This is a Good Book Thursday, December 10, 2020

Krissie and I agreed to read Ten Things I Hate About the Duke, and then we started talking about one of her faves, Mine Until Midnight, and I said she should read Last Night’s Scandal, although it’s better if you read the book that comes before that (Lord Perfect) since that’s the one where Olivia and Peregrine meet as children and start their friendship (in fact most of that mini-series is good so I’m re-reading my way through the other three books, too). Then Krissie bought me her fave, The Prince of Midnight, so it’s pretty much been historical romance 24/7 here.

What did you read this week?

73 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 10, 2020

    1. American covers always look terrible to me, so not a problem. At least they’re in mass market format; it’s been the fashion here for twenty years to publish everything in trade paperback size (i.e. same page size as the hardback edition – when I started in publishing at the end of the seventies, most books were published in hardcover, then softcover/trade paperback, and finally mass market paperback). I find the smaller US paperbacks much easier to hold and read.

      Although this time I bought the ebook – there’s often a serious lag with authors like Loretta who have a UK publisher.

      1. Someone, somewhere, I don’t remember where, was talking about the differences between British and US book covers for the same book and how the two audiences did respond differently to the same covers. Which I always thought was intriguing and I always really wanted to know the cause.

  1. I read also Ten Things I Hate About the Duke this week. While waiting for that I read the one before it – A Duke in Shining Armour. And because I was still waiting I read some of her short stories and would especially recommend The Mad Earl’s Bride, which crams in an astonishing amount of story and is vastly entertaining.

    1. I too reread A Duke in Shining Armour, but after I read 10 Things, which was somewhat of a mistake, because I had forgotten some of the story since that one had been published. She is one of my favorite authors – I feel a binge coming on….

      1. I loved Duke in Shining Armor because it was so madcap and had so many reversals, like the drunk bride who hates her dress and the rake who’s the one saying no to anything that might outrage society. Plus the dog.

    2. I love The Mad Earl’s Bride! Usually I resist buying anthologies because there is usually only one story in the book I want to read, but this one was definitely worth the price of
      the whole book.

  2. I re-read the whole Hidden Legacy series by Illona Andrews.

    I’m trying to bite the bullet and get through the TO BE READ pile during this year’s school holiday.

    It’s difficult because I let fiction distract me. But I wanna be smart by I reading the books with new concepts and ya know, vocabulistics! 😉

  3. After Trisha Ashley’s 12 days of Christmas, I read another favourite of hers, A Winter’s tale, and then I rounded it off with her more recent « A Christmas Invitation ». To keep with the Christmas theme, I am now reading something completely different « My Christmas Number One » by Leonie Mack which I am really enjoying. And I have also read Stella Riley latest « Midwinter Magic, so basically I am Chrismassed out, if that’s a verb and we are barely into December.

  4. Oh haven’t read that short story in a while. Must do that. The Mad Earl’s Bride is packed full. My favourite short story is Lord Lovedon’s Duel. It is the perfect length. Dukes Prefer Blondes is another great favourite from the Dressmakers series. I am rereading Ten Things I Hate About the Duke. Brain wasn’t focussing on the story at first read. Gladly it’s working now.

  5. My hands-down favorite Chase is Dukes Prefer Blondes. I immediately picture Benedict Cumberbatch / Cate Blanchett.

    What I particularly enjoyed was the way she teased out the ‘insults’ because she knew them to be what they really were–backhanded compliments, so heartfelt he would have a difficult time saying anything so straightforward.

    I think I’ve re-read that one five or six times now.

  6. I’m still making my way through Shami Stovall’s Frith Chronicles (starting with Knightmare Arcanist), and enjoying them. They’re not perfect books, but I love the characters and the way the world keeps building out as we go on. Not sure what’s next up on my TBR list after that — I keep adding things — but I suppose we’ll get there when we get there…

  7. I read Curses Are For Cads by Tamara Berry, the third book in her mystery series that starts with Seances Are For Suckers. Possibly the best one yet.

    I also read Thale’s Folly by Dorothy Gilman, one I hadn’t ever read before. A gentle and charming mystery.

  8. Everything I’ve read got mentioned in other weekdays. The only open book just now is The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, perhaps the least mentioned Crusie collaboration in your backlist. I asked myself, “When did I last reread this?” That changed to, “Have I ever reread this?” I couldn’t answer, so I’m rereading this.

  9. I’m still reading “Ancillary Justice,” it’s very intense. It’s a bit of a lift in the first chapters, but everything there comes in play so later, so I don’t feel it was padded, just world building.
    Along with world building is name creation, and you have to decide how to pronounce (at least in your head) some names, lots of vowels strung together or repeated in this case. Then if you hear the audio book you think, is that how you say it! Or maybe the readers are making it up, too. I had to stop listening to a low budget audio “Tale of Two Cities” because the reader kept say “Madame Defrage.” I wondered if they figured it out and just kept on going, or never noticed the mistake.

    1. Naming in fiction — especially in fantasy, SF, or other not quite of our world — is a weird one. I often get stuck trying to pronounce or remember some of them. I have been guilty of that in the past. So in the story I’m working on, I’ve decided to use Welsh as the base for one set of characters. I’ll use other reality-based languages for others, perhaps. That’s actually what J.R.R. Tokien did, although he had much more education and experience in linguistics and languages, particularly ancient languages, than I do.

      1. I am easily put off a book by a string of long names I can’t pronounce. Happens especially in fantasy. And yet – The Goblin Emperor was so immediately engaging that I hardly noticed the impossible names. So maybe it’s just “I am easily put off a *mediocre* book by a string of long names …”

        1. I never even bothered trying to pronounce the names in Goblin Emperor, I just remembered what the names looked like on the page.

        2. You need to get it from Audible. The narrator is excellent and pronounces all the names. Makes a world of difference. I had the same problem keeping the straight when I read it.

    2. I read the first two, have the third, and just happened to start reading Provenance, by the same author in the same universe, but not part of that series. I’m finding it very engaging.

  10. You all are bad for my budget. I just happened to throw five books in my cart that should be here next week!

    Thanks for the recs!

  11. I am working my way through Ancillary Justice. Working being the key word. I *think* it’s finally getting going, which is good as I only have about a third of the book to go. I don’t think it will be a reread, but maybe the end will be good enough to encourage me to read the others in the series.

    Also listened to the Awakening, the first book in Nora Roberts new trilogy. I wondered at the spelling vs the pronunciation of the many Irish words in the book, and while investigating discovered the recent contretemps on her blog where a trollish sort of person tried to explain to Nora how publishing works. I have to say, she was far more patient than I would have been!

  12. I read The Relentless Moon, the third book in Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut series. This continues to be a series I love – a very fine mix of personal relationships, politics and space.

    Then I read Kimiko and the Accidental Proposal by Forthright. I’m enjoying these books a lot, partly because there’s a gentleness to them, and I had the sort of week where I needed gentleness in my reading.

    1. Yay! So glad someone else is enjoying Forthright. The latest one is just so dear! Actually, the latest two, if we are counting short stories.

        1. They remind me a little of The Dreamhealers books by MCA Hogarth. Though I think these are probably better. But there’s a similar gentleness and kindness to them which I find very soothing in times of stress.

  13. Reading ‘Ten Things’ now and enjoying it. I’ll have to track down the rest of the recommendations.

  14. I’m going to force myself to set my e-reader aside (I’m so spoiled) to read the two books I picked up at the library today. Clanlands by actors Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish a road trip adventure of touring Scotland. I wonder if there will be a documentory on PBS? And Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich the 27th book in the Stephanie Plum series. Apparently when I stopped reading the series around the 20th book and in between then and now Grandma Mazur had gotten married and just as quickly was widowed. Maybe there is hope for Stephanie that she can finally choose either Ranger or Joe Morelli.

  15. While waiting for Ten Things I am rereading all Ann Bishop’s Others books for the manyth time. Almost finished. Just as good as the last several times, but faster!

    I’m also reading Elizabeth Bear’s Machine, at a rather slower pace.

    Everything else I’m in the middle of is sidelined for now.

  16. I finally read The Boyfriend Project this week, which had me asking myself, “What took me so long?” It’s a delightful read – funny and emotional and just all-around wonderful.

    I’m currently reading “How the Dukes Stole Christmas” which is an anthology featuring Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, and a few others. Step 1 in putting myself in a holiday mood. Next up is Christina Lauren’s In a Holidaze, continuing the “putting myself in a holiday mood” project

  17. I have been fed up lately so decided to go back to my old favourite Heyer’s the Talisman Ring and The Masqueraders. It has been a while but they are still excellent. Next I will the Cinderella Deal. I like that one to reread around Christmas time.

  18. Jeanne Ray’s Eat Cake was a DNF, but I suspect that other people, especially those who enjoy women’s fiction, might like this book very much. It’s not bad. It just wasn’t for me.

    Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie was a re-read and as enjoyable as ever. A bunch of murderous ghosts, a love story, and an unscrupulous TV reporter resulted in an exciting and slightly wicked mishmash of a tale. Yummy!

    1. I very much enjoyed it. It has romantic elements, but they are tertiary to the main story (spoiler: one doesn’t end so well).

  19. I am chipping my way through Nalini Singh’s latest. She has gotten a little formulaic but I am so invested in the long story arch that I don’t care. It’s comforting anyway.

    Elizabeth Hoyt is my favorite historical, especially since she does a fabulous redeemed villain, which is my favorite, along with Anne Stuart. I adore the bad boys, plus that is how I started reading Jennifer Crusie. After that, Lisa Kleypas for comfort and sweetness. I like Courtney Milan quite a bit too, but I get too involved and haven’t had the heart for it lately. I will read her newest eventually.

  20. I’ve found some Katie Fforde novels I either haven’t read or have forgotten. I’ve finished Artistic License and find it doesn’t matter if I know how/who it will end. Moved on to Highland Fling. Avoiding reality is my current goal, so romance all the way.

  21. Started out the new reading week (reading journal is now sectioned by Good Book Thursdays) with re-read of ‘Boyfriend Material’ by Alexis Hall. Still love it, still want a sequel.

    Next, M/M Regency novellas ‘Like a Gentleman’ and ‘Yuletide Treasure’ by Eliot Grayson. The first is historical and the second is in her Goddess-Blessed alternate history in which England is not a Christian nation. ‘Yuletide Treasure’ is a nice twist on ‘A Christmas Carol.’

    ‘Murder in E Minor’ by Robert Goldsborough, a Nero Wolfe novel. Not sorry I read it, but nothing here that made me say Ooh I have to read more of these.

    ‘Orientation,’ ‘Triangulation,’ and ‘Declination’ by Gregory Ashe. Obviously I got invested, because I read all three, but these left me dissatisfied.

    ‘Against the Grain’ by Jay Hogan, M/M romance set in New Zealand, full of found family and a man finding himself. Hogan is an auto-buy for me.

    ‘Her Pretend Christmas Date’ by Jackie Lau, a fun M/F holiday novella.

    ‘Merry Cherry Christmas’ by Keira Andrews, M/M holiday novel, enjoyed this one too. Canada-set, featuring a couple of good-hearted college students who meet at exactly the right time.

    I have a bunch more holiday books queued up for the next week. 🙂

  22. I’m reading A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins. So far, so good, but I am only halfway through.

    As for Loretta Chase, I have been a big fan of hers since I started reading her regencies in the eighties. Once I read Lord of Scoundrels (which I think has the best final line in all fiction) I was an addict. But don’t ask me to choose a favorite because it would be too hard to decide. I love how the Carsington parents schemed to marry off their sons for love AND money. I love how the dressmakers are glued together by generations of guile and grifting. I love how the heroines are unabashedly brainy and I can’t wait to meet the latest. I bought it as soon as I could get my hands on a copy. Unfortunately, I have to finish 2 library books (which both have waiting lists) before I can read it. But I am excited about it.

  23. I’m currently reading “Murder is in the Air” by Frances Brody. I’m enjoying being back in 1930 Yorkshire. People are just as duplicitous in her books as they are today, but they’re counterbalanced by good, kind people. I think I need that sort of balance given our current state of affairs.

  24. Read 12 Days of Christmas by Trisha Ashley and now have A Christmas Cracker. Haven’t started 10 Things yet but it’s next, now that I’m done re-reading Frederica (Heyer). Really loved Chasing Cassandra which I’d just started last Thurs, it had some absolutely perfect romance lines.

  25. Read Fannie Flagg’s Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop Cafe and Adored it.
    Went on to one I forget, then The Paper Princess -YA – Book one of the Royals, which I got for free on BookBub and which is not normally my type of read, but she got me so hooked that I bought the next one, The Broken Prince, polished that one off and bought the third – The Twisted Palace. I haven’t read that one yet.
    I decided to take a break and read Christmas Actually. I’ve read two of those stories Very Cute.
    This morning I was putting my grandson to sleep. I couldn’t reach my coffee and I forgot to bring in my phone, but the new Obama book was reachable with my other hand so I started that. It’s good.
    Tonight? Not sure. Maybe back to Christmas or The Masqueraders if I can find it on my shelf. Or The Twisted Palace. Did I mention that books have a “to Be Continued” thing?
    On TV I have been catching up with Anne with an E. I signed the petition for a 4th season. I hope we get it.
    Tomorrow Night the musical of The Prom will be on Netflix. I registered for a Zoom question-answer with the stars. I have wanted to see this. Next comes Kazillionaire because I am in it.
    Blessings. I am still part of a audioboo giveaway. The hashtag for all the giveaways is #SNOWAUDIO2020 on Twitter and Facebook. Started by a mystery writer.

  26. i’m a huge Loretta Chase fan. My favorite of the Carsington series is Mr. Impossible. I loved it when I read it but a years later, I downloaded it onto my kindle with a free audible edition. Listening to Mr. Impossible was a totally different experience. It takes place on the Nile and the audible version immerses you in muddy banks with reeds and the smell of suffocatingly close tombs and discovering hyrogliphics – well, it was a great listen. This new Dukes series is quite fun. I guess I’m going to have to go back and read The Mad Earl’s Bride. I’ve downloaded most of her works to kindle so i’m sure I’ve got it.

  27. Oh wow The Prince of Midnight! That’s a deep cut in the Laura Kinsale stack. It is not one of my favorites so I haven’t reread it recently, but I remember how striking the story is.

    I got Ten Things I Hate About the Duke and To Catch a Queen from the library on the same day so work productivity has been shot for the past 2 days 🙁

    I have a historical etiquette question about Ten Things: why do Cassandra and her family address him as “Duke” instead of “Your Grace”? Do you not say “Your Grace” if you also have a title? I feel like that’s not how other historical romances usually do it.

    1. I’m pretty sure you can use either – if you’re his social equal, that is. Not that I know any dukes (and I trust nowadays we’d be on first-name terms: there’s no way I’d go round ‘your gracing’ anyone). I did used to work with Lord Longford, but we just called him that – he was fifty years older than me.

  28. I’m reading THE CHRISTMAS CAKE CAFÉ, by Sue Watson, which is reminding me a bit of Tricia Ashley, at least in the opening — we’ll see how that changes a few more chapters from now.

    Also LADY OSBALDESTONE’S CHRISTMAS GOOSE, by Stephanie Laurens (4-book series), an 1810 Regency.

    Rereading THE GOBLIN EMPEROR, not exactly Christmas-y, but Maia was definitely the Winter Emperor.

    Also MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE, by Sarah Morgan — hero writes horror stories, heroine is Extremely Sunny. His grandmother has hired her to decorate his apartment for Christmas . . . and, of course, they’re snowed in, but luckily her hobby is cooking and part of the assignment was to fill his freezer. My current fantasy is to have her filling my freezer!

  29. I’ve been reading the news. I don’t recommend it.

    Other than that, I’ve mainly reread Martha Wells Raksura series. Again. I just love the world.

  30. I’m quite sucked into a new-to-me fantasy called Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly. I like that the characters have limits and weaknesses, and they stay within those limits in the book (at least so far).

    Being The Best, or The One, the Magical Unheard of Combo, etc. Has rather put me of YA at the moment.

    I was reading another highly recommended YA, got 3/4 of the way through, and lost all interest abruptly. I can’t fathom a particular character being so dumb and risking so much out of character. Obviously, leads to a downfall, and I just couldn’t, anymore. So I didn’t.

    I need to step back from the news for quite awhile, I think. I was extremely upset by an occurrence yesterday, and I think I’ve hit my limit for awhile.

      1. Her historical mystery series set in New Orleans starting with “A Free Man of Color” are an incredible read, but not what I call “light reading” as they are very powerful. Very well researched as one would hope from someone who teaches history.

  31. I’ve been pulling together my fave holiday romances, some on my iPad and some from the online library. One — On a Cold Christmas Eve by Bethany M. Sefchick — I like so much I read it at all seasons. (I like her quite a bit, but my library doesn’t carry her. They don’t carry a lot of authors I like, possibly because they aren’t with a large publisher? Dunno, but I only read her if I buy her books. Same with Jillian Eaton.)

    I often read holiday romance anthologies: I like my holiday romances to be short story or novella length. Some of the ones I love I’ve got on hold; apparently I’m not the only one who loves them.

  32. Laura Kinsale —thats an author I love but don’t reread. Also that’s one of the few books where the epilogue plays an essential role—it shows us how the hero and heroine can actually have a HEA since we never see them happy and relaxed in the body of the book.

    1. I love her too, and have reread her books. I recommend listening to the audiobook versions read by Nicholas Boulton, who is British and has a delectable voice. Sometimes I can’t listen to an audiobook because the narrator’s voice does not match the one I “heard” when I read the books. That is not the case here. Here’s a sample:

    2. You know, I didn’t get past the first few pages, it was just so dark. And I don’t need any more dark right now. It’s Krissie’s favorite though.

  33. I finished my C S Harris Sebastian St Cyr re-read, but now have to wait until Spring 2021 for my next fix.

    Some time frame for the next Murderbot 🤐

  34. I read Boyfriend Material (Alexis Hall). Loved it! My husband commented that I was smiling while I was reading. Thank you for the recommendation!

  35. I made the mistake of looking for a quote in a book from 1991 – Fallen Angels by Niven, Pournelle, and Flynn. There’s a Wiki article that does a fair job of summarizing the plot without giving it all away. Basically, it says that yes, global warming was a thing, but when the radicals tilted the technology bubble the other way, it turns out that the warming was holding off an ice age. When the story begins, Canada and the northern US are covered in glaciers.

    There’s a romance sub-plot, but it’s strictly that. A sub-plot. I’m seven chapters in.

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