75 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, August 6, 2020

  1. Started Tochi Onyebuchi’s War Girls. Excellent writing and world building but I’m not in the mind space to keep reading yet.

    Alisha Rai’s Girl Gone Viral was wonderful. She’s an autobuy author for me.

    Melissa Blue had bundled up 5 books in Under The Kilt. Devoured two books already.

    Doing a lot of development work so am back to The Three Questions by Don Miguel Ruiz and Yoga, The Path to Holistic Health by BKS Iyengar.

  2. The Daring and the Duke by Sarah Maclean. This is the third in a series that has only been so so for me, but this one really worked. The hero in this one was the villain of the first two (it probably doesn’t work to read it on its own) and the whole book is very melodramatic in an enjoyable way. Read it in two days and the end really made it sing.

    1. Ooh. Elizabeth Hoyt did this. The villain made the best hero. Will have to try. Thanks!

      1. Her first novel was The Black Moth, which is pretty much a forerunner to These Old Shades. The characters have different names but you can see that the idea of the “villain” of The Black Moth became the “hero” of These Old Shades.

  3. I’m rereading Murderbot (Network Effect) because that’s what I need right now. Also, reading lots of Twitter feeds for research, which is why I need the comfort reread.

    Off topic: Tonight I have a Zoom meeting to discuss organizing women’s circles vis-a-vis the election. (I’m sure I knew what that meant when I signed up for it, but cannot remember now.) Next week I get training and start phone-banking into battleground states. Less than 90 days, US folks!

    1. I tried to start something new last night to relax me after reading Alan Abramowitz’s Sabato’s Crystal Ball on interpreting polling this election cycle and was so depressed that Bunker Boy had even a 30 percent chance at the Electoral College at this point that I went back and started Murderbot all over again. Murderbot has become my go-to read for this election.

      1. It needs to be an inarguable victory — and remember that we don’t have one election in the US, we have fifty-odd separate elections. And fifty-odd Secretaries of State whose professional reputations hang on a successful election, whoever wins. Most of them already have existing voting by mail even if it will be used much more heavily this year, and in at least some cases they plan to start counting mail-in votes before Election Day, under strict security. But I think that voting by mail is probably the best way to avoid electronic trickery (I hope!) — the gold standard is paper ballots counted by hand.

      1. Abramowitz still favors Biden but he says a lot can happen in 90 days. Remember Comey’s letter in October 2016 which tanked Hilary’s numbers significantly.

  4. Two very different books had me making Good Book Noises in the past couple of weeks.

    First, The Bromance Bookclub by Lyssa Kay Adam’s. Excellent turn your brain off and throw disbelief out the window kind of rom com. Looking forward to the next in the series!

    Second, Deal With The Devil by Kit Rocha. Hopepunk sci-fi-ish romance set in a near future dystopia. Excellent found family catnip, badass women as far as the eye can see, and the hero has a solid arc. I spoil nothing with the warning that the hero sets out to betray the heroine at the beginning of the book, so if that’s not your cuppa at the moment you may want to wait for the next books in the series. Which are going to be SO DELICIOUS given the sequel-bait setup in this one. Oh, and did I mention that all these badass women are librarians??? So good.

    1. Once again, books about books prove to be totally irresistible. The Bromance Bookclub is 99p on Kindle in the UK.

      1. I was really disappointed with the second book. The author took on the topic of sexual harassment and rape I. The workplace and handled it really poorly, in my opinion.

  5. Not a book at all but MY BEST FRIEND HAD HER BABY. She’s the first baby in my college friend group, which is exciting. Her name is Scarlett and she has brown hair. I don’t know her musical tastes yet but I made her a playlist of songs that are good to wiggle to.

  6. I downloaded a bunch of recommendations from last week and started a Halloween romance from hoopla that is surprisingly good, working within it’s standard tropes to still be true to the characters and make sense.

    But I have been really tired all week and haven’t done much of anything. And then today I find out that someone I worked with on Saturday was exposed to someone who tested positive for covid. She has been quarantined but where I work is sure that we are all fine and didn’t bother to tell us until today. I am so angry. I am fuming. If my partner, cats or family get this because they didn’t tell me on Monday, I will loose my mind. I went to the grocery store and the post office!!! Gah!!! Sorry, the news is still fresh.

    1. The audiobook is Her Halloween Treat by Tiffany Reisz. I haven’t read her before, but this was the only Halloween romance I could find in audio. I am very impressed so far.

  7. I love Tracy Ellen’s “ The Adventures of Anabel Axelrod” series. The best part is the H/H couple makes mature decisions

  8. This morning I cracked open my copy of The Joy of Cooking, a tattered and falling apart 1962 version. I was looking for a recipe for Swedish meatballs and those red ribbons brought me right to the page. Had to have been the last thing I prepared from that cookbook. I put them together and they are ready to go for supper tonight.

    Checked my e-mail and was notified from the library that a copy of Rachel Gibson’s new book How Lulu Lost Her Mind is ready to download. Ahead of her on the bedside table there’s JA Jance’s, Ali Reynolds – Credible Threat to read. Those are my time limit books, I still have a hoard of TBR’s to get to.

    1. Mary, would you mind telling me the recipe for the Swedish meatballs? Being Swedish myself, I am curious to hear how it’s been interpreted in another country and culture. Thanks in advance and smaklig måltid!

      1. Shass, I am so glad to hear from you. I haven’t seen your posts for a while and was concerned about you since you have mentioned in the past that you have health issues. I am glad you are still with Argh.

      2. Shass, don’t be offended but according to my cookbook it refers me back to German meatballs and then I further bastardized using my own interpretation.

        Soak a slice of bread in milk or broth, squeeze out liquid
        ground beef, ground pork (I did not use liver that was called for, also 1/4 of a herring)
        egg, parsley, salt, pepper, paprika, grated lemon, minced onion, Worcestershire sauce and grated nutmeg
        form into balls (did not simmer into vegetable or meat stock) and placed on a sheet pan and baked in oven till firm
        sauteed in a pan with butter and then made a pan gravy with added sour cream, serve over noodles

        Maybe I should just call it Mary’s Meatballs

    2. I love The Joy of Cooking! I never have really learned to cook and occasionally have to look up how to hard boil an egg (not kidding). That book, that edition, contains the pie crust recipe I use as well as the recipe for whatever berry filling I use. (Raspberry pie is awesome!) Using that recipe, my pie crust is perfect — I’m very proud of it and my pie-making skills, especially because of my dismal cooking skills (see hard boiled eggs, above).

      1. I think I finally worked out good hard boiled eggs after multiple multiples of failures (not all even edible). And then I had a flashback of how my mother used to make them (aluminum Dutch oven brought to a boil, lots of water). So after all these tries I circle back to what I couldn’t recall until this week’s attempt.

        I’m reading Susan Elizabeth Phillips Chicago Stars series — I’d read some of them but I managed to find all of them online and the first (and my last) one should come in another month or so. Have also been reading an online friend’s work on AO3 which is just fabulous and makes me happy.

      2. I am on my second copy of The Joy of Cooking. It has a wonderful recipe for sweet potatoes with orange juice that is a standard for Thanksgiving.

        After more than forty years of cooking, I saw a post on what has become my go to way of making hard boiled eggs that always results in perfectly cooked eggs that are easy to peel. You bring to a boil enough water to cover the number of eggs you are cooking. When the water is boiling, gently place the eggs in the pan and gently boil for twelve to thirteen minutes. (I go for thirteen.) Immediately take the eggs from the pan and place them in an ice water bath to cool. They peel soooo easily. So if you’re still looking for a good cooking method, I’d recommend trying this.

        1. Oh yes, thank you! At some point, I think I brought eggs to a boil and then turned off the heat and covered the pot for some amount of time. I think. It’s been a while.

      3. I always use a spoon to add an egg to boiling salted water. Salt is key for if the egg cracks it stops the egg white from exploding all over the boiling water.

      4. Wow, thank you all for the egg-boiling tips! This is great. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who needs a recipe. 🙂

    3. My mother was given a copy of THE JOY OF COOKING when she married in 1946 — we still have it — and it was her go-to wedding or engagement or housewarming gift the rest of her life; she gave me a copy of the then-current edition when I moved into my first apartment.

      Have to say that I see more directions for hard-cooked eggs at COOKS ILLUSTRATED, or made in the Instant Pot (steamed on a trivet, or, if they’re to be chopped, broken into an inner pot and pressure cooked), or cooked in a Dash egg cooker.

  9. Finished Adhara’s Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing – 4th in the series- M/M MCs’ relationship continues to mature and I find these very funny and am invested in the relationship.

    Finally reading Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and the voice just captured my attention from the first. As you may know, Protagonist hides her identity and joins a crew that makes wormholes. The crew is a mix of species and personalities and live in close quarters, so it’s interesting world building and quirkiness.

    Still re-reading Ilona Andrews’ Magic series. Finished Magic Breaks, Book 7 where the series pivots a bit – so appreciate the authors doing a refresh at this point on the road to the End. Glad when I find that the re-read is just as good or better than the first time.

    1. I enjoyed The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet a lot. Someone here recommended it some time ago.

  10. Last week I was re-reading from Eric Flint’s Ring of Fire (aka the 1632) series, up through 1636 and including the two books about the “Barbie Consortium.” This week I added 1636: The Ottoman Onslaught and parts of the four Ring of Fire anthologies. Newly released this week was 1636: The Atlantic Encounter, but I recognize this as a novelization of short stories previously published in the Grantville Gazette e-magazine. I think.

    I have a to-be-read list that, were they all paperbacks, would take up over a foot of shelf space. I have a similar to-be-re-read list. Thirdly, I have a never-to-be-read list of books I own incidental to books I wanted (book bundles, right?) and which hold no interest for me.

    Happy Root Beer Float day.

  11. My presence here apparently goes so-so, but let’s give it another try!

    Have FINALLY started reading a bit again, slightly tentatively, but at least I am reading. Decided to finally pick up the thread where I left off in the “Throne of Glass”-series by Sarah J. Maas and started on book 6: “The Tower of Dawn”. I’m glad I did. I’ve had serious connection-issues with the MC of the previous books and kept longing for the chapters with other POVs, and it started to become very annoying. I don’t like it to think “Oh no, not HER again…” when an MC-chapter starts. Luckily this book follows a bunch of other characters, which at this point feels refreshing, plus one of them (female) has made me laugh out loud more than once, and that is definitely a gigantic plus in my book.

    A guy from Sven’s streamchat also gifted me the complete BBC recording of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which I am enjoying during my stationary bike rides. I willingly admit that I enjoy it much more now, probably because it’s in it’s original language and the jokes and snark does not get lost in translation.

    Hope all of you are doing well. <3

    1. I’ve just finished reading Hitchhiker’s Guide with my eleven year old (his choice) and it was a whole other experience reading it out loud while doing voices and having an eleven year old adding his own commentary to it. Good fun.

  12. I just finished Yoko Ogawa’s Memory Police — originally published in the mid-nineties, but only translated from the Japanese last year — and uh. Dang. It’s the story of a nameless woman on a nameless island where things — ribbons, birds, hats — are disappearing… not just the things themselves, but the concepts of the things, so that people wake up in the morning and look at a bird but can’t remember what it’s called, what it means, what it’s supposed to be. The few who can remember are rounded up and disappeared themselves by the Memory Police.

    A lot of the reviews describe the book as Orwellian, and as far as the devastating state destruction of identity, sure, but the tone is almost anti-Orwellian: Orwell has a savage tongue on him and violence lurks under every page like knives, but Ogawa’s voice is quiet, gentle, passive. The world is not savagely destroyed, just gently… faded away. It’s if anything more terrible, as the Memory Police slowly and steadily disappear everything they cannot completely control, which is, in the end, everything.

    I honestly don’t know how I feel about it, but it was a hell of a book.

    The book before that was Nemesis Games, the book in the Expanse series where Naomi comes into her own, and I do know how I feel about that one (SO GOOD). Next I’ll probably continue my Nero Wolfe readthrough because my brain needs a breather.

    1. The expanse just keeps getting better and better. Just on Persopolis Rising now.

  13. I’m reading Kristan Higgins Always the Last to Know. As always, very well written, but all the characters are bitterly unhappy, which I am finding a bit difficult to take at this moment. I’m hoping I am nearing the part of the book where things start to turn around for people.

  14. I read the Rivers of London short story collection. Some were really good and some.really felt like chapters of a larger work rather than short story. I did like finding out what happened to the Lugg river

  15. I read Red, White and Royal Blue, and it was just perfect. Loved it so much. Now I’m reading a middlegrade book, Echo Mountain, which is also utterly beautiful.

  16. Motivated by last week’s discussion, I reread some Sarina Bowen ‘Ivy Years’ novels which I still like even if the endings are too stretched out. Then I downloaded T. Kingfisher’s ‘Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking’. It’s a delightful read, only once again, I found out that fantasy isn’t really my favorite genre. Either it’s too medieval or too futuristic … I don’t know. But I’ll keep on trying it now and then, like a dish that you don’t care for too much but still you give it a try occasionally.

    Now – guess what – I’ve returned to my all-time favorite since I stumbled across it on my eBook reader while I was looking for a new read. Hint: The hero’s name is Darcy.

    1. Favorite Regency fantasy: the Cecelia and Kate Novels: SORCERY & CECELIA, THE GRAND TOUR, and THE MISLAID MAGICIAN. Not medieval and not futuristic. Not that they can compete with your all-time favorite.

      1. Those are great! I prefer the first one, of course, and found the sequels unnecessary. They are amusing even so.

    2. Seconding Sorcery and Cecelia, and if that works for you, you could also try Mary Robinette Kowal’s Glamourist Histories series, frequently described as “Jane Austen with magic”. I enjoyed them a lot.

  17. I really enjoyed ‘Six Cloves Under’ and am looking forward to the next book. (Tomato sandwich on roasted garlic bread for dinner.)

    I started ‘Breath’ by James Nestor; it makes the case for using your nose and not your mouth to breathe. It realy flows.

    I’n not sure what’s next.

  18. I have followed advice, and started at the beginning of the Vorkosigan series with Shards of Honor, Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s so subtle, I liked it – but not as much as Curse of Chalion.

    Looking forward to getting up to this Miles character everyone recommends! (reading in chronological order)

    No other recces from me, but Jenny if you’re stuck and you’ve never read them, maybe the Sevenwaters trilogy by Juliet Marrillier? Fantasy.

    1. Shard of Honors was LMB’s first book. She said in an introduction to it that she basically put a camera in Cornelia’s head and followed her so it hasn’t got the complexity of some of her other later books but it is still one of my favourites because Cordelia is such an amazing character. Barrayar while next in the story was written after some of the Miles books so is more accomplished but you are right the subtlety is there from the start.

      1. I meant Cordelia not Cornelia.
        I hate making that kind of mistake.
        It’s a book I have been rereading since it was first published in the late 80s. I think I had the original cheap paperback edition except it disintegrated years ago so I can’t sell it at stupid prices!

  19. Just finished Chasing Cassandra, a new novel by Lisa Kleypas. A nice historical romance, but nothing special.
    Also re-read Black Sheep by Heyer. This one was excellent, as always.

  20. I second the recommendation for Kit Rocha’s latest book Deal with the Devil. I finished it at 2.00am😴🥱. Love the idea of mercenary librarians! Also on the rereading list is Sarah Wynde’s Cici and the Curator which is a constant delight no matter how many times I read it.

  21. Continuing to work my way through the Meg Langslow mystery series by Donna Andrews. So sane, and a large community, with nature and some dogs. Re-listened to the Murderbot novel, because apparently I just need that voice right now. Brought home some Alexander McCall Smith novels from the library for my folks, and I may read some. They really like the Edinburgh series.

  22. I just finished A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, and loved it. Mostly I’m reading census training stuff. Must rest the brain some, though.

  23. I loved and laughed through R.J. Blain’s Grave Humor and Playing with Fire!!

  24. Recently published, THE MUTUAL ADMIRATION SOCIETY, by Mo Moulton, about Dorothy Sayers and her Oxford contemporaries “remade the world for women.” Certainly they lived through a world that changed in a major way for women!

    A LADY’S GUIDE TO MISCHIEF AND MURDER, by Dianne Freeman, was okay but a bit lightweight for me, and I probably won’t continue with the series. Mystery set in 1880’s England.

    MADAM TULIP, by David Ahern, looks like a cozy mystery with some screwball overtones. Four books in this series so far.

    REYNARD THE FOX, A New Translation by James Simpson; the French medieval animal stories (runaway best seller since the late twelfth century, early translation published by Caxton). It’s probably the animal version of THE PRINCE.

    THE LAMB’S WAR, a YA biography of Isaac Hopper. Written some decades ago, it’s the only bio of him I could get my hands on. Insofar as it was the creation of any one person, Isaac was the father of the Underground Railroad, and a very interesting character. His great-grandson William D. Hopper, Jr., played Paul Drake in the original Perry Mason tv series. [One of his daughters was the sister-in-law of my great-great-grandfather, so I have a family interest in him.]

    1. Madame Tulip is fabulous. A cozy mystery with some screwball overtones is an excellent description.

  25. I mostly read news reports about Isaias; we got off lucky here. In between angst over…well, everything, I read Second Thoughts by Margot Dalton and 3 Men and a Body by Stephanie Bond.

    1. I started Lottery Girl by Stephanie Bond last week, it’s a six part series in monthly installments. Read the first one and decided to wait for the last to finish them. It is about a down on her luck girl who after losing everything wins the lottery and everybody comes out the woodwork to try and benefit.

  26. I read and really enjoyed Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson. Short but complex story of an African American family in Brooklyn; viewpoint moves from character to character and back and forth in time.

  27. Read the Defensive guide to Baking following recommendations here. Very good but darker than other books by Kingfisher. My favourite is still Paladin’s Grace. I also reread a couple of Heyer’s for light relief: the foundling and Black sheep.
    I have now started rereading Kim Harrison’s The Hollows series. I read them in paperback the first time round. I looked at the publication date and apparently the first one was published in 2006. It was mentionned on another site I follow and I wanted to see if I liked it as much 15 years later as I did the first time round. I remembered a few nebulous things about it, mainly the fact that tomatoes were feared by humans. I also really liked the pixie character. Well it is gripping me even though as I am rereading I am remembering more stuff and can anticipate some of the twists.
    It’s nice when a book you remember liking holds up to the memory you had of it.

  28. I’m reading “The Overstory” by Richard Powers. Pulitzer Prize etc. etc. – i’ll let you know

    1. Rereading Beauty Like the Night by Jo Bourne.
      The scene with the flour bomb is wonderful.

      1. Wonderful book. I read it before the precursors, and kept wondering why so many of the background characters appeared to be so important to the heroine. Sent me haring off to find all the others.

  29. In memory of Pete Hamill – “Forever”. What a voice you had, Pete! (I can’t get the title into italics or underlined or bold. Setting aside style, it deserves all three.)

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