This is a Good Book Thursday, Oct. 21. 2021

This week I reread First and Then by Emma Mills, and it was just as good the second time, a YA with depth but no histrionics and a protagonist I really liked spending time with, plus a great cast of supporting characters.

What did you read (or reread) this week?

102 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, Oct. 21. 2021

  1. Thanks to being alerted here last week about its publication, I read AJ Demas’ Strong Wine, the third in the Sword Dance trilogy. A lovely gentle read.

    It has made want to reread « One night in Boukos » which is probably my favourite Demas book, so that’s what I doing right now.

  2. Thanks to the heads up from people here, I got my hands on T. Kingfisher’s Paladin’s Hope, and greatly enjoyed it. Also thanks to the mention (from Leaflemming?) I read Bechdel’s The Secret of Superhuman Strength. I liked it a lot. I thought it was better than Are You My Mother? but not as good as Fun Home–that would be difficult–despite the annoying excursions into inadequate literary criticism (I know a LOT about the Wordsworths and Coleridge, and rather less about Margaret Fuller) it made me smile a lot.

  3. I also read AJ Demias’ Strong Wine and thought it was a strong end to a strong series. I love her characters and her style. She’s a fellow Ontarian – not saying that’s why she’s great, just sayin’.

    I read Cat Sebastian’s Peter Cabot Gets Lost – and then reread it right away. She is one of my fave authors and this was her at her best. That book was LOVELY. I’m a sucker for a road trip book, and that trope being the basis for two men in the ’60’s to fall in love was perfect.

    I tried to read Wow No Thank You, by Samantha Irby, which is supposed to be a series of essays about modern life…but more like a series of millennial rants. Joan Didion she is not. DNF’d it.

    Finally, I read Proofed by Argher Alexandra Caluen – a sweet book in every way.

  4. I don’t have much time to read right now so I’m working my way through books pretty slowly. Just started our Gin Jones’ 3rd garlic farm mystery and loving it.

    About halfway through Just Fine with Caroline by Annie England Noblin, still not as good as the first one of hers that I read, but better than the one I just finished, so that’s something.

    1. Thank you!

      And, hey, I just noticed that we share a narrator — Callie Beaulieu does the audio version of my garlic farm series.

  5. I read Girls’ Weekend by C.M. Nacosta and really enjoyed it. It’s not as polished as her other book, and follows three elf ladies who are unhappy with their lives for various reasons as they go away and try to have fun/adventure. It’s a sexy book, but there is depth to it, with likable, reasonable characters, a lack of drama for drama’s sake and a setting where I just want to stay. She does that well.

    And then I started my annual reread of Maybe This Time. I should have it done before Halloween and am enjoying the spooky atmosphere as always 🙂

  6. I reread The Awakening by Nora Roberts. The second book in the series is coming out in November and I wanted to have the book clear in my mind.

    1. I interpret you rereading it as it being a good book. I’ve been thinking of reading it since I stumbled over it on Goodreads…maybe I should take the leap. Hmm.

      1. I usually like her magical trilogy books but for some reason I wasn’t as plugged in to The Awakening. Doesn’t mean I don’t already have the next book on order.

  7. I finished “Finding Camlann” by Sean Pidgeon. It has some beautiful writing, so much so that you want to slow down and make it last (which is good, since my reading has slowed down a bunch). Lots of references to Wales and the Welsh landscape, culture and history. I love my paper books because I was constantly flipping to the front of the book to look at the map and get a sense of place. I also have to keep in mind that the driving distances are not what I’m accustomed to here in the states. It’s more an exploration than an arc-driven story, trying to get to an end, although there is an end, and a change for the two main characters that you hope is a new normal for them.

  8. I finally read Hench. The writing was strong, the plot interesting. I sort of wanted to like the main character because I understood some of the things she did. [Spoiler Alert on the remainder of this post!!!] But it was difficult to watch her rationalize her decision to get angry at the superheroes for her injury, while waving away any idea that she herself had any complicity in the injury. She did because she decided to become a hench in the first place, and to join in committing the crime. And she didn’t go after her original villian boss like she did the superheroes even though he 86-ed her after the injury for which he was also partially responsible. And she thought that the superheroes (and society in general) should roll over and let the villians do what they do so as to avoid the villians getting hurt? No. The whole story was full of twisted concepts like that. And she never really got better, just worse. So, while it was an interesting read, it was also a frustrating read, especially in today’s political climate. I prefer comfort reads so I won’t be reading it again. But people who like reading books or scenes from the villian’s point of view will probably like this book.

    1. I think villains here are acting as a stand in for corporations. We all know corporations do some absolutely terrible things and kill a lot of people in aggregate but that doesn’t mean that people avoid those jobs if they come up.

      Do we blame coal miners for getting injured in a horrifically dangerous profession that is indisputably killing a lot of people through global warming and pollution?

      1. No, we don’t blame coal miners if they have no good alternatives for making a living. But coal miners aren’t breaking the law and trying to steal other people’s hard earned money and they’re not trying to cut off victims’ body parts to get the money like the villians were doing in this book. Also, the main character complained about being an injured bystander but then left a string of injured bystanders behind her. She also admitted she enjoyed being a hench and being evil; she wasn’t doing it because she had no other/legitimate way of making money to survive. However, your corporation analogy is interesting. I’ll have to think about it!

        1. Coal Miners are faciliatating making portions of the planet completely uninhabitable and there’s a decent number of mines that contravene safety standards which requires the compliance of miners and does break the law and also results in horrific injuries and lives being lost.

          Personally I’d argue that both miners and the protagonist of Hench are stuck in a system that makes them believe that they have to harm others in order to make any kind of life for themselves.

          Remember she also calculated the kind of damage that the villains themselves were doing and it paled in comparison to the heroes (who worked out as a minor disaster).

      2. I don’t think I’d go with coal miners as the analogy to a hench–though maybe for the Meat. This protagonist is an active and eager participant in achieving and advancing the goals of the villains. In her initial work as a hench she’s a tech worker with no benefits to speak of, so without too many choices, but by the time she comes into her own, she’s full-on upper management. So coal miner k

        I wanted her to find a third path–fighting the villains AND the heroes so ordinary people didn’t have to worry.

  9. I have been reading the Martha Vineyard mysteries by Philip Craig. Holding the new paladin book for when I can focus better .

  10. I reread Tom Wolfe’s From Bauhaus to Our House. Made me laugh and laugh again. (I vastly prefer his fiction to his nonfiction.) This one illustrates the change from beautiful architecture in America to sterile, human-hostile, ugly architecture. Ever wonder how that happened? It really makes not the slightest sense, but Tom lays it bare with photos to prove his points. He skewers styles and people he scorns and if you happen to feel the same way, it is very good fun. See also The Painted Word.

  11. I read Andy Weir’s ‘The Hail Mary Project.” Loved the ending so much I had to go back and re-read the last couple of chapters.

    1. It didn’t end up where I thought it would at the beginning of the book, but in retrospect, it was a fitting ending for the charater.

    1. Sounds cool! If only I could get a copy of this book, I would read it. But I’ve been looking for a while and the prices are insane, if it’s even available. Sigh.

  12. Sounds cool! If only I could get a copy of this book, I would read it. But I’ve been looking for a while and the prices are insane, if it’s even available. Sigh.

  13. I reread Jenny’s Strange Bedpersons, second read after many years.

    So for Elizabeth (last week comments):

    Thought I had forgotten the plot, but, thankfully my brain remembered many things. The piano, the black and white decor, the search for Lanny, class snobbery, the colours or lack of colour, dialogue, etc. I remembered images of the story as I read. The novel echoes The Cinderella Deal. Definitely two separate stories.

    Having read almost all of JC’s works, there were a few similarities, which pop up in her books. Does it take away from the story – no, just another layer she weaves into the plot. The characters are not the same. I found some favoured writers are writing the same book over and over now. This is not so with Strange Bedpersons and The Cinderella Deal. These two novels are early stories. Still hold up after rereads. I believe Jenny was asked to rewrite The Bet or was it Cinderella Deal and Strange Bedpersons was the result?

    There are some lines that echo The Bet, The Cinderella Deal, and even Agnes and the Hitman; pancakes with pecans, thrift shop finds, hero kisses like a god, etc. Heroine has strong sense of community, friendships, moral standards, and the inner struggle against being “untrue” to self when she falls in love. Both Linc and Nick are trying to fix or mold Daisy and Tess. They see the light in the end.

    I think if one reads a favoured author, one will see echoes.

    1. Carol Mc, Yes, I hadn’t thought about both Linc and Nick being controlling. That’s cool because usually I think of “controlling” being a good reason for dumping a guy (like Bill in Crazy for You) and that that sort of guy can’t change. Yet Linc and Nick learn to give Daisy and Tess their space and to love them for their independence.

  14. In the reread category, I have The Book of Firsts. Also, Arachne’s Web, from the Starwings series (Goodlett and Huff). There were bits and pieces of others.

    In the new to me category, Fool Me Once (loved it!), One Cat for the Road, and Two Cats are Better than One (I’m at chapter 8. It counts.)

    Queued up is The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer.

    Also, it is Official Weigh-In Day #27 and I have reached 253.4 pounds, an average of 1.5 pounds per week since last April. If I can keep this up, I’ll completely disappear in a couple or four years.

        1. Fun facts: It is possible to set up equations using calculus to solve for weight loss versus calories versus age. I’m not going to, because to brain is hard. But I will say that visiting the calorie calculator website and plugging in for two years older and a hundred pounds lighter tells me that the number of calories that currently mean a pound per week loss will then result in a weight gain. I’m 27 weeks in – I hope to make it a full year and then maintain wherever I am after 52 weeks

          I’d love to get close to my “ideal” weight, but I don’t expect that in this lifetime. I am not dismayed. A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or how else can you get that milkshake?

    1. I did not enjoy the Glass Magician nearly as much as most of her work. If it had been by someone else I would not have felt disappointment. Usually when I first read one of her books I turn from the last page straight back to the first and start over.

      1. There’s more Stevermer in my Kindle Library, which I read because of her collaboration with Patricia C. Wrede (I forgot to list A Matter of Magic with the other rereads above) and I remember enjoying them. Vaguely. I routinely reread Wrede (say that 10 times fast) but haven’t reread Stevermer. So I will see.

  15. I read the second of Sherwood Smith’s YA Martial Arts Fantasy – Phoenix Feather: Redbark. Mouse’s legend grows, some secrets are revealed. All in all a satisfying middle book of a trilogy. The third book is due in January.

    I also read God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen by Rhys Bowen, her latest Her Royal Spyness mystery. The O’Mara’s plans for a family Christmas are ruined when Darcy’s batty aunt, who now lives on the Royal Family’s Sandringham Estate invites them there for Christmas instead, which is a second hand invitation, i.e. Royal Command, for their presence. The Prince of Wales and That Woman are also in attendance, and then there are several mysterious accidents. Or are they accidents, or secret attempts to assassinate the Prince of Wales? Pretty Good.

  16. Having been on a Charlotte MacLeod kick, I tried something new, and read three of the Madoc and Janet Rhys series she wrote as Alisa Craig. Madoc is a Mountie. Fun, and very Canadian!

    1. That sounds good and it’s on KU so that’ll be a good series to read before my subscription runs out!

  17. As per usual with library holds, I’m late to the discussion, but I finally qualified to borrow Battle Royal by Lucy Parker. The cover made me really dubious — it feels like cartoon covers can make the characters look uncharacteristically goofy or wooden — but I ended up quite liking it. Each main character revealed believable sources of vulnerability, and the resolution to each person’s major challenge/s was satisfying and kind of valiant.

    Now I’m reading Chaos on Catnet and the level of suspense and danger is driving me a little crazy, but not nearly enough to stop reading. Love the characters and the author’s overall approach to sketching out the generational & other boundaries between the self-aware/online and plebeian/physical worlds.

  18. I reread Paladin’s Grace and Paladin’s Strength, which are both gorgeous. I know some people don’t like the second book quite as much as the first, but I reckon it’s equally as good if not better. Now getting into Paladin’s Hope.

      1. I’m betting that if there’s another one, it will be about Marcus and his wife. That’s the hint of a story that has cropped in each book so far, with no resolution.

    1. I spent the weekend reading all 3 paladin books. Thank you for whoever first recommended T Kingfisher! I so appreciate all the recommendations on here.

    2. Saying we don’t like the second book quite as much as the first is like saying we don’t like ice cream quite as much as we like pizza.

    3. I’ve like most of what she’s written as T. Kingfisher and Ursula Vernon. Really enjoyed A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking and Sword Heart and Nine Goblins (and yes, I do like “children’s” books too).

        1. Lian, my first one was The Seventh Bride. I think there was a companion stoat who should have had his own book.

  19. I listened to the audiobook of The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (thanks arghers for the rec!) and really enjoyed it. I thought the narrator Leslie Manville was excellent and I also really enjoyed the chat between Osman and Marian Keyes at the end. Tapping my fingers waiting for the second book to be available at my library!

  20. Nicole Kimberling’s Happy Snak was a 2010 science fiction novel. Sort-of science fiction. It was rather weird, almost surreal, but at the same time charming and funny. The protagonist is quirky, no heroic qualities at all. The aliens are incomprehensible, and the world bizarre. But all together, they worked.
    A re-read of Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax was a delicious treat, the dialogs between the two protagonists priceless. Nobody writes like that anymore. I started reading another regency on Kindle right after this one, and I couldn’t go on. My advice: never try to read any other regency romance as soon as you finish one of Heyer’s. Nothing compares. You need at least a couple other books in different genres in between.
    Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road was a book set in the same world as her first novel, Seraphina. I didn’t like the protagonist, Tess – she was a real brat, especially in the first 100 pages of the book – and my dislike of her colored the entire novel. Besides, about half of the book was dedicated to flashbacks. I don’t like that approach much – I prefer a linear temporal structure in fiction – but the writing was beautiful.

    1. I just reread Regency Buck by Heyer and discovered that I really disliked her hero, Lord Worth. So much so that I DNF’d it.

      1. REGENCY BUCK was written right after she’d submerged herself in Jane Austen, and it shows. Worth makes a cameo appearance in AN INFAMOUS ARMY. Somehow marriage and family life has improved him immensely.

    1. Oh yes! Best locked room mystery I’ve ever encountered, and the full range of contemporary characters is pretty fascinating. It’s not as laced with light humor as my favorite of her mysteries (No Wind of Blame) but it has that holiday flavor which is always interesting — many people coming together for a short time together, thrown for a loop by an unexpected and perplexing murder.

    2. My favorite is Death in the Stocks – I think it’s funnier than her other mysteries. But I don’t think the audiobook narrator captures the tone so I prefer it in the written word.

  21. I’ve been rereading The Kane Chronicles by Rick riordan, all three books. Love all Riordan’s worlds so far. He has a way of putting in humour on exactly the right places, where not just kids but also 32-year-olds can enjoy it. Excellent writing and lovable characters.

    Inbetween Riordan-reads, I’ve read some books on knotting and braiding and weaving. I feel I need to do something new, so I’ve been trying to figure out how to braid or knot rugs, and how to make kumihimo braids, and how to knot rya rugs. For some reason I really want to make a rag rug…but I think you need a weaving loom for that? I made a rag runner once at school and I remember how fun it was, and I always thought the ragrug runner we had in the kitchen when I was little felt homey.
    Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to figure out how to make the kumihimo braids, despite much reading and youtube-video-listening and googling on “braiding kumihimo blind”. I bought the materials for kumihimo braiding last week, but haven’t dared to start yet. I’d ask for help, only I don’t know anybody that knows how to do this. Is…there anybody here who knows how to get started with this?

    1. We used to make braided rugs by cutting rags or fabric remnants into long strips, sewing the ends together, and braiding the strips together and then spiraling the braid and sewing the spiral together. I still have several braided rugs in my house. So there is probably more than one kind of “rag rug.” Wish I had an answer to your questions. Good luck, and keep us posted on how it all turns out!

      1. Yes! My Mom made a huge rug for the living room that was a braided rag rug. The spiral was sewn together by hand and it was a pain to do originally but easy to repair if the stitches started fraying and the rug pulled apart. The fabric was indestructible. It might have been a little more aesthetic if she had a color scheme instead of using clothes that were so warn out they had little color left. Oh, maybe not. Some of those rags would have really clashed it they were the original color. The finished rug ended up being a sort of tweedy gray-brown.

        1. What Jessie said. My grandmother hooked rugs, but that requires a loom (or, if it isn’t called a loom, something that looks like one and lets you work on the piece without having to haul the whole weight of it around by hand — perhaps it’s a frame?). The family used to joke that whenever anyone had a suitable garment, she’d by eyeing it and encouraging the owner to replace it and let her have that one for her rug piecing. She gave me her grandmother’s rug-hooking tools, made by her grandfather — my great-great-grandparents.

      2. Yes, I have read a looot about those kinds of ragrugs. Usually they’re round, but I saw a note of it being possible to make them rectangular/into a runner too. Since I can’t see the pictures, I wonder: When you sew the braids together, do you roll them up with the braids flat against the floor/table/surface, or do you roll them so the edge/sides of the braid is what touches the floor rather than the flat side? In my head the latter sounds logical because it’s easier to roll that way, and probably also easier to stitch together, but since the books and articles online assume you can see the pictures, it’s not specified anywhere. Very grateful for answer on this one!
        I also keep reading that wool is the best material to use for this, but I don’t think we have any woollen clothes at all here, so if I have to use that, I’ll have to go thriftstore hunting…

        P.s. Thanks for the replies, everyone!

        1. If I’m reading your description right, the rectangular rugs have the FLAT side of the braid touching the floor, not the narrower side of the braid. Same as for the round ones. I never made any rectangular ones, but made a couple round/oval ones. I was great at the braiding, terrible at the sewing them together — they tended to end up bowl-shaped.

        2. All the braided rag rugs that I’ve ever seen appear with the flat side of the braid up, but that may simply be that walking on the rug flattens it out. If you go to the Pinterest website doing a search for braided rag rug, you’ll see a lot of different pictures that may give you an idea of a method that would work for you.

        3. I think you can do it from cotton. It takes a LOT of fabric so wool would get expensive.

          Looking at the pictures I think you sew it with the flat side on the floor.

          For a runner, I think you would start with a really long strip . I’m not sure about this but I think you would decide how wide you want the rug, how long you want it, and subtract the width from the length to get the size of the starter strip. That would give you an oval runner.

        4. We used to be able to get wool remnants from a garment factory so I have several wool rugs. They are extremely durable but you need a heavy duty sewing machine. Also, it is the flat part of the braid that goes flat against the floor. I’ve only had round and oval braided rugs, never tried rectangular. Not sure how you would do rectangular but it’s an interesting idea. You don’t necessarily need to have a size or amount of material in mind when you’re starting out. You can just sew more strips onto your braid and keep going and spiraling outward until you think it’s a good size or you get bored! Just pick materials and colors that are complementary to what went before. These rugs are often very colorful, sort of like a crazy quilt is colorful.

          1. Guessing here (never made a rag rug), but would it be possible to make a rectangular runner by snaking the braid to and fro across the width you want it to be?

          2. JaneB, the problem is the braids are really thick so getting them to u-turn around at the end of the row like that is pretty difficult. I don’t think it would lie flat; even the center of the oval rugs don’t immediately lie flat sometimes; although they flatten out over time. However, I was wondering if it would be possible to simply end each braid at the end of the row by cutting the braid and then sewing the ends together across the ends. It wouldn’t be one continuous braid anymore, but maybe it could be interesting. And you could attach a fringe at the end if desired. I don’t know. Something to consider if one is really dying for a rectangular braided rug.

        5. You can make a simple loom out of a long piece of cardboard cut the length of your finished rug. Notch the short ends of the big piece of cardboard. Glue a thick strip of cardboard crossways about an inch or so from each short side (to lift your warp up a bit from the flat surface so you can weave more easily). Thread the notches with a warp of rag ‘yarn’ from end to end. Then you can weave in a weft of rag ‘yarn’ either as a continuous strip for a smooth edge, or as short pieces that will make a fringe.

          Alternatively, you don’t need a loom to do an Amish knot rug or you can crochet one.

        6. There is a video on Youtube showing how to make a rectangle Amish knot rug. Is there someone who can explain what she’s doing to you, Shass? It’s not braided per see, but it makes a nice rectangle.

  22. I read the Jonathon Stroud’s new YA novel, “The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne” which is the start of a new series. His last series was “Lockwood & Co” which were about the trials and tribulations of a group of teenage ghost hunters. This new series is set on a future England which had undergone a strange and terrible event which seem to have resulted in a lot of human and animal mutations. The heroine of the tale – Scarlett – is an outlaw because she was declared an outcast for some unknown reason which probably had to do with the Purity Laws. She finds Browne in her travels and they team up. I really like Stroud’s writing so I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to the next one.

    I also read “The Black Veins” by Ashia Monet which is the start of a series where there are 2 magical kingdoms which are close to going to war. The heroine of the book – Blythe – is a Guardian of one of the magical kingdoms. When the other magical kingdom makes a move against her family, she is forced to go on a road trip where she meets the other Guardians and they bond while fighting against people of both magical kingdoms. I also liked this a lot, so much I joined her Patreon to hopefully speed up her next book in the series. This story was so heart-worming, I really liked the interactions between all of the Guardians. There are also hints that Blythe’s kingdom may not be as pure and good as she thinks it is, and that the other kingdom may not be as evil.

    I’m also re-reading Michelle West’s “The Essalieyan Saga” – which is at 17 books and counting. I recently also joined her Patreon after she set it up when her publisher told her that they were going to stop publishing any more books in this Saga.

    You know, Ms. Crusie, have you thought about also setting up a Patreon? I would join it in heartbeat, if you did. Ms. West has written posts about feeling such RELIEF when she got a lot of responses to her Patreon, that she no longer feels cramped and pressured to change her books to match the market. She says that the Patreon money will only be used to let her finish the Essalieyan Saga, so if you can discontinue it at any time.

    1. I adore Lockwood and Co with a passion. I’m currently (re-)reading the second one with my youngest son at bedtime. Netflix have apparently started filming on the tv series, and I’m really hoping they do it justice.

  23. I will recommend Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center, about a female firefighter who moves and falls in love at first sight with the house rookie–at a station that hates women and she can’t possibly show any sign of weakness. VERY good stuff.

    I also read Written In The Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, which was sweet but could have used more plot drama for my tastes.

  24. DEAD FAMOUS, by Greg Jenner:

    CELEBRITY (noun): A unique persona made widely known to the public via media coverage, and whose life is publicly consumed as dramatic entertainment, and whose commercial brand is profitable for those who exploit their popularity, and perhaps also for themselves. Achilles, for instance, as a celebrity. It’s an interesting analysis and there are megastars I didn’t even know existed.

    THREADS OF LIFE, A History of the World Through the Eye of a Needle, by Clare Hunter. Absolutely fascinating look at various ways sewing, especially hand sewing, have been used through history, from prehistoric cord skirts to patchwork quilts which help to ground Alzheimer’s patients. Her account of girls and women in prison camps during WWII is especially touching. I will be rereading this.

    THOUGHTS FOR BUFFETS and MORE THOUGHTS FOR BUFFETS, which have some interesting seasonal recipes. I am thinking about Marbled Mashed Potatoes (cook some white potatoes and some sweet potatoes separately, mash and season, then put them in their serving dish and run a scraper or spoon through to marble them). This series, THOUGHTS FOR FOOD and THOUGHTS FOR FESTIVE FOOD and THOUGHTS FOR GOOD EATING, were published from the 1950’s through the 1980’s, but the recipes look edible. Some rely heavily on canned food and sometimes the canned food called for doesn’t seem to be currently available, having gone out of fashion, but there are many suggestions that look promising for holiday meals, especially if you want to channel Grandma.

    Light read (well, the cookbooks are a pretty light read, actually), THE TWELVE JAYS OF CHRISTMAS, by Donna Andrews: “Look out! The wombats are loose again!” Meg is dealing with the usual mix of family, friends, neighbors, visitors, critters, and nuisances . . . A fun read, though I was feeling a little guilty about starting it before Halloween.

      1. …and I just bought it on Amazon. Normally, I’d kick anything else to the curb and devour Bujold, but I’m reading a cat book just now. Yours. 🙂

      1. You’re welcome! And it’s 4:30 Sunday morning. I just finished the book. It was mah-velous. I might have gotten a bit misty-eyed at one point. It had to wait while I finished Gin’s “Two Cats,” and I didn’t have a copy at work (improper prior planning produced pish-poor performance) so I read Arachne’s Web there during my breaks.

  25. I read Sabrina Chase’s Sequoia trilogy, The long way home, Raven’s children, and Queen of chaos. A very little bit of slow romance very much in the background, mostly space opera action-adventure in space, with starfleet, aliens, and a dastardly mega-corporation to fight that is doing bad things in secret, on a very unrealistically short timeline for space colonization and expansion!
    I did want to keep reading more Sabrina Chase, but have several new books I’ve been looking forward to on my TBR, and not much time to read at the moment, so that’ll have to wait for a bit.

    I listened to the audiobook of The Emperor’s Wolves by Michelle Sagara, and it’s good. No romance at all, it is in my opinion a good introduction the her fantasy world of Elantra, from the viewpoint of Severn, a possible new recruit to the Wolves, the (dragon) emperor’s assassin arm of the police, who are sent after the most dangerous, often magic-using, criminals. Severn is quiet and had a bit of a mysterious childhood of which this book started to give some pointers, but is very loyal and will be continuing his adventures in a second book which is written and on its way to publication. He is an important supporting character in Michelle Sagara’s long-running Elentra series about Kaylin, but well worth his own books, and despite his reticence I find him a more approachable character.k

    I also read the Featherbed Puzzle, mentioned here a few weeks ago, a short, very sweet and fluffy, and totally fairy-tale sort of story with two very nice men as protagonists and a supporting cast that felt to me just slightly more rounded than cardboard caricatures (as befits the fairy-tale world).

    1. Fumiko and the finicky nestmate just arrived, the newest addition to Forthright’s Amaranthine saga, so I’ll be reading that next. Then on to A.J.Demas’s Strong Wine, First and Then by Emma Mills which I’d never heard of but it looked good to me after Jenny’s recommendation, and Peter Cabot got lost (plus if I like that, thr first book in that series as well), also picked up because of the recommendations here; then maybe Paladin’s Hope by T.Kingfisher if it looks less likely to give me nightmares than the second book.

      I love all the good recommendations here, but the TBR pile is growing faster than I can read it now I have about 1.5-2 hours less reading time per day until the end of January!

  26. Re-reading The Last Graduate. I like it even better the second time around. I have a question though. SPOILER ALERT!!! If the Scholomance was built to give wizard kids a BETTER chance at survival than in the outside world, and the kids keep attending because it DOES give them a better chance, then does it make sense for El to destroy it totally? Especially if it only buys everyone a few years before the mals breed up again. I feel like El didn’t consider that aspect when deciding to destroy the school? Or maybe that’s what Novik is leading up to in the next book, a long term solution?

    1. Specifically, the odds get cut down to one in two, to last a couple of generations. Short term solution?

  27. I just saw that Maybe This Time is on sale for $2.99 today if anyone needs digital version and uses Kindle.

    I’m reading Trisha Ashley’s House of Hope and Dreams for comfort and listening to Jeffrey Archer’s latest. I’m just glad there are folks is still writing in their 80’s…

  28. Reading “Now You See Him” – an Anne Stuart that I hadn’t read before. Also still reading Bill Bryson’s “The Mother Tongue:English and How It Got That Way”. My comfort relisten of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series continues. My library reserve “Vanderbilt: the Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty” by Anderson Cooper is ready for pickup. And next up is The Tender Bar ( J.R. Moehringer) so I will be ready for the movie.

  29. I’m re-reading Anne Bishop’s ‘The Others Series’

    Written in Red
    Murder of Crows
    Vision in Silver
    Marked in Flesh
    Etched in Bone
    Wild Country

    1. Isn’t that a great series? If someone had told me the setting included wolf people, I would have rejected it as a gimmicky horror story and not touched it. Shows what I know — I would have missed the first book, which has one of the greatest first scenes I can recall out of any book I’ve read in the past decade. The last one you list, Wild Country , was probably my least favorite, although it had a lot of overlap with the world and some characters from the first five. I really enjoyed the book she published just after that one ( Lake Silence , because of the characters and the setting on the shores of one of the Finger Lakes. But your post made me want to go back and re-read them myself, once I can rip myself away from Mary Balogh books, damn her. 🙁

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