65 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, January 21, 2021

  1. I did some more rereading this week too. I reread Sharon Shinn’s Elementals series. I don’t like it as much as her angel books and Mystic and Rider series but I love the first one, Troubled Waters, and ended up rereading the other 3 too and liking them more than I did the first time, maybe because I remembered where things were going.
    I especially enjoyed the blessings idea this time round. I think we need blessings at the moment. I ended up copying the blessings list into a note on my phone. Every morning, I close my eyes and I scroll down randomly. This morning, I drew spirituality and two ghost coins, ie. I scrolled down twice to the very end of the list where there’s blank space :). People who have read those books will understand what I am on about. For people who haven’t, I’d say the blessings are worth the read, … and Zoe and Darien!

    1. Oh, I love that the blessings from that series. And what a lovely idea. I’ve got the list saved somewhere to make the cards, but keep forgetting. Maybe in February as part of the crafting daily fun.

      1. That sounds like such a great idea!! I love it! When people make real things that exist in books they love it makes me giddy with delight!

    2. Totally with you on the first book of that series being the stand-out – I’ve reread it several times.

      1. The Air one is the first one I read, and my favorite, but every time I re-read Troubled Waters I realize I like it almost as much.

        I love the scrolling phone list idea! I have vaguely thought of making some cards, but it seemed troublesome and I’ve never actually tried.

    3. I enjoyed those, except for the last one. I have issues with how it ends. But the first one is excellent and the second two are very enjoyable.

      1. Yes, I agree. That’s the one I found problematic too but rereading it was better than reading it for the first time.

    4. I love the idea of them too. I bought two sets of blessings and draw 3 every Monday. If you follow Sharon Shinn on FB, she draws 3 blessings for each week; that’s where I got the idea from.

    5. I love Troubled Waters and I like the other books in the series almost as much. I think the idea of the blessings cards is wonderful. I might make them for myself digitally (my hands itch to start), store them in a dedicated folder on my laptop, and then find a random generator online to draw one card for myself every day.

  2. I read Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, which I think you recommended here. OMG, so good! I don’t usually read M/M romance but I may have to reassess that. The book was so funny, and yet still very poignant. Eagerly awaiting his next book.

    1. I recommend Glitterland by Hall. The dialogue between the main characters and the delightful ending (not Aftermath, which was added later) made this the best book I’ve read in a long time.

    2. It’s not coming out for a couple weeks, but I read an early version: Everina Maxwell’s “Winter’s Orbit” and can highly recommend it. It’s space opera where Our Hero is a bachelor about town (one of 50 grandchildren of the Empress) who is told to marry the recently widowed representative (male) from another system in order to maintain the treaty properly. It’s amusing and fraught and Our Hero is sort of Lord Peter if there hadn’t been a war, and his Bunter is female of interesting antecedents.

      Ev is a Dunnett fan and lives in England. I’ve read and read the earlier draft.

      1. Sounds cool. Luckily it is close enough to out that I can place a request for it at the library. 🙂

  3. I just got Barack Obama’s ‘A Promised Land’ from the library.

    It’s 700 pages long…….

  4. I’ve been making my way through Loretta Chase’s Dressmaker series at a leisurely pace – have liked the second one about Sophy the best so far – probably because I also the hero who appears to be not bright and somewhat useless – things are not always what they seem.

    Read the second in the Lady astronaut series, The Fated Sky – one of the more interesting ‘villain’ turnarounds I’ve read. Also read KJ Charles the Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal – an M/M homage to Victorian pulp fiction.

    Best thing I read all week was The Goblin Emperor. I was surprised to learn that Katherine Addison is also Sarah Monette whose writing tends to the grimmer side of fantasy – because my only demur about The Goblin Emperor is that the hapless hero never seemed all that hapless – he always makes the right choice, in politics and relationships, and everything turns out beautifully because of it. Anyway – I loved it so thank you for those of you who recommended it.

  5. I haven’t read any super memorable books this week. I have been going through and deleting old stuff off my Kindle. Books I bought for free or for very cheap on a whim that I’ve realized I’m never, ever going to read. Stuff that is not to my taste. Stuff I read one chapter of and thought “bleah.” Stuff that I’ve outgrown. It’s very liberating.

    I meant to recommend this Catherynne Valente post last week, but I got distracted. It’s almost like a lovely stream of consciousness poem. It’s part of her Patreon, but I think it should be viewable by all.

  6. I read the Lotus Palace series by Jeannie Lin. They are romances set in the Tang Dynasty in China in 847 A.D. They are very well written and engaging. I will definitely try her other series.

    I also realized in December that my library has the Murderbot series of audio books available, so I am listening to them (for the 3rd time?) as I walk and do tasks around the house. They only have the novellas, so they are a short listen. I check them out and return them immediately so that they show up for other people to check out and fall in love.

    I just finished Ten Things I Hate About The Duke. It was so good. Thank you for the recommendation.

  7. I have had a really good week, thanks to recommendations here. First Sarina Bowen’s ‘The Accidentals’, which I think is my favourite of hers so far. Then a novella, ‘Apples Should Be Red’ by Penny Watson, which was fun (apart from her bizarre idea that English gardens are in full summer bloom all year round). And then one I absolutely loved, despite the fact it’s too long and really should have had a structural edit: ‘The Hands of the Emperor’ by Victoria Goddard. Not for anyone who needs an action-packed, good-and-evil plot; but perfect if you want to hang out with wonderful characters finding their way to fulfilment in a beautiful, intriguing world. It’s the equivalent of nearly a thousand pages long, and even then doesn’t finish the story, although it doesn’t end on a cliff-hanger.

    I was delighted to discover there’s a sequel, which I’m reading now – ‘The Return of Fitzroy Angersell’. Bizarrely, this is a first-person narrative (rather than close third), and the voice is quite different. But still a lot of fun. I do like the fact that she does it her way, even though the first book would have been even more brilliant if some of the later repetition had been cut. She’s definitely a new favourite.

  8. I finished Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews and it was wonderful. They did something that I really wanted to happen, but wasn’t sure if it would, which just goes to show that I should have more faith in authors who have earned my trust.

    Also tried one of the Bridgerton books, and my brain almost bled out my ears. Not to bash, but that book has serious issues that the author didn’t resolve. I think that she bit off more than she could chew dealing with issues of class and entitlement. Still, it was engaging and fluffy. I haven’t read historical romance in a while and it was just so escapist that I will have to read more. Just what we need sometimes.

    1. Lemme guess: it was An Offer From An Gentleman? I thought trying to do “Regency Cinderella” really just didn’t work well in that book.

      Still reading Blood Heir and I’m happy to hear that news!

      I finished the Clandestine series by Colleen Cowley that I mentioned last week and loved it. Great romance.

    2. I have similar feelings about the Bridgerton books. I don’t respect them, but they’re good at making me keep reading them.

      1. Agreed. It’s definitely and introduction to a new longer arch. I have hopes. It did well, I believe on the book lists.

  9. I am reading LESS news as of yesterday. The urge to frequently check out the fires has started to diminish, and it’s liberating.

    It’s not like I’m not checking still, but that less is enough to make me feel like I have loads of new time on my hands. Which is weird, since it’s really not that much time. Maybe relief-time feels longer! XD

    In other readings, I just started Black Dog by Rachel Neumeier, and thus far I really like it. It’s on a kindle monthly deal!

  10. Still reading Lead From the Outside by Stacey Abrams, full of stuff like how to build a future, what a concept. Also I nabbed Royal Bridesmaids because it has a new Loretta Chase novella in it. Now that I’m done wallowing in yesterday’s events (a normal press conference!!) I hope to get more reading done.

  11. I read (audio version, with Kenneth Brannagh) Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express this week, and I know I saw the movie, but I don’t think I ever read the book before (and didn’t recall anything but the setting from the movie). Really impressed by Brannagh’s performance. Free on Hoopla.

    1. I listened to that also !!!

      One nice thing about Hoopla is that if you don’t finish it when you get it again, it picks up from where you left off.

      I don’t know how the app does it but it has worked for me a couple of times.

  12. I finished Fire on the Rio Grande. It was… okay. Nothing I’d recommend except to “Ring of Fire” completists. Then I turned to Artificial Condition. It made me feel better, except… I have become overly aware of Rolling Eyes. Murderbot even describes ART rolling its eyes.

    I don’t know what I’m reading next. A Red Son Rises in the West maybe. I hope nobody rolls there eyes.

  13. I like when I find a new author to me and I’m itchin’ to read what she wrote. This morning put on my kindle Cartier’s Hope by M.J. Rose. Also called the library and put the tree version on hold. Only because my kindle is showing the story on a black background with teeny tiny letters. The story is about a young woman in the early 20th century (1910/11) who wants to become a journalist. With family’s wealth as an advantage she starts out by giving herself a pen name and is able to write about functions and people of the well to do. Does sound rather sneaky but it is only to safeguard her family. It’s a story of family secrets and blackmail along with background of the Hope diamond. I love the time period where women were beginning to edge their way forward. And look where we’ve gotten with a woman almost to the top, at least in my country.

  14. I love the Bridgerton series and reread it frequently. I’m not above shallow stuff, and I’m not sure Quinn was trying to address class or social issues; that’s for Shondaland. I’ve got stuff I’m supposed to be reading, but like others here, have been rereading. In my case, it’s Nora Roberts’ bride quartet, which is admittedly shallow. Since I know the plot,
    I skip a lot of pages about the particular wedding dramas. I need to get to the library, but it’s been cold, and I’m also a weather wimp.

    1. The Bride Quartet is one of my no-brain-need-comfort rereads. I ended up getting rid of most of my gathered-over-years collection of Roberts’ books and kept those, the MacGregors, and the Donovans. Sometimes the brain just can’t cope and these let me be elsewhere.

    2. I have no issue with shallow or fluff. It can be great fun. I do think that Quinn opened a can of worms that she didn’t handle repacking well. Glad you enjoyed them though. The voice is definitely engaging.

  15. I scarfed down (three books in two days, and I was reading other things, too, as I always am) the Bromance Book Club trilogy. I do hope there are more to come. Thank you, mentioners!
    I read Loretta Chase’s dressmaker books, and finished Network Effect and started All Systems Red, so I’m doing well in the infinite re-read department….It’s been less than a month since I first read 10 Things I Hate About the Duke. Surely it’s too soon for a reread.

  16. I read Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews. She made some interesting choices about where to go that made me go ‘Hmmm’. On the other hand this is the kind of book that you shouldn’t start late at night, because you won’t be able to put it down.

    Based on recommendations here I read The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs. And they were right, it *is* very sad, particularly the first third, but also very good.

    Also based on a recommendation here I read The Lord of Stariel by A.J. Lancaster. It was also very good, but I’m having trouble getting into the sequel.

  17. After all the recommendations, I’m reading Mr Impossible, and laughing a lot. I also reread Patricia Briggs’ ‘Raven’s Strike’, which is the second in a duology, and has one of the most satisfying endings I have ever read.

    1. I think this is one of the things I love about good trilogies or duologies. By the time you get to the end you are so invested, and if it’s a great ending you get double the whammy you’d get from a single book.

    2. I love Mr. Impossible! With the possible exception of the parents, Rupert is my favorite Carsington. Perhaps I just find it easiest to identify with a character who has been drifting around without a sense of purpose and not using their brain. And how does he end the novel? As a man who “had beyond doubt won the affection and loyalty of the crew and servants……The mongoose liked him, too.” I wouldn’t mind being summed up that way.

  18. I can’t remember what I read…I bop around like a squirrel who forgot where its nuts are hidden. I know it was some good stuff. Mostly too much news media.

  19. I read Across the Green Grass Fields and enjoyed it. Mostly. I felt like I missed a page or 2 at the end, it was very abrupt. Maybe it’s because Come Tumbling Down was part of a larger story and this one is its own universe so to speak.

  20. I read The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson. I enjoyed it because it didn’t spend a lot of time on all the tricks of the trade used to make all the contestants look the same. The plot hook is that a contestant has an allergic reaction that keeps her from competing during the preliminary round. This is the set up for a lot of those tropes that we say we hate, but it was handled with a light touch, so I enjoyed it.

  21. I read Connie Willis short story The last of the Winnebagos. Remember how we said no story that kills off a dog? Well, this kills off all the dogs in the world. Very well written but it rips your heart out.

      1. *Spoiler alert*

        Mostly because it fixates on the loss of the protagonist’s dog!

        Love Connie Willis’ work, but would never have read the story if I had known that beforehand, no matter how well it was written.

  22. I meant to have a glass of champagne yesterday but ended with barely a sip of rosé! Also very amused at the account of the horrified disappointment of such QAnon’rs as thought Trump would pull off some miracle, preferably with violence and executions on live TV and Trump in office for the rest of eternity . . . when no such thing happened.

    So I wasn’t reading anything exactly exciting, instead I reread Peg Bracken’s I HATE TO COOK BOOK, with I WOULDN’T HAVE MISSED IT FOR THE WORLD (travel) and I DIDN’T COME HERE TO ARGUE (etiquette, or at least manners) to follow on. I really will have to make some of those recipes again! In any case, I like Peg Bracken’s voice and outlook.

    1. Her Pedro Casserole was a family favorite when I was growing up. I still make Aunt Selma’s Oatmeal Cookies although I sub butter for shortening.

      1. I made her shortbread cookies and passed on the recipe a few months ago to a young friend. Foolproof, but the recipe made, for me, a HUGE quantity.

  23. I read Artistic Liscense, I think on recommendation from someone here. Mostly I enjoyed it, but I think it’s a great example of Jenny’s rule about how your first chapter sets up a promise to a reader. In this case it starts with bad guys! Breaking into an art gallery! For mysterious reasons!

    And then it proceeds to be a lovely, quiet book with zero interest in art crime. I loved the hero not being conventionally attractive, enjoyed the setting, enjoyed the art stuff. But I didn’t get happy-book-buzz even though I normally love the author, and I think it’s because I felt like I got a different book than that first chapter promises.

  24. I read The Domestic Revolution by Ruth Goodman which I loved. The way the choice of fuel affected so many different aspects of life from what you cook, how you clean, how you manage the landscape was fascinating. My only quibble was the U.S. addition was subtitled something about the Victorian period when the actual use of coal in England started much earlier and the scope of the book much larger than just Victorian history but that is the fault of the publisher not the author.

    1. I was thinking about that book today as I proof-read a history of architecture and energy. Just covered the evolution from medieval to C18 London; but of course the author doesn’t go into the detail of domestic fuel that she does.

  25. I read Northanger Abbey all the way through to the end — something I hadn’t previously accomplished. I think I’m at a far better age (65) to enjoy the story than I was when I was on my first Austen streak (15? maybe younger). I think that several of Austen’s works can be read as Romantic era (Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion), but Austen was of the parodic “Sensibility” era that preceded the Romantic one. I very much identified with Catherine, the heroine who reads Gothic novels and lets her book-fed imagination carry into her real life. It fits well because Catherine is both innocent and naive: she is unprepared for people who talk knowledgeably but who don’t mean what they say.

    I’m going to look up the recent Miss Eleanor Tilney because Eleanor seemed like a real Austen heroine whose story might interest more than Catherine’s.

  26. I read and enjoyed Blood Heir this past week, but it’s not going to go into my favorites of theirs.

    I read Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi which was as wonderful as the reviews made me expect.

    But my big winner of the week was a web toon called Gourmet Hound by Lee Hama, about a young woman who is on a hunt to find a specific mystery chef. Slow-burn romance, lots of characters talking out their problems in good faith, and of course, lots and lots of food. It was just so sweet and earnest (but not uncomplicated) that I couldn’t help but love it. It is complete, but it is LONG.

    1. That reminds me, I haven’t checked Questionable Content in months. And now I have to look up Gourmet Hound.

    2. Gourmet Hound is lovely. I read it as a serial on webtoon and adored it. I was so sorry when I ended.

  27. I’ve been reading a book a day but nothing that really jumps to mind (granted, my mind is tired; work has been heavy). Last night I started reading what should have been a slam-dunk: romance about ballroom dancers. It’s a three-book series and I got the whole thing on sale. I don’t begrudge the author my money but she is not also getting my time because damn.

    20% into book one and not only did I not care about the MC girl, we’d hardly even met MC guy, and the dancing part of it looked more like ‘notes from my private lesson’ than ‘part of a romance.’ For three books, you have to really grab me. As in ‘Amberlough.’

  28. Tragically I read the bestselling Room Mate, purported to be a feminist rom com and given favorable sound bites by respected writers who were, one can only assume, being held at gun point at the time.

    I loved the Hating Game. Loved the Kiss Quotient. Adored the sweet and cuddly Flat Mates. So this should’ve been my catnip.

    Joyless, charmless, with a self congratulatory heroine who is the opposite of a manic pixie dream girl. Uptight, self righteous highly privileged dream girl? Idk. I suffered through it because I am guilty of CHOOSING THIS BOOK to read and to inflict upon a dear friend as well so we could enjoy reading a book together. She did not deserve such misery. I have apologized heartily. This woman is the one who recommended to me most of the books I adore. I am ashamed of my selection and have to go reread Persuasion as a palate cleanser.

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