This is a Good Book Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

Best book I read this week: Crosstalk by Connie Willis. Loved it, even with the quirky relatives (that whole “elderly people are just so cute” is not my fave trope, but it worked here because (spoiler) they turn out to be not that damn cute). Hyperbole and a Half made me think while I was laughing. Skinny Dip was like visiting an old friend (yes, it’s a multiple re-read). Several BookBub romances that didn’t make the cut. The instructions to my new toaster oven. The week has just been packed.

What did you read this week?

96 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020

  1. Oooh, I like Connie Willis. I’m going to give that a go.

    I listened to The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet E McKenna, and read the next in the series, The Green Man’s Foe, and they were great. Intense, original fantasy (I don’t know the sub genre’s name – where it’s in the world as we know it, just with extras?), where the fantasy elements are based on English mythology. I liked it a lot, although admittedly, I liked it a bit less when I was listening in bed, in the dark, and was definitely feeling a bit freaked.

    Also, for those thinking about reading KJ Charles, Slippery Creatures, the first book of her latest series, is on sale this month for 99p on Amazon and Gumroad.

  2. Giving myself a reading afternoon last week helped me find one good book (and a few stinkers) but such is life.

    TODAY, TONIGHT, AND TOMORROW by Rachel Lynn Solomon. It’s a YA romance and two high school enemies who decide to join forces for an all night scavenger hunt. It has 2 of my favorite things – enemies to lovers and a story that takes place over a very compressed period of time. (A day and a night, essentially). I’ve noticed “compressed time” stories seem to work really well with teenage and new adult stories. Maybe something about things feeling really dramatic and lots of feelings/situations being new?
    I liked that it was a YA where the characters and setting seemed really fleshed out and it had cute banter. The heroine dreams of being a romance novelist, which was also very sweetly portrayed.
    I *did* have to to suspend my disbelief that in a big city (Seattle) they would be able to race around from place to place so quickly without major traffic/parking problems, but I was happy to suspend disbelief for a story I enjoyed.

  3. Wind in the Willows. I read while on the exercise bike and ran out of rereads (I can’t really read carefully while riding. Not a multi-tasker.) My husband has been pushing me to read The Wind in the the Willows for over 40 years. I’m glad it finally fits my mood. It’s guy sweet.

    1. I remember my mom reading the Wind in the Willows to me as a child. I don’t remember a thing about it plotwise, but there are fond memories encircling that book.

  4. I finished off a romance which was interesting, but I kept getting jolted out of the story because every 5 pages or so, the hero gets his hands on the heroine and starts touching her. Inappropriately. In public. In the very early 19th century London. I wouldn’t have minded if it was in private between two consenting adults. But in her place of business, in front of the men she has working for her? That just made her weak. I suppose the author was thinking the guy was outside the norms of society, and the girl was too, but it just threw me off.

    So, I’m starting a Mhairi McFarlane book now. I’m hoping it will be a palate cleanser.

  5. I reread KJ Charles’ ‘Slippery Creatures’ and then read ‘The Sugared Game’, but I’m not liking the series any better: it’s too dark and depressing, especially the 1920s, post WW1 setting. I followed it with the latest Mary Balogh, ‘Someone to Romance’, but that was the other extreme: weak and sugary – she’s really overdone the supportive extended family. Far too many perfect people. I tried the Anne Stuart, but couldn’t like the amoral hero and didn’t finish the sample.

    Currently restoring myself with ‘The Grand Sophy’.

    1. Stayed awake reading Mary Balogh latest ‘Someone to Romance’ Monday night. Agreeing the supportive extended family is sugary. No squabbles. Skipped a few pages. Read another ‘Little Lady Agency’ book. Looking at a few rereads. Maybe an anthology.

  6. I read Educated (a memoir) by Tara Westover. It left me reeling and thinking for days, and nights. Her voice is magical, the events in her life that she overcame, the struggles to escape the bonds of family and to reinvent herself are nothing short of amazing.

  7. Rereading 25 Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks. A book made up entirely of lists, and it works.

    I hated Crosstalk to the point where it was a DNF. What’s wrong with me that I don’t love me some Connie Willis? The guy was annoying, the family was annoying, it was all too much.

    1. I like Connie Willis, but that one was one of my least favorites. I thought she tackled similar sci fi rom coms (say that 5 times fast) better in earlier novellas (Bellwether) and short stories (Spice Pogrom).
      I don’t think she does particularly “deep” characters for what it’s worth. There always just supposed to be fundamentally decent people caught up in a difficult situation and trying to do their best, be it tragic (Blackout/All Clear) or screwball (To Say Nothing of the Dog). How you feel about the situation/plot will determine how you feel about the book, in my humble opinion.
      My mom who loves the middle ages and is fascinated by the Black Death (yes, we are both morbid that way) loves Doomsday Book, but she can’t get into something like To Say Nothing of the Dog. Not her thing.

      1. I adore Connie Willis, but haven’t read Crosstalk yet — a friend bought me a copy last year. She’s very fun in person: she taught a week-long writing class I was taking many years ago. I love pretty much everything of hers I’ve read, but have avoided the books around WWII. Not my thing.

  8. It’s been a difficult week work-wise so I’ve retreated into my teenage favorites. Just reread the Sherwood Ring for the umpteenth time and the Perilous Gard, both by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Sally Watson ouevre next, starting with Lark (my absolute favorite book as a 12 yr old) and then Linnet and The Hornet’s Nest.

    1. When the Image Cascade reprints were issued, I bought them all for my cousin, who loves Sally Watson and was hunting for copies that didn’t cost hundreds of dollars. She opened the box and said, “MISTRESS MALAPERT!” The only way I’ll improve on that gift is if I can find her mother’s recipe for chocolate meringue cookies (I should have it, but the notebook is well and truly buried somewhere). If I can, I’ll have it engraved on a kitchen cutting board so we CAN’T lose it again.

  9. I am rereading Patrick Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicles. Last week it was book 1 The Name of the Wind (718 pages) and book 2.5 a novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things (177 pages). This week is book 2 The Wise Man’s Fear (1007 pages). I am doing this because rumor has it that he will finally have book 3 out next year (He completed the rough draft in 2012. He says that there are 13 subplots which have to be resolved. I believe The Slow Regard of Silent Things may have been a subplot all in itself (excellent read, excellent writing).

    I had forgotten how much I like his writing. I have been reading The Wise Man’s Fear for every moment I can steal from other things and it has been 3 days now with at least one more or possible two days before it is finished. And I typically read one or two books a day. I am surprised how much of it I did not remember from my prior reread, I keep being surprised by plot twists that I did not think I had read before. It is possible that on my prior read I skimmed. It is an easy read but very immersive. It is just what I need now.

    1. I really liked the first two… but at this point, would have to re-read just to remember all the layered details. (Not a bad problem.) Glad to hear that the third may come out soon(ish).

      1. The Slow Regard of Silent Things is about Auri. Actually Auri is the only character in it although Knothe is a presence in the background. It is a stand alone. And is one of the most amazing pieces of fantasy fiction I have ever read. It is hard to describe but it gives me more empathy for compulsive behavior or perhaps autism. But it is not grim. Auri is a happy soul.

    2. I quoted that book to someone yesterday! “It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die.”

      Not cheery, I admit.

  10. I had started Crosstalk and then put it aside because it starts out so fast-paced. I needed something that moved a little slower. I had a couple of misses and then landed on A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. It’s a YA Beauty and the Beast retelling that’s working for me so far. Characters are flawed and up against a big bad and I am rooting for them! (Plus, the main character was transported from DC to a different realm, and I am here for it.)

  11. I finally finished Jennifer Lynn Barnes’ The Naturals, which I liked well enough to start the second book in the series, but it took me a long time because it was too tension-inducing to read at bedtime which is my main reading time.
    In the middle of five library ebooks whose due dates are getting closer and I’m not even halfway through any of them. The census job is eating my life, but it’s just fascinating.

    1. Thank you for your service! In 72 years, your work will become a permanent public asset for genealogists like me, and the more complete it is, the better!

      1. It’s so much fun! I plan to do it again in ten years when I’m 77. Probably not when I’m 87, but who knows?

  12. Huh. I loved Crosstalk. I thought the expectation was terrific, and I really liked the two main characters. And I really loved the idea that you can’t get away from the voices; it’s one of the reasons I write at night when the air is quieter.

    Must just have been my premise catnip.

    1. Jenny, why shouldn’t you love Crosstalk? I reread To Say Nothing of the Dog often and Doomsday Book is one of my few “5”s on Goodreads. I find some of Willis’s short stories are magnificent: “Night Watch” was used by the English AP.

      I should try Crosstalk because it probably doesn’t include my one quibble with Willis’s worlds: she believes strongly in God, particularly in the sense of an all-encompassing master plan. Because I don’t, some of her stories leave me desolate. (Desolated?)

      1. I don’t remember any God in this. I just loved the protagonist and the love interest and how they dealt with the loons and grifters who surrounded them.

  13. I’ve been invested in Jana Deleon’s Miss Fortune series. Fluffy and has plot holes, but I’m loving the characters and getting a lot of laughs.

    Regarding your earlier post, Jenny, questioning whether its appropriate to write something that is violent or has stereotypes, I can only tell you that this series has both (though I haven’t noted any racial aspects in the few I’ve read so far) but I’m enjoying it anyway.

    I don’t especially want to read anything gritty or realistic just now, as there’s entirely too much reality going on at the moment and I’ve had my fill. But I can still laugh at Roadrunner cartoons, and am reading plenty of other stuff that isn’t sweetness and light. My take is that its a lot like reading historical romance … history is just the setting, and in that setting the fiction is escapist and not realistic. We could all use a little less realism just now.

    Also, it doesn’t really matter what you write about, somebody will always find something in it to be offended about. If you always question yourself about whether it is the right time for something, well you’d probably never write anything.

  14. I read Ilona Andrews’ EMERALD BLAZE this week; it’s the 5th book in the series. Technically, you can read any of their (husband/wife team for those who aren’t familiar) books as a standalone, but the world is very rich and layered and well-done, so I’d rec reading them all. I’m a huge fan of their world building. (I quibble with style things, or a logic issue that I decided to ignore because the rest was fun.) What impresses me beyond the world building (how the magic works, why, when, etc.) is the level of political layering — there are angles and layers in every action that sometimes isn’t revealed until way later that impresses the hell out of me.

    Then I read The Happy Ever After Playlist and it was… good? okay? I didn’t like the “dark before the dawn” moment because it felt obvious to me where she was going to go with that from the midpoint on (and I knew then what the finale had to be), so it didn’t surprise, but it did satisfy. There’s a lot in there about grief that I lived through and I hadn’t realized might not be the typical grief reaction. (When someone dies abruptly or it is a surprise and you’re really close, there are stages of grief that can seem to be incredibly dense and difficult to survive, and I recognized myself in this character from when my brother died. It was helpful to read, actually, and if I had known ahead of time what the story was, I wouldn’t have chosen it, and I would have been poorer for not having read it.)

    I need some happy stories to survive through the election. My headspace right now is not a good place.

    1. I loved Emerald Blaze! I liked it even better than Sapphire Flame. And I, too, love everything they’ve written except for one. I reread all the Hidden Legacy books before EB so I could make sure I’m all caught up. And I love how everyone on their blog is talking about what they think is behind this or that, who this person or that person really is, etc. So fun!

      1. I need to get back to finishing Sapphire Flame, I was liking it and then pandemic hit and I haven’t finished it.

      1. I’ve been lurking, but I’m trying to remember to be human and actually communicate. (I realized yesterday I have not left this building in months, except for one trip to check on my parents.)

        1. I didn’t leave the house until about a month ago. Now I go out once a week to do a small job with one of my roommates — about 3 hours. That’s it. It’s probably a bit extreme stay-at-home, but it’s working so far. Now if I can only find some real work that pays well (and is more than 3 hours a week, of course). Or win the lottery. I’d be happy with that.

  15. The one thing I read recently that Arghers might like was Head Over Heels by Hannah Orenstein. A romance about a former Olympic hopeful gymnast who blew out her knee just before the Olympics and never got her shot. Seven years later she still hasn’t put her life back together and she ends up moving back home and getting hired to help coach another Olympic hopeful in her former floor exercise specialty. Romance ensues with the girl’s primary coach amid gymnastic politics old friends, foes and memories end up rearing their ugly heads.

    It’s pretty well done, and I feel I should like it more than I did. The writing is pretty good, the main character is well drawn and interesting. I felt the secondary characters, including the love interest were a little flat though. Though that may be deliberate, it’s told in first person and we see them only through her eyes, and she is unsure about quite a few of them. I still wanted to get a better feel for most of them. Other people may feel differently though.

  16. I am digging into the latest mystery in a series by Julia Spencer-Fleming, Hid from our Eyes.
    She’s got three apparent murders going over three time periods, and I HATE multiple time periods, but I love this series, so I’m reading it. And I do understand why there are three; I just
    want something to resolve, but I fear nothing will til the end, then all 3 will come together.

    Also reading a Regency, but I’m irritated with the characters, so it’s slow going. I may not finish it; life has enough irritations without reading one.

  17. I have read Ilona Andrews hidden legacy latest too (Emerald Blaze) but I much prefer the first three in the series which I have reread several times with great enjoyment. I really liked Nevada and Connor whereas I am not really liking the two protagonists this time. I can’t quite put my finger on it as to why. Maybe the fact that the hero is a not very realistic Italian count…
    I did like KJ Charles’ Sugared game much more.
    Otherwise, I have been reading the Kat Holloway series which is very nice. I love all the mention of food. It makes me want to cook properly again. The very slow burn romance though is quite agonising so far. I hope it progresses. I have only read the opening novella and 2 books so far.

      1. I think it may have to do with the age of the protagonists. Catalina is only 5 years younger in this book than Nevada was in her first book, but she feels really young to me, as does Alessandro. I find that the older I get the more I want my romantic leads to be grownups. (Its my birthday today so perhaps I’m feeling old.) Nevertheless I think the book was great fun – I’m just not as invested in the romance.

    1. I think that Nevada is easier to relate to, and a much more straightforward character. Catalina processes things differently and is much more cerebral and conflicted. For me, Nevada and Connor are more comforting, but Catalina speaks to my inner neurosis. She is a thinker and a worrier, not a fighter.

  18. I just finished the first 2 books in Josh Lanyon’s series Bedsticks and Bedknobs. It’s a Harry Potteresque world with magic hidden from the normal world, but with more adult themes.

    A wizard falls in love with a mortal cop and shenanigans ensue since the wizard isn’t supposed to let the cop know he’s a wizard. Be aware that Josh Lanyon is known for M/M romance.

  19. Our local library branch will finally open next Tuesday. Yay! It’s been 6 months.
    I’ve been watching and enjoying the old serial, Remington Steele, one of my favorites, to make myself feel better. I limit myself to one episode a day to make it last longer.
    For those who don’t know, it’s a comedy mystery TV series with some romantic undertones. Light. Fluffy. Humorous. Plus two beautiful leads: Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist. Despite its respectable age (first aired 1987), it’s still delightful.

    1. I love that series! The premise was unusual and the interplay between the leads was bright and snappy. And Pierce Brosnan was easy on the eyes.

      1. Pierce Brosnan was a scintillating creature in his youth. I have to say, I’m enjoying his grizzled not-such-a-good-guy middle age (The Matador, The Ghost Writer, The Foreigner).

  20. I just started Becky Chambers ‘A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet’

    Also – I love anything Connie Willis !!!

  21. So, a friend & I are going on vacation next week to Ocesn City MD. We are renting a condo and have been advised to take all the bedding/towels etc because of Covid.

    Hoping for good beach weather, since the vacation trip to my sister’s was ruined ny the hurricane.

    Nothing but good times & good books ahead 😊

  22. Someone recommended The Mrs MacKinnons by Jayne Davis last week. And now I’m recommending it, because it was wonderful. A slow burning historical romance with such believable characters. One of the best I’ve read for a while.

  23. I’m still, however many milliennia have passed since the beginning of this pandemic ruined my concentration, still having trouble focusing on print/digital books, so mostly I’m re-listening to audiobooks.

    If anyone else is doing a lot of audio, and would like to try my garlic farm series (or other cozy mysteries), SIX CLOVES UNDER and a bunch of other cozies are just five bucks each at KOBO ONLY this month:

  24. I read Emerald Blaze (if no one knows that yet from earlier comments). I wasn’t sure I’d like the Catalina trilogy because I liked the Nevada set so much, but I do. I like EB better than the previous and part of that may be that the two MCs are more mature. A lot happened to them since the previous book. Plus, all then plotting and mysteries of who, what, and why. These are series-long mysteries, so they aren’t solved yet; just hinted at.

    Everything else is rereads, but I’ve watched a lot of YouTube and played games on my iPad because I’m often not even mentally capable of reading.

  25. That’s the second M/M book I’ve read about today that I want to try. I’m still rereading Jude Devereaux’s mountain laurel now back to Susan Elizabeth Phillips. In between I read Beverley Jenkins this Christmas rivalry.

    1. I just posted about the Sarina Bowen books that I’ve been reading, and some of those are M/M and really good!

    2. Red, White, and Royal Blue is fantastic.
      And the third Ivy Years book from Bowen is m/m and really good, but I cannot remember the title.

  26. Early during the lockdown I reread a ton of Connie Willis. It was just what I needed–familiar and therefore comforting. I love the hidden room in the library in Crosstalk.

    Our library recently opened for appointment only pick up if holds and I got The Tiger in the Smoke. I’m about halfway through and enjoying it.

  27. A suggestion appeared on my Kindle about two this morning, so I have purchased THE WITNESS FOR THE DEAD, by Katherine Addison, scheduled release date June 22, 2021. Both hardcover and ebook. I hope this means the author has actually completed the book! If anyone has forgotten, this is not a sequel, but set in the universe of THE GOBLIN EMPEROR and during the reign of Maia.

    Amazon also has DEATH IN DAYLESFORD (Phryne Fisher Mysteries), June 1, 2021, available for preorder in ebook, hardcover, and paperback editions, if anyone wants to be prepared.

    I’ve also started WE THE WOMEN, The Unstoppable Mothers of the Equal Rights Amendment, by Julie Suk. It’s partly about the women of the Suffrage movement (Centennial in August 2020), partly about the women working fifty years ago to get the ERA through Congress, and, I think, partly about the women working Right Now — the 38th state, Virginia, ratified the ERA in January — to get it enrolled and proclaimed as the 28th Amendment of the Constitution. [I can be a complete bore on this subject, dragging in bootleggers, men’s underwear, and child labor, all of which bear on whether the ratification will ultimately be accepted.] If anyone’s interested, on Dr. Suk’s version, on September 17th, 2020, at 8:00PM EDT, she’s hosting an author talk — free, but registration is required. Register through the Alice Paul Institute website, Events.

    I’ve also reread, for the first time in decades, MADAM, WILL YOU TALK? and TOUCH NOT THE CAT. MADAM is an old favorite which introduced me to EARLY MEDIAEVAL FRENCH LYRICS, by C. C. Abbott — Mary Stewart didn’t name it, but I am certain that it’s the book of Provençal poetry Charity was reading at Les Baux. Deciding which Stewart to read next . . . .

    1. I recommend Nine Coaches Waiting. Not only is it my all time favorite Mary Stewart, but, like Madam, it is set in France.

          1. My Mom brought it home from the library for me one time while I was sick. That kept me in bed very effectively.

      1. My fave is Thornyhold, one of her last. It’s sweet, simple, and comforting, with just a bit of magic. I also love This Rough Magic, which is set in Corfu. I still want to go there!

      2. Oh I love Nine Coaches Waiting. It was the first library book i borrowed often. Still holds up for me. My favourite Mary Stewart. The Ivy Tree is another. Probably because my aunt had a Community library in her house at the Lake. I borrowed it from her library. Good memory of my wonderful, lovely aunt.

  28. In the past week I read the four M/M ‘Romancing the …’ books by Clare London (which obviously I liked or I wouldn’t have read all four of them), favorite being ‘… the Ugly Duckling.’ All four have variously gruff/antisocial/socially-awkward men on one side. The Ugly Duckling’s non-gruff love interest is a sweet, competent, f**ked-by-life aspiring designer who basically showers rainbows on a remote northern Scottish island and deserves a happy ending.

    After that, The Work of Art by Mimi Matthews, which looks like a straightforward Regency but is actually a Gothic. Plot aplenty! I was entertained.

    Then The Potter’s Field by Ellis Peters, because it was on sale, and there is some lovely writing in these. Including, in this one, a bright young woman schooling the men on the injustice of ‘sheltering’ women from the truth.

    Finally, The Absolutely, Positively Worst Man in England, Scotland and Wales, by Anne Stuart, which is the most old-school bodice-ripper I’ve read since the 80s. Frankly I thought the vilest villain in the kingdom ought to have been gruesomely killed, not merely trussed up and tossed aside to await the law and/or well-earned death by syphilis. The amoral hero took some getting over; those are not my catnip; but I was entertained.

  29. I listened to Relatively Dead by Sheila Connolly about a young woman who discovers a psychic connection to her ancestors. There’s no big mystery or anything just why all of a sudden she has these visions. I was listening with half an ear when all of a sudden I realized I was really enjoying it. It took a while to figure out why but I think it was because the characters talked to each other instead of having stupid misunderstandings. The MC and the Love Interest don’t get together until after she dumps her fiancé and that relationship disintegrates naturally. It was peaceful and very easy to listen to.

    Now I’m listening to Drowned Country by Emily Tesh.

    Next up is All The Devils Are Here by Louise Penny.

  30. The writer Julia Reed died this week. I’m struggling. Her writing is largely an expression of her out-sized persona and she put fine words together well. I’d just read her latest column, “Cooking Through Covid,” in Gardens and Guns, to which I subscribed once again to get me through pandemic and political rhetoric. Reed’s column, among other topics, covered the shared after-the-funeral repast which covered the table with friend chicken, squash casserole, green beans cooked with ham hocks, potato salad, macaroni and cheese and pound cake, plus signature dishes attendees contributed. Her mother, evidently a premier hostess of these events, Reed named a provider extraordinaire.
    Reed came from Greenville, Mississippi. Read any book you find by her. The New York Times this week ran a column of half a dozen of her recipes, and I hope to cook them all. Tomato sandwich with milk punch, anyone?

  31. Still roaring thru the Harry Dresden Case Files, up to #15 Skin Games, then onto the latest, Peace Talks. My son is imploring me to catch up, since excerpts from Battle Ground are now coming out weekly, prior to its release end of September. He wants to analyse. Huh. I am really enjoying reading the series in one huge gulp! Fascinating to see the characters develop and change throughout the series.

    Just learned that Elizabeth George has another Inspector Lynley coming out, sometime in 2021! I’m watching for pre-order.

    1. You remind me of the olden days when Jim Baen would publish a daily gulp of the latest Honor Harrington!

    2. I heard Peace Talks was so cliffhanger-y that I may wait to read it until I get Battle Ground and then just have a binge. One month to go there.

  32. This week’s winner was Recipe for Persuasion by Sonali Dev. As in Austen’s Persuasion, it is a story of interference in a young romance and how the couple have to come together later to discover who they really are. What set this story apart was how the heroine had to reexamine her relationship with both her parents, one who died and one who abandoned her, and finally decide to choose her own life.

  33. Has anyone else read the Lady Julia Grey mystery series by Deanna Raybourne? I’ve just devoured the first two, and I’m going crazy trying to figure out what happens next. (Pretty sure I know, but…)

    1. I really liked the first 3, or was it 4. Ah, there was a novella that was officially book 3.5. I didn’t really enjoy book 4 where they went to India though.

  34. In all this cleaning out of our shed, I opened a box to find a bunch of my books from way back when, all paperbacks. About 5 Margery Allinghams, some Andre Nortons, and some random mysteries. Then about 8 Georgette Heyers, in German, from my long-ago audition trips. I knew the books so well that I could read them and only check a dictionary every now and then. Of course, no one talked like that anymore, but I enjoyed them. Maybe I’ll pick them up again for a refresher.
    In the present, still making my way through Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson werewolf series, alongside Donna Summers Meg Langslow mysteries.

    1. The furthest I ever got with German was as a bored 14-year-old on holiday in Austria, guessing what the German titles for the Heyer novels for sale in the supermarket meant.

  35. I think you had recently mentioned Sarina Bowen, so I started with The Year We Fell Down and liked it so much that I have now purchased and read 8 more of hers. I’m impressed at how non-formulaic they are, and I like that the characters have real lives and real complicated issues. And lots of them are in series, and have overlapping characters, so I keep buying more because I want to know what happens to that interesting person from the background of the last book.

    I also recently re-discovered a favorite series from my childhood, The Keeping Days series by Norma Johnston. I already owned Glory in the Flower and managed to find 2 more to buy online, although I haven’t found an affordable copy of The Sanctuary Tree yet. It’s a turn of the century (er, the last century) series set in Brooklyn, but it covers some surprisingly deep topics, like teen pregnancy and death and xenophobia. I took them out of my library as a kid over and over again, and I’m very happy to find that it stands up to re-reading.

    1. I loved The Year We Fell Down. Loved that the hero was so cheerfully clueless, loved that heroine was crazy about him but got on with her life, loved that he pretty much crawled on his belly like a reptile, although again cheerfully, when he realized how wrong he’d been. A guy who can apologize and mean it is a Good Thing.

      1. She has some great books. I loved theAccidentals as well as The Year We Fell Down. But she also has some i really don’t like —I think mostly ones she wrote with authors—although some of those are good.

  36. Read Mystery Man (Kristen Ashley) which contained things that are normally deal-breakers for me but I didn’t care because it was FUN. Honestly, this book reminded me of how it felt when writing was fun and romance was fun and I miss that so it was good to visit that place mentally speaking. YMMV. Other than that I’ve been reading a lot of lesson plans because 3 kids doing online school at home. No wonder my brain needed a vacation to fun-ville.

  37. Also I love Connie Willis but I’m not sure I will love anything better than her Christmas stories or To Say Nothing of the Dog which I will re-read to the end of time.

  38. I love Crosstalk but definitely would not want to be part of that family. Way too clingy and thats before we find out about the SPOILERS. I think it would make a great romcom movie provided someone ironed out a few things when writing the screenplay. (which is probably what I’m doing in my head when I read the book).

  39. Really enjoying The Year We Fell Down and the The Year We Hid Away by Sarina Bowen. Complex and interesting characters with real problems start college and romance ensues. I particularly like that they don’t completely solve their problems and the positivity of making a new start is great right now. There’s a pleasing synchronicity to reading about people starting the school year in September.

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