This is a Good Book Thursday, July 29, 2021

I’m making a list of the petty things that make me stop reading.
• A writer who uses the word “smirk” to mean “cute grin.”
• A writer who missuses and misspells words, like using “fairing” instead of “faring.”
• A writer who gives main characters green eyes. (Two percent of the population has green eyes, and all of that two percent are protagonists in romance novels.)
• Babies as a plot device or proof that the relationship is successful. Especially cute babies who never projectile vomit.
Yes, I hit all of those in one book. Yes, I am a grump. Get off of my romance lawn, you damn kids.

What did you read this week? What did you not read because of a petty deal-breaker?

176 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 29, 2021

  1. Checked the first two bullet points with a recommendation I got from here. (“Magic and the Shinigami Detective”.) Now the smirking does not aggravate me as much as you (maybe because I’m not a native speaker, I dislike much more if people constantly breathe instead of speaking) but I hate when I find several spelling fails within one chapter as well as punctuation problems (particularly because I’m not a native speaker …).

    Yes, I’m on the fence with this one. One the one hand, it was easy to read (in spite of the points mentioned above) and kept me interested (which is remarkable, as I don’t like fantasy so much). On the other hand, I thought the plot was weak. It seems to me that the author had way more fun creating her world and comparing it to the world as we know it than dealing with her story. Her heroine has only one weakness (which she can’t overcome herself) and can do everything else superbly well. Good for her, but not for the reader! Also, I didn’t understand the structure: instead of chapters, there are protocols but I don’t really get what their intention is. They are way too personal to serve as professional documents, so I’d rather call them diary entries.

    And yet … I read this book on Kindle Unlimited and already got suggestions for two more of this series. So I might give them a shot to see if it gets better.

    1. Well, I loved Magic and the Shinigami Detective, but then I’m the one who recommended it on Argh in the first place. But what I love most about the series is the developing relationships between the characters. The world building is kind of fun and the mysteries are fairly interesting, but it’s the friendly snark between Jamie and Henri and their recruit and allies that make them just awesomely fun books.

      1. I agree. I love these books for the people populating it more than the plots. Henry and Jamie are just lovely and so are all the friends they collect along the way.
        Reading one of these books is like having a nice warm bath.

  2. I read two books I loved this week – both of them from recommendations here.

    First was The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair. A mystery/crime novel about two women who set up a marriage bureau just after WWII – and one of their clients is murdered, seemingly by another client. The two main characters are so well developed and alive – this was such a pleasure to read.

    Second was Hunt, Gather, Parent, a book about how indigenous populations around the world raise their kids to be kind-hearted and cooperative. Utterly fascinating.

    1. I loved The Right Sort of Man as well and read the second in the series. The writing is beautiful.

  3. I’m on a penric re-listen before listening to the latest audiobook (already read it in kindle) it’s enjoyable as always (right up there with murderbot in terms of comfort).

    The pettiest thing that ruined a book for me was an a deliberately a-historical book about Jane Grey. I knew it was going to feature any number of weird anachronisms for the sake of humour but for some reason the book assuming that all the characters who had never left britain would know what a skunk was….

    1. I have glared hotly at more than one historical romance set in England in which an untraveled character knows all about hummingbirds. And/or sees one in her garden.

  4. I have DNFed two books this week. I’d like to blame something petty, but I just got bored. Perhaps it’s me. So I’m looking forward to some good recommendations! I’d like romance (any flavour) where the portrayal of women won’t annoy me, there’s something going on beside the romance, and the (competent) people act in character and have an arc. Oh, I know…(I’m about to do it, begging is so unattractive and I KNOW, UNHELPFUL)…I’d like a Jenny Crusie!

    In the meantime, I re-read Work For It by Talia Hibbert which is excellent. Lovely romance, honest portrayal of small town pleasures and pitfalls, written with empathy.

    Also, I just read (via Jemaine Clement on Twitter) that Wellington Paranormal is currently the most streamed show in the US. I mean, how? It’s hilarious, but it’s so so kiwi. It’s interesting to think that the humour translates, even without the NZ pop-culture references (although apparently some people need closed captions!).

    1. I’m harping on this, but The Book of Firsts was really surprisingly excellent. So much so that I turned around and read it again after I finished it and was thinking about it a third time because I can’t find anything else that suits me.

      1. I loved The Book of Firsts, looking forward to the sequel which has a working title of Seconds.I want to know what happens when the boys tell their families that they’re doing what they want instead of the family plans. Oh, and they’re all sleeping with the same girl, who’s a brilliant engineer.

        I would also love a new Jenny Crusie, probably more than you. I need a new stove.

        1. Karan Anders I think? Aka Andrea K Host, whose scifi fantasy I haven’t been brave enough to try yet.

      2. This book really must be something out of the ordinary. So much praise here, it’s fascinating. Gotta see if I can find it in audio somewhere.

        1. I’m another vote for Book of Firsts. I loved it, and I’ve re-read it several times.

        2. No audio, that I can find. And it’s pure competency porn plus good communication like reasonable adults.

          But it also feels slightly magical. I keep thinking that Mika, the main character, is a fairy godmother in disguise and we follow her as a protagonist, efficiently fixing things instead of Cinderella. It’s a wonderful change and I desperately want more of it.

        3. It’s self-published by Andrea K. Höst (who wrote this under the pen-name Karan K. Anders), and not out in audio as that costs a lot more to produce than an e-book, for less sales and income.
          She did get audiobooks made of her most popular books, the Touchstone trilogy, but has said that further audiobooks will have to wait until the books bring in enough money to pay for the making.

          But I seem to remember someone here (maybe Gary?) saying he got Alexa to read it to him.
          Alas, on my Android device I can’t get the epub to be read aloud by the text-to-speech option, neither by the Talkback app nor the Kobo ebookstore app.

          1. All I did was say, “Alexa, read Kindle Book.” What I had wanted Alexa to do, was open that book in the Kindle App for me to read. Nice voice. Enjoyed the book.

      3. Thank you for recommending this author. I inhaled this book and then tried to figure out what made it so appealing. I have a weakness for boarding school stories but I really just loved the characters and how insanely talented and decent they all were. It felt like Dean’s Tam Lin in the way some of these people were all connected.

    2. I recommend The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne. I reread it this week and the protagonist is a delightfully weird, fully realised human. She’s up for a promotion for her dream job because she’s very good at what she does, and both she and the love interest arc to get to HEA.

  5. I love “get off my romance lawn!” That’s going to get me through today even if the data migration didn’t work last night and all of my team’s files are floating around in Office server purgatory.

    1. You have my profoundest sympathies; I’m currently involved in trying to upgrade various aspects of our entire line-of-business applications, and we just had to delay go-live for the timesheet app because it keeps having issues.

  6. Also, in books v Olympics, Olympics wins. I swore I wouldn’t watch on principle, because what the hell are they thinking, there is a still an pandemic raging. But I can’t resist. 6 channels of sports I never watch and don’t care about for 3.9 out of every 4 years. White water canoe! Thrilling. Mens’ synchro diving? Hell yes. Table tennis? Amazing. People being extremely competent.

    Also, love the picture of shooter Vitalina Batsarashkina looking casual af with her Witcher medal, and all the reply guys on Twitter critiquing her stance and then she wins gold. ha ha ha ha ha

    If you’re anti Olympics but would like to watch a spot of Norwegian Death Diving (I had no idea this was a thing) this cracked me up. it’s very sweary. I love that people are weird and funny and do their thing with pride. Go people, you don’t all suck.

    Ok no more sports for me, I’m babbling, it’s bedtime.

    1. It’s the Olympics … the only time you watch in amazement as a horse dances around to music (Dressage) gets the recognition it deserves

        1. Isabel Werth? She rides at world class level for more than 30 years by now. Awesome 🙂

    2. Yep, Olympics. All the time – I’d have it on at work if I could, but it distracts me. I will switch the channel if basketball comes on (since there is usually at least three to choose from), but other than that – bring it. I hadn’t watched ju jitsu before. Surfing was great and I love watching rowing. Haven’t seen dressage yet, but being a former swimmer, I’m fascinated by that too.

    3. I’d be watching it if my rabbit ears TV would get NBC. I don’t want to pay for cable but digital channels just don’t come in for me at all 95% of the time and I’ve bought multiple antennas. Online I can watch 95% of what I want, but not this, sigh.

      1. You might be able to get it online depending on your internet provider. We get it free because Comcast.

    4. Olympics. Oy. My SIL is in the hospital in Narita for 2 weeks (not COVID related as far as we knew, she was really sick about a month or 6 weeks ago but couldn’t get tested because there were no testing centres close by and she couldn’t take time off work to go to one of the more distant ones, but she is having heart issues) and she can’t have visitors because of COVID. AFAIK, her 90+-year-old mother-in-law hasn’t been vaccinated yet.

    5. The Olympics is the only time I watch a lot of sports and I haven’t gone to bed at a reasonable hour since they started.

      The Norwegian Death Diving is hysterical. I wonder if there is a correlation between the very dark mysteries they write and their creation of a sport where entry into the water comes with maximum pain. It must be the unending darkness the get in winter.

  7. Excellent recommendation for Norwegian Death Diving. The Australian commentator was really enjoying himself and now I want to know what are Norwegian Dollary Dues?

  8. I stayed up later than I should have finishing Firefighter Unicorn by Zoe Chant. Mostly I didn’t want to try to go to sleep because I am in a bad mood and things that upset me come back to my mind when the lights go out.

    Anyway, I bought the book used because the title amused me. It was well written and the author diffused the potential Big Secret/Misunderstanding within a chapter of it arising. So points for that.

    But the book was driven by artificial issues cased by the main characters magical abilities. He is a unicorn and can’t be around people who are unchaste and he can’t have sex. She is a wyvern and poisonous to the touch. Drama ensues. Bleh.

    This is why I mostly gave up reading paranormal romance. It’s a common, irritating plot device.

  9. Okay, the green eyes bit fascinates me. I guess because my husband and I both have green eyes (and my son’s eyes shift from green to brown to hazel depending on mood and shirt color), so it has never struck me as unusual. Hmm.

    I mentioned this to my husband, sitting with me at breakfast, and he was also surprised. Turns out green eyes are more common among people from Scotland, Ireland, and northern Europe (according to the first random website talking about this, so maybe take it with a grain of salt).

    1. As a redhead with green eyes whose ancestors moved to Australia mainly from Skye,
      I rather like actually being represented in novels. It doesn’t happen that often, but I almost never see someone who looks like me on either the big or small screen. I do, however, get very grumpy at authors who describe ageing redheads as ‘going grey’.
      In order to go grey, you need dark hair, not red. Blondes don’t go grey either – we just fade.

      Recently, I’ve read a novel where at least half the commas need to be removed. Yuk. I really hate bad punctuation. I won’t be reading the rest of THAT series.

      The last one I read got discrete/discreet wrong, which I tolerated, mainly because it was the only mistake she made. The editor should be ashamed of themselves for not picking it up!

      1. Yep, we redheads get more and more sandy, wash out until the sand turns silvery.
        Still, I envy my mom who’s ashen blond hair got lighter in color until she got the most perfect white hair. Won’t happen with me…
        One of my lecturers at uni had a shock full of the most beautiful silvery white hair – she might have been in her 50s then, but apart from the colour had the most youthful vibrant air about her and a beautifully lightly tanned complexion. And what a posture. Sigh.

        1. Judging just by the number of people on this blog alone who have green or greenish eyes, I’d say that the statistic Jenny quotes may be inaccurate. Or maybe it just underrepresents the number of green eyed people who read books and/or blogs.

          1. Yes: I was a bit hurt.

            I always wanted green eyes, until I finally realized that mine – blue with yellow spots – are a kind of sea-green (a British sea on a grey day).

    2. Scots Irish descent in my family and of five children, there were two dark auburn (really an unusual gorgeous color you almost never see – dark brown that flashes burgundy red high lights), one carrot top red with curls, one strawberry blond, then me with a sort of bronzed brown. All eyes were hazel with two of the girls definitely green and me with the back ground color bluish grey. And of the off-spring, many were just shades of brown in the first generation out, then about twenty percent red again. Eye color I don’t know about.

      And I have to say that we all went grey then silver white. Although my niece who was a really bright orangey carrot top (all of her children also had red hair) went blond before she turned white (She had long hair and as it was turning blond, she looked like a blond who had dyed the bottom 4 or 5 inches of her hair red. Very strange)

      1. I always wanted to have auburn hair and used henna off and on until I got too much grey for it to work. My Mom’s closest friend while I was growing up married a man with red hair and they had a son who was close to me in age who had his Dad’s coloring. He ended up marrying a woman who had hair much the same color as his, which my sister(dark brown hair) said was a waste. She thought he should marry someone like us and spread his genes into a gene pool where red hair is very rare.

        1. My eyes are hazel which is 5% of the population but more common in Northern Europe. My husbands are hazel also and our two daughters. No one ever has hazel eyes in books. I have known very few people with purely green eyes but because we are all green adjacent I never thought about it being unusual when someone has green eyes in a book.

          I have noticed the frequency of red headed heroines (not the heroes, just the heroines).

          Romanceland is filled with unusually good looking people with rare coloring.

      2. I have been thinking about the preponderance of red hair and green eyes. It may be a function in the US of where you lived. Growing up in the Seattle area which had a huge Scandinavian population at the time, having brownish hair and my husband was blondish, we thought of ourselves as medium coloring, not particularly fair or dark. When he attended graduate school in Philadelphia and a large portion of the population where we lived had dark coloring, we were frequently perceived to be very fair. To this day my favorite memory of a complement was as I was leaving class, one of our friends who had been sitting behind me said to me that I had the most beautiful hair he had ever seen (super fuzzy, long light brown). Coming from a family of red heads where no one ever gave my hair a second glance, I was thrilled.

    3. Yeah, green is 2% of the global population but it’s a higher percentage in Caucasian populations and definitely higher in Ireland/Scotland and areas with populations descending from them. My ancestry is Scots/Irish/English and I have an odd eye colour (blue gray hazel that can look green sometimes) so I am here for green eyed characters 😀.

  10. Apparently I’m on a Writers-React-To-Harry-Potter kick, because I finished the first two Simon Snow books (by Rainbow Rowell, but since I first heard about them here I’m not sure I need to add that) and am currently reading It Ends In Fire by Andrew Shvarts.

    The Simon Snow books definitely jump around with their multiple first-person perspectives, but at least they’re clearly labelled. It Ends in Fire is structurally simpler, but alternates between current events chapters and flashback chapters; it works, though I do wonder if it really needed all those flashbacks. Haven’t hit any dealbreakers with any of those selections, though; I’ll probably go read Fangirl next.

  11. In real life, I don’t notice eye color. When I read, my image of someone is inordinately affected by eye color. Don’t know why.

    This week I’ve overdosed on Christie as well as rereads of Sayers and Heyer mysteries. Sayers’ and Heyer’s characterizations leave Christie in the dirt (for me). Now I’m tired of brilliant deductions.

    I’m curious about phrases that work for me. “Still,” as in going still, or suddenly very still: this works for me every time.

  12. Read Beach Read, which started out great, and then somehow didn’t hold up for me. I skipped through the sex scenes and maybe I’m not at the right age for too much heart throbbing. Not that I’m against hearts throbbing.
    Listened to The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, which was about 30% too long.
    Now listening to Heyer’s The Reluctant Widow for a visit with an old friend.

    1. I think Beach Read didn’t hold up for me because of the marketing (I expected a lighter book) and because the ending didn’t quite feel earned. But there were definitely parts I liked, and I loved the author’s new book, People We Meet on Vacation.

  13. I read The Worst Duke in the World (Penhallow Dynasty) by Lisa Berne. Adorable. There’s rivalry over pigs, pumpkins and flowers, all the reasons why Romeo and Juliet is the worst Shakespeare tale, and lessons for life from Puss in Boots. I haven’t read any of the other books in this series but I will now.

    1. That looks like fun; I just added it to the TBR pile. I’m listening to Georgette Heyer audiobooks at the moment; just finished The reluctant widow and now on to The Tollbooth.
      This sounds as if it will be a good follow-on from there.

  14. 😊 huh. I have green eyes and had no idea they were rare (two sisters have hazel eyes, does that count?). I just finished reading SEP’s When Stars Collide and re-reading Faking It.

  15. Forgot to say, in things I don’t read, well, there are a lot of popular tropes that are hard nopes for me in romance right now. I’ve been reading a lot of historical romance as a result, plus lots of YA, SFF, mystery, thriller, horror instead. If you want to mix romance AND horror, T Kingfisher has a beauty and the beast horror, Bryony and Roses, which I am about to dive into.

  16. For me it’s any time the author uses the word “goddess.” Really? Unless the book is about a literal goddess, don’t use that word.

    Lately I’ve been thinking of the concept that if the reader’s mind wanders, that’s a part that should have been left out. Too many books leave my mind wandering lately. Great tip for a writer. Wish more writers used that guidance.

      1. The problem with that is I skip a lot of parts unless it’s a writer like Jenny Crusie or Sarah Addison Allen. Most writers don’t keep my interest describing scenery, setting, etc.

        1. Me too. There was one blogger called “Squirrel Bait” or something that said once that all she gets out of a paragraph of vivid description is “She’s inside, and she’s a redhead.” Me too. I don’t see the tree leaves or whatever in my head.

      2. Dear Jenny, when you publish a new book I solemnity promise not to skip a word.

  17. Reading Earthsea novels fir the first time… What??? How did I miss these? Owned the paperbacks for 40-some years and convinced myself I’d read them already. Again: What???

    LeGuin = WordArt

    1. Ursula K LeGuin is THE BEST. And her Earthsea novels – so intelligent. She wished later on she had made the hero a heroine.

      1. The Earthsea books are interesting for the way they track some of the changes in Le Guin’s thinking and writing over the decades. My thesis many, many years ago was on the nature of the female quest in the Earthsea books and Margaret Mahy’s YA novels.

  18. My phone tells me that I have read 157 books, I don’t know when this Olympic event started. But mostly it is a lie, I’ll get so far in a book that I will go to the end and sometimes back track a few chapters and feel satisfied. In one book I read recently the word waste was used in place of waist. It gives me pause and I have to stop and think so it throws me off for a bit.

    I agree on green eyes it is so new that one author went so far as to describe the various colors within to judge a person’s mood (see Michelle above).

    And I can’t count the many times I’ve read the word smirk (see the first sentence), but I will plod on after all I’m reaching for a gold.

  19. I am happily reading Heather Webber’s “The Lights of Sugarberry Cove” this week. Love her stand-alone books.

    On the misuse/misspelling of words — I started one book where the characters were repeatedly repelling down cliff faces as they searched for something in a canyon. That didn’t work so they searched around the parameter of a parking lot, and that’s when I gave up on them.

    1. Hahaha repelling down a cliff face. Cliff faces repel ME, not the other way around.

      There are so many homonym-ish errors in books that I sometimes wonder if the writers are doing voice-to-text. And some publishers (cough Carina cough) don’t appear to edit AT ALL.

      1. I can’t help wondering if the boom in self publishing and the demise of standard publishers that it is fueling it hasn’t let publishers think they don’t need to pay trained editors. Why pay a person when spellcheck is free? And people will be much more accepting of such huge gaps in quality if the book is cheap or free.
        I love that there is a much wider range of stuff available, but I find the fact that I have to wade through mountains of crap to find it exhausting.

        1. Allow me to quote: “I repeat Sturgeon’s Revelation, which was wrung out of me after twenty years of wearying defense of science fiction against attacks of people who used the worst examples of the field for ammunition, and whose conclusion was that ninety percent of SF is crud.”
          The story then goes that Sturgeon made this comment at a panel discussion at a sci-fi convention, and when the audience predictably protested, Sturgeon blinked and replied, “90% of everything is crap.”

          This was true when only the publishing Houses produced books. It remains true with self-publishing, with the amount of crap multiplying – there’s still that 10%.

          Jenny is a ten percenter. 🙂

          1. I don’t think the crappiest books produced by the publishing houses were as crappy as the crappiest books that are self-published. At least, I hope not.

          2. Some of the crap that self-publishers are pulling makes them even crappier than their books. Like the author who divided a single book into ten parts, sold separately for too much.

        2. I kind of question the correlation/causation there (boom in self publishing / demise of standard publishers). 🙂

          Would bet that most self-published fiction would never have been published by a traditional house, but for reasons that go beyond ‘it’s no good.’ Reasons like ‘that subgenre is too niche, there’s no market for it.’ We can’t get agents because agents typically consider stuff that is very much like what is already selling. Without agents, we can’t even submit to most trad houses. We are self-published because the alternative is not being published at all.

          So it’s not like those houses are going ‘hey wait, give me that!’ They are still publishing quite a lot of stuff. But book publishing (like running a bookstore) has never been super profitable; that’s why those companies also do periodicals, which run on advertising. And why some are now owned by companies that do visual media, which also runs on advertising.

          That said, it’s highly likely that trad publishers look at the proliferation of self-published books that are selling (vs the much greater wodge of books that aren’t) and say, well if they’re not paying editors why should we. But that’s them being cheap bastards, because they actually have money. Self-published authors typically don’t. I sure don’t have money to pay an editor for everything. This is a hobby; it can’t cost more than hobby money.

          And *that* said, I try hard to write good book descriptions. I have a blog, with actual posts and not simply click-through images. There are free reads. There are ways for potential readers to judge my writing before they pay a cent for it. If I’m considering a new author, those are things I look at. 🙂

        3. “. . . which pervert programmed the spellcheck facility? It took my perfectly innocent English vocabulary and tried to substitute the most peculiar – not to mention obscene – words, and it definitely had an oral fixation. It did cross my mind to wonder what a novel would be like if I accepted all its suggestions. Maybe I’d try that sometime and see what happened?”

          Ashley, Trisha. WRITTEN FROM THE HEART

  20. I am seating in London St Pancras waiting to board the Eurostar for Paris. I am ridiculously early so I was able to finish the last Stariel which was fine.

    I have been busy moving house and now going to France for the first time in 18 months to see my family so I haven’t been reading as much as usual. I can’t wait to see all of them, especially my mum.

    My husband has very pale eyes which can be blue or green depending on what he wears. Unfortunately none of our children have inherited these despite my hopes. They all have brown eyes.

      1. Don’t tell a romance author — it will be years before we read about a hero with matching eyes again!

      2. My son has two different colored eyes. Waitresses used to swoon over them when we when out when he was very young.

  21. I hear that. Lately I’ve gone through short run of M/M and M/F romances, where there is no tension or conflict in the first 3/4 of the book, then a conflict or Danger! to the MCs in the last 1/4. Then the book abruptly ends. Meandering and ultimately, boring.

    Having said that, not a lot of great reads in July.

    Finished Lord Edgware Dies. Zippy and I liked it. On to Three Act Tragedy.

    Read Ann Rinaldi’s 9 Days A Queen about Lady Jane Grey. Yes, a YA, but I enjoyed the first person and her writing style. Palate Cleanser.

    Enjoyed Charles’ Subtle Blood and Lily Morton’s Beautifully Unexpected. Both stellar M/M romance, one a historical (as this group certainly knows) and one a contemporary with older MCs.

    And…throwback read… Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill’ ‘s The Shadow of Albion. High Adventure romance in the traditional sense, with some fantastic elements. In this one, the MCs spent virtually NO time together….yet they fell in love. But it didn’t matter to me as this was a great adventure tale and the writing was excellent.

    Anyone else in the summer reading blahs?

  22. Hey, some of us writers, even the retired ones, have green eyes in real life. Does that mean that we can’t be protagonists if we want to? (Actually the thing that I realized over the years was that I am rarely aware of people’s eyecolor, at least not till I have known them for a while.)

    1. Same here, I’m rather shortsighted, so maybe that’s the reason I hardly notice eye colour. Unless I come quite near to someone – which is mostly to family.

      But. The pale green eyes of some colleagues I noticed instantly. Combined with dark hair usually. Very intriguing. It may be a coincidence but all of those women had interesting personalities, too. I would transfer this positive approach onto any protagonist for sure.

      Complete opposite experience with pale blue eyes – those far too often feel starry eyed. I’m certainly biased against them as I always associate those poor people with the very unpleasant bossy personality of one girl I knew who had very pale blue eyes. A hero/heroine with such an eye colour never seemed sympathetic to me.

    2. Once I get to know a person, I usually forget what color eyes they have. An office mate once asked me to describe my friend Nick and I couldn’t remember his eye color. At that point I mainly watched the expression to see whether or not he was teasing me.

  23. I am also green-eyed. Although my mother told me they were hazel growing up. They are actually very olivey green and I didn’t know they were rare either. There isn’t anything particularly attractive about them. At least not mine. I’m sure some green eyes are quite beautiful.

    I just bought a bunch of books to read/listen to and I’m hoping some of them are good. I’d like to be bounced out of my current unproductive and very cranky mood. I’m Agnes on steroids.

  24. I have been DNFing a lot of books lately, in both romance and SFF, where the premise, whatever it is, is so Very Cute I just can’t stand it. Books where the opening seems as though I would like it, but the protagonist just goes on being So Cute that I give up quickly. Grumpiness ensues.

    In better news, I read The Angel of the Crows (not Cute!) for the third time this week, and also The King’s Corrodian, which led me to the happy discovery that the library has several more Gil Cunninghams than it did when I did my “read all the McIntosh” thing six years ago. Unfortunately none of them are in ebook, so I must wait for them to be shipped, and find time to get to the library to pick them up on my lunch hour.

  25. Spelling and grammar mistakes pull me out of a story.
    Recently I experienced a deal breaker in a read. The writer had snark; check. She wrote characters I liked; check. I love series and it was the first in a series; promising. Then at the end of the book she lost me.
    It was one of those ‘heroine goes back to her hometown’ stories. There was a guy she grew up crushing on but believing was a bad guy. Throughout the book her former crush did many things proving he was actually a good guy.
    The heroine had been abducted and raped before she left town. At the end of the book she found an insignificant piece of circumstantial evidence as to who abducted her. Based on that the reader was expected to believe that the heroine believed her former crush was her rapist.The same guy she just spent the whole book convincing us was a good guy.
    No. Just no.

    In better news I discovered Karen Hawkins Dove Pond series. Golden. Not quite SAA but close. Prequel novella; Love In the Afternoon. Book one; The Book Charmer. Book two; A Cup of Silver Linings. Book two just came out so it may be awhile for book three but it will be worth the wait, I’m sure.

    1. I just one clicked the Book charmer. It was only 99 pence on Amazon so definitely worth a try.

  26. I re-read several Nero Wolfe books and also “Young Adult Novel” by Daniel Pinkwater, which has the most sublime ending. Never fails to make me laugh out loud.

    1. Which Pinkwater book? One of my favorite books ever is his “Lizard Music.” The complexity of personality of the boy protagonist just sneaks up on you until he has a great psychological revelation about someone. You never read about things like that — a character realizing something deep and true about someone that has nothing to do with love or lust or criminality.

      1. My favorite is The Snarkout Boys and the Avocado of Death. A small theater company here in Chicago did an adaptation that featured a song that said, “Love is a potato, that only has eyes for you”. From this was born a lifelong love of his work.
        Unless my favorite is The Big Orange Splot.
        The theater also did a great version of Lizard Music.

  27. I’m finally reading an Elizabeth Hoyt Maiden Lane book. Wicked Intentions. Lived up to the hype so far.

    I totally DNF a book with racism and homophobia as a character trait. There was a contemporary romance novel where the MC told/ yelled at someone “Go back to where you come from” and I don’t care if it was supposed to show her character development as I think she was supposed to end up with a POC hero. I was done at that point. Nope, nopey, noper, noped.

    I guess I DNF betrayals between the MCs. I’m 82% through the Black Mage series by Rachel E Carter. If anyone can tell me if there’s a true HEA, I’ll consider finishing.

  28. Yeah, I really hate the green-eyed thing, too. As someone with emerald-green eyes (which is even rarer than the other hazel-y colors that are often called green), it’s annoying to me that so many of the protags have green eyes, when it’s so rare. It just reeks of ‘special snowflake, aren’t they magical kind of people,’ which is annoying. Because green eyes are just not that magical, I am here to tell you. 🙂

    1. Is that what you think or what your family tells you when they are mad at you?

      1. LOL, it’s what I think. (My family rarely gets mad at me.) But in reality, it’s just an annoyed response to reading no less than four books in a row where the hero or heroine were greeneyed and that green was lovingly described like it’s something so special/magical, that of course these people are going to be awesome.

        1. I must relate a “Tales from High School” story. When I sat down for Physics class as a junior at William T. Sampson High School, the girl on my left, Debby T., had the most gorgeous green eyes I had ever seen. Which puzzled me, since we’d been sophomores together, so I asked, “Were your eyes always that gorgeous shade of green?” She smiled, poked a finger in her eye, and showed me “Yellow contact lenses.” Her eyes were the same shade of blue as mine.

    2. You could say the same thing about dukes. There are so few of them in real life, but they’re all over the place in romance novels.

      1. I cannot read any regency books with dukes in them exactly for that reason. Apart from Heyer and Stella Riley.

      2. And ghey almost always are very handsome. When in reality all the inbreeding didn’t necessarily produce manly chinlines and Roman noses…

      3. They all retired from the real world to RegencyLand? The place where you never have problems with death duties and can afford to collect Great Masters on your Grand Tour . . . .

  29. My dad has amber-brown eyes; mom has blue-hazel; my sister and I have green-hazel. I’ve always liked my eye color, it’s dark enough to qualify as ‘dark’ but it’s complex. In other people, I’ve always been attracted to dark eyes.

    Reading this week … last night was a polyamorous romance from Holley Trent via Carina Press which really needs to pay some damn editors. So many errors. The book itself, ‘Writing Her In,’ was better than the other HT I’ve read because this one actually focused on the relationship from all three main characters’ perspectives. (The other one was really about a career crisis with ‘oh let’s add a person to make our affair work better’ tacked on at the end.)

    Before that I re-read a thing called ‘Welcome to Temptation’ which some of you may already know about. 😉 Not a fan of Amy, and Phin deserved to get punched, but I love the way all the threads are bound up.

    ‘The Remaking of Corbin Wale’ by Roan Parrish, a writer I like very much, but this one had some ‘eh?’ moments. One of the MCs is neuroatypical and the way he functions in the world was barely sketched in. It appears he doesn’t drive, doesn’t have a phone, can’t remember him ever reading anything, and yet somehow he has held onto the family house for more than ten years despite being orphaned at 15 and has a drawer full of sex toys of the type you do not find in the local drugstore. He believes in a family curse and tries to literally burn it out by some magical-realism in the bakery where he works, and nobody suspects what he’s doing? I’m sorry, if you burn something, EVERYBODY knows. The romance part of this worked because the other character is a highly perceptive, patient, accommodating cinnamon roll … but I just couldn’t tell if I was reading a Real World book or not.

    Read three more of my own things and did not hate them.

    Also, ‘The Fake Prince Jake’ by Geoffrey Knight, a farcical frolic of an M/M, high entertainment value. And finally, ‘Magician’ by K.L. Noone, a M/M fantasy which I loved.

  30. I had several re-reads and DNFs in the past week but only one new book I enjoyed: Everina Maxwell’s Winter’s Orbit. It was an outstanding sci-fi debut novel, an M/M love story set in the sci-fi background of planets, spaceships, etc. Even though I don’t usually like same-sex romances, after multiple mentioning on Arghink, I went ahead and ordered it from my library. I’m glad I did. It was delightful. Thanks for the recommendation, folks.
    Now on to my appearance. I’m a red head (graying already) and I too have green eyes, or rather gray-green-ish. No other color fits anyway. No blue or brown or hazel in my eyes. No ancestry from the British Isles either. I’m Jewish 100% with the roots in Eastern Europe.
    Maybe that statistics about 2% is not entirely correct? It seems there are more than 2% of green-eyed subscribers on this forum.

  31. I finally read A Presumption of Death, a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery written by Jill Paton Walsh. I’d been avoiding it, b/c nobody else can write like Dorothy Sayers, but I was surprised.
    Paton Walsh used some of Sayers wartime writing, The Wimsey Papers, which were more sketches/letters indicating what the main characters were doing during the war. I’m going to read the first Wimsey Paton Walsh wrote next. Book club assignment was to read something about WWII, and I couldn’t face nonfiction. So I’m glad I read it.

    I’m weary of characters who can’t think of anything to indicate anger except a**hole and the f word. I’m giving up on a couple of authors I’ve otherwise enjoyed. I don’t have friends who talk like that; why should I read it? I don’t mind the occasional bit of profanity, but some writers sprinkle every page with those two words. They lose their shock value with overuse.
    Also, I really am tired of men who wiggle eyebrows. I’ve never seen anyone except Groucho Marx do that. A raised eyebrow is perfectly acceptable, especially in Regency romance. Which brings up another point. I love the Regency era, but all modern authors have the couples “anticipating their vows,” so that there were no chaste upper class people left! I don’t believe that’s historically the case, though I’m not an expert and wasn’t there. Georgette Heyer wrote great stuff without four pages of detailed sexual escapades. Humph!

    1. Agreed on the anticipating their vows. I believe the historical data shows that babies born less than 8 months after marriage are rare among the wealthy and much more common among working folk.

      I also really hate the public marriage proposal as proof of love.

      1. The public marriage proposal is another literary piece that doesn’t ring true to my real life but works for me in fiction.

        Whether in Shakespeare or Crusie, the confirmation at the end that the heroine/hero are promising to be together from now on is an important closer. It’s the same for the villain needing to be acknowledged by all. I think these bits are important because they indicate the changes that have reordered the world of the story.

        If my now-husband had had the gall to formally propose to me, I would have stalked off in the opposite direction.

  32. Someone here on Argh recommended A Sharpened Axe by Jill M. Beene, a YA fantasy, which I greatly enjoyed.

    I read The Hollywood Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal, the latest Maggie Hope WWII spy novel. It was pretty good, though I think I enjoyed the exploration of wartime Los Angeles/Hollywood more than the actual plot.

  33. I reread the first two books in the Serpentwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist: “Shadow of a Dark Queen” and “Rise of a Merchant Prince”. Don’t exactly know what that series in particular has that makes me return, but I keep returning. Of all Feist’s books, the Serpentwar ones are the ones I’ve read the most.

    Found myself reading cookbooks again, which was nice and fun. First I (finally!) finished “Thee, De Nuchtere Neef van Wijn” (Tea, the sober cousin of wine) by Mariëlla Erkens, the same lady that gave the Tea & Food Pairing course I took a couple of years ago. Since I’d followed her course, there wasn’t really anything new for me to discover on the making, storing, brewing, tasting, pairing of tea, but she uses the language pleasantly and I enjoyed reading the recipes and the tea recommendations to serve with the different dishes.
    Went on to read “No-Bake Baking” by Sharon Hearne-Smith. Interesting recipes, but so much suuuugaaaaarrrrrr. Might try some of them though. Had to clean up my sugar-coated mind after that, so read the follow up to “Food Pharmacy: A Guide to Gut Bacteria, Anti-Inflammatory Foods, and Eating for Health” by Lina Nertby Aurell and Mia Clase. This was the cookbook, so more the recipe part than the lecturing part…but it seems to be titled wrong on Goodreads, so I am not sure about the English title of this one. (The original is Swedish.) Sorry. I liked the recipes though – a lot of interesting things to try that might be good for your body. I doubt my fastfood junkie of a fiancé would be very hyped though, so I might have to make things either when he’s not at home OR in small portions and batches for myself to try out alone.
    Aaand then I went on to read a cookbook by Tareq Taylor, my favourite Swedish chef. <3

    Also reading this book called "Bet Me". Not sure if you've heard about it, but it's really good and full of doughnuts. Probably my favourite fairytale.

  34. Ooh I am so tired that I forgot, but: What throws *me* off is bad translation. Smirking too, for sure, but a bad translation makes me mad. If the language is abused on top of that, parts are cut out that they had no business cutting out, the grammar is worse than a 3-year-old’s and wrong words are used for the wrong things… Sometimes a translation error is so obvious to me that I can’t believe how the translator could make it, and it annoys me to no end. I’m definitely not saying I could do their job better than they do, but sometimes I wonder how they can make certain errors and just not… see how wrong the text becomes.
    Oh and also detailed descriptions of male genitals. Shudder. And then I mean the really detailed ones, about veins and colours and…things… No. Nope nope nope. I’d never call myself a prude but *that* just does not work for me.

    1. If you’ve never read it, you should Google “On The Subject of Penises” by Sailor Jim Johnston. It’s a short essay. It might cheer you up.

      1. On the subject of penises …
        Jim Johnston
        Jan 16, 2001, 12:43:42 AM

        Sailor Jim pauses in his latest endeavor and frowns. After a moments
        contemplation, he saves his work and firmly closes his new fantasy G4
        titanium PowerBook. After a meditative sip of his drink, he addresses
        those around him.
        “There are some literary subjects that have become total clichés and
        attempting to describe an erect penis is one.

        “I am writing a sex scene and my hero is now crossing the room while
        fully erect. So, basically, his stiff dick is bobbing like a demented
        conductors baton as he crosses the room… however, one cannot simply
        write, ‘He crossed the room, his stiff dick bobbing like… ‘ and so
        forth. Well, one could if one was writing that sort of scene (and one
        was half plastered), but this one cannot.

        “To write anything referring to his ‘turgid manhood’ is also somewhat
        tacky. Hell, just the term ‘manhood’ to describe the penis strikes me
        as idiotic. A dick is no more one’s ‘manhood’ than a hymen is one’s
        ‘maidenhood.’ ‘He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood
        pointing the way’ sounds somewhat he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog.
        ‘Sit, Hard Manhood… good boy.’

        “Just describing the state of erection is tough. It is a simple matter
        of erectile flesh and hydraulics, but damnably difficult to put into
        terms romantic. ‘His penis, reacting to his viewing her naked flesh,
        achieved satisfactory erection, proving good vascular response and
        socio/psychological adjustment.” Oh, yeah… baby, baby.

        “Terms like ‘throbbing,’ ‘pulsing’ and all other variations of this
        nature make it sound as if the silly thing had a blood pressure cuff
        wrapped around it. ‘His fleshy organ quickly surged into full
        alertness, throbbing and pulsing and otherwise scaring the shit out of
        him.’ When I envision something throbbing, I imagine an action somewhat
        akin to a bullfrogs throat sack as it croaks. THROB! Frankly, with
        this in mind, if my dick ever took to throbbing, I’d call a doctor.
        Matter of fact, I would think that any woman, faced with an actively
        throbbing and pulsing penis, would be somewhat concerned as well. (I
        don’t know this for a fact, though… Dian says that in certain
        situations, the sight is somewhat excited, but the first time she
        experienced this situation, she looked for a stick to kill it with.)

        “And then there is the matter of size, shape, color and texture. Well,
        he’s the hero… I suppose it should be heroic, but somewhat shy of
        practical joke size. Shape, now, there’s another difficulty… as well
        as color and texture. Hell, let’s face it… a dick is a fairly funny
        looking, if not downright ugly, piece of equipment. Veins, bumps,
        ridges and all that; a color that never matches the sheets, much less
        the surrounding flesh (or any flesh, for that matter); an overall look
        of a plum precariously balanced on a badly whittled rod. Let’s not even
        mention it and simply stick to the concept of a literary description of
        my hero approaching the heroine.

        “Okay, he’s naked and fully aroused… does he stride? Stalk? Strut?
        Strikes me as a situation that calls for something more than ‘walk,’ but
        something less than ‘bound.’ I could have the silly sod moonwalk across
        the floor, but the resulting mental image… damn, too late! Oh, well
        .. another round of therapy. And what does the erect penis actually do
        while he crosses the floor? Does it bounce against his belly, producing
        it’s own applause? Does it wave about in some sort of vague response to
        his stride? Would it be feasible if I simply had him hang a towel from
        the damn thing and skip the entire description?

        “And what about the heroine? She is languidly reclining on the bed…
        and doing her level best to not bust a gut laughing, I suspect. Should
        she stare? Gasp? Giggle? Ogle? Chant ‘boingy, boingy, boingy’ as he
        approaches or whistle the ‘Elephant Walk’ in time to the swaying? This
        is suppose to be a moment of strong passion and deep emotions… but a
        bouncing, throbbing, column of manhood slowly moonwalking forward…
        damn, gotta stop that image… strutting towards her cannot be what
        every woman dreams of in her fevered imagination. I want this scene to
        be equally stirring to both men and women, but fear that this is

        Sailor Jim stares into the fire for a moment, then opens his PowerBook
        once more. “Screw it… or, rather, let’s not. I’ll simply segue from
        her starting to slip out of her clothes to the morning after. Y’know,
        the standard story cop-out. Thanks for letting me talk this one


    2. Ideally, your source is in your SECOND language and your target is in your FIRST language; that’s supposed to make it slightly tougher to make this kind of error. Otherwise you have fans writing you (and, of course, the publisher chose the translator) to say, “what the heck were you thinking?”

    3. There’s a list called ,Manroot Envy? Spy’s Guide to Phallo-euphemisms , that you can also google.

  35. I also read The Book of Firsts, based on multiple recommendations from this site. It was fascinating. I’ve never read such matter of fact accounts of sex. No chewing of the scenery – and yet high interest level in everything being…accounted. The light sci fi context added to the story, and obviously all the characters and the conclusion (which surprised me – no spoilers here). I can’t wait for the sequel.

    Separately – I’ve grown to dislike smirking because of this blog – and CANNOT believe how much of it there is out there. Other stylistic pet peeves – gender specific verbs and adverbs – women giggle and pout; men laugh heartily and purse their lips. Yes, I’ve noticed a lot of green eyes – and a lot of red hair also, often paired together. And many slim women with curvy breasts – really?? I could go on. Probably why I prefer M/M romance these days.

  36. Green eyes don’t bug me, but I get annoyed by all the characters who have gray eyes. I don’t know how common it is, but I have literally NEVER met anyone IRL who had gray eyes.

    I finished the book I was reading and started the newest Devon Monk, Nobody’s Ghoul, in a series I really like. I actually took a book by one of my favorite authors back to the library unread because it was just too serious and grim for me right now. (She does both contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and I can’t handle the angst of the WF at this moment.) Nothing wrong with her writing–I just need relatively light and humorous, even when it is serious.

    1. My grandmother had grey eyes, and when she had a picture of her at eighteen enlarged from the family group and tinted as a gift for me, I didn’t recognize her because the studio had made her eyes blue. I couldn’t actually identify what was puzzling me, and I couldn’t figure out why she would give me a picture of someone else, and I asked “Is that…you?” and she laughed and pointed out that they’d done the eyes wrong. (Now, fifty years later, the blue has faded to grey.)

      1. My youngest son has green eyes, his wife has green eyes, both really dark hair. Both granddaughters have green eyes. They both have a grey ring around the green. Girls will probably have darker hair when they grow up.

    2. My dad had gray eyes. Mother’s were brown, my brother’s are grey, and mine are a very light brown.

  37. Last night via Zoom & the Free Library of Philadelphia was Carol Leonnig & Phillip Rucker being interviewed by Andrea Mitchell – and it was great.

  38. I’m almost finished with Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Full of science and very likable main character.

    Reading The King of Attolia out loud. Soooo good.

    Listening to The Goblin Emperor after all the recommendations here.

      1. The King of Attolia is the third in a series by Megan Whalen Turner. Start with The Thief

        1. The Thief of Attolia series has to be one of the top three fantasy series ever. Brilliantly dialogue and brilliant everything.

          1. While I certainly agree with the brilliant everything comment, my first reaction was that top three was way too high. But then I started trying to think of what fantasy series were better. Off the top of my head I could only think of two, Discworld and the Chronicles of Amber.

            So I skimmed a list of the Top 100 fantasy series ( and manage to come up with four more. The Black Company, A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones), Narnia and The Rivers of London.

            So I ended up placing it 7th, narrowly beating out The Riddle-Master of Hed, and The Dresden Files and Penric & Desdemona

            A skim of my electronic library for series that weren’t included on that particular list and I come up with Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series.

            So I would end up placing The Thief of Attolia series 8th in my top fantasy series ever.

  39. Of five books from the library, the only one I liked and finished was one I had reservations about — Someone to Love by Mary Balogh. The premise was fun, the main characters likeable, and the Regency details mostly didn’t make me run screaming, but there was just too much explicit sex in it for the overall feel of the book. And the main characters didn’t really make a whole lot of sense for their time period. I’m not sure I want to read any more of this series, despite the 75% satisfaction I got from the first one.

    The DNFs aren’t even worth complaining about. A blah kind of week in books for me.

    1. I think Mary Balogh was best in her middle period. The Simply series or the Bedwyns or First Comes Love, etc. I can’t read some of her early ones, and the recent stuff has been weak, I think. But her good ones are still favourites.

  40. I managed to finish off my Wrede reread, and ended up with Huston’s Up-time Pride and Down-time Prejudice, for maybe the eighth time since it came out in August ’19.

    I watched Mulan twice this past week. I’m planning another rewatch. I don’t care at all that it “isn’t true to the animated movie.” I didn’t miss the dragon or cricket at all.

    1. Gary, you might like The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas. It’s a very well done Mulan retelling with nary a dragon in sight.

  41. I blame the cold. My nose is described in a book by Nostrildamless. I mean, it blows!

    Anyway, it is Official Weigh In Day (OWID), and the number is 120,656 grams or 0.11875 Imperial Tons. That’s about 19 stone. It’s up from last week, nag dabbit!

  42. I’m constantly reading newspaper articles with misspelled/wrongly used words. CNN and ESPN had several this morning.

    But while I don’t like it, I can overlook it.

    It’s the more substantive stuff for which I have increasingly little tolerance. The more dire the news gets, the less dire I want my recreational reading.

  43. Honestly, if the protagonist is someone in a bad relationship with a jerk and keeps trying to make it work, I quit.

    I’m okay with a character who is leaving or has left a bad relationship and now realizes she put up with too much crap or invested too much in the wrong person, etc. These characters can work for me. I, too, can look back at relationships I should have left sooner.

    But when a character is IN a patently bad relationship with a patently not-worth-it person, I never hang in there with the story. I find it exasperating and always give up.

  44. I agree about the smirk…and can we talk about The Winking? I have noticed this in the last few years, especially in new adult and first person romances. Some MC winks to indicate interest or attraction. Continually.

    Now I am far from new adult or witnessing new adult or thirty something adult courtship rituals, but what is with all this winking? I am, however, a reasonably observant person and a bit of a neb…never seen that much winking in real life and certainly not in pre-2010 romances. Anyone else notice this trend?

    1. I find winking slightly creepy. Maybe because it denotes secrecy and complicity, and if done between people that don’t know each other very well, an overfamiliarity.

    2. Only yesterday I started reading a nice little story (the newest by Eli Easton) bit was thrown out of the story for a moment:
      – one protag is described as having green eyes (I wouldn’t have noticed the trend without Jenny’s mentioning it)
      – the other protag has light blue eyes (I got to like him befire this, so it’s not too bad(
      – the first winked at the second in one scene BUT it was clearly stated that this signaled his attempt at flirting and was received as such, so it had a purpose. I didn’t find it creepy at all but charming.
      I might like to wink myself…
      when the one protagonist was

      1. Freddie in Cotillion is withdraws by flicking an imperceptible mote of dust from his sleeve. That’s a terrific retreating reaction. I wonder if he developed his dandyism from that avoidance strategy?

        I can’t wink, raise one eyebrow, or whistle. Usually when I try a specific facial reaction, I’m asked if I’m all right.

        1. I like subtle signs – at least in my favourite books. I myself am never subtle in my facial movements – I can wink with my left eye only and when I try to raise an eyebrow, I wiggle them like crazy.
          My husband can raise his left eyebrow – and when he was younger, he had a stunning resemblance with both Clint Eastwood and Hugh Jackman. Needless to say I still swoon over it.

  45. I’ve learned to seriously dislike “to the manor born.” It’s properly, “to the manner born,” (Hamlet) and while a single use of “manor” may be clever, repeated use is just wrong.

    Also excessive use of “breasts.” I can remember Barbara Cartland being so relentless that she must have had global search and replace go through and replace the singular AND any mention of “chest.” I don’t say that her doctors applied stethoscopes to her heroines’ breasts, but it was almost that bad. And neither sexy nor romantic, just off-color.

    After last week, I temporarily put down THE GARDEN CLUB MYSTERY and went back to the first book in the series, THE FAMOUS DAR MURDER MYSTERY. It had been so long since I last read it that I just went through it from start to finish again. I said that this series has the Community as a character, which is true, but I think the individual books have the organization as a character, too. In any case, these are definitely cozies — nothing too shocking for your cat — and THE FAMOUS DAR MURDER MYSTERY has my two favorite chapters, “The June Meeting,” which is written from the POV of the chapter’s recording secretary and compares the very prim minutes with what Really went on, especially the National Defense report [Obligatory confession: I’m a National Defense Chairman and none of my reports were ever this lively!], and “Our Visit to the Strip Show.” [The mere presence of strippers would have been enough to fire Mrs. Ledbetter’s burners, but it seems that this joint had a “ladies only” night. “Actually,” Mrs. Ledbetter said in a hushed voice, “our young women go into that vile place to ogle the bodies of unclothed men.”] I’ve gone on to reread the rest of the series.

    For some reason, only books one, two, and five are available in Kindle editions, but possibly your local library might have the others. They’re all fun reads.


    1. The mistake ‘to the manor born’ may have been encouraged by it being the punning title of a popular British sitcom in the 1970s or 80s.

  46. I love how Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin are both a team & yet also seem like antagonists much of the time.

  47. I discovered Ben Aaronovich this week. I picked up ‘False Values’ without realizing it’s halfway through his Rivers of London series. What a wonderful thing it is to find an author I like and realize he’s written loads of other things I can read! Now starting the series from the beginning. One blurb describes it as Harry Potter grows up and joins the fuzz, but that does not do it justice.

    1. The Aaronovitch books are fantastic in audio. Kobna Holbrook-Smith is something special as a reader. You have a treat ahead-wish I could experience them again for the first time.

  48. I finished ‘The Rose Code’ today & returned it to the library.

    And while there I looked at the new book shelf and got the new Mhairi McFarland new book ‘ Just Last Night’.

Comments are closed.