think of England, then the two Will Darling books again. Is there a KJ Charles 12-step program?

    1. Nope. I think just stick to the 19 step programme.

      (That’ll be 4 x charm of Magpies, 3 x Sins of Cities, 2 x Lilywhite Boys, 3 x society of gentlemen, 2 x Will Darling, 2 x Think of England, and of course Henchmen, Wanted, and Band Sinister).

      And wasn’t The Sugared Game perfect? I’m Murderbotting it and starting back at the beginning already.

  18. I’ve read several more of the Mercy Thompson series (werewolves in Central Washington) (State). Just found an author I’m trying because there are dogs on every cover, and there are dogs in each book, it’s not just a come on. It’s David Rosenfelt; his main character is a lawyer, with a dog. So far so good.

    1. David Rosenfelt helps run a dog rescue, and so does his main character Andy Carpenter, so there is a lot of dog involvement. The mysteries are a lot of fun too.

    2. I love most David Rosenfelt mysteries. Thanks for reminding me of him. I may have to reread some of them.

  19. EMERALD BLAZE CAME OUT! Ahem. Ilona Andrews’ latest book, Emerald Blaze, dropped onto my iPad at 11 pm CST Monday night. I was a good girl and did not dive into it. I spent Monday rereading the preceding book, Sapphire Flame, which I needed because there were things I simply didn’t remember. Then I spent all of Tuesday reading Emerald Blaze. It is fantastic! I’ve already reread it once. I think it’s even better than it’s preceding book. And, of course, now I’m hungry for the next one in this trilogy. Hard to wait, but as there is no other book yet I have to.

  20. Digging deep into my nook TBR backlog and reading a lot of forgettable romances and cozy mysteries not worth mentioning here. Out of about 20, there was only one author that I thought worth looking for again at the library. But not sure she’s worth recommending here. Will read more and let you know. On the bright side, I didn’t pay much for any of these books, so perhaps I just got what I paid for?

    Still waiting impatiently for Emerald Blaze and the new Donna Andrews to be delivered so there is fun to be had soon.

    1. I read You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria. It was fun and escapist, so it’s been a good way to pause the troubles of the world for a bit.

  21. And Mirage by Julie Czerneda just arrived, yaaay! She writes really gentle thoughtful scientific science fiction. An auto-buy for me. So I do have a recommendation this week!

  22. “The Plus One Pact” by Portia MacIntosh popped up on my Kindle recs, so I read the sample, bought it, and kept reading straight through to the end just now, neglecting everything I should have been doing today. Fun, light, just what I’m craving these days. And only $0.99 on Kindle right now.

  23. I’ve just started EMERALD BLAZE after it downloaded, too. The alligators have just appeared . . . .

    Also reading APPLE OF MY EYE: A Personal Tour of New York, by Helene Hanff, author of 84 CHARING CROSS ROAD. I am a sucker for books written by people who love a location, and Helene Hanff loved New York.

    MEDIEVAL ANSWERS TO MODERN QUESTIONS, by Neil Smith — there’s more in medieval philosophy than we think.

    LADIES OF MAGNA CARTA: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England, by Sharon Bennett Connolly. This one is new and it helps if you already know something about medieval genealogy — who these people were. But it’s a different take on the effect that the Magna Carta had on women’s lives.

    Last, but not least — though not exactly a book that will ever be famous for its plot construction — is MEN TO AVOID IN ART AND LIFE, Nicole Tersigni and Jen Kirkman. This is Famous Art with Feminist Captions, and I have been enjoying it very much!

  24. I’ve happily discovered T Kingfisher. Started with Paladin’s Grace, which is a fantasy and romance, then moved into others which aren’t romance at all, such as A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking.

    I’ve also read a couple of Georgette Heyer mysteries.

  25. For anyone who is interested in Phryne Fisher, the film series MISS FISHER’S MURDER MYSTERIES filmed Aunt Prudence’s house as Rippon Lea, one of Melbourne’s historic homes. The place is gorgeous, and a virtual tour of it is available at

    https://captur3d.io/view/national-trust/rippon-lea-house-gardens?m=xg9n3HDLYA3&fbclid=IwAR3Hg9tpvHS6ONJKdBT6Hg1la0AIxNfusq1Qx1XVVI43hHjOYigSu2MxN7A

    Simultaneously, the home in Fall River, Massachusetts, where Lizzie Bordon lived for the rest of her life AFTER the trial, is now for sale. It has been restored and a similar virtual tour / walkthrough is available on the Redfin site for the sale:

    https://www.redfin.com/MA/Fall-River/306-French-St-02720/home/16021098?fbclid=IwAR3cOHdZN7yb4PJavcW78iG6qNqaIzsVoF785lSE7h82WmEdP8bTpDSKetM

    Seven bedrooms — cannot imagine why Lizzie should have needed so many.

  26. I’ve been reading my way through Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn mysteries. I find them a nice uncomplicated escape from reality.

  27. I have received on my kindle the latest Ilona Andrews and KJ Charles but I am in the middle of rereading Kate Canterbary’s Walsh series. It’s all pretty angsty and unbelievable and I don’t like all the books but the way she weaves the same dialogues throughout seen from different viewpoints is pretty addictive.

  28. I’ve got a new smartphone lately and – in contrast to my usual reading habits – took only e-books with me on holiday. Mainly kindle unlimited titles. Having a good reading light on my Samsung worked great. Of those I’ve read quite a number of romances. By Elle Kennedy, N.R. Walker, Lily Morton etc., some historical, some contemporary, but the one that made me wish that the train ride from Hamburg to Munich were in fact longer than the 5,5 hours was “The Mrs MacKinnons” by Jayne Davis. what a treat to read about a hero/heroine that do not fall in love instantly, but very, very slowly by getting to know each other as humans and by starting to respect each other tremendously. It’s a historical set in 1799/1800 and so no steamy sex scenes, but imo the moments of attraction (him admiring her healthily glowing skin and chestnut hair, her catching sight of him when exercising /boxing and glimpsing his naked back) worked more powerful than all of the other books because it respects the restraints of the time period and for me such slow burn and emphasis on friendship and mutual respect is way more attractive than insta-love and avid bed-shenanigans.
    Kindle unlimited makes it easy to dismiss a book, too (which I rarely do otherwise): I’ve started some with oh-so-Quasimodo-like heroes that had plenty of star-power as professional sportspeople yet had kind of PTSD because of their crooked nose until the brainless young entrepreneur-lady rescued them… sorry, but that title was so hairbrained that I didn’t waste my time any longer.

    Also on my great new mobile I with way more memory than I was used to I installed Netflix and giggled away happily to the “Derry Girls” (well, sometimes the giggles got stuck in my throat… if anyone else has seen the finale of season 1 knows what I mean). It’s quite rewarding when – after two viewings – I start to understand what the girls are talking about – the Derry accent and the incredible speed of delivery are fabulous.

    1. Oops. Hit post instead of return.

      And also The Slow Regard of Silent Things . His writing is always excellent but The Name of the Wind is more of a fantasy/adventure. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is one of the characters in the first novel: a alchemy student who has been mentally damaged but has learned to create a rich and rewarding life for herself. This is a totally inadequate description. It is a soothing and rich read.

  29. I read Emily Tesh’s new novelette “Drowned Country.” Glad that the relationship between Silver and Tobias ends well, and I enjoyed the new character of Maud.

    I am also reading the nonfiction “Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L Stephens and Frederick Catherwood and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya” by William Carlson for my book club. I particularly like the illustrations, many of which are comparisons of Catherwood’s drawings to contemporary photographs of the same artifacts and archaeology. Overall it is well researched and well written and I like much of it. I prefer the parts about the Mayan ruins and culture over the political bickering. Maybe I get too much political bickering in my current real life.

  30. I’m going through The Candy Bombers again. It’s about The Berlin Airlift. While a lot of it is political, it’s a very inspiring book. I think that was when America was truly great. Also, my wife was a young girl in Berlin in the very early 60s and has memories of the devastation that was still there and Kennedy coming to visit.

    1. It’s a terrific book! My dad was stationed in Germany during the occupation and we were there when the occupation ended officially in 1955, including suitable ceremonies. I loved the description of American kids of Chicopee, Massachusetts, making up the little parachutes.

      I just checked, and Colonel Halvorsen seems to be still living — he’ll be 100 years old on October 10, 2020, God willing.

    2. Kennedy in Berlin: “Ik bin ein Berlinah!”

      I remember hearing that on the radio and being brought almost to tears.

  31. Finished the second novel in series. Several continuity points which makes me wonder who was editing the book as it was from a big name publisher. Was there an editor? One would think there would be higher standards. The first book had a couple of errors, the second more including the first few chapters which was backstory. Skipped most of the book. Disappointed in spending the money.

      1. I work as a freelance copy-editor: if it’s a reputable publisher, they’ll pay for the copy-editing (which includes checking anything that looks in any way doubtful), followed by proof-reading, which should pick up anything missed earlier. Of course, it’s fundamentally the author’s responsibility to get their facts right; and I’ve had authors insist on their version despite evidence to the contrary . . .

        Of course, continuity is going to be down to the author; they can’t rely on having the same copy-editor for their next book.

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