This is a Good Book Thursday, November 18, 2021

I finished up the last of my Ngaio Marsh read–there are 33 of them, so it’s taken awhile–and I think my favorite is A Surfeit of Lampreys (#10 about an eccentric family named Lamprey), but Artists in Crime (#6, Alleyn falls in love) is good, too, and Swing, Brother, Swing (#15, another insane family) is so much fun, and all of the books set in the theatre, and the ones set in New Zealand and . . . basically, they’re all good.

But I still needed to read something so I went back to Pratchett and read Vetinari’s lecture to Moist: “No practical definition of freedom would be complete without the freedom to take the consequences. Indeed, it is the freedom upon which all the others are based.” Then Moist signed the contract as “Ethel Snake,” and I realized that if I ever do take a pseudonym, it’s gonna be “Ethel Snake.” “For the best in romcom, read Ethel Snake!” “That Ethel Snake sure does know how to write dialogue.” “Whatever happened to Ethel Snake?”

Enough about me, what did you read this week?

89 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 18, 2021

  1. I’m re-reading my way through Shelly Laurenston’s Call of Crows series, because I need bat-shit crazy fun right now, and because I need to read something that I already know. I don’t need surprises in my reading at this moment.

  2. The best books I read this week were by Taylor Fitzpatrick – You Could Make a Life and Coming In First Place – especially the latter where the MC defines the word ANGRY not to mention NO PEOPLE SKILLS. He was a fascinating character. Fitzpatrick writes with a low-brow, gritty style consciously not because she has no other choices. I loved it – and luckily, it’s really the first of a three part arc so there’s room to see that HFN evolve in the next two books.

    I read Anna Butler’s Lancaster’s Luck – veddy British – smart, crisp and so much fun. Am part way through the second book in the series – thank you for this one, LN. Also read A Marvellous Light – good so thank you, David. And Aftermath from the Vino and Veritas series – Alexandra, you were right; this was a good read. Arghers, you rock.

    Finishing off the week – read The Last Flight of Marius Chastain which ended the Starian series with a whimper not a bang, Lisa Henry’s Not Until Noah and Avon Gale/Roan Parrish’s Heart of the Steal, both of which were not up to their usual strong efforts.

  3. I’m ready a cozy mystery with two magical cats, Sofie Kelly’s Hooked on a Feline. I love her books, but this one has started out unusually sad (the murder victim was universally loved, instead of hated as is usually the case in cozies). I’m enjoying the book, and it may be one of her best written (I’ve gotten sucked right in), but I wish it were a little less depressing.

    1. I read that as well. And I agree with you. So much easier to read if the victim was a horrible person that everyone hated. 😆

    2. Oh, I will have to check this out! She was on my auto-buy list for a while, then the stories started to feel too much the same for me. Might be time to go back and try a new one.

  4. I can’t recall who first recommended the Reluctant Coroner series by Paul Austin Ardoin, but I have been enjoying it this week. Thank you!

  5. I was looking for something similar to the Vorkosigan series and found Doris Egan’s Ivory trilogy.

    Well written sci-fi and fantasy with interesting world-building. Fun with a very likeable protagonist who is a scholar caught up in many adventures. Romance, machinations, betrayals and killings in all three books. Highly recommended.

    1. Oh, I read these many years but they stuck in my mind. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to be available as ebooks, at least in the UK 🙁

      1. Nor in the U.S.

        I mean, I do have them in paperback and have reread them at least a half dozen times. But I would absolutely re-buy the Gate of Ivory trilogy in ebook if I could

    2. I loved Egan’s Ivory trilogy – I have read and re-read them a number of times. I have been thrilled to see her name associated with several TV series that I watched – she wrote episodes for House, NUMB3RS, and some others that escape me, including a version of Swamp Thing.

  6. I am awaiting the end of my covid confinement, so read quite a bit more than usual.

    I finished listening to the Two Towers and started to work my way through Murderbot.

    I was read read one of the new Forthright books, Bathed in Moonlight, which was short and sweet. Not my favorite of hers, but not my least favorite.

    I also read CM Nascota’s newest, Mabon Feast, which was also short and sweet. A little melancholy, but with a hopeful HFN ending and more to follow.

    And we have almost finished the last available season of the Good Place, which is very fun and much better written than expected from the premise. Other recommendations for shows on Netflix or Amazon are eagerly welcomed, please and thank you.

    Last, I need some opinions: is Kindle Unlimited worth the price? I usually read from a variety of places, my own physical pile, the library, etc. And have avoided it up til now. But a lot of things that I want to try are on there…. Idk. Might be the quarantine talking. I read much slower normally when I have the day job to distract me.

    1. About the Kindle unlimited: I’d recommend trying it out when they offer a discount which they do every now and then.
      I got the subscription for a 6-month-abo running until mid-December for the price of half and it was totally worth it, because I already knew I wanted to read up on a few authors who routinely offer their titles to KU, e.g. Eli Easton (who has a new christmas themed title out now).

      It’s not so easy to actually *find* the interesting books when you don’t have a starting point. I always found their catalogue overwhelming and not too easy to navigate.
      But with so many recommensations here, chances are good that some interesting titles are on offer as KU. Especially with niche genres.
      Do check if any of the zitle hhe Arghers rave about are in KU and if yes, maybe there’s a discouted subscription period to try it out.
      I have to un-subscribe soon, but I got a lot out of the 6 months. Plus I try stuff and don’t get too disappointed when a book doesn’t fulfill my expectations.

    2. I’ve found it totally worth the price. Quite a few of the authors I read regularly are on Kindle Unlimited, plus it gives the chance to try some that I might not have shelled out cash for. Also made it easier to DNF something – hate to not finish something I paid for but easy to do it when it’s part of an unlimited lending system.

    3. Oh, and I started something that I was looking forward to, only to find that it was written in first person present tense! Why? !?! It was painful. Still sad about that.

        1. I couldn’t hack it. It was too hard to read. I’m not really sure why. He does this, I do that…

          First person is fine for me, but a whole book in present tense was daunting and felt wrong.

          1. Margaret Atwood writes a lot of her books in first person present tense so as a good Canadian I think I got used to it at an early age.

  7. Reread several Pratchetts including Going Postal and reread Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog.

    Just finished rereading Welcome to Temptation — I’d forgotten how fantastic that story is! I was completely unaware of everyone around me a sweet several hours. Family, heh.

    1. Wow, I am keeping very good company at your house, Pratchett and Willis. And you, of course. Thank you!

  8. I’m here early because our hardwired smoke alarms are evil little assholes who decided three in the morning was a great time to do a self-test.

    One anthology, one novella, and five novels this week. One of the books: a re-read of ‘The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting’ by KJ Charles, which I liked even better this time around.

    Recommended M/F historical: ‘Under a Dark Moon’ by Stella Riley. Georgian intrigue featuring MCs being noticeably intelligent. Related to the Rockliffe books but stands alone.

    And I finally read ‘Sword Dance’ by AJ Demas, which I liked a lot though some modernisms in the dialogue made me go ‘eh?’ Sequel is queued up for whenever I finish that Shane thing by a guy named Mayer. 🙂

  9. I wasn’t able to read a lot, first because of too much work, then I went down with a nasty cold. Nasty enoigh that I did neither manage to work nor read.
    It’s slooowly getting better, so I might continue with Eli Easton’s new title The Bedt Gift just downloaded after the first chapter sounded quite intriguing.
    What I did manage to finish before the big cold (not Covid) overwhelmed me was Beyond the Sea, mentioned here last week. A boy band “runaway” and the copilot get stranded on an island. I very much liked how much pages the author dedicated to the survival aspect. The romance developed slowly which I also liked. Yet again I’ve noticed that I’m into romances for the building up of attraction and less so for the sexy times that ensue. So not a complete success for me.
    Afterwards, on Goodreads, I saw that this book (or more correctly the blurb) sparked or re-ignited a passionate discussion about the gay-for-you trope. As I saw it, the protagonists fell in love with the human being, they found the “one” who zruely got them. So I was totally okay with that aspect. But I don’t have any agenda apart from wanting to read a nice story…

  10. Thanks to fellow Arghers, I am now on a Georgette Heyer Magical Mystery Re-read. I’ve finished “Envious Casca” and “They Found Him Dead”. Up next is “A Blunt Instrument”.

  11. I’ve only just finished my Alexis Hall reread, which has been fun. Kept trying to switch away, but was pulled back. The only disappointment was ‘Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake’, which I’m not sure I’ll read again: I don’t find it nearly as involving as his m/m romances.

    Just starting to reread Eli Easton’s Sex in Seattle series; seem to be stuck on m/m at the moment. Also reading the new edition of Monty Don’s ‘The Complete Gardener’, and adding the useful bits to my gardening notes.

    1. I think that Rosaline just took a little too long to find herself. It got dangerously close to a point where I didn’t like her anymore… Swerved away just in time, but still darker than his other work, I think. And there is a lot of other stuff going on, so it felt a little harried to me. I still enjoyed it, but not my favorite.

      1. I didn’t much like the way she started out lying, for no good reason. I think the story was too contrived; his best stories are all about character.

    2. Do tell us your opinion on the Sex in Seattle series next!
      I love “The Trouble wirh Tony” – Tony is so winderfully goofy. And “The Redemption of River” was fascinating!

    3. I, too, am reading Monty Don. Just love him. I’m going to try the lasagna technique of bulb planting after a few more nights with cold enough temperatures.

  12. I finished a book that I loved, but don’t want to name, because But. It’s a fantasy mingling of fairy tales, with a central romance, but as it proceeded it became clear that one of the plot lines was going to end in a cliffhanger for a sequel and indeed it did. I was very annoyed. I will read the sequel when it comes out, and I enjoyed the book a lot–very good writing and world-building and characterization–But. But. But.

  13. Also, I am still in the middle of books I was in the middle of last week, that I haven’t DNF’d yet. Not a good sign.
    I’m enjoying my reread of Remnant Population, and have started Sharon Shinn’s Troubled Waters again, so I have good stuff to turn to when I decide that maybe these books are too boring to finish. And then I decide maybe they aren’t. We’ll see.

  14. I’m reading Shane and the Hitwoman and Doggone Deadly landed in my house today so I shall be reading that too. I’m calling them both Good Books.

  15. I’m in the good part of Repercussions, the last published novel in the “Wearing the Cape” series until George gets around to publishing Joyeous Guard. Which he hasn’t, yet.

    I’m halfway through The Promise of Frost, and loving it.

    I have Shane and the Hit Woman atop my TBR list.

    But the book I’m a bit preoccupied with, this week, is the Virginia Retirement System Manual. Bo-o-o-ringgggg.

  16. This week, I made good use of my KU membership which like Dodo, I will cancel in December when the half price deal that tempted me ends.

    For some reason, despite being completely unsporty, I have a thing for hockey romances. I think I am not the only one here. I know nothing about hockey but somehow, when American football leaves me cold, hockey romances are a bit of a guilty pleasure.

    Maybe, one day when I go visit my brother in Montréal, I’ll get to actually see a game since after 20 years in Québec, he has become a fan of the sport.

    So, I read on KU a M/M series by Avon Gale, « Scoring chances » about minor league hockey. I enjoyed it particularly because these guys are not millionaires. The whole, I am super rich but I am still unhappy thing can get a bit much after a while!

    1. I really enjoyed Avon Gale’s hockey series – and be sure to try her hockey romance novella Next Season – a big fave of mine.

      1. The only hockey romances I’ve read are by Rachel Gibson, of which See Jane Score is my favorite. A general reporter who knows nothing about hockey fills in for the beat reporter while he is on medical leave. The new hotshot goalie thinks women have no place in the locker room and that reporters in general make his life miserable, but management wants him to do an exclusive with her. He teaches her about hockey, she helps him bond with his newly orphaned half sister and the rest of the team make amusing secondary characters. It is funny and sexy and a lot of fun.

        1. See Jane Score is in the “free” included section of Audible for those who are interested.
          Thank you for the recommendation.

  17. I was listening to Maybe This Time on audio when the story got too intense and I had to switch to the ebook to find out what happened. I still don’t know how I missed reading this Crusie but it was fun to read while not knowing quite how it would all be resolved. Enjoyed it very much and then found Haunting Alice on the Argh Ink site and went down a real rabbit hole for a while.

    Am currently reading As You Wish by Cary Elwes which is his account of filming the Princess Bride. I didn’t know he was a fan of the book too!

    So much on the TBR pile right now but I’ve thrown the Shane book on top for the next break in grading.

  18. I started the past week with Susannah Nix’s Elementary Romantic Calculus. It was an OK chic lit story. It is #6 in the author’s series of contemporary romantic comedies, and I read all six of them. I enjoyed the previous five. Sadly, this one is my least favorite.
    Last Thursday, someone mentioned Venetia by Georgette Heyer, and I decided to re-read it. It was a very enjoyable read. Thank you, Arghers.
    Alexis Hall’s Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake was a DNF. Many of you like her book, and I wanted to like it too, but it didn’t work for me. [SIGH]
    Jackie Fraser’s The Bookshop of Second Chances was a charming debut, a chick lit novel with a 44-year-old protagonist. I love reading about mature women. Don’t you?

  19. I love KU. I read A Lot (I’m retired, and Covid… ) and KU allows me to try many authors on a whim. I’ve found some new authors that I really enjoy (Lindsay Buroker, Meghan Clone Doidge come to mind.)

    On reading this past week, I had several pre-orders drop, so loved going thru them. I enjoyed Shane and the Hitwoman.
    Loved visiting those characters again. I won’t comment further until more have read it. I’m currently reading J.R.Ward’s latest, The Wolf (The Black Dagger Brothethood.). MCs are both likable – half werewolf/half vampire male, and undercover cop female, with a big drug trade involved. Lots of Vishous, who’s a favorite character for me, so I’m really enjoying this!

    Then I need to hurry and read Diana Gabaldon’s last book, so I am current for her latest book (Go Tell the Bees That I am Gone) that is coming out next week. At last!

  20. Read Minor Mage by T Kingfisher because how can you go wrong with a weak wizard and his armadillo familiar setting off to save the village against impossible odds? Loved. Also read Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert which I wouldn’t have picked up but it was rec’d and I can see why. Consent, genuine caring about each other’s happiness and well being and boundaries, sexy and fun friends to threesome. If you’re in the mood for a hot holiday happily ever after, it’s a good one.

    Just started One More Christmas at the Castle because Trisha Ashley is fabulous.

    1. One more Christmas at the castle is lovely. And good to know about Katee Roberts. Her name seems to be popping up quite a bit lately. Will have to give her a try.

  21. I finally got around to The Last Graduate and was left wondering if this was “write your own last chapter” or if a third installment will be coming. I need to go back and read your post after you read it. I skipped it when you first posted because…spoilers.
    Also read Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs and The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Allen Bradley. They are each part of a series but I enjoyed them very much. In between, I’ve been rereading some Georgette Heyer. The titles I enjoy the most now are the ones I didn’t like when I read them when I was much much younger.

  22. I was struggling to write a mystery when I heard an interview with the well spoken co-creator of the “Columbo” tv show. He said that: 1) young writers did not read enough novels (for structure if nothing else), and 2) the writer whom he admired the most was John Dickson Carr, who I’d never heard of. (

    I will not spoil your discovery of Carr, but his ability to conjure atmosphere and misdirect your eye is unparalleled. If lovely M. Allingham’s work is “elegant” (per A. Christie), and beloved N. Marsh’s is theatrical, then I consider Carr a magician, a conjurer, a plate spinner. (“Very few detective stories baffle me, but Mr. Carr’s always do.” – A. Christie pulled quote for covers).

    I would particularly note for this audience of discerning readers:

    a) Nearly every novel has an unusually crackling romance built into the plot (no sex, but tremendous la passion), and splendid, can’t-believe-I-read-that-let-me-re-read-twice humor.

    b) I tend to read chronologically, by series, and would recommend starting with Inspector Benacolin (earliest) –> then Prof. Gideon Fell –> then Sir Henry Merrivale (my favorite) –> then stand alone novels (least favorite, hit or miss), short stories. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

    1. Carr’s the master of the locked room, isn’t he? I know I read him when I was doing my MA.

      I liked Edmund Crispin’s Gervase Fen books, especially Glimpses of the Moon, the last one, probably because of the snark. One of my favorite passages in any book is in Glimpses, when Fen pauses in front of a mirror to describe his reflection and then wonders when authors are going to stop doing that because it’s such a cliche. He published eight mysteries from 1945 to 1951 and then came back in 1977 with Glimpses.

      Lots of good early mystery writers–Christiana Brand’s Green for Danger is excellent–

  23. I read Deborah Blake’s new book, Doggone Deadly, and it’s just as good as the first one.

    I read Whistling Down the Wind by Irene Radford. Currently free on The BookView Cafe:

    It was a pretty good mystery about the manager of an Oregon resort Inn trying to deal with political and financial shenanigans and then a mueder victim crops up to complicate things

  24. Still Pratchett-The Thief of Time. I’m going to take a break after ‘The Last Hero’ because his next chronologically is ‘The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents’. I’m just not up for rats as amazing as they are. Besides, I really have to get to some of these Argh recommendations.

  25. I started (and am about half way through) Under the Whispering Door by T J Klune. So far I am liking it.

  26. THE JOY AND LIGHT BUS COMPANY (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency), by Alexander McCall Smith, with Mma Ramotswe, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Makutsi, and a little more of Phuti Radiphuti than we usually see. I like Phuti very much, and although Mma Makutsi seems a little rigid much of the time, I enjoyed seeing how she has made Phuti happy. I am a little more than half way through, but I am thinking that Violet Sephotho will get her comeuppance . . . I live in hope.

    A LITERARY HOLIDAY COOKBOOK: Festive Meals for the Snow Queen, Gandalf, Sherlock, Scrooge, and Book Lovers Everywhere, by Alison Walsh. It’s fun reading, with groups of recipes for each classic, and a reasonable selection of savory food, not just sweets. Onion and Sage Roasted Goose from A CHRISTMAS CAROL and Fried Snowballs from “The Snow Queen.”

    The Williamsburg Novels are now out in a Kindle format: DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT, YANKEE STRANGER, EVER AFTER, THE LIGHT HEART, KISSING KIN, THIS WAS TOMORROW, and HOMING, by Elswyth Thane. These are her best-known work and I had the whole family tree memorized when I first immersed myself in them, and was surprised to see how much of it I’d internalized. Elswyth Thane was especially particular about her historical research, which I appreciate. A few weeks ago, my cousin and I were discussing the Jail Bait Wait trope — one I normally find about as appealing as a lose-your-lunch horror plot — and she pointed out that EVER AFTER technically falls into that group, but Bracken Murray isn’t even remotely creepy about it. Bracken is probably my favorite hero in the whole series.

    1. Oh, Elswyth Thane. I haven’t read her for decades and I’m almost afraid to now. Tryst was one of my favorite novels when I was a teenager (makes sense, it’s about teenager), but I remember reading all the Williamsburg books. I just went to check on Tryst’s pub date (1939) and found out she was married to William Beebe. Reality is weird.

      ETA: Each of the seven Williamsburg books are only 99 cents. If I wasn’t afraid they wouldn’t hold up, I’d buy them all.

  27. Curiosity is what causes people to spend hours in the TV Tropes website. For me, I wanted to see some old Good Book Thursday posts. How I started this dive was, I went back to December 2020. Sure enough, the last post of the year was a GBT. I read the post, and the (mostly) my posts. I smiled a lot. Then I went to December 2019, and 2018, and 2017. Odd. I didn’t appear in 2017, so I started looking for my first ever post. That turned out to be in a June thread, on July 2, 2018, as near as I can tell.

    I’ve been a Crusie fan for a pair of decades. Was I not an Argher before then?!? I remember reading about Cherries and Bob and Gators. I have difficulty believing I was too shy to more than lurk.

    Life is strange.

    1. I’ve only checked out tv tropes a couple of times, but I did last week in order to figure out the Psyche (Cupid & Psyche) trope. While that story uses dozens of wellknown tropes, it seems to be a precursor of the Beauty & the Beast trope. I’ve always liked Psyche.

  28. I needed a real palate-cleanser after my recent Harlequin Presents experience, so I turned to Rosamund DuJardin, whose books I checked out from the library over and over as a pre-teen. I just found these all on Kindle. Mostly written in the early 1950s, I read them in the much more turbulent 1970s. At age 12-13 I loved reading about the perfect families and idyllic small towns and wished I had a nearby malt shop and that my mom would trust me to walk there alone to meet my friends!

    I began with a reread of the Pam and Penny series: Double Date, Double Feature, Showboat Summer, and Double Wedding. Pam and Penny are identical twins with a widowed mother who (gasp!) has to work to support the family. Though identical, the twins have very different personalities and the first book in particular does a good job of exploring how the quieter twin comes out of her more popular twin’s shadow. The series takes them from senior year of high school through college.

    Then I moved on to the Marcy series: Wait for Marcy, Marcy Catches Up, A Man for Marcy, and Senior Prom. As a kid I wanted Marcy’s brother, Ken, to replace the brothers I was stuck with. This series takes Marcy from age 15 through high school and it’s enjoyable to see her emotional growth.

    There are many more, but after eight in a row, I needed a break and *finally* started the Penric and Desdemona series. I’d been putting them off because the Chalion series, while excellent, didn’t appeal to me enough for a reread. I’m through the first three Penrics and loving them; I should have trusted Lois! I see a little of Miles Vorkosigan in Penric, and the Princess-Archdivine reminds me a bit of Emperor Gregor. Thanks to everyone here for all the great reviews that inspired me to finally join the party!

    1. More where those came from at Image Cascade Publishing. I think most of these are now available in Kindle editions, but if you check out this site, it may remind you of more authors you’d like to become reacquainted with:

  29. I listened to The Truth by Peter Grainger, the latest in his DC Smith British police procedural/detective series. He actually retired the character at one point, but apparently couldn’t let him go. I sense this book is the first in a series parallel to the post-retirement series. Anyway, I’ve loved listening to the series–the reader is fantastic. I do recommend starting with An Accidental Death, where we are introduced to DC.

    I’ve also been watching waaaaaaaaaaay too many Hallmark/Lifetime Christmas movies. I’m spending Thanksgiving in Germany visiting Christmas markets (assuming they don’t all get canceled at the last minute), so I’ve just embraced it. Nothing but happy endings, easily resolved conflict, snowy locales…it’s comforting. It’s kind of fun to catalog the tropes and the attempts that they’ve made to make the movies more diverse over the years. But really, I just want a guaranteed happy ending, no matter how improbable.

    1. KarenB, in Bavaria all Christmas markets have been cancelled as of today, because we in the southern part of Germany are that badly affected, that red doesn’t cover it anymore. The newspaper even mentioned that hospitals are preparing for triage.
      But many parts are not as badly affected, there vaccination eates are higher. But people are horribly stupid almost everywhere, the next Lockdown is looming. It’s frightening 🙁

      1. It won’t surprise me if more get canceled, though I just checked the websites of the two closest to where I’ll be and they are still listed as happening.

        I really have no patience with people who won’t get vaccinated.

        1. Me too.
          In some areas the vaccination rate isn’t higher than 35%. I simply cannot comprehend it.

  30. Read “Shane and the Hit Woman” and liked it. If you are listening for Jenny’s voice, you will be disappointed, because of course it is not there, but as long as I read it for itself, I found it entertaining. I also liked it better and better as I went on, which is a bonus.

    For anyone who has Netflix, I recommend you check out Battered Bastards of Baseball. Kurt Russell being very twinkly and cute, and his father sounds like a character! Watched it to indulge DH, but absolutely loved it. Don’t need to be baseball fan to enjoy it.

  31. I’m in the middle of my annual re-read of Rosamund Pilcher’s Winter Solstice that has been soothing me for over 20 years now. There were years when I related to the 30 year old character and the young teen whereas today I feel deeply connected to the 62 year old, and even to the terminally ill (though I am not..) Major Billicliff on this year’s read. For me, this book has legs for sure.

    Ditto the characters in Faking It, my favorite and most frequently re-read JC . I used to read with Tilda holding my focus for the most part but now, it’s all about Gwen for me. One day, it will be all about Nadine and then I know I will have arrived.

  32. In general I enjoyed the characters and the writing style in Seven Days in June by Tia Williams, because it was good, but I’m not sure I can give it my full-throated endorsement. (and it’s a Reese Witherspoon book club book selection so it’s out in the zeitgeist enough that I think I can give a critique without feeling as guilty about being a little tepid about it…I usually only like to name title/author when I feel like it’s hitting on all cylinders, lest my particular brand of pickiness hurt an author..but in this case I don’t worry that my comments will make much of a difference with Reese backing it!)

    But I just really struggled with the plot and the lack of resolution for the character’s stories. Somehow the pacing felt like a lot of initial info dump about stuff that I didn’t really need, while leaving out key pieces of things I wanted to know. I overall enjoyed the characters and it was interesting enough that I stuck around because I was hoping to get more….but ultimately felt like it just didn’t get me to the payoffs I was hoping for on a plot/story level. (also….the young daughter’s wisdom/perfection was maybe a little much for me…but in a stronger narrative, I think I would be inclined to forgive that more)

    It’s weird, because I want to recommend for people to have a chance to spend time with these characters because they feel worth knowing, but I wish we could maybe get to see more of them in action and have a better sense of overall narrative arc and where they’re going. There are so many threads that are left untied, and I feel like probably that was an intentional choice by the author to leave room for people to color in for themselves, but the amount left unresolved ultimately left me a little unsatisfied on that level…so if I had to give a grade, it would land on like a B/B+?

    Maybe it’s just too women’s fiction-y “happy for now” verses “happily ever after” for me…but I feel like it just stops more than it resolves.


  33. If anyone is interested Bob Mayer’s Shane and the Hitwoman is free on Kindle Unlimited. Not sure for how long.

  34. I want to read Ngaio Marsh based on everyone’s recommendations, but my ebook library has ONE of her 33 books, and it’s not Surfeit of Lamprey’s which seems like the best gateway book. I can’t believe it.

    Currently reading THIS TIME NEXT DOOR by Gretchen Galway. Contemporary romance with a heroine who is unabashedly sexy (to herself and men), flirty, vivacious, competent and described as weighing almost 200 pounds. I put that last because it really doesn’t play into her sense of self-worth, but is still worth recognizing in respect to the story.

  35. Just finished The Best Gift by Eli Easton. Seemingly a novella at ca. 150 pages, but it didn’t feel like it a rounded, heartwarming story. I’m very pleased, enjoyed it a lot.

  36. Just reread Fast Women and struck by how it’s all about compassion — when I first read it I thought it was about break ups and the weight of marriages, especially those that expect women to be helpful but in the background.

    Instead, Riley is introduced early on and he (and later Gabe) is understanding and compassionate — because of his job as a private investigator. Instead of being a Sam Spade type, embittered by the truth that all people are out to get things for themselves, Riley has figured out the suffering that leads to betrayal. And he has seen the effects of time to make things worse or better.

    Nothing like an eye-opening reread.

    1. This is a wonderful compliment. It means all that layering paid off, since the idea is that you get a new book every time you reread and go down a layer. Sometimes it works. Thank you. It’s the same with Lisa reading for Gwen this time (thank you, Lisa).

      1. Compassion also explains why Trevor isn’t introduced in the traditional antagonist way which is at some point in the first 6 (?) pages (chapters?); instead, a major part of his characterization is his distance from everyone while, simultaneously, he runs them.

        This is way cool.

Comments are closed.