This is a Good Book Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

I missed Working Wednesday, and I wasn’t even working. I was reading new adult romances. Since I am an old adult, that was research. So really, I was working.

Rationalizations are us.

What are you reading?

68 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020

  1. Old comfort reads. That Chesapeake Bay series by Nora Roberts, old Agatha Christie mysteries, Andre Norton sci-fi.

  2. I’ve just finished rereading all the Elizabeth Vaughan books. So well written and such lovely stories

  3. Read ‘Snow’ by John Banville and several Charles Finch mysteries, and listened to Murderbot.

  4. I read and enjoyed Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. Kind of a feminist fairy tale, with roots in Persian folklore, and pretty easy on my brain.

  5. I’m reading (many for the first time) the Categories entries on the right. What a treasure chest! Just starting at the top and working my way down. Crusie live and crunchy in all her manifestations–I’m having a hard time picking favorites so I won’t. As people have said, reading her grocery lists would be fun, but dip into these first. 🙂

  6. I’m in the midst of “You had me at hello” by Mhairi McFarlane, and I’m enjoying it very much.

  7. I was in need of some ultra-light relief and ended up rereading ‘Prudence’ by Jilly Cooper. Dated (it was originally a 1960s short story, reworked in the late 70s) and definitely un-PC, but still fun. I identify more with her good-girl heroines, like Harriet and Imogen, but all her short novels were favourites in my twenties. Much better than her later bonkbusters.

    1. All the characters in the early Jilly Coopers are so fun to spend time with. Incredibly flawed and charming people that just burst with life.

      This week I’m going to take a break from the Vicky Bliss books and re-read a Loretta Chase in preparation for her new one coming out at the start of December. It feels like I’ve been waiting for this one for years. [looks it up] I have!

  8. Still going through my latest start-to-finish on Murderbot, but for anyone looking for new (or old) books (some autographed), they’ve added “buy now” options at the Romancing the Runoff auction, for affordable no-getting-outbid purchases. There’s a drop-down menu in the box that starts out at “all items,” and you can scroll down to “buy now items.”

  9. I lost my comment, so I am writing it again. Sorry if it’s a repeat. I started a promising book that was well written and relatable. There was a Big Misunderstanding but I thought it was deflated. Then, at the near to very end it reared its ugly head again against all logic. I’m still mad about it. Second time this author has done this to me. She just doesn’t know how to finish.

    So I read the newest by Milla Vane. It was less dark than the first, which I appreciate. Both characters were steadfast and good. Their Big Misunderstanding was done away with via adult communication. Now I have a book hangover.

  10. The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith, the second book in the Hell’s Library fantasy series. Pretty interesting watching the characters grow. Murder on Cold Street (Charlotte Holmes series) by Shelley Thomas. Also good, although I’m still waiting for the showdown with the big bad. Gryphon’s Lair, a YA fantasy about a girl monster hunter by Kelley Armstrong. I liked it a lot better than the first book. A Case of Cat and Mouse by Sophie Kelly. This episode of the cozy mystery series about a librarian and her two magical cats was set in a reality baking show, and I enjoyed it. Now working on A Resolution at Midnight by Shelley Noble. Looking forward to the new Benedict Jacka next week.

  11. Can I Blame THIS On 2020?!

    tl;dr. 2020 sucks!

    Thursdays on Argh Ink are Good Book Thursdays. Like many other blogs and forums where folks participate, this is a post where the owner and the other folk share what we’re reading or re-reading, sometimes with recommendations.

    One of my posts:

    NOVEMBER 5, 2020 AT 2:41 PM
    I’ve reached the sixth and final book of the Bellisarius series by Drake and Flint. It all gets resolved in this book, and I’ll be crying along the way.

    I’m in book three of the Alexis Carew “Hornblower In Space” series. I don’t think I’ll be buying the rest of the series. I’m not sure I’ll finish book three.

    The books I’m enjoying most just now are the ones being “snippetted” on Baen’s Bar. “Snippeting” is publishing on the web of partial chapters of the book in its prior to final editing format. Depending on the author(s), there may be a few egregious mistakes left. Anyway, those books are first, 1637 No Peace Beyond The Line, through Snippet 46. That snippet began with “*This book should be available now, so this is the last snippet.*” By snippet 46, you’ve probably read half the book. They’ve hooked you. You’ll be buying the rest. This is a part of the Ring of Fire alternate history series.

    The second is The Macedonian Hazard, which is the sequel to The Alexander Inheritance by Flint, Goodlett and Huff. It’s up to snippet 6. Technically, this is also an offshoot of the ring of fire, in that the cause of transposing a small West Virginia mining town to 1631 Thuringia Germany also cause a 2040 Oceanic Passenger Liner to go to the Mediterranean shortly after Alexander the Great died but before his wife and child and brother were murdered. Pre-diodochi, you see. Things change.

    Finally, there is Two Cases For The Czar by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, which is only at snippet 2. Notice Goodlett and Huff in both the latter two books. It’s getting so I’ll read anything they write. Anyhoo, this is also Ring of Fire, the Russian branch, and is a sequel to A Holmes for the Czar. Murders happen. Miroslava “Holmes” solves them. She was gifted with that last name by order of the Czar. It’s implied that she is mildly autistic in a way that makes her extremely observant.

    That’s what I’ve read.

    Then last week:

    NOVEMBER 12, 2020 AT 1:20 PM
    I’m re-reading A Holmes for the Czar and The Alexander Inheritance because I’m reading the snippets of their sequels. New snippets come out Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If I wasn’t clear, snippets are partial chapters, but lined up sequentially, they are contiguous. You get whole chapters, just not the same day.

    Also read Masquerade at Lodi again, because Bujold.

    Then there was this post in the Baen’s Bar Mutter of Demons forum:

    Re: Are snippets finished forever?
    Eric knew that I was stopping snippets last Friday and apparently hasn’t
    found anybody to “take up” the job.

    I didn’t see the need to announce that I wasn’t doing snippets anymore.

    Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    2020 SUCKS!

    1. I should have prefaced that post with a mention that I first posted it on LiveJournal to my blog, then recycled it to Baen’s Bar in the Mutter of Demons conference as a reply to Paul/Drak’s post, then recycled it here.

      As for what I’m reading post-snippets, it’s been all Bujold. I finished all the other re-reads.

  12. Book club assignment was to read a history book, so I am armchair traveling to
    the Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino. She was the former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times. It’s a nice blend of history and “slice of life.” Also re-re-re-reading Crusie novels, rotating as if they were on a 5-CD changer.

  13. I listened to Maybe This Time, and enjoyed it very much, as usual. I continue my journey through the Meg Langslow series. I got some how-to art books at the library for inspiration.

  14. I read the Mage storm series by Mercedes Lackey ( perhaps that should be re-read) then tried to read a library book, Heartstone by Elle Katharine White, which did not catch my interest so is going back unfinished. Next up is Shatterglass by Tamara Pierce. I may have already read it but nothing looks familiar so I will give it a chance. Even if I have read it before, it’s probably worth reading again

    1. Shatter glass is part of the Circle of Magic series. I love it, though some find it slow. If you are not familiar, you may want to start at the beginning. It’s a continuation of earlier characters.

      1. Lupe, I have read most of that series (and like it) I just don’t remember if I read this one. 🙂

    2. They’re issuing some of the older Lackey books in ebook, and her new Elemental Masters, JOLENE, comes out December 1.

      1. I loved the Valdemar books so much as a teenager. I remember during exam time, reading right up until we had to every the exam room while everyone else was studying.

  15. Death in the Spotlight by Robin Stevens about school girl detectives set in 1930s, I needed an easy read and I enjoy her modern version of boarding school /murder mystery. In keeping with the theme A Quiet Life in the Country by T E Kinsey, entertaining enough, though the adventures they mention sound more interesting then the not very arduous one they are currently undergoing, Still this is the first Lady Hardcastle so will definitely look at the next one.

  16. Aside from approximately 2000 emails, I have been reading:

    ‘Heads You Lose’ English WWII-set country-house mystery, in which the killer is heavily hinted-at but the endless discussion of who could have committed the crimes smartly confuses the issue;

    ‘The Gate’ by A.L. Lester, a 1918 M/M historical paranormal short story; ‘The Reluctant Husband,’ second of Eliot Grayson’s M/M Regencies; ‘Once Dishonored,’ recent Mary Jo Putney Regency about a terrible divorce; ‘Action’ by Quinn Anderson, a nice M/M about two guys who meet on a porn set;

    ‘Beach Read’ by Emily Henry, in which two writers swap genres and fall in love via some tropes that are not my absolute faves, but I still liked the book; ‘No Laughing Matter’ by Dorothy Simpson, an English mystery that wasn’t much fun;

    ‘Iron & Velvet’ and ‘Shadows & Dreams’ by Alexis Hall, first two in his Kate Kane paranormal investigator series. These remind me of the Peter Grant books multiplied by vampires & werewolves, plus a little Magpie Lord, divided by lesbians. Very entertaining.

    1. I really like Alexis Hall, although the kink in some of them is, well, kinky. How to bang a billionaire is a book that is so much more than a terrible name. And Glitterland is painful and gorgeous. I’ve been wondering about Kate Kane, so thanks for the tick.

  17. I read Bridget Collins ‘The Binding’. Absolutely gorgeous. When people have memories they want to get rid of, they get them bound into books – which of course leaves all manner of corrupt possibilities. The protagonist is an apprentice book binder who discovers a book with his name on it. The writing reminded me of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, another gorgeous book.

    Also ‘An Unkindness of Magicians’ by Kat Howard – a sort of magical thriller with powerful families vying for power. I enjoyed it. And ‘The Bookish Life of Nina Hill’ by Abbi Waxman, which was gentle and fun. And filled with a love of books.

  18. Glommed four books in MCA Hogarth’s Dreamhealers books which are what I like to think of as ‘kind’ fantasy. Just what the doctor ordered.

  19. Lots of re-reads last week. Of the new ones, only one is worth mentioning. Anne Gracie’s The Christmas Bride is her latest novella. Sweet but not well-developed. It fits the Christmas spirit, but I like her full-length novels better.

  20. We started family bookclub as a way to keep hold of some common reading with the kids grown and more or less on their own – we’re finishing our third year of roughly monthly shared readings. I requested everyone sit down with Murderbot, and we’ll be talking about it Saturday. We’ve read a lot of SFF, since that’s just the way we all roll, including Leckie’s Ancillary books, selected Vorkosigan Saga entries, Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief, and also Crusie’s Faking It (aside from some confusion about reading a romance, everyone enjoyed it). For a while it was a blatant ploy to get my husband reading the same things as the rest of us, but the choices have been made by more people lately, and it is still interesting and fun.

  21. I’ve been listening to James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time on audiobook – which has been a good thing to do and is really amazing, and thought provoking about where we’ve made progress and where we haven’t…but it’s not exactly escapist.

    And since the past 2-3 weeks has brought me a leaky roof, a broken dishwasher, mice trying to invade my kitchen, a client telling me they needed to cancel a 20k project for next year after we had already had the initial kick off call that was held because we all thought it had survived their budgeting rounds for next year, (No – it turns out it survived round 1 but not 2…so there goes a chunk of the money I had mentally earmarked “how we will pay to fix the roof”), plus you know, a President who just will not admit defeat and is therefore making it increasingly likely that it will be a rockier handoff than necessary to try plan for better covid containment and an orderly and efficient vaccination strategy…meaning more potential deaths because someone’s ego is more important to him than the lives of the people he swore to serve and the Constitution he promised to uphold…

    So…given the need to escape all that for something a little less real… can I ask if anyone has a good urban fantasy series that they would recommend?

    Something about a world that’s kinda like ours, but somehow supernatural so I know it’s not really real, and with a kick butt heroine who ultimately puts that world to rights is just exactly what I’m jonesing for.

    I’ve already re-read all the Ilona Andrews, and Patricia Briggs series I could find over the summer…I’ve read all of Devon Monk’s Magic series (although it will probably be my next re-read if I can’t figure out something new to try). I’m listening to the only Naomi Novik book I’ve missed as an audiobook, but honestly finding it hard to focus as a listen so I might need to switch the format, and I’m re-reading Richelle Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series (a little lighter/more romance that straight urban fantasy, but working for me)…but can anyone recommend anything else somewhere in that vein that I should check out?

    1. Take a look at Charles de Lint, mixing Old World and Indigenous magical characters and systems. Or try the Tanya Huff Enchantment Emporium series: witches, dragons, a pawn shop, and pie, among other things.

        1. I really liked the Enchantment Emporium, but not so much the sequels. There was an element in all of them that bothered me more and more in as the series went on. The aunties and grandmother sexually harass young men, and it is written as if it was funny.

          1. I agree that I don’t like the way the men are treated, and sacrificed by the older generation, but I enjoy the rest of the story so much that I choose to overlook this part. What makes it easier is the younger generation is deliberately moving away from this behavior.

          2. In other words, I don’t think the author is endorsing this problematic attitude; rather, she’s showing the damage caused by it and also showing that the younger generation can, and should, and will, do better…

            But as we always say, YMMV!

    2. Seanan Mcguire’s Toby Daye series, and anything by Lindsay Buroker — some is science fiction, but most is some form of fantasy with the most recent one being urban fantasy, something to do with dragons (she’s prolific so I got behind and haven’t read this series). Also, there’s a librarian urban fantasy by Genevieve Cogman, although maybe it’s alternate world, technically.

    3. Have you tried Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liad books first one Agent of Change is free on Baen books. I got the recommendation from some here and 😍 thank someone.

    4. Not a female protagonist, but a great series with strong women (lots of them) in it: the Rivers of London series (Ben Aaronovitch) about a young police recruit who gets assigned to the secret supernatural unit (there’s only two people in it once he joins). It’s really wonderful, one of those series like Murderbot that I read over and over.

    5. You could try the urban magic series by Eileen Wilks. There’s a kick ass heroine, a werewolf pack, magic users, and dragons, among others.

      The Weather Warden series by Rachael Caine about magic users that protect the world and do stuff like steer hurricanes away. Another kick ass heroine, and djinns to boot.

      The Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price about a young witch and private investigator with grave magic.

      The Heroine series by Sarah Kuhn about young women with unexpected superpowers learning how to adult.

      There’s a hero, not a heroine, in the Benedict Jacka series about Alex Verus, an urban mage and an outsider in the magic world. But you might like it…

    6. I loved the Others series by Anne Bishop, starting with Written in Red. It’s urban fantasy, but it’s overall less unceasingly violent than many other series, and the people and their emotions come across as pretty genuine. Shapeshifters and soothsayers, including a lot of really good people who you wish you could meet in real life.

    7. Eileen Wilks, a dozen or so books set in a world which contains Lupi, not your usual werewolves, and other magical beings. Lily Yu, tiny, feisty, Chinese American California police detective, constantly struggling with prejudice for being short, female, asian, stealth magical, in a white male neural normal world. Fierce & funny.
      Love it. Smart, terse editing, superb world building, fun swerves, sexy scenes not biology lessons, continuity foolproof. Easy to dive into & dismiss your woes for awhile.
      Did I mention the dragons?
      I’m rereading Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Frantic for escape, willing to suspend feminist principles to agonize over dependable exquisite pain.

      1. Thanks to all for the genre specific recommendations…I have a long list and a lot of reporting back to do next Good book Thursday.

  22. Fiction has been taunting me to throw the reading device against the wall, so I started Bill Bryson’s “At Home: A Short History of Private Life.” I’m enjoying it a lot so far, although at more than 700 pages, I wouldn’t call it “short.” I’m only about 15% in, but there was a fascinating passage about why Victorian clergy in England were such prolific scientists, inventors, and writers (they were smart, had a lot of money, and not much to do), and why that fell apart. And there was a fun section about ancient peoples who build their houses by adding new walls to old ones, but without hallways or exits (or windows), so people had to walk across the roofs of their neighbors and then drop in through a hole in the ceiling to get home. Fun times. 🙂

  23. I finally and completely ran out of rereads, especially because I read while on the exercise bike but I get into each book so later in the day I finish reading it.

    I’m trying something new to me: Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley. It’s like taking a course in biochemistry or in reading tarot cards: this is not the sort of story-telling I’m used to. The first chapters are character studies, mostly of people who are involved in horse racing, but not necessarily. The latest chapter I read began to tie several of these people together. I’m intrigued, but I’m mostly continuing to read because my husband promises that much of the book will be from a horse’s point of view. I really want to read that part.

    1. My sister and I both liked this one, but not some of her other ones.

      By FAR her best books are YA – the first one is The Georges and the Jewels. We love them and re-read them.

  24. Hmmm…well it was Book Club night (Station Eleven) but we mostly just ate pizza & drank wine and caught up.🙄

    I have been re-reading the C S Harris Sebastian St Cyr books. I am lucky that I can get ebooks from 2 library systems – my county library & the Free Library of Philadelphia.

    Our next book club book is Lisa Wingates ‘Before We Were Yours’ which is loosely based on real life events – but that isn’t until January 2021.

  25. I just finished A Night’s Tail by Sofie Kelly, in her Magical Cats series. Charming, fun and light.

    Started Seances Are for Suckers, by Tamara Berry, which I stumbled across while looking at other cozies. This is definitely not a standard cozy–a little bit snarkier, with a protagonist who is a fake medium who goes to England to a maybe haunted house. Great banter between her and the male protagonist. So far I am liking it a lot more than I expected to. There is some sad backstory, but otherwise light and amusing.

  26. We just got further restrictions in my city due to rising covid numbers, including closing libraries again.


    We still have curbside pick-up, so I’m stocking up in case they need to close the libraries completely again. Particularly how to books I can look through over and over. Other than that, I’m re-reading Robin McKinley.

    1. There’s several Robin McKinley ebooks available for $1.99 on nook today. Plus the Kate and Cecy series by Wrede and Stevermer

  27. I’ve just finished Donna Andrews’ THE GIFT OF THE MAGPIE, which I held off on until past Halloween . . . . and have A GRAVE DIAGNOSIS, an anthology from the Mesdames of Mayhem, a Canadian group. Most of their anthologies have 13 stories, so this one is rather larger. I’ll be interested to see what sorts of diagnoses turn up, as we all age and one of the authors, a personal friend, told me that the thing that really impressed her daughters in recent years was that one of her medical conditions had been an episode on GRAY’S ANATOMY! None of your everyday medical problems for this group.

    Not sure where the recommendation came from, if not here, but I also have THE ROAD TO CONCORD, an American Revolution caper, I think, involving cannon removed from British possession and discovered in American possession, all supposed to be quite secret.

    And, speaking of capers, I am rereading the Woodhouse and Ross three-book series with Leonardo da Vinci as the hero. This is definitely fun every time — probably like rereading Ian Fleming’s Bond books, if you prefer the books to the films.

    1. Sorry, I should have listed the titles of the da Vinci books:


      They’re chronological and available on Kindle. Paper copies are probably pretty expensive by now.

  28. I am working my way through MCA Hogarth’s Pelted universe since discovering it via the Dreamhealer series earlier this month. I have now finished the Her instruments series which lifts the veil on the Eldritch.
    I have read some other stuff in between. What stood out is Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold by Ellen O’Connell and Artistic License by Elle Pierson (a.k.a Lucy Parker). Two very different books but both lovely romances with interesting protagonists.

    1. I love the Ellen O’Connell books, there are 2 novellas that tie into Eyes of Silver Eyes of Gold. Rachel Eyes & Lukes Eyes.

      I’ve said before that I read Artist License before I knew her as Lucy Parker (so had to re-read it – still good!!!)

  29. Currently reading Desert Solitaire (nonfiction) since I can’t go hike around Moab until Covid is over. And Lois Duncan’s Gallows Hill was a Bookbub sale (still on, I think) so I nabbed that to re-read.

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