This is a Good Book Thursday, February 25, 2021

This week I glommed Jodi Taylor, starting with the two Time Police books and then beginning on the St. Mary’s series. I’ve definitely pre-ordered the next Time Police story; not sure if I’ll keep going through the St. Mary’s, but I’m on book five now, so it’s definitely holding my interest.

What did you read this week?

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96 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 25, 2021

  1. Really late to the party, but I’m finally reading (and enjoying!) Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse series. How does the TV series measure up?

    I also just discovered Patricia Briggs’s Alpha and Omega series and I’m glomming that, too. I’ve seen many references to her Mercy Thompson series; since I like the Alpha and Omega series would I like Mercy as well?

    To keep from burning out, I alternate between those two series then make every third book some old comfort reread. Latest was Linda Howard’s Open Season. Other than thinking a few times that cell phones would have made everyone’s life easier, it held up pretty well.

    1. I think you would enjoy the Mercy Thompson books if you like the Alpha Omega series. Same world, and of course many shared characters. Mercy is a coyote shape shifter, so her relationships with all the more powerful beings are different. She’s got to be wily.

      1. I agree. I also started with Mercy way before Patricia Briggs started the Alpha and Omega offshoot. If you enjoy Anna and Charles, you will enjoy Adam and Mercy. The romance is slow but it develops very nicely over the books. The protagonists grow, change over time which is always good with a long series like this.
        The next Alpha and Omega is coming out next month. Patricia Briggs is one of the very few authors to whom I am happy to hand over stupid money for an ebook :).

    2. I loved the Sookie Stackhouse series. Charlaine Harris either invented the whole monster universe or just did it better than anyone else. The first few seasons of the TV show were not bad but as soon as it started meandering away from the books I lost interest.

      My favourite Patricia Briggs books were the Hurog Duology, Dragon Blood and Dragon Bound. On my re-readable list.

      As is Open Season! I’ve read every Linda Howard book but don’t re-read them all…I re-read that one earlier this year.

    3. My favorite is Patricia Brigg’s is The Hob’s Bargin and her Raven series. I liked the first Mercy Thompson books but my interest fell after the relationship developed and I only read one of the Alpha and Omega series.

    4. I prefer alpha and omega because I am all about the relationship between anna and Charles.

      Mercy is good, but she is more of an independent actor. And it’s darker. I reread a and o much more often.

      Still worth the read though, and I really enjoyed the last few new ones a lot.

      1. Me too. I like Alpha & Omega stories much better than the Mercy books, but I still read everything Patricia Briggs writes. She is a wonderful writer.

    5. I loved the Charlaine Harris Sookie books, but was hugely disappointed by the TV show. I thought they screwed up all the women’s characters: they made Sookie too squishy and soft (how many tutus did she wear in the graveyard? Let us count…) and gave all her strength and edginess to that best friend, who they made crazy and violent. And Pam, the vampire, was just off. It went on for seven seasons, though, so a lot of people must have liked it. It always looked good, there was that.

  2. I much preferred the Sookie books to the TV series. The books had humor that didn’t come through in the series, and the series was so violent and sexy, I gave up after a few episodes, even though the books had been among my favorites. But I know plenty of people who loved it, so YMMV.

    I read the Mercy Thompson books and then discovered the Alpha and Omega. You’ll definitely love them.

    1. Agree about Sookie. I enjoyed all of the books. Started watching the series during the lockdown, and just couldn’t do it. You are right about the humour – the books can be charming, but I didn’t see that in the series. (I only watched about 6 or so episodes so maybe it improved?)

      As to Mercy; I love those books. I love some of them much more than others, but I think you need to read them all to get the arc. I just this week re-read the last two Alpha & Omega books, as I am preparing for the release of the next one in a few weeks. They have a much different feel to them, and I love them too. Anna and Mercy are great characters, and Charles, too. Adam goes up and down in my esteem a bit (mostly up, but he has his moments). The secondary characters in the Mercy books are also compelling – I especially love Warren and Kyle, but also the Sandoval crew, Tad, Zee, and Stephan.

  3. When I was a kid, the hatchet-jawed policemen in Dick Tracy comic strips used to amaze with their “2-way wrist radios”. That thought always makes me wonder if the same thing inspired Steve Jobs and his design crew long long ago. The idea, though, that cell phones would practically destroy the main communications system that was a staple of my youth still kind of baffles me. But hey, coffee killed the chocolate houses, so time marches on.

    I’ve just finished the second and third books in the older Martha Wells “Wizard Hunters” series, and I’m confused. It has a complicated heroine who begins the series studying medically plausible ways to commit suicide. I liked her throughout the series, even though I never totally got her — you had to piece together her background as you went, and I didn’t really ever grasp the questing part or the youthful part of herself that was driving her — a deficit to me as a reader.

    But after reading all three books, I’m still not very clear on how many worlds and continents and time periods went into the very complicated plot. There was magical travel and good and bad sorcery and so many many characters that I stopped trying to figure out who was who quite early on, and just focused on the main three characters and their various family members. But the books were still good enough to finish — yet I’m still wondering, am I the only one who found the series this confusing?

    1. The earlier death of the necromancer book about the heroine’s father and his motley crew gave me a certain amount of background that came in handy for the wizard hunters.

    2. I loved this series, but I also found it confusing especially in the beginning. I wasn’t always sure if Elias and his brother were from another world or just another region of the same world. Great opening line though!

      Have you read Death of the Necromancer? It’s a stand-alone fantasy that comes before The Wizard Hunter series. It was and is one of my favorite books of hers.

  4. I finally read the first Murderbot book. Yes, you were all right. Have already ordered numbers 2 and 3 from the library.

    Also finished The Marriage Code, by Brooke Burroughs. This was a fun romance inspired by the author’s own life, and mostly takes place in India. Be warned, you are going to end up craving Indian food if you read it.

  5. I’m reading through the Kurland St. Mary series, and listened to SE Phillips’ “Dance Away with Me,” and now have started “Flatshare.” Also listened to “Thud” and read the essays collected in “Pratchett’s Women.” The author didn’t discuss the Tiffany Aching books, and I actually haven’t read the last one. Since it is the *last* one.

  6. This week, I reread some KJ Charles before her latest landed on my Kindle yesterday. I greatly enjoyed revisiting the Lilywhite boys. I had forgotten the fleeting mentions of Great uncle Richard and his valet from the Society of Gentlemen in the second one. It is always nice to get some hints about the happily ever of other protagonists without them crowding the main story. Some authors have so many previous couples dropping in at once that they get in the way of the plot. Charles is too good a writer to do that.
    I liked her new book, the Gentle Art of Fortune hunting, well enough to read it in an afternoon but I won’t class it among her best works. For me, that would be, in no particular order, Think of England, the Magpie Lord trilogy and A Fashionable Indulgence.
    So back to rereading but I couldn’t resist preordering T Kingfisher’s Paladin’s Strength following Debbie’s mention of it here last Sunday. Thank you Debbie! It’s coming out this Sunday so I’ll have time to squeeze in a reread of Paladin’s Grace too.

    1. Oh, good. My library finally got Paladin’s Grace and I stayed up *far* too late last night finishing it in one gulp. Maybe they will get Paladin’s Strength in a timely manner.

      1. I don’t know if you were the one to recommend Allie Theron, but I just read all three of them. Actually I listen to the first two. They were excellent.

  7. It’s been cold and rainy here, so I spent a lot of time reading.

    I started with The Switch by Beth O-Leary, author of The Flatshare. It was charming and fun. A woman and her Grandmother switch places for 2 months and change both of their worlds for the better.

    Then I read Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai. It is a contemporary romance. The characters and their interactions were great. I didn’t find the event that threw them together believable and the resolution of that event was frustrating to me, but there were many other threads that were satisfying.

    Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner is a thriller introducing a new lead character who travels from place to place finding people who have disappeared. They can have a lot of violence, but if you like mysteries/thrillers, Lisa Gardner is one of my favorites.

    I finished with A Fine Summer’s Day by Charles Todd. I had lost track of the series, so this was an excellent book to start back up with. It takes place before the war, so we get to see a younger, happier Ian Rutledge.

    1. I liked The Switch, too. The thing about O’Leary is that she builds such great communities and then puts her protagonists in conflict without traumatizing them. They do their best and cope and solve things, but there’s always such a sense of good people doing their best in difficult situations, and nobody dies.

      I’ve been reading a series that I really like and I’m coming up on a book in which the author does something I’m going to hate, and I’m resisting that book because of it. I understand that you have to put a series protagonist in conflict, but I think some things are so damaging that I don’t want to read about them. The same thing happened to a character on Grimm, and I’m still angry about it. She has another series she’s just starting, only two books in, and that one I’ll stick with, but I may bow out for awhile on the other series, Twelve books and I’m on seven, I think. It’s just too hard to experience that, even in fiction.

      1. I have a favorite author (an auto buy) who is currently writing standalone women’s fiction books. One had a scene that was so triggering, if I’d known it was in there, I would never have read the book.

        1. I’m not sure why this is so triggering for me, but it’s upsetting me even before I read it. It really is a kind of deal-breaker to me. Don’t hurt animals or kids, and you can be as violent as you want, but I can’t stand to read about the helpless suffering.

          1. This was brutal violence against a woman (the protagonist). It happened long before the current action, but her memory of it was–horrific. Literally stomach turning. (Obviously very well written, but I couldn’t pick the book up for a week to finish it.)

  8. I read Blood Heir but didn’t care for it. Too complicated. Or to quote my favourite line from Amadeus: “Too many notes.” Too much back story, too much exposition, too much plot. I wanted more character. I prefer character-driven plot rather than plot-driven character.

    I also read KJ Charles’ newest, the Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting, and like LN above, enjoyed it but didn’t think it was her best.

    Re-read the entire Captive Prince series, again. Still obsessed.

    1. I actually did like Blood Heir, though I agree it did have the flaws that you mention and could have been much better.

  9. I read the YA novel The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. It’s kind of like Westing Games and Clue mixed together with a scoop of suspension of disbelieving. It was fun, and there will be a second book, so I’ll read that too.

  10. The sun is shining! I was beginning to think Galway was stuck on cloudy weather forecasts. I was able to go for a walk today without my boots and woolly hat.

    I’d forgotten that I downloaded The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary last year, until you mentioned the book Jenny. It was a fun read. I also read Baby, I’m Yours and Exposure by Susan Andersen. A new author for me. I will be reading more of her books.

    Thank you to the Argh member who kept mentioning Barbara Kingsolver last year. I’ve had the Poisonwood Bible on my bookshelf for fifteen years, and your posts made me finally read the book. I am now reading the Bean Trees.

    1. My reading has been so enriched by Arghers. I know that when more than one person recommends something, I am definitely going to enjoy reading it. I have discovered so many fab authors I would have never thought of trying otherwise. Thanks everybody.

    2. Always enjoyed Susan Andersen. She kind of dropped off my reread list. I’ll have to back on some of them. Many of them are ‘happy’ books.

    3. I love Bean Trees and the sequel, Pigs in Heaven. I also adore her nonfiction book, Animal Vegetable Miracle. I learned so much about food from that book.

  11. I have started reading the Lucy B Parker series by Robin Palmer, a YA that was either suggested by the library or by someone here. It is a fun read. I’ve started rereading The Dreamhealers series one and two by M. C. A. Hogarth. I’m on the first one and am flagging from all the back story and world building. I like the character interactions but all the rest is dragging me down. I was going to order number 3 but wanted to review the story line before I did. Does anyone know if it gets stronger?

    1. If you do go on with the series for a bit, better stop after book 4. Book 4 is still okay, but that whole story-world, including other series set in it, goes very dark after that, completely different in tone and subject matter, and that echoes back to the Dreamhealer personages.

  12. Finished SEP’s ‘Dance Away with Me”. I found it engaging. And it’s a stand alone. Sometimes I need one of those as opposed to a ‘can stand alone’ part of a series.

    I’ve now started Shelly Laurenston’s ‘The Unleashing’. It pulled me in and I stayed up abit too late reading it.

    Thanks for the Argher recommendation. It’s not my ususal type of read. But, I need to get out of my ‘rut’ sometimes, and, like LN, I always count can count on Argh to steer me to something I’ll enjoy.

  13. I love the chronicles of St. Mary’s, Max is a fabulous heroine. Haven’t started the Time Police books though.

    This week I’m on a Bria Quinlan bender. Wreckless, Secret Girlfriend, The Catching Kind. Things are happening like the dishwasher died and there are no parts so I’m hiding in YA land. I also read Red Noise when it came up as a Bookbub deal and that was fun. You have to love space opera that isn’t afraid of Shakespeare or Sun Tzu.

  14. I’m kicking myself for waiting so long to start, but I’m reading Lisa Kleypas (Wallflowers and Hathaways series to start) in great big gulps lately. Why must I go to work when I could be reading these delicious bits?

  15. Jodi Taylor’s books are some of my favorites. I’ve read all the St. Mary’s series three times and love the Time Police, too. I’m currently relistening to A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor. I’m reading Ancient Winds by Kristi McCaffrey.

  16. Last night I finished Furbidden Fatality by Argher Deborah Blake. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to her next Catskills Pet Rescue book.

    I liked the variety of women characters. They felt like real people you might know. I liked Kari’s self knowledge, determination, and willingness to keep going when things were tough. And I liked learning more about what’s needed in running a shelter. And any book with dogs and cats has that going for it, too.

    I look forward to the next book and really hope you’ll consider writing more than just two Catskills Pet Rescue books.

    1. Thank you, Cathy M! I’m so glad you liked it. I had fun building the community for that book. I’ve got a contract for three books total, and if these first ones do well enough, hopefully the series will continue on. Doggone Deadly, the second one, will be out in October.

  17. I finished two this week:

    “Chosen Ones” by Veronica Roth: about a 3.5 star one about 4-ish “Chosen Ones” who saved their world, ten years after they did it. Then they get abducted to an alternate universe where they are being forced to save that world too. Concept is interesting, romantic relationships are… eh/confusing, use of Chosen Ones that are not the heroine is not great.

    “The Midnight Bargain” by CL Polk: highly recommend by me. Sexist Regency/Victorian/old school alt-universe where people are magical, but women are literally chained at the neck to prevent them from doing magic from their wedding day until menopause because Bad Things Happen to pregnant magical ladies’ babies. Heroine desperately wants to find a way to avoid marriage and meets another lady who’s similarly inclined, and also insta falls in love with lady’s brother, who is actually a great guy but she’s inclined to throw him over for magic….if they can just figure out a way to do enough magic so they can’t be forced into the collar. Thought this was great. Instalove isn’t for everyone, but I liked it as a temptation for the heroine.

  18. I am 15 chapters deep in Rhubarb Pie Before You Die. Other books may have (quite thoroughly) diverted me this week. They shall remain nameless.

  19. This week I read nine things, of which seven were full-length novels (though not necessarily long ones). Five of the full-length books were M/M romance by other people, one was my own book ‘A Little Turn,’ and the seventh was an Elizabeth Peters Vicky Bliss mystery.

    Notable short story: ‘Playing Chicken’ by A.L. Lester, quite funny despite the painful reasons both MCs have landed in Wales. Sweet, sex-free M/M romance.

    ‘Charisma Check’ by Charlie Novak, set in UK and featuring a professional cosplayer and a tattoo artist; I liked this one because it’s enemies-to-lovers but the reasons they’ve gotten off to a bad start make sense, they start helping each other even before they realize they don’t actually hate each other, and there is no third-act Plot Fight.

    ‘Raze’ by Roan Parrish, a music-industry-adjacent story set in/near NYC, in which one MC is a bar owner in NA and the other is the barista brother of a rising music star; very strong treatment of recovery and anxiety, plus a kitten.

    ‘Passing Through’ by Jay Northcote is all about grief, and dealing with the death of a loved one, and choosing the Scarily Possible instead of the Safely Known; my favorite of his so far.

    ‘Brought to Light’ by Eliot Grayson, fantasy in which a real-world hit man falls in love with the fae-world barista he’s been hired to whack. Much Mayhem & Adventure, also many f-bombs and some uncomfortable-sounding sex in the woods.

    And finally, ‘The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting’ by KJ Charles, which like others here I wouldn’t call her best but which I’d say is a damn fine way to cope with the residue of 2020. (My top three of hers to date are Think of England, Jackdaw/Band Sinister (tie), and A Seditious Affair.)

  20. I read a book recommended by Miss Bates Reads Romance ( do any of you know her review page?).

    Cara Bastone ( an author I had never heard of) ‘Just A Heartbeat Away’. I really enjoyed it.

  21. Finally, a book I’m reading late into the night. Thanks to ANN, reading Leap of Faith by Trisha Ashley. Fun book.

    1. Glad you’re enjoying it! You don’t actually have to refer to me in all caps; that’s something Chrome does when it’s filling in the Name / Email form fields. I finally gave up trying to change it and decided it wasn’t worth the bother to type over it every time.

      1. Apologies for the duplicate. I had troubles posting, a hiccup didn’t post my earlier comment. Not seeing my first comment to thank Ann, I posted again. Lovely book. Finished it last night. Bought a Trisha Ashley four book deal to read more.

  22. Some re-reads last week and a couple of decent new books. Lyssa Kay Adams’s Crazy Stupid Bromance was OK, but I liked it less than the previous two books in the series.

    There must be something deficient in me. Sometimes, I can’t read books everyone is raving about. That was the case with Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue. While everyone on this forum and elsewhere admired this book, I couldn’t even get to page 50. I DNFed on page 29. I feel I’m missing something, but I couldn’t force myself to continue with this novel, and I don’t know why. The only possible reason I could come up with: I was indifferent to its protagonist.
    On the other hand, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare was a blast. Deceptively small and very personal concerns, (much smaller than in McQuiston’s book), slow tempo, but so adorable and funny, I fell irrevocably in love. I cared deeply for both protagonists. I wanted them to find happiness. They touched all the emotional triggers in me and tickled my humor buds repeatedly. A delightful book. I already ordered O’Leary’s next novel – The Switch – from the library.

    1. I had a similar reaction to Red White & Royal Blue, but I kept on past about page fifty and suddenly got interested. (I also had to struggle to read anything involving politics during 2020, but I knew that wasn’t the book’s fault.) I would never have kept trying if so many people hadn’t loved it.
      There have been other books mentioned here with enthusiams–which I can’t remember now–where no amount of slogging on got me to a place where I could understand why people loved them. So I don’t slog very far.
      I’m enjoying The Switch, almost as much as The Flatshare, but there was something particularly delightful about the notes.

    2. Red, White & Royal Blue was a DNF for me, too, but I couldn’t tell you why. I got bored, or something, and wandered off and didn’t go back. I loved The Flatshare, though.

      1. RWRB wasn’t a DNF for me, but not one I’ll reread. Same as the book about the messy angsty guy working for a charity, son of someone famous and in trouble with the media, who fake-dates a very organised guy, a friend-of-a-friend, who needs to bring someone to a family social gathering. He was way too angsty and high-maintenance for me, and I can’t recall the name of the book or the guys.

        I’ve been wondering about The Flatshare, with everybody being this enthousiastic about it, if I might like it too. But I’m feeling put off because I don’t see how this never meeting could work – on full-time employment each of them has 8 hours of work; even with an hour’s lunch break instead of half an hour that makes at most 9 hours, plus some commuting time which should not be more than an hour each way (30-45 minutes is what people do on average), so that makes at most 10-11 hours away from home for each of them. 24-22 leaves at least 2 hours, maybe 4 hours each day when they should both be home at the same time…

        I’ve now bought The switch to give this author a try.

        1. You’re remembering ‘BoyfriendMaterial’ by Alexis Hall, which I liked a lot better than ‘Red, White and Royal Blue’, which like you I won’t reread. It’s odd how sometimes I really don’t like stories that others here rave about (and sometimes I love them).

        2. He worked nights, and she worked days, so they set the time parameters which I now forget. And he lived with his girlfriend on the weekends and spent time at his mother’s because his family was in trouble. It worked. I think it was 8 to 6? He just needed a place to sleep. They both had demanding jobs as I recall (I read it twice, but my mind is a sieve). And they used a LOT of post-it notes for the first half of the book.

  23. I listened to the Flat Share and loved it. Recommended it to my daughter who is also loving it. Arghers are the best.

    Also finished Barbara Kingslover’s Flight Behavior, which I got on sale. I loved her earlier books, but I’m not sure how I feel about her current work. The endings are always so mixed.

    I love the Time Police books even more than the St. Mary’s books. And I’ve read most of those.

  24. I am camping out at a friend’s house and thankfully I brought paperbacks because the first night there was not internet and i hadn’t downloaded my latest Kindle aquisitions.
    I read Beveryly Jenkin’s Rebel which is the start of her Women who Dare series. It turns out it’s also a followup to another series – The LaVeq’aand now I wnt to read those. Tonight I will start the second Book in the Women Who Dare series – Wild Rain which came out two weeks ago.
    Off topic:
    Ted Lasso on Apple+ is wonderful. (You could do a free trial and binge the who thing.)
    The series has no right to be as good, funny, and, especially, as moving as it is. I don’t usually binge, but I devoured the last 4 of the 10 episodes in a single day. The series is nominated for Outstanding performance by an ensemble in a Comedy in the SAG Awards and it has my vote. Thank god it’s not up against Bridgerton. Bridgerton’s up against The Crown and Ozark, among others.

  25. Nothing to recommend but today I had my first dental cleaning since recommending Murderbot to my dental hygienist, and she’s hooked. I often make recommendations to her, because she’s an avid reader, but I think this is the first time she’s followed up on any of them. She tends a bit more literary than my tastes, but Martha Wells is just so good.

    Counting down the days to the next novella!

  26. I enjoyed Every Woman for Herself so much that I splurged on a few Trisha Ashley books that were on sale and got the audio as well.

    Haven’t been able to start anything new. I am pretty much exhausted all the time now. Life, not covid. So I am comfort rereading the Cinderella Deal in small bites. I want to crawl in and live there please.

    1. Ah, I love The Cinderella Deal too. A comfort read which I read in Hawaii 2010 in one night waiting for the rest of family to arrive. The big waves crashing on the north shore brought big storm with the little cat screeching when Daisy rescued it. Fun times. But, whoa what a headache in the morning.

    1. Gary, were you the one who recommended the Drew Hayes series on Fred the accountant vampire? If so I want to say thank you. The first book was funny but the following books were both funny and thoughtful. They have heart especially in the character of Fred. I enjoy how the other characters have become more fleshed out as the series has gone on.

  27. Read The Russian Cage by Charlaine Harris. This is the third book in the Gunnie Rose series, a series about a female gunslinger in an alternate history North America where magic exists and the United States doesn’t. In this installment, Rose goes to Russian controlled California to rescue her significant other. The plot seemed a little less complex and developed than usual, and some events seemed illogical (and not in a fantasy way!). But I enjoy the main character, and I enjoy Harris’ writing, so I was happy to read it. I also read The Cutting Edge, the new police procedural by Jane Casey, featuring a competent and smart female homicide detective. It can be a grim series, and there were some disturbing events in this book, but Casey is a good writer and I like the main character enough to keep following her.

  28. I am STILL in the throes of nineteenth-century court records, with digressions into LAMENTATIONS OF A SINNER (in case you’re wondering, Katherine apparently feels that no one could possibly be a worse sinner than she, but I think things are about to take a turn for the better). It’s really rather different in tone from the seventeenth-century Early Quaker writings I read quite a lot of — for one thing, if someone wrote in the plain language, it reads very clearly to modern eyes if the spelling is modernized; Katherine really is writing from a different time.

    Comfort rereads: PLAYING BY THE GREEK’S RULES, by Sarah Morgan.

    ‘If you’re asking if I think you’re very tempting and definitely bad for me, the answer is yes. But apart from the fact we’re totally unsuited, I wouldn’t be able to relax enough to have sex with you.’ Nik, who had never had trouble helping a woman relax, rose to the challenge. ‘I’m happy to—’

    ‘No.’ She gave him a stern look. ‘I know you’re competitive, but forget it. I saw that photo of you in the swimming pool. No way could I ever be naked in front of a man with a body like yours. I’d have to suck everything in and make sure you only saw my good side. The stress would kill any passion.’

    Later: ‘He found me on the floor of his bathroom where I’d been attacked and left for dead by his power shower. After I broke up his relationship, he needed a replacement and I was the only person around.’ Brittany started to laugh. ‘You were left for dead by his power shower?’

    Also CHOCOLATE WISHES by Trisha Ashley: You can imagine what it was like growing up in a small town like Merchester, with a relative who both looked and proclaimed himself with every utterance to be totally, barking mad.

    Lastly, I’ve been rereading LETTERS FROM A SENATOR’S WIFE, which was written in the form of letters — probably originally a magazine column for the LADIES HOME JOURNAL — by Frances Parkinson Keyes, the wife of the Senator from New Hampshire. This was because I’ve been notified that Now is the time to prepare to observe the centennial of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on 11 November 1921. Mrs. Keyes was present at the original dedication and participated as a representative of a group. The book is available as a PDF download from the Library of Congress, and the relevant passages begin on Page 92 (where the letter introduction begins; the actual passages about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier start on page 93).

    https://www.loc.gov/resource/lhbcb.12626/?st=gallery

    If anyone else is likely to be involved in commemorative events around November 11 this year, this would be a good basis for a program. I’ve suggested it to my ladies’ organization.

  29. Hope this doesn’t post twice, but I seem to be having technical difficulties:

    I am STILL in the throes of nineteenth-century court records, with digressions into LAMENTATIONS OF A SINNER (in case you’re wondering, Katherine apparently feels that no one could possibly be a worse sinner than she, but I think things are about to take a turn for the better). It’s really rather different in tone from the seventeenth-century Early Quaker writings I read quite a lot of — for one thing, if someone wrote in the plain language, it reads very clearly to modern eyes if the spelling is modernized; Katherine really is writing from a different time.

    Comfort rereads: PLAYING BY THE GREEK’S RULES, by Sarah Morgan.

    ‘If you’re asking if I think you’re very tempting and definitely bad for me, the answer is yes. But apart from the fact we’re totally unsuited, I wouldn’t be able to relax enough to have sex with you.’ Nik, who had never had trouble helping a woman relax, rose to the challenge. ‘I’m happy to—’

    ‘No.’ She gave him a stern look. ‘I know you’re competitive, but forget it. I saw that photo of you in the swimming pool. No way could I ever be naked in front of a man with a body like yours. I’d have to suck everything in and make sure you only saw my good side. The stress would kill any passion.’

    Later: ‘He found me on the floor of his bathroom where I’d been attacked and left for dead by his power shower. After I broke up his relationship, he needed a replacement and I was the only person around.’ Brittany started to laugh. ‘You were left for dead by his power shower?’

    Also CHOCOLATE WISHES by Trisha Ashley: You can imagine what it was like growing up in a small town like Merchester, with a relative who both looked and proclaimed himself with every utterance to be totally, barking mad.

    Lastly, I’ve been rereading LETTERS FROM A SENATOR’S WIFE, which was written in the form of letters — probably originally a magazine column for the LADIES HOME JOURNAL — by Frances Parkinson Keyes, the wife of the Senator from New Hampshire. This was because I’ve been notified that Now is the time to prepare to observe the centennial of the dedication of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on 11 November 1921. Mrs. Keyes was present at the original dedication and participated as a representative of a group. The book is available as a PDF download from the Library of Congress, and the relevant passages begin on Page 92 (where the letter introduction begins; the actual passages about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier start on page 93).

    https://www.loc.gov/resource/lhbcb.12626/?st=gallery

    If anyone else is likely to be involved in commemorative events around November 11 this year, this would be a good basis for a program. I’ve suggested it to my ladies’ organization.

  30. I was in the middle of a Catherine Coulter book about a serial killer who was Ted Bundy’s daughter. I loved the first couple books in the series, but way to dark for 2:00 am in February. I have biographies of Sherman, Grant, John Adams and Tom Cruise. I can’t start. Thank you Deborah Blake. I just received Furbidden Fatality. Finally a new book I’m looking forward to.

  31. I too have been reading Jodi Taylor, but not the timetraveller books. She’s written a Regency romance with middle aged protagonists – A Bachelor Establishment – which I recommend hugely. Full of humour and wit, with a wonderfully snarky relationship between the two main characters.

    She also wrote The Nothing Girl, a modern day romance between a young woman who has a stutter (and has been kept away from any sort of life or work by her revolting aunt and uncle), and a rather daft painter who has lost his muse. This was a reread, and one of my favourites. There’s a followup ‘The Something Girl’ which I’ve bought but haven’t read yet.

    Both light reading. Both a lot of fun.

    1. I read all three of the Nothing Girl books and really liked them. They’re so peaceful, which is a weird thing to say about books, but even though there’s conflict, there are so many good people in there that you can just enjoy the ride.

      And now I must check out A Bachelor Establishment.

    2. She originally published ‘A Bachelor Establishment’ under the name Isabella Barclay. It sounded familiar, but Amazon didn’t recognize I’d already bought it – luckily, one of the reviews mentioned the pseudonym. It’s ages since I read it; afraid it wasn’t a keeper for me (except of course I can’t not keep ebooks).

      1. I read it last night and thought it was fun, but it has the same problem I have with a lot of her books (and a problem I have in my own books): snappy patter that goes on too long. It wasn’t enough to spoil the book, but it slows it down.

        1. I didn’t notice the going on too long at all. And I don’t notice it in your books. Which means that, for me, neither of you go on too long. I thought A Bachelor Establishment also fell into the ‘peaceful’ camp.

  32. I read Charmed to Death by Gretchen Galway, the 4th book in her Sonoma Witches series that started with Dead Witch on a Bridge. Decent, but not quite as good as the first three.

    Also Tea and Sympathetic Magic, and it’s sequel The Frost Fair Affair, by Tansy Rayner Roberts. Both Victorian era romance inspired fantasy/mystery novellas, that take place in the Tea Cup Isles. Very enjoyable.

    I finished Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots, which someone here on Argh recommended. About how a woman became a supervillains henchman via data analysis and helped take down the worlds greatest hero, who was secretly the worlds greatest asshole. It wasn’t bad, but I struggled to get through it at times.

    I read the second A Skeptic in Salem book, An Episode of Crime by Fiona Grace, and I enjoyed it. A woman is hired to be the skeptic on a podcast about ghost hunting in Salem, Massachusetts, and for the second episode in a row someone gets murdered. These are actually pretty fun so far with a fair amount of Salem witch trial history.

    And I read Furbidden Fatality by Deborah Blake. A fun cozy mystery. I’m looking forward to the second one.

  33. I love all the Jodi Taylor books and binged on the St Mary’s series when I first encountered it. I have really enjoyed the time police. Much as I do love Max and the gang, I think it was smart of Taylor to find a new path through that world.

    Love Briggs’ books, too, both the Mercy series and A&O. I guess I read each of them for different reasons, but again it’s different paths in the same world, so I just get more of the good stuff.

    I have recently been binging on Wodehouse. It doesn’t get any fluffier than Wodehouse, but they are even better as audiobooks. Good stuff for entertaining the brain while the fingers are busy

    1. Woodhouse always makes me laugh like a loon. I can read that paragraph about Baxter falling down the stairs over and over again, and it still makes me laugh out loud.

  34. “Saffron Alley” by A.J. Demas; it’s a sequel to “One night in Boukos” and “Sword dance”. Mild M/M romance set in an alternate ancient Greece-like setting.
    It’s nice to see a relationship developing slowly, considering the internal and external hurdles they face.

    They are short novels, maybe nearer to novella length? Generally light and pleasant in tone, with interesting characters and world-building, and an unusual (but positive) arc to the relationship developing in the second and third book.
    The protagonists of Sword Dance and Saffron Alley are not the same as in One night in Boukos, but that story sets up the situation and the world for the next two books (especially this new third book, which is set in the same city-state), and I think it would be best to start there, if you haven’t read any of these yet.

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