131 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 4, 2021

  1. I’m on a Shelly Laurenston bender at the moment. I read my way through the first two Honey Badger Sisters books, and I have the third one on hold at the library, and now I’m deep into her Crows series. It’s completely over-the-top crazy, with a lot of good banter, found-family (of the “I will throw you through a window but if anyone else hurts you I will end them” variety because your crow-sisters always have your back), and Norse mythology in spades.

    I also finished Court of Mortals by AJ Lancaster, and loved it! I’m desperate for the fourth book now.

  2. I liked “Flatshare” a lot in spite of having difficulties at the start. A very nice not-alpha-male hero for sure and much deeper depths than in most romances.

    A premise like this would have worked also in my city a few decades back when it was common among less well-to-do folks to share rooms/the one bed therein.

    What surprised me though was that the author completely left the sense of smell out of the equation (probably deliberately): smell has such a subtle power to attract (or the opposite) us to people.
    I vividly remember when in one of my all-time favourite books the heroine discovers the hero’s wardrobe and notices the scent of his aftershave lingering in his clothes. This had as powerful an impact on me as the reader as probably on her even though I of course couldn’t smell it 😉
    Regarding books I’m plowing my way through my Ancient Greek textbook. I wouldn’t call it recommended reading, sadly.

    1. No, the sense of smell is in there. They even talk about it when she tells him her mother designed her scene and he smells it whenever he’s in the flat. It’s rose-musk-clove, I think. He mentions it a couple of times, and she talks about how she didn’t like the way her ex’s apt smelled, but she likes his scent on his clothes, I think.

      1. Thanks for pointing this out.
        Strange that I absolutely didn’t notice it. Very strange. Must read it again.

  3. Dodo, I completely get your point about the smell. It is such an important part of attraction.
    As for me, I am still rereading Sharon Shinn. I have just finished the second book in the Twelve houses series, the Thirteenth house. It’s a book I didn’t like when I read it the first time but now as I know how it all plays out, I like it very much and I appreciate how the author resolves what is an impossible moral dilemma.

    1. I don’t think I do much with smell. I lost my sense of smell a long time ago, so maybe that’s why. Should pay more attention.

      1. There’s Min’s perfume which Cal confuses with Cynthie’s when she comes up behind him at the baseball game. Didn’t both Andi and North save each others’ items unwashed for as long as they could because of the smells?

        1. Yes, on Andi and North.
          I think Min’s was cinnamon, right, like pumpkin pie? So pumpkin couch, pumpkin scent, I think. Also I was doing a lot of research on attraction at the time and I THINK that pumpkin pie was one of the most seductive scents for men. If it wasn’t pumpkin it was cinnamon.

    2. Mystic and Rider is probably one of my top three series from any genre and definitely top three re-readables.

    3. I had exactly the same experience re-reading this book, LN. I re-read all the other five before deciding I should try this one too, and it made far more emotional sense to me.

  4. This was a great week in reading. Shiver by Allie Reynold, a locked room mystery on top of a mountain, full of “did not see that coming”. Dorothy Gilman’s Clairvoyant Countess and the sequel Kaleidoscope. Solving crimes with clairvoyance, lots of happy endings. And The Home They Built by Shannon Stacy, Blackberry Bay series, home renovation with everybody lying to everybody about everything, much fun.

    Next I have Jane Harper’s The Survivors and Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter.

  5. After a so-so detour I’m back with Alexis Hall, halfway through a reread of his billionaire series (m/m romance with lots of sex, as usual with him). It’s a good way to relax from the day job.

    1. Oh, and have got into ‘Call My Agent’ on Netflix. Wasn’t 100% sure how to take it at first, but episode 3, featuring Nathalie Baye and her daughter had me laughing out loud. Very silly; plus Paris.

  6. A Very Bossy Christmas by Kayley Loring. Found myself laughing so hard I almost choked on a Starlight mint. Should have gone for the chocolate. Workaholic boss talks his Executive Assistant into going to three family events of his around Christmas in exchange for her taking Christmas day off. Yeh, that kind of boss. I really enjoyed the text messages they share so much that I started the next book but changed my mind and will let that wait in between other books. There is a mother that reads her daughter’s journal, an Italian grandmother that likes nobody and the Staten Island Ferry.

    My library network has Take a Look at the Five and Ten, it’s coming my way.

    1. Also, the drunk cousins from Boston and Ireland invited to the bachelor party.

      I forgot I had Dove peppermint bark that I’ve been hoarding, got to get that package out.

  7. I started The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty mid-week last week and ended up doing nothing until I finished the series over the weekend. Seriously, I just sat on my couch and read as much as I could. It was wonderful – both the series and doing nothing but reading.

    The series is so good, as soon as I finished a book, I bought the next one within minutes.

    It is fantasy with great world building. It starts in Egypt, but moves into a mystical realm pretty quickly. If you are sensitive to death and destruction, I will warn that there is a fair amount of it.

    In a somewhat jarring genre flip, I then read The Sentinel by Lee Child and Andrew Child.

    Now I have started Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho.

  8. I need to recommend the most extraordinary documentary I’ve ever seen. >_<My Octopus Teacher First, it breaks the rigid observer-shows-as-little-of-himself-as-possible protocol. The narrator/observer is a somewhat broken man who returns to his South African waters, with no agenda except to find some peace. Then his eye is caught by a smart, shape-changing creature. At that point, for me, it turned into a flirty romantic caper: boy meets octopus, boy loses octopus, boy finds octopus (this is not the spoiler it may seem since the narrator talks about tracking early on).

    It still has the hallmarks of a great documentary–science, GORGEOUS photography–but its humanity really raises it to another level. It’s available on Netflix. Here’s a trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-lbIJHlmbE

    (hope the link works.)

      1. I totally loved that documentary. Couldn’t have paid me to admit I’d be crying over an octopus but…there you have it.

  9. OK here’s what worked to italicize the title in the second and third samples above.
    I’m putting in spaces between each character so you can see what I literally typed (again hope this works)–remove them when actually using the sequence.

    #2: My Octopus Teacher
    #3: My Octopus Teacher

    I think substituting “b” for “i” would make the embedded phrase bold

  10. Since I’m working on two books of my own, I have no new other reads.

    But Dodo’s comment re male characters got me thinking about my recent binge watch of the TV series Ted Lasso because it’s the most positive yet complex depiction of male characters I think I’ve ever seen in a show. So well done. As is the storytelling. Just raced through it. Then discovered another show (also set in UK) called Trying about a couple in their 30s on the road to parenthood. Also very good and the chemistry between the leads is fab. And the creator/writer of the show is so deft telling their journey and bringing such a fresh perspective to it. Both shows just some lovely bits of storytelling:)

  11. I always have at least one book open. This week? The Trouble With Huguenots by Virginia DeMarce. Reread. There were a lot of redheads in the 17th century.
    Penric’s Demon by Lois M. Bujold. Re-re-re-re…read. I love it.♥
    1636: The Kremlin Games Eric Flint, Gorg Huff, Paula Goodlett. Modernizing Holy Mother Rus after the Ring of Fire. Along the way, the barmaid gets the Prince and the Hillbilly gets the Princess. The nerd gets the former slave girl. Multiple re-read².
    There were others, but I was chocolate-deprived and can’t recall them at the moment.

    1. Will you be lost if you read 1636: The Kremlin Games, without reading the 16 books before it?

      1. tl;dr. Short answer: no.

        Let me be certain what you are asking – would a new reader, not having read the 16 books with earlier dates in the title, enjoy this book i.e. can this be read as a stand-alone?

        Kremlin Games begins where the series begins, in 1631. In the very firstest book, 1632, there is what started as a throw-away line at the bottom of this section:

        None of those men had ever seen a photograph before. Seeing one—seeing their own faces on it—was bad enough. The writing on the posters was worse. Many of those men could read. Most of them, actually, since Gretchen had a low opinion of officers. The ones who couldn’t got a translation from their literate fellows.

        The posters were identical, except for the photograph and the name.

        * * *


        this man is declared outlaw

        if he is found anywhere in american territory

        after july 5, 1631

        kill him

        no questions will be asked

        * * *

        Heinrich acted as interpreter.

        “You’ve got two days,” he growled. “Better move fast. You’re on foot with nothing but the clothes on your backs.”

        The former commander of the tercio cleared his throat. “This is unclear,” he whined. “Just how far does this—this ‘American territory’ extend?”

        Heinrich turned to Mike for the answer. Mike said nothing. He just gave the commanding officer a stare.

        * * *

        A few months later, the officer found himself another employer. The Tsar. Russia, he thought, would be far enough.

        Kremlin Games starts with a team of Russians lead by Prince Gorcachov arriving in Grantville and remarking that the mercenary officer didn’t lie after all. From then on, the book is concerned with Holy Mother Rus, their walking dictionary (Bernie Zeppi), and the people they interact with. Brandy Bates starts as a barmaid and goes from there. NONE of the other books are necessary or prerequisite for Kremlin Games.

        1. Thanks. I’ll go ahead and start with Kremlin games. I usually try and start with the first book but I liked your description of Kremlin games. 😁

  12. I just wanted to report that I’ve become sensitive to the word smirk and noticed it twice in my reading. Neither time was an unsympathetic character. The first was in Seanan McGuire’s latest Wayward Children book, and it was an adult character smirking at a child who thought she (the child) was getting away with something but wasn’t, so there was a certain sense of superiority but it wasn’t at all mean, and the second was in the latest Invisible Library book, where the main character Irene was smirking — smirking about a situation rather than smirking at anyone, though. Actually, I’d say that she expected the other person present to share her feeling about the situation. I think there was a certain smirk feel to the intended meaning, I can see why smirk was used rather than grin, but I wouldn’t say that it turned me against Irene…though that would be hard to do in the seventh book of the series. So anyway, I guess luck had nothing to do with not coming across smirks, it’s just that I don’t always see a smirk as insufferable, and so I didn’t tend to notice them in the past.

    Although when I searched the ebook for smirk to refresh my memory about Irene, it turns out that I missed a villain smirking earlier, so … I still see that meaning as more natural and unnoticeable, apparently.

    1. It usually throws me out of a story when the author uses the wrong word. I find it careless and a little insulting. English usually has two or three words that can be used “correctly” so why choose one that means something different? I’m sure by the time I’m an old lady smirk and grin will have become synonymous, but I won’t like it. Or use one in place of the other.

      It’s different when the choice is clearly deliberate and adds something to the story. I just don’t believe anyone has chosen “smirk” instead of “grin” knowing the difference in the meanings. They just looked in the thesaurus and chose the 3rd word on the list.

      I’m not a prescriptive linguist, but I do value precision.

    2. Oh! I didn’t know there was a new Invisible Library book. And my library has it available! Thanks!

  13. Someone on this blog last week recommended KJ Charles’ Band Sinister (a badly named book) and I loved it so…went on a KJ Charles binge. Two favourites so far: Slippery Creatures and Any Old Diamonds – which wins a prize for having the plot twist of the last ten years that most caught me off guard.

    1. I have read Band Sinister and Any Old Diamonds 3x each since discovering KJ Charles. I thought the first title was a sort of Georgette Heyer in-joke reference to heraldry. Agreed on the plot twist in ‘Diamonds’ – it really changed the way I read Alec’s behavior when I re-read it. Much like re-reading ‘Boyfriend Material’ after the scene with Oliver’s parents. 🙂

  14. I finished The Lord of Stariel. I overall like it, but feel like the plot was a bit…shallow/not quite baked enough? I like the heroine, who doesn’t like a fairy plot, etc. and it’s got a lot of potential, but literally the resolution with the bad guy was “Hey, you stole my thing, please give it back.” “Okay.” Likewise, there’s a blackmailer, we never find out exactly why he’s doing what he’s doing, he makes a bit of trouble and then books it out of town. The more negative plot elements just aren’t strongly done enough to make it sizzle. So right now if I read the rest, I’d probably be all “library read” rather than “buy it all today.”

    1. Letting the villains off easy in the first book / the first time does have consequences in the rest of the series.

        1. In my opinion, library read. But I may be a minority. And for me, library read means “readable but I don’t want to keep the book”.

  15. I’ve walked into an awful reader’s block and the only thing I can read (I just found out) is cookbooks. Everything else is scary/wrong/heavy/strange/unpleasant, even rereads. I hate it. 🙁

    Anyway, so I read through “The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook” by Dinah Bucholz, and it was a pretty nice read. Only, I kept bursting into tears for unknown reasons throughout the entire book.
    I’m broken.

    I just started “Diala’s Kitchen” by Diala Canelo, profusely recommended by Iron Druid Chronicles-author Kevin Hearne on his Twitter. I definitely see why. I’m only partway through the Breakfast-chapter and I’m so hungry I could eat the pillow beside me. It also makes me long for a big kitchen with enough storage space and workspace to be fun to cook in. Ah, a girl can dream…

    I hope all you wonderful, wonderful people are having a good week.

    1. I find Ina Garten very comforting.
      Peg Bracken’s I Hate To Cook Book is also light and happy.
      And my cheerful cousin, Russ Parsons, has two books about kitchen science–How to Read a French Fry and How to Pick a Peach–that I find delightful, although that is, in part, because I find Russ delightful. (https://arghink.com/2005/12/my-dinner-with-russ/)
      Hope you’re feeling better soon!

      1. A pandemic activity is following Irish farmers on twitter and ran across Russ Parsons there. Seems like a nice place to hunker down.

        1. He and Kathy are living across the street from their daughter and her husband and their kids, so they have a family pod right now in beautiful Ireland. They’re lovely people.

          1. Well done for giving calamari a second+ try.
            For me, it’s the Brussels sprouts that even the second, third or fourth try couldn’t convince me to like them.

          2. Sorry for this and the former comment to be at the wrong spot. Thdy refer to Gary’s date with calamari.

      2. Okay, I read the dinner with Russ post and I still have to ask, how did we get from bait (we cut up squid and put it on hooks to catch real food!) to something we convince ourselves is edible?

        Have I eaten squid? Around 1975, some shipmates said they were going to the Enlisted Man’s Club in Rota, Spain, for “fried O-rings” and invited me. I love onion rings, so I went along. Turned out they meant squid. You have to chew those things forever! Thus ended my interest in calamari.

        I admit that tastes change. I adore the grilled shrimp at several steakhouses, now, where five years ago I still regarded shrimp as bait to catch real food. Like squid.

        Brazillian? Gotta be insane! Gillette makes safety razors and Norelco makes electric razors. Why risk hot wax?

        1. It’s actually safer. Which is as far as I’m willing to go before we get an adult rating on this blog.

        2. If made well, calamari don’t resemble rubber that has to be chewed forever. Then it even actually tastes nice. An acquired taste 😉

          1. I have this thing about trying stuff I hate to see if I still hate it. Hence my comments about tasty tasty grilled shrimp. I like Brussels sprouts and aspergrass in a restaurant where someone else cooks them – attempts at home are less than satisfactory. I have tried calamari in several restaurants… I can only assume that the cooks there made it less than well.

    2. I have no counters in my present kitchen and the storage is terrible. For the first few years I lived here I wouldn’t invite anyone over to eat because the kitchen is in the dining room and I felt embarrassed by all my clutter and disorganization. My friend Dave, who has eaten in all my local apartments kept telling me that it wasn’t that bad, but I got hung up on my embarrassment and fear of not living up to past standards that I decided that I couldn’t afford to entertain.

      Then came the pandemic, which reminded me that what I really miss is the human contact. The best parties I ever gave were before I had any furniture and had much less culinary experience and equipment than I have now. Could I make much better food if I had more space and equipment? Sure. But if I use that as an excuse to do nothing, I will be much more unhappy. So I will continue to trade recipes with my friend Harriet and go back to sending cards to everyone else so that I don’t forget how to be with people once it is again safe to do so.

    3. Yes, I really enjoy cookbooks. Nigella Lawson has said they’re the most personal sort of social history.

      1. That’s how my Mom used to read them. She had 3 different editions of The Settlement Cookbook just to see how times had changed. And reading the ones on foreign cuisines helped her deal with her wanderlust.

    4. If it hasn’t come your way, I suggest you read A THOUSAND WAYS TO PLEASE A HUSBAND (with Bettina’s BEST recipes!) which is a delightful read and absolutely cheerful — newlywed Bettina and her friends settling down to married life. Our taste in cuisine has changed since the first edition was published (1917), so you probably won’t gain much weight with it!

      Amazon has several Kindle versions, some of which are better edited than others — you might want to look through the reviews to see whether the proofreading was halfway competent.

    5. I read Dorie Greenspan like I do murder mysteries. Agreed, there’s something very comforting about them, but I’m also completely engrossed and can’t stop.

  16. The fiction I read this week was Beach Read. to try to give me the HEA (or at least the presumption of one) that I was craving along with a pair of main characters who had enough faults and warts that I could identify with them. There was no great misunderstanding, but a lot of unfounded assumptions that people make about other people before they get to know the real person.

    Two very different writers switch genres to attempt to frustrate their writers’ block and meet their publishing deadlines. They both produced something that was not exactly what the new genre demanded, but still quite different from what their fan base expected. The books probably wouldn’t get published in real life, but that’s why I read fiction. I want there to be someplace where people get what they deserve.

    1. There was a buried secret that came up regarding the FMC and her recently deceased father, but since it wasn’t part of main romance, I didn’t feel it was such a transgression.
      Her parents really screwed up with the way they handled it, but it wasn’t the huge betrayal it might have been.

  17. Read a bunch of DNFs and a couple decent books.

    First, I finished Rosemary Sutcliff’s The Eagle of the Ninth. It was a nice historical with just the right ratio of battles vs. everyday lives. I enjoyed it but not enough to read another book in the series or even another book by this author. I think if I read her in my youth, I’d have appreciated these stories much more. But I’m glutted on the more recent and more powerful books, over half a century of them, to be attracted overmuch to Sutcliff.

    Then I swallowed Jessie Mihalik’s Polaris Rising. It was a quick and unexpectedly fun read. It doubles as a sci-fi adventure and a hot romance in space. I liked this book a lot, so I requested the sequel from the library. I hope it arrives soon. I can’t wait.

    Now I’m reading two books: Mary Jo Putney’s Nowhere Near Respectable, in paper format from the library, and Forthright’s Tsumiko and the Enslaved Fox on my kindle.
    The former is a standard regency, but I’m not liking it as much as some other Putney’s regencies. The latter is a pleasant surprise. I never read this author before, never even heard of her until someone here mentioned her, but now I’m enchanted. This novel has many flaws, sure, but if I had only one word to describe it, I’d say: “magical”. It’s based loosely on Japanese mythology. Its characters are unusual, and their relationships non-standard (for a Western reader, at least). I’m loving it. If the book’s second half doesn’t disappoint me, I’m going to buy the entire series.

  18. I finished the second book in Gin Jones’ Helen Binney series, A Denial of Death, and I think I liked it even better than the first. Thanks, Gin!

    Just started the new Sofie Ryan cozy mystery, Undercover Kitty, and picked up the first Muderbot book from the library, since you people won’t stop talking about how wonderful it is.

    I can’t believe my first cozy in the new series is coming out on the 23rd. I’m both excited and terrified.

      1. The new series is set at a rundown pet shelter in the Catskills. When a waitress wins the lottery, she doesn’t know what to do with her windfall until she finds a tiny stray kitten who leads her to taking over a failing shelter. Then she finds the nasty dog warden dead on the property and becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

        A rundown pet rescue. A woman in search of a purpose. A feisty black kitten with a nose for trouble. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. I am having trouble again finishing books (including others by Wells that I previously read) and have started yet another reread of Murderbot.

      1. I went to pre-order it and found I already had back in November :-D. Definitely looking forward to it!

  19. I read two just-after-WW2 mysteries by Fliss Chester — A Dangerous Goodbye and Night Train to Paris. Both very good. Some sad bits of course, but the author leaves lots of lovely clues about who the culprit is, so I was able to guess correctly, which was fun.

    Not sure if I mentioned this before — another WW2 story which I enjoyed is The Secret Agent by Elisabeth Hobbes. The heroine is 1/2 English 1/2 French and goes from England to France to work in the Resistance. Very suspenseful, a great read.

  20. What have I been reading? Bellweather – recommended here – that I quite enjoyed. Spinning Silver – I read that twice with a book or two in between. That was also recommended here. Thank you all.

    Other than that – the usual re-reads.

    I’ve also been reading the Mycroft Holmes series by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Anna Waterhouse. There are three books in the series and I quite like them.

  21. Because of this post I just downloaded and read Take a Look At the Five and Ten and loved it. This novella is nowhere near the crazy rushed worlds of most Connie Willis stories. I didn’t get much sense of (male lead) Lassiter’s character — come to think of it, the only character I really latched onto was Grandma Elving. Considering the fact that the characters had single names and, mostly, single identifying crazinesses, Willis must have intended the story to be barebones. Grandma Elving reminds me of my mother in her last years — and her mother (my grandmother) in her last years. A frail, elderly woman’s ability to focus absolutely on something — and forcing everyone to help/abet her compulsion — while simultaneously subverting the situation for some other of her interests — is something that will always surprise me. I could be clearer, but it’s a short novella and I’d be letting all the cats out of the bag.

    1. I liked Ori and Lassiter a lot. It’s a novella so Willis doesn’t have a lot of time to develop their characters, but I liked how she never had Ori think, “I’m in love with him,” or rhapsodizing about his body, she just showed Ori falling for him. I did wonder why Ori didn’t tell Dave’s wife and her daughter to take a hike, but that bit at the end where she says Dave’ll be married to somebody else in five years took care of that; she’s keeping Dave and out-waiting the other two, which was a very Ori thing to do. Add in Lassiter’s laser-like focus on his work, and I thought there was enough character development for a novella.

        1. I reread and like it even more. I see Jenny’s points about Lassiter — I identify with Ori too deeply to have a problem there.

          But Grandma — she made me dream of my mother last night — so seemingly demanding and self-centered and helpless yet actually aware of others and freely influencing them. Perhaps that quality is part of what led to witches.

    2. Just the author’s name made me look it up on Amazon – but alas!, the German Kindle Store does not have it. I could buy the hardcover book for 25 Euros but hearing that it’s just a short novella sort of killed that thought.

  22. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Abbi Waxman’s new novel, I Was Told It Would Get Easier. The contemporary novel details a road trip with a twist–taking a pricey bus tour from L.A. with other parents/children to check out colleges on the East Coast. POV alternates between high-powered lawyer mother and her daughter. It made me laugh, which is key these days.

  23. I read Chasing Down Her Highness by Fiona West and The Would Be Witch by Rita Boucher.

    They both decent but somehow didn’t excite me. They were both Fantasy Romances.

    The Would Be Witch is a regency. She is a descendant of the biggest of the big magical families of England, her brother is the new High Mage of Albion, but is considered crippled because she doesn’t have any magic of her own. She is also considered as from one of *those* families, who don’t marry outside of the magical community. He recently inherited a bankrupt title, doesn’t believe in magic and has spent his adult life exposing fake mediums and other spiritualists.

    Chasing Down Her Highness is set in a modern-ish fantasy world. She was the third in line to inherit the throne but ran away from home when she was sixteen, he was the second son of one of their allies and they were contracted to wed when they were twelve. But there were unexpected deaths in both families, and a coup attempt, and now they’ve tracked her down to try to make her honor the marriage contract. I actually found the world building somewhat interesting. They have cell phones and steamships but magic only works on the other side of The Veil, which they have to travel through to get home. But the interesting parts of the world come up only briefly and then get completely ignored in favor of forcing the principal characters together or apart again. I kept wanting to like it more.

    I also read Death Comes to the Rectory by Catherine Lloyd, the 8th in the Kurland St. Mary’s regency mysteries. It’s pretty good. If you liked the others you’ll like this.

  24. I’m binge reading my way through Emily Larkin’s historical romances – thanks, whoever recommended them here. I’m finding most of them laugh-out-loud funny, which is great, and there’s enough depth to them to keep me happy. I strongly suspect respectable young women of the times wouldn’t have agreed to that much sex, and a lot of the men seem too liberal to be true, but hey, it’s escapist reading so I’m not quibbling. The only real criticism I’ve got is that she’s shaky on consent in some of them, especially in the M/M romance Claiming Mister Kemp. That did make me uncomfortable.

  25. I started a book I have been putting off in favor of rereading my Elsie Lee collection. The Blue Coat by Belle Ami https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/55824672
    It is a series of three novellas. (Time travel -WW2 and present – with parallel love stories. The time travel devices are an amulet and a blue coat.) I love it the two I’ve finished.
    I will start the third one tonight.
    (The books are dedicated to Belle’s mother who was in the same camp as Anne Frank )

  26. About halfway through Georgette Heyer’s FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK. I’ve read all of her Regencies and have re-read some of them, but have never tried any of her mysteries before. Just didn’t get around to it before now. This one is fun, light, family, and soothing, which is what I’m looking for, here in the 14th month of 2020. Set in the 1920s, a group of cheerful Londoners are rusticating in an isolated country house, a former monastery, reputedly haunted by the Monk – a rumor that appears to be the cover for mysterious nighttime intruders bent on mischief.

    1. I think that was the first contemporary mystery she wrote. My favorite is Death in the Stocks- the Vereker family are all very irreverant and amusing and the mystery more intriguing than Footsteps.

      I’m re-reading Nalini Singh’s Psy/changeling novels – just finished Shards of Hope and starting Caressed by Ice.

    2. My own favorite of her mysteries has generally been DUPLICATE DEATH, set in post-WWII London. It has characters from previous mysteries, largely THEY FOUND HIM DEAD, but has a real flavor of late 1940’s London.

  27. I read a new book last night, well…the first two chapters and last two chapters. Hitting the delete button.

    Bought 10 new ebooks after an hour of noodling around the Nook store. Slouching Towards Bethelem by Joan Didion, Take a Look at the Five and Ten, The Hill We Climb, Amanda Gorman’s Inaugural poem, The Last Picture Show, (never saw the movie or read the book, but I did see a short on Mike Nichols on Sunday Morning, his movies I love), A Woman of Substance which I read years ago, wanted to read it again, a few Bob Mayer free books, Send for Me by Lauren Fox and her cookbook with her sister Haley Fox titled Alice’s Tea: Delectable Recipes for Scones, Cakes, Sandwiches, and More, and a couple of Mary Balogh books. I should be able to find something to get me back to reading.

    I will let you know next week. Fingers crossed.

    1. I’ve just read the reviews of ALICE’S TEA CUP, and they warn that there are a few things that may need correction, especially a pumpkin scone recipe that calls for ¼ cup of ginger and ¼ cup of cinnamon, instead of 1 teaspoon each. Another scone recipe instructed the cook to melt the butter. No! Poor scones will probably be pancakes.

      I may buy the book anyway, because the recipes sound fantastic otherwise.

  28. WINTER’S ORBIT, Everina Maxwell, came my way and I enjoyed it more than expected. Fantasy M/M with interesting worldbuilding.

    THE CHICKEN BIBLE arrived and probably says everything there may be to say about chicken with exhaustive recipes — the index begins on page 499. I haven’t decided which to make first . . . .

    Light reading was THE WHACKED WITCH, a cozy featuring magic and a cat, and LIZZY ALBRIGHT AND THE ATTIC WINDOW, by Ricky Tims — apparently last night was Doggie Date Night; who knew? A young teen book recommended by my cousin.

    More serious reading, but I am enjoying it, is THE DATA DETECTIVE, by Tim Harford. Like me, he’d read HOW TO LIE WITH STATISTICS, by Darrell Huff — required reading mostly for Statistics 101 — but felt that instead of a book debunking the use of statistics to deceive customers, a popular book on how to use statistics to analyze the real world was urgently needed just for survival — reliable numbers and skilled analysis of them is the only way we’ll get through the pandemic, if nothing else.

    And, after mentioning Daniel V. Gallery, I looked to see whether any of his books was available in ebook format. His fiction isn’t at the moment, but I bought two of his non-fiction books, U-505, about the capture of a U-Boat which is now at the Chicago Museum of Trade and Industry, and TWENTY MILLION TONS UNDER THE SEA, about the Atlantic war at sea. I recommend his sea yarns, but they’re only in hard copy.

    I also found my reading for Lent this year — there’s a modern edition of Katherine Parr’s LAMENTATION OF A SINNER. I’m saving it for a couple of weeks, and it’s fairly short, so I may find something else as well.

    1. Museum of Science and Industry (although since a lot of the older exhibits were underwritten by manufacturers, there is a lot more industry than science).

    2. Daniel V. Gallery’s humorous Navy stories are some of the funniest things I have ever read. Cap’n Fatso, Away Boarders, Now Hear This and Stand By-y-y-y to Start Engines. I really wish they would be released as ebooks 🙁

  29. I read Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor, a science fiction book set in a near future Ghana about a girl who acquires strange abilities that cause her to glow green and causes people to call her the adopted daughter of death. I’m still thinking about it. I may have to read it again.

  30. Since Jan 28 I’ve read 10 things, mostly romance novels/novellas + 1 nonfiction thing: ‘The Making of Yesterday’s Enterprise,’ by Eric Stillwell who co-wrote the story of what seems to be universally considered the best episode of ST:TNG (ironically, I have not seen it. But I’m a Star Trek fan and I love behind-the-scenes stuff). Enjoyed that.

    Notable fiction that was not romance: re-read ‘Impulse’ by Steven Gould, YA SF novel about a 16 year old who can teleport. Fan of this series from way back.

    Notable romance: ‘The Forbidden Rose’ by Joanna Bourne, laughable old-skool title for a really excellent HR set during the last days of The Terror. I’ve read a lot about the French Revolution and was impressed by the history as well as by the great cast of characters and convincing romance.

    Also ‘Artistic License’ by Elle Pierson who also writes as Lucy Parker. I like the Parker books a lot because of the English entertainment-industry settings even though enemies-to-lovers is not my favorite thing. Well, this one is about an artist and a security consultant in New Zealand, and they support each other adorably. They see things about each other that most people miss, and they notice how they are adapting during the relationship. Two thumbs up.

    In other reading news, I have almost exhausted the last available reading journal from my hoard so I’m about to treat myself to a new one.

    1. On your recommendation I’m reading a Lucy Parker book and giggling at the snarky dialogue. Clearly I’ll be reading the rest. Thanks for the name!

  31. I did read “The Flat Share” and liked it.

    Where did you find the Connie Willis book? I thought I had read all of her books, nut have never heard of that one.

        1. Not as an eBook, no. There is, however, a hardcover version for the-cheap-at-half-the-price $46 though. Grrr.

  32. EEk! Anyway, Connie Willis’s titles like To Say Nothing of the Dog and Doomsday Book and Black Out and All Clear are easy to find as paper books.

    A short story collection like Winds of Marble Arch and a short story like Take a Look at the Five and Dime are only really available as Kindle or that sort of thing. The paper version is a print on demand million dollar baby.

    As far as I can tell, Amazon Australia only offers the million dollar print on demand.

    If I, in the USA, could buy paper copies of Winds of Marble Arch and Take a Look at the Five and Dime I would jump at the opportunity. But not at $45.

    1. I looked to see if it had been collected–it’s more of a novella than a short story, I think–and it hasn’t been. I’m surprised; Connie Willis is a big name in her genre and generally pretty well known. Such a good writer. You’d think she’d be available everywhere.

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