This is a Good Book Thursday, June 24, 2021

Ever have one of those days? I had one of those weeks, which included no internet. I could go on about how most of real life is THWARTING me, but I won’t. I’ll just say that I didn’t read much this week; that sums it up for me. A week without reading is like a week without air. Or sleep. Or chocolate.

What did you read this week?


99 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 24, 2021

  1. Sympathies! We’ve all been there. Also, I’m pretty sure we’re just happy you choose to host this blog at all. Definitely don’t beat yourself up!!! But, wow, no reading for a week? Horrors!

    As for the topic du jour, I’ve been reading Brother Cadfael mysteries for the first time, having seen the TV series first. Derek Jacobi is always good but I don’t think I would’ve visualized him as Brother Cadfael if I had read the books first.

    1. I love the Cadfael novels and the fact that there are so many of them. If you like the medieval setting you might also appreciate Denise Domning’s books.

  2. I’m so glad you’re OK, Jenny. When the post Good Book Thursday failed to appear in my inbox by midday, I feared the worst: that something happened to you. I’m relieved it hasn’t come to that.

    Now about my reading in the past week. The Would-be Witch by Rita Boucher disappointed. Judging by the summary, I expected to like this blend of regency and paranormal romance. The plot was engaging and the characters sympathetic, if not exactly realistic. Unfortunately, the purple, flowery prose, peppered with homophones, interfered. I remember Jenny said here once that writing doesn’t matter much as long as the story works. But it matters. Bad writing negates a good story. It did in this case.
    Of the positive experience, Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Sherwood Ring was a delightful short novel with an unusual structure. Its outer layer was a frame story about a seventeen-year-old Peggy, the author’s contemporary. The inner core of the novel constituted a historical romance with two intertwined subplots: two couples and their adventures during the American Revolutionary War. It was told to Peggy by four friendly ghosts, the participants of those two tales of woes and love. It was a quick read but sadly dated (it was published in 1958). It reminded me of Mary Stewart’s books.
    And then I read and enjoyed Diana Biller’s A Christmas Spark. It was a charming short story, warm and funny, a romcom at its best, even though it was so brief. I wouldn’t mind a longer version, maybe a novella, but it was a joyful read as it was. It is sort-of a prequel to the author’s marvelous novel The Widow of Rose House, which I loved without reservation. I can’t wait for her next book, The Brightest Star in Paris, coming out in October.

    1. If you haven’t read it, Elizabeth Marie Pope wrote one more fiction book, THE PERILOUS GARD, which I think you’d also enjoy. She was a local college English professor, and I’ve always been sorry she didn’t write more fiction.

          1. THE PERILOUS GARD is a retelling of Tam Lin, of course . . . another Tam Lin telling is a chapter in Rosemary Sutcliff’s THE ARMOURER’S HOUSE. When Tamsyn’s aunt finishes the story (on Hallowe’en, of course), Tamsyn observes that Tam Lin and Janet must have had to be extra particular to put out milk for brownies and all the other careful protections. Christopher and Kate probably needed to do the same!

          2. Spoiler — Spoiler — At the end of the Perilous Gard, Katherine avoids a curse by the defeated witch which would have made Katherine doubt Christopher’s love for her. I wonder whether Jennifer is musing about that aspect of the story’s end or something else.

    2. I loved The Would-be Witch and the connected Lord of Illusions when they were new, nearly 25 years ago. That blend of historical romance with fantasy was really uncommon at the time and may be part of the reason. I don’t recall any hint of purple prose – at the time many readers preferred Lord of Illusions because they found the hero of Would-be Witch too beta for their taste, but my recollection is that everyone enjoyed the writing. I will have to re-read!

      1. If I read that book when it first came out, it might’ve made a better impression. It would’ve seemed much more original then, but by now, my literary taste has evolved. Reading romance novels for twenty-four years would do that to anyone.

    3. I love Sherwood Ring and Perilous Gard! I wish I could get the permissions to adapt Sherwood into something else (play, movie, radio play, anything). Peaceable and Barbara rock.

    4. I have aged paperback copies of Elizabeth Marie Pope’s The Sherwood Ring and The Perilous Gard in my permanent collection – and I still reread them regularly!

    5. “Perilous Gard” and “Sherwood Ring” are two of my all time favorite YA stories – I always give them as gifts when I can find them. I may have to start a re-read of all my teenaged favorites with these two, followed by Sally Watson’s “Lark”, “Linnet” and “The Hornet’s Nest,” and some Zilpha Keatley Snyder.

      1. When I read the Sherwood Ring in high school it was out of print, and I loved it so much I typed myself a copy. (This was in the mid 60s before photocopiers were everywhere. Then when it finally was published in paperback I bought one for everyone I had been raving at about it.

  3. Glad you are well!

    I had a mixed week, but started K.J. Charles’ latest Will Darling book. So far, though it’s early yet, it seems like it might be more mystery/who dun it, which is fun.

  4. At least you are ok. I have been alternating between “Jenny must be having lots of fun with Krissie”
    And “uh oh I hope Jennie is ok.”

    I have been rereading Nita Abrams
    Couriers series which is about Jewish spies for Britain in the Napoleonic wars. Her plotting is amazing. When I reread it I pick up more nuances. I also reread Heyer Infamous Army which isn’t really a romance—although there is a central couple—it’s her retelling of Waterloo.

    And then I read the Witness for the Dead. Which made me reread the Goblin Emperor and now I will reread Witness again. It has two unrelated mysteries. But the overarching plot really is about how Celehar finds his place and a community and starts to overcome his guilt and grief. It’s not quite as good as the Goblin Emperor but it’s still very good. The world building is amazing. I hope she will write another book in that world. (We don’t see Maia at all, I am afraid.)

    1. I also read Witness for the Dead. I liked it – but. As much as I enjoy the worldbuilding, the character names quickly become visual noise for me – I frequently can’t remember which character is which because the names all blend together.

      I do like Celehar, and I honestly didn’t miss Maia, as much as I liked him in the Goblin Emperor.

      1. Yes, those names… I haven’t read Witness for the Dead yet, but in The Goblin Emperor the names were a constant irritant. I guessed most of who was who from context, as I couldn’t distinguish the persons from those unpronounceable collections of letters that represented them.

  5. THE WITNESS FOR THE DEAD! I did like it, I really like the Goblin universe. There was more about local magic and a lot of the action is associated with the local opera. One of the things I enjoyed about THE GOBLIN EMPEROR were the opera titles, and there are more of them here.

    MEDICAL DOWNFALL OF THE TUDORS, BY Sylvia Barbara Soberton. Definitely popular level, lots of medical details. I was a little surprised that after decades of explanations, the author is one of the people who interprets the word “pre-contract” in the twentieth-century sense of “thinking about getting engaged” instead of its correct, pre-Hardwicke meaning of “previously actually married,” a phrase I’d render in all caps, extra-bold font, and underlined if I could. Before 1754, “pre-contract” meant a first marriage. In reference to a second marriage. Or a proposed second marriage. Or a bigamous second marriage. Grump. However, the book has a lot of modern interpretation of the symptoms reported on the Tudors and what illnesses they were likely to have had.

    LIVES OF UNFORGETTING, by Stant Litore. This one’s theology, and I have barely started it. However, it is clearly positive and interesting, and my instinct is to table it to read during Advent or, more likely, Lent.

    PIE STYLE by Helen Nugent. Remember ELEGANT PIE, Transform your Pie into a work of art? This is similar. I see several suggestions I really like, including an open-face lemon pie topped by a Della Robbia wreath of berries, and lattice-work embellished with a fancy embossing rolling pin. Clearly I’ll have to get rid of the collection of fancy bundt pans so I can cover a kitchen wall with rolling pins.

    1. Forgot to mention: PIE STYLE is another book that really needs a hard copy or an ebook reader like a computer screen (where mine is) or a device that will display its pretty pictures to the best advantage.

    2. Medical Downfall of the Tudors sounds like such fun. I could probably bite my tongue about the pre-contact thing, which without your explanation would only have sounded hazily wrong to me.

      1. The word “Pre-contract” is a Trigger to a Richard III addict. Because the associations of the word have changed in the last 550 years, “people,” including historical fiction writers, tend to think of it as relatively unimportant. Of course there were plenty of marriage negotiations in history that came to nothing and didn’t affect a later marriage negotiation for one of the parties that DID ultimately result in a valid marriage. But if there WAS a valid pre-contract, you’re looking at bigamy.

        Someone writing about it, even as applied to Henry VIII’s marriages, should do that much research. Marriage law is actually an interesting lens to view Henry’s marital history, since it applied to all his marriages except, I think, Katherine Parr.

        1) Catherine of Aragon: previously married to Henry’s brother, and also a cousin as a descendent of John of Gaunt.

        2) Anne Boleyn: Henry previously intimate with her sister Mary Boleyn; see consanguinity / affinity. Henry specifically applied for a wavier on this.

        3) Jane Seymour: Henry needed a wavier on her, too, as she was a second cousin of Anne and Mary Boleyn; their mothers were cousins and their grandmothers half-sisters. I think I’ve seen that he specifically applied for a wavier on this, too.

        4) Anne of Cleves: Ah, there’s that Pre-contract question: Anne had been proposed as a bride for Francis of Lorraine; was she actually legally married to him or had it been just diplomatic talk, no action?

        5) Catherine Howard: First cousin of Anne and Mary Boleyn; second cousin of Jane Seymour, and was she pre-contracted to Francis Dereham? He and her grandmother’s household had joked about it, and she had been intimate with him; did that mean she wasn’t free to marry Henry VIII? Quite possibly, because the church rule was that if you agreed that you WOULD marry, some time in the future, and then had sex, that promise became a real marriage recognized in the present, you ARE married. From her confession, she wasn’t sure herself (not that she had a legal education), and there is said to have been a modest change in the marriage law that clarified a point. [I was looking, but can’t find the reference online.]

  6. Glad it was just life conspiring and internet woes and not anything terrible.

    Not enough reading time this week due to everything happening at once, but I’m working my way through Designing Your Life by Burnett/Evans. Very good stuff about how to know if you’re going the right direction, how to design a life that works for you even though both you and life are always changing, very action-oriented. I may get another book written before the next kid leaves high school!

        1. Yes, I like how it isn’t about totally changing your life or making a whole new one but finding what works and doing more of that, reframing, etc. It’s really practical.

    1. I’m thrilled that it’s working for you–and inspired to go through my copy again. Maybe I’ll bring it on vacation and flash it around my college-age nieces and nephews.

  7. I read The Sleepwalker’s guide to dancing, which was rich and beautiful and funny, but also all about grief, so afterwards I needed a pick-me-up. Finally read boyfriend material and it was AMAZING. Probably going to binge everything that author has written.

    1. Alexis Hall took some time to find his stride, so somewhat hit or miss. But a good, solid core to just about everything:)

  8. I re-read AFTER DARK and AFTER GLOW by Jayne Castle (the beginning of her futuristic paranormal romances). Jayne Ann Krentz in all her various names has become one of my go-to authors when I can’t decide what to read and I am never sorry for falling back on her books. The dust bunnies in her Castle books are the best.

    I got the new John Sandford, OCEAN PREY, from the library and will probably start that tonight or tomorrow. Believe this one has both Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers, so I expect to enjoy it.

  9. I got the J & J Covid vax yesterday. Was really chilled last night but mostly ok.

    Now I’m closer to when the government makes 39 grade 3s return to full in-person teaching.

    Win some, lose some.

    1. It’s about average here. In some places there’s 60. I don’t know what learning goes on.

      The plan is to leave teaching in two years and become a life coach focusing on health advocacy. Ya know, guide people through all the guidelines for illnesses – people get a diet sheet and it means nothing to them, they don’t know how to implement that. I aim to help.

      1. I wish there were health advocacy for COVID vaccinations. I know several people who need a health professional to sit down and listen to them. There are individual situations out there and some non-vaccinated folks have reasonable concerns.

        Same thing with diet sheets.

  10. For me the Thursday post is now a Friday post but it doesn’t matter at all. It is here and all is good with you.

    This week I gobbled down « Subtle Blood », the last in KJ Charles’ Will Darling adventures. It was excellent on several levels.

    The sex scenes followed Jenny’s rules. Now I can’t read a sex scene without applying the Jenny test.
    They were not gratuitous, they advanced the plot and shed light on character and also one thing which I really like about KJ Charles’ sex scenes is that her protagonists don’t necessarily like everything on the sex menu and their preferences are not magically transformed by finding the one.

    There are also, as usual, literary references lightly woven into the plot.

    Finally, there are, as often is the case with KJ Charles, some connections to previous books. Here, we see or hear about people from Think of England and Proper English, which is great, and I ended asking myself could DS, the head of the Private bureau be who I think he is?
    Of course, that means I am now having to reread the whole trilogy just to see if I am right!

    I am also wondering if Kim son of the marquess of Flitby is some sort of pun on Kim Philby.

    So a clever delight as usual with KJ Charles.

    1. I’m pretty sure she confirmed somewhere (Twitter or blog) after the second book that DS *is* who you think. I also went back to Proper English and rediscovered the backstory on George Yoxall and his Uncle Jimmy. Love finding those connections.

      1. That’s great to know! It took me to the very end of the last book to make the connection. Of course, once I have finished rereading these, I’ll need to go back to Proper English and Think of England.

        1. Thanks for pointing out these connections, both of you. I’m not as into her Edwardian stories, so could easily have missed them. Will make a note to reread them as a group in the future.

          1. She seems to really like doing that sort of thing. Richard Vane from the Society of Gentlemen is the great- uncle of Templeton Vane in the Lilywhite boys. It is fun to spot these connections.

        2. I prepared for Subtle Blood by re-reading Proper English + Think of England as well as the two preceding Will Darling books. 🙂 Plus the bonus scene she offered via newsletter. Probably re-reading Subtle Blood tonight.

  11. I only read two new books. (Finished the Wearing the Cape series reread.)

    The first was A Mission for the Czar by Goodlett and Huff. It’s the third Marislava Holmes detective story in the Russian branch of the Ring of Fire series, and I love, love, loved it.

    The second book was I’m In The Band. or maybe With the band. I don’t remember and a quick lookup isn’t convenient* because I deleted it from my Kindle(s). It’s about a eunuch whose older brother shot his testicles off in a bow and arrow accident. I don’t mind if the guy identifies as female. (Which he angrily doesn’t at the start.) I have a trans grandchild. I mind that the author trotted out every stereotype about girls or women and assigned them to Michelle (Mike). Shy, demure, submissive, et cetera. Even the trope where he sits through a makeover and ends up looking like a total babe. I skipped to the back, said “I could see that coming from go!” and deleted it from my Amazon.

    [Boring Diet Crap follows.]
    Despite the GtH day on Fathers’ Day, I am a pound (1.0 Lb.) lighter than last Thursday at 268.4 pounds. Naturally, I celebrated by eating two double Whoppers with cheese and bacon and two large fries and a chocolate shake… or maybe I stopped at Food Lion for one of their small rotisserie birds. Let’s go with that second choice. I ripped off both legs and thighs and I only took in 2/3 of my limit of sodium. Plus I have leftovers. And I haven’t taken in a single carb all day.

    Let me revise that. I had a pound of lean ground beef (97%) that was past its sell-by a few days, so I made I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chili. Like the unbelievable margarine, it’s actually easy to believe it ain’t chili (or butter), but it needed a name in the spreadsheet, so…

    It’s got beef, (all my leftover pre-diced) onion, a can of NSA** mushroom pieces, a small can of NSA tomato sauce, a couple tablespoons of Salsa, mild, and liberal sprinklings of black pepper, habanero pepper and garlic powder. At this point, there are still NO CARBS. So, I tossed two slices of 647 bread on the tray. Sprayed them with a touch of buttery flavored cooking spray, Then I only dished half in a bowl with some grated Parmesan cheese. Leftover ICBINC for tomorrow, to go with the leftover fowl.
    = = = = =
    *I’m with the Band by Melanie Brown. Amazon shows 4.5 stars. They lie.
    ** No Salt Added

    1. I’ve once also read a book where the protagonist by a freak mix-up in a hospital woke up in his now female body. Instead of having severe alignment issues he just switched identities. Very strange concept 🙁 As if one could just DECIDE to be someone or the other. Makes the struggle of real people small.
      One could say it’s just a bit of escapism, but…

      1. I’ve spent a bit of time searching my archives for that story or one similar. In the one I recall, a specimen of the “Do-Over” sub-genre, The protagonist is a fifty-something embittered man who thinks he’s having a heart attack, and wakes up in a girl’s body about 40 years ago. Elsewhere in the hospital, an angry woman has awakened in his younger male body. Does any of that sound familiar?

        The entire sub-genre is either Science Fiction or Fantasy at the McGuffin stage, then moves on to adventure or romance or whatever way the author wants to tell the story. That one had supernatural roots. Another name for it may be Alt History.

        1. Once More With Feelings by “The Night Hawk”
          I was 45, overweight, divorced, no kids, alone. A string of girlfriends over the last 15 years had come and gone since Carol and I had divorced. I had lost count of them, and could barely remember their faces. What I did remember was Carol screaming, “I hope in your next life you come back as a woman you bastard and get treated like you treated me!”

        2. No, that’s not the one. Irrc it was a German novel published in the late 90s, not by a name I would remember. I didn’t keep the book so I can’t search my shelves for it.
          Light, fluffy or more correctly vapid & stupid story where the whole change didn’t pose more problems than what to do now professionally and what to wear. As if a fashion sense came with breast…

      1. I think I was just angry, not enraged. But if I was trans myself I might have found it so. I gave it a 1-star review on Amazon, where it enjoys 4.5 stars.

          1. And, less interestingly, Robert Heinlein did something similar in I Will Fear No Evil, about a really rich guy who’s plan is to have a brain transplant into a younger, healthier body, but gets in an accident and his brain gets transplanted into the first available body, which turns out to be female.

  12. Bear with me here, Arghers, but I read a non-fiction (I know! Not like me as all) called “Perv: the sexual deviant in all of us” by Jesse Bering.

    I picked it up because he’s my professor, but I’m recommending it because it’s really good. Squirm-making yes, but also thought provoking and confronting and very funny. It takes a completely amoral look at sexual desire and behaviour and ‘deviancy’. I think what it says is important, even if (perhaps especially because) my instinctive reaction is no no no.

    I’m also keen to hear what others think, so if you read it please tell me next week!

  13. I’ve been slow as usual, but still I didn’t get enough sleep because of reading…
    I finally finished the Book of Firsts. I must confess I skipped bits. The 4 leads were just too accomplished for me, so I just could’t connect. I liked that the girl didn’t have to choose in the end.
    Last week I’d tried and liked a short story by a German author. Well, I git sucked into the reading sample of her “Winterchaot”: a 18 yr old who’s in love with a classmate, Anna, but when a handsome new biy joins the class, he realizes his chances with Anna go downhill real fast as the new boy is also guitarist in a known band. Far more popular than him/Josh, who the whole class is betting on whether he’s gay like his older brothers. Fights ensue but because of misundersandings which are cleared up fairly fast and a very fine friendship follows that very slowly turns into more.
    Both protagonists feel like real teenagers/youngsters. The small town setting and the family dynamics very real. I absolutely loved those two and how their story evolved. Both had a very solid set of values and went through “traumas” that were true to them but seem minor compared to what a lot of authors have their heroes suffer.

    The writing might not be too sophisticated but not bad at all. I didn’t care since they gelt öike they could be boys my son goes to school with – completely realistic and very charming!

    When pondering whether to give in and buy the book for more than my usual limit (more than 5 euro!) I saw that Regina Mars, the author, had published the collection of all 4 books about all the 4 siblings of this family for less than 10 euros. So by now, I’ve already read “Aufgetaut”, the story of Josh’s older brother Nils (angry but reliable Viking in looks) and have started “Horrorhsmster”, the book about Marc, the annoyingly handsome womanizing snowboarder who’s about to fall in love with his rival Flo.
    So I’m all set up for a nice weekend with yet another smalltown romance 🙂
    I’ve also dipped my toes into Temeraire and must see if I can get it from the library. The teaser was very appetizing indeed. I very much liked how the main protagonist came across even though the prospect of dragons always made me avoid the books before.

    1. The Regina Mars books sound interesting. Have they been translated into English/Spanish/French? My library does not have anything of hers (and occasionally my library has German translations of books that they do not have the original English of, so anything is possible) but if a translation collection were available for under 10 euros I might be reckless.

      1. Sadly, doesn’t list any translations. On her website, Regina has her e-mail address and I’ll write to her if you like. It’s rarely a bad thing to tell a writer that one loved their books… which I’ll do 🙂

  14. I had so many duds this week. Sent five books back to the library unfinished. One of them was Nobody’s Angel, which looked promising, but fell apart very quickly when the hero turned out to be the sort of man who totally disregards the heroine’s bodily autonomy – picking her up when she doesn’t want to be picked up, etc.

    I read Midlife Crisis, an MM romance about a closeted gay man who had been married to a woman for 35 years. Then his wife died and he set out to very tentatively explore who he was. It was okaaay, but full of flashbacks that weren’t really necessary and didn’t do anything to advance either character or plot. I did finish it, however.

    So then I ended up back with Dick Francis, and am reading the Sid Halley books, which are so engaging.

  15. I stayed up later than I should have last night to finish “Its not me, it’s you” by Mhairi McFarlane. I enjoyed it, although I think it could have used some more editing to tighten up the story.

  16. No reading for a week? I hope you compensated with extra chocolate. And I highly recommend my new passion: Lindt milk chocolate bars. Completely decadent. This week I finished the Martha Wells Raksura series, a slow burn of love, and now I’m reading the associated novellas. I also read Lisa Henry’s sci fi M/M romance Dark Space,

    I’m heading into the blissful void of vacation next week and – Witness for the Dead has dropped into my Kindle, along with Subtle Blood from KJ Charles and Mercedes Lackey’s latest in the Valdemar series has been there for a couple of weeks. I am anticipating an orgy of reading by the pool.

  17. I read The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary which I had been so looking forward to and was disappointed. I liked her first two books very much but not so much this time. The story goes back and forth from past to present and switches between two narrators. The supporting characters were meaty and interesting but the two main characters both seemed to be swept away by events rather than ever asserting themselves until the very end of the book.

    I also read Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall and loved it. Laughed out loud, enjoyed Rosaline’s journey and the slow reveal of what a creep Alain was.

    1. I’m reading Road Trip at the moment. And thinking a lot about flashbacks. I’m beginning to suspect that people use them when they haven’t got enough of a story in the present. So they’re sort of padding it out with flashbacks. The ones in Road Trip are entertaining enough, but I haven’t seen anything yet that adds to what I had already got from the present story.

  18. I read The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne, which was tropey yet still delightfully weird, and Line Mates and Study Dates, by Eden Finley and Saxon James, which is the latest m/m college sports romance in a very well written series. I don’t love f/m sports romances because of the weird power and status dynamics, not to mention real life campus cultures around athletics and assault, but m/m stories sidestep these triggers nicely. The whole series is great, although my favourite is the second book, Face Offs and Cheap Shots.

    1. Have you read Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid? So good. I’ve read others of hers and not liked them nearly as much, but this is maybe the best fuck buddies to lovers romance I’ve ever read (not, to be honest, that it’s a trope I read much anyway). It’s a perfect progression.

      1. No, but I’ll check it out. Thanks! It’s not usually my trope either but I find enemies to lovers irresistible.

  19. I’m so glad to see that you’re back and alive and kicking! Hopefully with chocolate.

    I finished “Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts”* by Lucy Dillon, and I quite liked it also the 2nd time around. At least I knew there’d be a solution to all the problems at the end.

    Went on to reread two other books of hers: “Walking Back to Happiness” and “The Secret of Happy Ever After” of which I still kinda like the former, and not sure about the latter. “Walking Back” deals a lot with grief and finding your way back to life from it, and I think it works pretty well. “The Secret of” is harder for me to like; I have trouble connecting with the MCs, and although everything is more or less solved at the end, it…doesn’t feel satisfying. It again left me kinda mixed up about it all and no… I don’t think I will give it a third reread.

    I also read 2 Swedish children’s books, which were nice but nothing remarkable.

    Again back to feeling anxious about what to read. Can’t really seem to find anything that suits my mood or state of mind/emotion/feeling. I was considering reading more Dillon, but I’ve decided not to, but what to read instead, I don’t know. I keep starting on books and ditching them again, because something (the tone, the writing, the narrator, I don’t know) doesn’t feel right. 🙁

    * I wrote the title as “Love Dogs and Lonely Hearts” last week, which I already back then thought was a weird title, but I was in a hurry when writing and didn’t double check it, so it’s all on me. I read the books in Swedish and picked the English title from Goodreads, and apparently the one that’d added the book there had got it wrong. So, Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts is the actual title. Sorry for possible confusion.

  20. Books read:
    * Kamala’s Way: short rundown book of her career until becoming tapped for VP.
    * How They Met, by David Levithan: short stories about love.
    * Elizabeth and Margaret by Andrew Morton: more about Margaret, but that’s fitting.
    * Dash and Lily’s Book Of Dares: fun book. I think I was more into the TV show, but might have gone the other way around if I’d read the book first.

    1. I didn’t see the show for Dash and Lily, but thought it was a little thin as a book. I think seeing emotional reactions might have helped.

      1. The show was great, but for me this had a lot to do with the great production design (very warm colours, like a visual warm embrace/hug) and the sympathetic leads AND side kicks. Plus to see a NY pre Covid where people could just visit a bookshop and lead normal lives.

  21. I’m reading Lisa Kleypas Wallflower series. At book four now, and only one more left. I’ll be sorry to finish them, as they’ve been entertaining me during our hot weather.

    1. I have been slurping down Lisa Kleypas too fast to do them justice. (I haven’t felt well this week and have spent my days off reading in bed instead of getting things done and have been skimming quickly through her series and grabbing another one off Overdrive. Skimming partly because I haven’t felt like paying attention to anything and partly because I want to know What Happens Next.)

  22. Many good books for me this reading week!

    I started with the new Auckland Med title from Jay Hogan, ‘You Are Cordially Invited,’ which did exactly what I thought her main characters needed. This is a sequel to ‘Crossing the Touchline’ which was about a closeted pro rugby player falling in love with an out charge nurse. In this book they manage to get married but there are some bumpy roads along the way. All the Auckland Med books are about redefining family, blending families, found family, and parenting. In this one, events force Cam (the nurse) to confront his obsessive control issues and Reuben (the athlete) to step up and assert himself. I liked it.

    Then, another good book: ‘The Law of Attraction,’ by Jay Northcote, which is about a pair of lawyers whose story begins with a first-names-only hookup and is dumped into conflict by whoops-he’s-my-new-trainee. The younger man is out, the elder is not. His decisionmaking drives the story.

    Next up, ‘Open House’ by Ruby Lang, a M/F contemporary about a NYC accountant involved with a community garden and the real-estate agent trying to sell the lot it occupies. Much here about urban history, community, and the friction between staying in place and moving forward. Also about dealing with unavoidable conflicts honestly and kindly.

    Back to M/M for ‘Must Like Spinach’ by Con Riley, in which a NY consultant is assigned a client in Seattle, impulsively rents a horrible apartment because he falls in love with the garden in the backyard, and very shortly also falls in love with the elderly homeowner and her longtime tenant. The Black Moment was kind of unnecessary IMO but it resolved acceptably.

    Then there was the Character Bleed trilogy by Kristin Noone (‘Seaworthy,’ ‘Stalwart,’ and ‘Steadfast’), which is about a pair of actors making a movie about an English naval officer during the Napoleonic wars and a young aristocrat. Lots of sweetly kinky sex and a relationship structured around the film shoot. I’ll be re-reading these soon because I raced through them and probably missed a few things.

    Those got me to ‘Subtle Blood’ by KJ Charles, which I liked a lot. Would happily read a long series featuring Will and Kim and their cohort. Seeing DS again was fun but I missed Archie.

    Finally, re-read ‘The Bargain’ by Mary Jo Putney, a Regency about a noblewoman who impulsively marries (in order to secure her inheritance) an officer who appears to be dying … but he doesn’t.

    1. Cachal, thanks for those recommendations!!

      Picture my surprise when I checked out The Bargain on goodreads, I found a review by Lois Bujold almost on top. She liked the book though said she usually prefered the witty once over the melodramatic stories.
      And she wished that for this genre (Regency romance) someone would CLONE OUR JENNY CRUSIE). Sigh! Spot on, this great lady 🙂

    2. Chachal, I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that KJC was planning to write an Archie/Will meet-up extra. I hope I didn’t dream that!

  23. One of the annoying aspects of the form of hyperthyroid I have is that it affects the eyes. Until recently, it was tired/dry/gritty eyes, and now it’s watering eyes. Either way, it makes me reluctant to use my eyes to read. In retrospect, it explains why, in addition to the pandemic chaos, I’ve had trouble reading physical books (including ebooks) for the last year or two, and was switching to audiobooks primarily and reading ebooks only reluctantly. But I’m also very finicky about narrators, which limits my options. Even I can only re-listen to Murderbot Diaries so many times without a break!

    The eye issues aren’t going to change (for the better), but at least I know the source of my resistance now and can work harder on finding audiobooks I like. And just plan to read ebooks in smaller doses. I finally finished the latest Penric story, just half an hour of reading a day instead of the usual one-day glom, so it took some time. Not sure if it was the slow reading or the book itself or that I’d gotten used to the stories being novellas, but while I loved the plot twists (no spoilers, but they’re great), overall it felt padded with too much filler and repetition as events/backstory are explained repeatedly to different audiences. (I know, heresy to criticize LMB, and maybe it was just me, but it felt like it needed a more intense developmental edit with more slashing.)

    1. Gin, my daughter has the kind of hyper/hypo-thyroid that’s Graves’ disease. The doctor used an X-ray to disable her thyroid. Anyway, one permanent change is her now prominent eyes (I rather like them). They’ll never get smaller.

      1. That’s what I have too. Not sure if my eyes will get prominent. For assorted reasons, I probably can’t use the process to irradiate my thyroids, so it’s meds for me to control them, and as best I can tell, neither the radiation nor the meds control the eye symptoms, just the thyroid prorduction (it’s antibodies attacking the eyes) and there’s not much that can be done, except wait, and if it’s bad enough there’s a hugely expensive new treatment. Then I can be on one that I’m already on at a quarter-million bucks a year and another at some other but lesser astronomical cost, and see if the two monoclonal antibodies (the treatments are in the same class but different targets) get along with each other!

        1. I think if the med doesn’t work in good time, there’s a surgical option: removing the thyroid and going on levothyroxine pills which aren’t that expensive. As for the eyes, I wonder, but don’t know, if removing the thyroid sooner than later might lessen the severity of the thyroid eye disease.

        2. Weirdly, the eye issues and the thyroid levels aren’t linked causally. Apparently, in Graves, there’s an antibody in the blood that attacks the thyroid (causing overproduction of the hormone) and simultaneously attacks the tissues around the eyes. It’s not the thyroid hormone affecting the eyes, and reducing the thyroid levels doesn’t change the antibody levels. So the thyroid damage and the eye damage proceed sort of separately, and counter-intuitively. There is a new treatment that reduces the antibody levels, but it’s ungodly expensive (and I’m already on another one for something else that’s a quarter-mill a year), so there are hurdles to getting insurance coverage of it, especially if the eye issues are relatively minor as mine are currently.

    2. You have my sympathy. I’ve still had no luck treating my hypothyroid and waiting (and waiting) to get in to see an endocrinologist. In the meanwhile, I’m still so tired I am barely functional.

      1. I’m sorry. Seems like specialist waiting times are even worse now with patients scheduling stuff they put off during the pandemic.

  24. Big reading week for me! I finally read the LMB Penric novellas through Orphans of Raspay and am loving the series. Read KJC’s Subtle Blood in two short sittings, more love. Read The House on the Cerulean Sea, which was very sweet with lots to recommend it (loved the kids, loved each hero) but the parts didn’t quite roll up to a satisfying whole for me, alas. I’ve got Libromancer and One Last Stop on tap for this weekend, when it’s supposed to be 111 degrees in my PNW town, which is absolutely nuts.

  25. Hurrah! Jenny back and okay! That makes this a good day indeed.

    I’ve just finished Naomi Novick’s A Deadly Education, and liked it quite a bit. The beginning was a little daunting, since I couldn’t figure out from the narrator’s self-descriptions exactly what she would eventually be like, but turned out I liked who she actually was. Looking forward to the sequel.

    And my holds are finally beginning to show up at the library, so tomorrow I get to pick up two of the graphic novels that Lois Bujold recommended in her recent blog interview. The library goddesses are apparently looking out for me at last.

    1. Love love love the Cadfael series. Hmm, may be time for another reread.

      Just enjoyed Kelly Harms The Overdue Life of Amy Byler really good.

  26. I read Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia (thanks for the recommendation, Lian) and re-read Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts. Which led me to take out The Westing Game, but I’m saving it for some upcoming free time. AND I moved to the top of the hold list for the new Laurie R. King!

  27. Please imagine the next bit in a French cartoon villian accent. Like Bomb voyage in the Incredibles.

    “Aha! I spy a lot more pluuses in people’s names. Proof that it was NOT I. Hahahaha.”

    1. I have no idea what’s going on with the pluses. I’m just glad they’re not minuses.

  28. A pox on being thwarted. Having said that, isn’t thwarted a wonderful sounding word?

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