This is a Good Book Thurday, March 3, 2022

The best thing I read this week was an Atlantic essay on “The Nocturnals,” people who prefer to sleep in the day and work all night. It made me feel less of a freak for being such a human bat. Also the manuals for the car because it does a lot of things that I don’t know about, although now that I have bumper stickers so I can find it and know how to roll down the windows and play my iPhone through it, do I really need to know anything else? (Yes.)

What did you read this week?

113 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thurday, March 3, 2022

  1. I read two dance-related books, both recommended by Alexandra, thank you. One was In Step which was okay but I found it a bit long-winded, and the other was by R. Cooper, called Dancing Lessons, and I was much happier with that.

    I read a poetry collection, A Handful of Blue Earth, translated from the French, by a Lebanese writer, Venus Khoury-Gata. Extraordinarily sensual and brilliant.

    Then I re-read most of the Starian Cycle by Iris Foxglove because SO GOOD.

    1. Have you read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp? The book is not so much about her specific choreography. It’s about her creative process. As a writer I loved it!

      1. It’s been ages since I read that book. So long ago, I still have it in hard cover! I think it’s time to re-read. Good recommendation.

  2. I’m in the midst of re-reading Network Effect. Murderbot and ART bickering because they’re both scared of losing their humans.

    Meanwhile, a friend wanted a little light reading after finishing the history of surgery. I had mentioned the Bedwyn books to her, and she came and got the whole set. She’s enjoying them – it was just what she needed for a palette cleanser.

  3. This is the third Thursday I report that I am still in the Liaden universe. I am now reading a book I haven’t read before (book 22) and I am enjoying it. I have read in reviews that some people don’t like Surebleak and don’t like the way these latest books flit from one character to another among the ever expanding cast. Personally, I like Surebleak and I love all these people so I want to know how all of them are getting on. I am invested in their success. I want Surebleak port to be upgraded by TerraTrade and the dastardly DOI to be defeated!

    1. I enjoy the Surebleak episodes too. But I hear we’re off to Tinsori Light soon…

  4. I strongly suspect I am getting old and/or that I just “don’t get” how Gen Z characters talk/act in modern books. I read several books that had decent plots/scenes but main characters who just seemed extremely mean/whiny/self-focused to the point that I just was like – who wants to be around this?!

    And then they would go through a journey of growth to end up being slightly more like regular socialized adults in the end…but, I just don’t understand how a character can be be portrayed as being so rude and self-centered when they’re supposed to be a young professional and be someone the author wants me to relate to/root for.

    I don’t mind an anti-hero…but I’m finding I have a strong aversion to a-holes as the main character.

    Minor redemptive arcs where they finally learn to stop treating the love interest like total trash because “oh my God…all that hate was really just love the whole time” doesn’t to me speak to the idea that they will stop being a-holes generally… just that they’ve figured out if you’re a jerk to your love interest, the sex/relationship ends.

    Or maybe it’s not the age/generation thing tripping me up but just that I can’t with that trope anymore. These are supposed to be grown women, not first grade boys pushing a girl down on the playground because they don’t know how to act around someone they’re interested in and think being mean/rude is some how cute. I keep hoping it’s just that I don’t understand enough about the tone/language of the generation, and that the interactions are less terrible than than read to me…because there’s enough a-holes walking this earth without making a fictional hero one. Sorry for the rant.

    On the non fiction side, I read “You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories about Racism” by Amber Ruffin & Lacey Lamar and thought it was a really good & interesting read. There’s a lot to digest in it, and the underlying point is very serious, but they manage to present it in such a way that you can find the levity in some of the situations, and that by inviting you in on Lacey’s side to look at the crazy, they help give you away to process it all.

    I had to take it in chunks though, because as good as they are at making things funny, the underlying point is still that there’s a lot of pain that’s been outside of my experience…and I needed to take my time to get through that. I think it entirely worth the time to help future guard at-times-oblivious-me from missing the subtext that is sometimes happening around me, so that I can more quickly/easily recognize & have a better handle on what to do in a crazy situation.

    1. I’m always baling out of novels and films because the protagonists are too shallow and self-absorbed. I think it’s got worse in the last twenty years or so. Although before that there were all those manipulative, selfish ‘heroines’ who just wanted to secure a ring on their finger and a secure income – so maybe it’s been ever thus.

      1. Actually, that sounds more like the traditional ‘other woman.’ I often thought that the Other Woman could probably find a much better husband than the Hero without looking very hard.

    2. Amber Ruffin is amazing. I highly recommend her show on Peacock. You get a little music, a little dancing, a little comedy, and a lot of truth. She’s educated me and moved me to tears more than once.

    3. I had to stop judging YA/NA romance in contests because I wanted to disqualify every “hero” for being a total jerk.

      On the other hand, I read “The Sheik” by E.M. Hull (later made into a movie starring Rudolph Valentino) when I was 13 or so and just gobbled it up and thought it was the essence of romance. So maybe that taste for a-hole heroes is something you grow out of.

      Note: It was made into a movie after it was written, not after I read it. I’m old, but I’m not that old.

      1. Can’t remember whether I shared this one with Argh, but when she was a college freshman, my mother saw THE SHEIK with Rudolph Valentino as a film shown at the student union one weekend. She never said whether she’d read the book, but she did say that when the film was first released, women fainted in the aisles at the thought of being carried off to the desert by Valentino on his white horse. When she saw it, the students were rolling around in the aisles, especially the scene she never forgot — Valentino in his long johns, standing in front of a mirror, flexing his biceps. Still funny decades later.

        1. Jeanne, I had the same experience with The Sheik that you did. I think part of the allure was the vaguely written sex scenes, the kind that Victoria Holt loved to write.

  5. I’ve read and enjoyed “A Soldier’s Wish” – a college student/hippie and a soon-to-be soldier fall in love experiencing Woodstock and continue their new-found romance by writing letters. Richard, the soldier, barely survives Vietnam, but of course there’s a happy end. I especially liked how the author featured the deployment and horrors of the Vietnam-bit through their letters and the re-connecting afterwards.
    It’s part of the Christmas-Angel-Series started by Eli Easton. I don’t find the Angel-bit here particularly well handled, though.

    Also, I’ve started and finished Luke by Con Riley and Dead Serious Case #1 by Vawn Cassidy, but with both of them I got impatient after the first 30 % and jumped straight to the last 20%. This might be because I can’t concentrate well these days, so not necessarily a reflection on the books.

    When doing chores I’ve started listening to the new Alexis Hall (Something Fabulous?) – not too far into it. Audible tells me there are 8 more hours to listen to.
    I’m not sure if the concept of something silly is right for me at the moment – I’m not too keen on listening another 8 hours to the adventures of someone as annyoing as Belle to whom I took a dislike instantely. Well, I never lack stuff to iron, so I’ll give it another try shortly.

  6. maybe its because I am now in my “senior” years but I find I dont like many of the newer books.. So I am rereading some favorites. Currently rereading the Lei crime some stories by Toby Neal. The main character is a female police officer in Hawaii. She is a native hawaiian and there is a lot of fascinating information about the culture and beliefs. The main character has struggles which makes her interesting to read about. They are mysteries, with a little romance. It is a series and some books are better than others and I personally despised one of them ( Red Rain)..

  7. I enjoyed The Charm Offensive by Alison Cochrun. Was really enthusiastic about it, in fact, but it got a bit too PC/contrived at the end. Still very good for a first novel. It’s an m/m romance and is a lot of fun.

  8. I’ve been reading, and enjoying, the entire Lydia Chin PI series by S.J. Rozan. It’s about a female PI solving cases in Chinatown in NYC. The culture clash there is very interesting. Also, I’ve been reading several Wen Spencer fantasy books – Black Wolves of Boston and Project Elfhome (Elfhome short stories). I am frustrated by the short story format of the latter (too many loose ends) but am enjoying them enough to look for more full length Elfhome novels later. In addition, I read A Rising Man which is a police detective story set in India between the two world wars, written by Abir Mukherjee. I can’t say I wholeheartedly like the detective for a variety of reasons. I don’t think he’s really supposed to be totally likeable because, among other things, drug addiction and some unconscious racism and classism as would be expected from a British officer of the period. However, the detective is aware enough to know there’s a problem and try to fight it so that helps. Also, the setting intrigued me enough to order more of this series from the library.

    I don’t know who started me off on these books but if it was someone here, thank you!

    1. The first two Elfhome books – Tinker and Wolf who Rules – are super favourites of mine. I’ve read and listened to them many times.

      1. Me too! I love those. I like the follow-ups but they get progressively weirder for sure.
        I can’t get over the mice!

        1. It’s been awhile since I read the Tinker books, so I don’t remember mice. But if you like mice, check out Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series. Fun urban fantasy with intelligent, talking Aeslin mice!

          1. I love the Aeslin mice!
            The mice I am talking about are in Wood Sprites (book 4) which you may have not read. This is where things get seriously bonkers in my opinion!

    2. I might have been the ones to recommend the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith mysteries by S.J. Rozan. I love those books.

    3. I love all Spencer’s novels. Tinker and all the rest of the series are fabulous. I wouldn’t recommend starting the series with Project Elfhome because it features many of the characters introduced in the novels first. Besides, Baen is finally releasing the latest in the Elfhome series, Harbinger later this year. They promised in April. I can hardly wait.

    4. Wen Spencer’s Ukiah Oregon books are my favorites. The science fiction aspects are well written but it’s the relationships that make it for me. Young man, abandoned as a child and living with wolves (but not in a fun Mowgli way). Time to re-read I think.

  9. Yes, read your owner manuals. The greatest value of a new car is the safety features that didn’t exist when you bought your last car. Our car warns us when another vehicle is in our blind spot, when a child is running behind us in the parking lot, when we’re drifting out of our lane on the highway, when a tire is losing pressure. Your new car probably does that. Okay, there are a lot of little symbols on the dash display to learn. Many people with a death wish turn them off, because the beeping and flashing can be irritating. So what? It’s life-saving. I will turn eighty this summer. Thank God for watching over me electronically.

    Yes, Gary, I also am reading Variation on a Theme. It is incredibly long, with way too much detail, and yet I’m enjoying it.

    1. Hi, Don! Variations on a Theme is addictive. I think Chapter 57 of Book 3 comes out tomorrow. But he (Grey Wolf) is the one who recommended A Fresh Start, and I have DNF’d it, stripped it from my computer, and sowed the silicon on which it resided with salt.

      So while I wait for Chapter 57, I finished Give the Devil His Due: A Tarot Mystery by Steve Hockensmith, Lisa Falco and I’m 18 chapters deep in Hunt the Stars by Jessie Mihalik. Those are stories I can recommend.

      I’ll admit that I opened Rewind by Don Lockwood. I knew Don when he was writing it, and when he changed his name to “Don Lockwood” and deleted all his old websites. He was up for a teaching job and didn’t want Google to rat him out for writing adult stories. He never did finish, but all he needs to do is strip off the college chapters and add an epilog.

      Enjoy the books!

  10. After another week of lots of DNfing, I gave up and started listening to the Goblin Emperor again and reading the Book of Firsts. I will try new things after that, but they are both long and comforting, so I have a while to make up my mind.

          1. Possibly. I was looking for comfort, but without a lot of patience. I tried reading Spells and Sensibility and struggled to connect. That might have been me and worth revisiting. Also, I had borrowed it from Hoopla and the format is funky. Then I tried listening to A Marvelous Light. I don’t remember if it was recommended here or not. It’s somewhat plodding at the beginning, with a fairly steep learning curve for the setting and magical rules. My mind wandered and then the plot was too close to the previous one and I got confused. Finally I tried The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian and made it about halfway.

          2. I also gave up on a Nora Roberts, and an earlier work of Margaret Rogerson. Oh and Shelley Laurenston, so it just may be my head space. Oh, and Trisha Ashley too.

          3. Well if you didn’t like A Soldier’s Scoundrel then you weren’t kidding that you can’t get into Cat Sebastian because I think it is her best historical and it’s definitely her most popular. Crossing my fingers that you will like Peter Cabot better, or else I’m taking my recommendations and going home. Have you tried Joanna Chambers?

          4. Sorry! I tried, but I just can’t seem to connect to Sebastian’s writing. I don’t know what the trouble is. Please stay.

            I have Joanna Chambers on my list, and I love KJ Charles, Alexis Hall and so on. Hopefully this is just a fluke.

          5. If you love KJ Charles, then Joanna Chambers is certainly much closer to her style than Cat Sebastian. Cat Sebastian’s style is contemporary even when she’s writing Regency. KJ Charles and Joanna Chambers adopt a more period appropriate style. Try Joanna Chambers’ Enlightenment series, my favourite.

        1. I started with Cat Sebastian’s “Hither Page”, which I really liked. Liked the second one. Read three more of hers which were ok, but….. much more sex, much less plot. So you may like the Page books better, or, you know, not bother.

          She does make me laugh out loud, though : “there were enough tragically stupid people in the world without having anyone indulge in recreational stupidity” and the rather profound “anyone who expects perfection, secretly likes being disappointed in people” with apologies to any perfectionists in the crowd. It isn’t always true, but boy do I know one……..

  11. David Ahern just released a new Madam Tulip mystery, Madam Tulip and the Rainbow’s End. Derry and Bruce are stuck in a small town on the west coast of Ireland after the producer of the traveling play that they are in absconds with the proceeds of the show and Derry ends up doing some charity fortune telling as Madam Tulip to settle their hotel bill, but one of the locals tells Madam Tulip that she thinks her brother was murdered and Derry is stuck with a dilemma, because Madam Tulip never betrays a confidence.

  12. Something I didn’t read, but watched, were YouTube videos about AeroGarden Hydroponics. As a result, I grabbed my trusty machete (red handled KitchenAid scissors) and braved the wilds of my tomato garden. It’s shorter and less dense, now, which will permit the plants to devote some energy to flowering.

    Then there was the lettuce crop. I gave it a buzz cut and threw everything in a bowl. I added garnishes and bacon and a little dressing I mixed up from a little olive oil and more red wine vinegar, with seasonings. It was a marvelous salad (although it’ll be at least three weeks before I can repeat it) even though I forgot the shredded cheddar.

    1. Yay homegrown vegetables, in your home. If you were in the UK I’d suggest getting an allotment, since you seem to have gotten the gardening bug. My grandfather was an avid gardener, when he had to move to my uncle’s house (the garden was sprouting junkyard cars) he still grew marrows along the fence borders that were the envy of many

      1. It’s possible that there is a community garden where you are. Also there are some great small space garden things like a growing pyramid that your daughter might be happy to have you do.

        1. The dotter is talking about home grown tomatoes, at the very least. The inside of her house is a herbivorium. It spreads outside when the weather allows. She has plenty of room to grow beans and corn and cucumbers and melons and ‘maters and ‘taters… anything she wants, and that’s without moving the trampoline.

          I’ll stick to hydroponic micro-tomatoes. She wants beefsteaks. I could start them for her, but they’d never fit in my systems.

    2. Having harvested and eaten all my lettuce, I popped out the two non-producing lettuce pods and substituted two Romaine pods. I hope I’ll have six pods ready to harvest in three or four (or five) weeks. This time I won’t forget the shredded cheese. 🙂

  13. Finally reading new books. I bought Sharon Sala’s Broke-Ass Women’s Club someone recommended here. Started at home, finished on holidays. A philanderer married to four women at the same time. Rather exhausting for him to keep it all start. A few throw away characters especially the step-daughter. Easy read.

    Also, I bought a real turn-the-pages beach read; Elon Hilderbrand’s Troubles in Paradise for our Hawaiian holidays which was one of our best vacations. Reading the author’s notes about the book as the last in a trilogy. Downloaded the first two. I found myself skipping/skimming several pages in all three books. Brain fog? Holiday brain? Who knows. Personally, it could have been two books. I did enjoy her book, Beautiful Day, and a few others. At least I’m reading new stories.

    So, four new books and walking the beach every morning and finding beach glass and shells. It was heaven. So blessed. And…back to real life with a thud. Rain, rain, rain.

    1. Spelling auto correct! Had corrected Elin a couple of times. Elin not Elon. Still auto corrected. Sheesh. Of course, marrying four wives…needs to keep them all straight and call them by their own name.

    1. Komarr not on my re-read list but A Civil Campaign still makes me snort stuff out of my nose.

      1. A civil campaign is easier to love in many ways but what I like about Komarr is that you get to see Miles from someone else’s point of view. And while it is painful to see how trapped Ekaterin is in her marriage, it is good to see her break out of it.

        1. Yes. It’s one of the best portrayals i have read of someone trapped in a bad marriage . And I think both books do a lovely job of showing how she can be physically attracted to someone who doesn’t meet traditional descriptions of attraction.

  14. I have read or am reading two books with the same theme, woman marries man not knowing all of his business dealings, stealing money from any or anyone to enrich himself until he is caught. The second book, The Life She Wants by Robyn Carr, is much better than the first. In the first book it seems to me that anytime there was a crisis they opted for sex. So moving on to The Life She Wants there is an actual story. Emma is duped into marrying in order for her husband to have arm candy and swindle clients out of money. She was so young to his twenty year age difference and fell for him. After his death she decides to go back to her home town to start over again. Hopefully no one will recognize her from the tabloids but you never know. Struggling to find work Emma eventually lands a job from her frenemy of years ago – story there. Another friend from high school knows someone who will rent her a tiny house. The frenemy’s family were there for her when she was young and rallied around her then because of her wicked stepmother and stepsister(s) actually one step sister and one half sister. There is also missing trust fund money that she never received from her late father to be resolved. Even the frenemy, Riley, has a side story. See what I mean there is more story than wasting pages on sex.

  15. I read the new Seanan McGuire – Where the Drowned Girls Go – this morning and am ready to shake her until all the stories fall out it was so fantastic. I was a little disappointed with the last one – Across the Green Grass Fields – and I’m not sure why, but the heroine of that one shows up in Drowned Girls and somehow that makes everything all better.

    I listened to the last few Ishmael Jones books by Simon R. Green and am now casting around for a new series. I’ve started the Alex Verus books by Benedict Jaka (read by the same narrator as the Greens) but I really don’t like one of the characters so I’m having trouble now that she’s shown up. Also, April is a big month for me for audio books so I have to hold onto my credits.

    I have the second in a middle grade horror series to read and an anthology of fantasy stories. I saw that the Stoker Awards have created a middle grade category and about damn time. Kids are a lot harder to bamboozle than adults are.

  16. The world is so grim that I have to read Jenny’s books again. So far it’s been Tell Me Lies and Fast women. Both of those are actually somewhat grim but the wit makes them very upbeat.

    I might also reread a civil campaign because Miles romancing Ekaterin with military strategy is as close as I can get to reading anything military.

    1. Bought A Civil Campaign in the Miles In Love format, three books in one. Three more new books.

    2. I had to pause my re-read of Tell Me Lies because it felt a whisker too sinister in the current climate. I switched to Trisha Ashley’s Chocolate Wishes for an utterly comfortable read.

  17. I had plans, but forgot, until it dropped, that ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN (Her Majesty the Queen Investigates), by SJ Bennett, was being released this week, and I ended by switching my attention to it until I finished it. Happy to report that the author still has depicted HM without anything that knocks me out of the story. She said that her mother was a royalist and a great fan of the Queen, so I wonder whether her mother is critiquing the manuscript? It’s a mystery with an amusing twist at the end. I’m definitely going for the next book, due out in November.

    Because of pressure of time commitments (I didn’t even get my collop before Ash Wednesday!) I haven’t begun on Lent reading, so that will have to wait a week at least.

    1. Just downloaded this book! About to curl up with it for a while. I read THE WINDSOR KNOT a few weeks ago after seeing it recommended here, and I enjoyed it. So I’ve been looking forward to ALL THE QUEEN’S MEN.

  18. I read Matchmaking for Beginners by Maggie Dawson. The beginning of this novel was stellar. Whole thing was entertaining, enough that I will happily chase down another novel by her.
    Also read The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews. Normally I really enjoy her but I got tripped up and hopelessly distracted by the baby chicks. Chicks in December (nope), kept in an outside house where there were no adults when it was cold enough to snow (nope).

  19. I’m enjoying “Spelunking Through Hell,” the most recent InCryptid series book and probably the most anticipated one. If you read the series, you should like it. If you’ve never read it before, I won’t get into spoilage. Suffice it to say that the big mystery of the series is revealed, and it’s cool beans.

  20. I read classics. Well, for a certain definition of “classic.” The local bookstores were all mean to me, so I pulled Georgette Heyer’s “Arabella” off the shelves, along with Elsie Lee’s “Nabob’s Widow,” Sayer’s “Whose Body” and all three of Edmund Hamilton’s old “Starwolf” books. Sadly, escape literature didn’t reach escape velocity. Good old “World Wrecker” Hamilton has a dangerous device which will let you send your mind anywhere and learn anything–the problem being that the users begin to neglect things like exercise, food and water. In 1967, that was SF. Now we’re supposed to call it Meta–or just “the ‘Net.” I think I need something further removed from reality.

  21. I read eight novels, one non-fiction book, and one novella this week. The novella: ‘Time Was,’ by Ian McDonald, a sad non-romance though it’s about a pair of time-traveling men (lovers) seen mostly through the lens of the modern-day rare-book dealer who discovers their story. Some beautiful writing, which made a few editing fails all the more wince-worthy. And sad. There are no happy endings for any of the characters.

    Favorite books of the week were ‘Salt Magic, Skin Magic’ and ‘Seducing the Sorcerer’ by Lee Welch. Wonder if the title of the second was entirely the author’s choice, because there’s a lot more to that book than you’d think. I love all three of Welch’s available titles and wish there were more. Since there are only three I’ll probably re-read them regularly.

    Also enjoyed ‘Luke’ by Con Riley, and ‘Wolf’s Clothing’ by E.J. Russell. That one is a semi-sequel to a book which wasn’t a winner for me. In Wolf’s Clothing I liked both MCs, the plot worked, there was adventure & suspense, plus a credible human and werewolf falling-in-love scenario.

  22. I just finished Andy Weir’s latest, Hail Mary, and really enjoyed it. Good thing, as I had to wait FOUR MONTHS to get it from the library. You have to like science and/or math (or learning about them) in order to live through the MANY experiments described throughout the book, but if you liked The Martian, you’ll probably also like Hail Mary.

    Before that, I listened to the audiobook of A Murder for the Books, by Victoria Gilbert. Not a bad mystery – I’d have enjoyed it more if I weren’t annoyed by the reader’s attempt at a Blue Ridge/Appalachian accent – plus, I don’t think the writer is from Virginia either (from a couple of other inaccuracies). Probably only distracting to someone who lives in the area.

    Now on to another Margaret Rogerson that looks promising: Sorcery of Thorns, and a comfort read, Lynn Kurland’s This is All I Ask – I love Gillian and Christopher!

    1. I just started Sorcery of Thorns too! And after the MC changes her initial setting and situation, it’s really exciting fun comfort reading. I’m looking forward to finishing it faster than I’d thought I would.

  23. Read Nothing But Blackened Teeth (up for a Bram Stoker award) and it was an excellent haunted house story, just the thing if you happen to have moved into a fixer-upper that every previous resident moved back out of within a couple of years haha why can’t I sleep now?

    Palate cleanser, The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren.

  24. I read that article too! And I am totally a Nocturnal. The pandemic has sent me back to my true night owl self–I stay up until like 3 am and then sleep during the day.
    I’ve been such a scatterhead last week and this week, I haven’t been able to concentrate to read anything

  25. I read Katherine Addison’s The Angel of the Crows – her take on Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. Really enjoyed it – you can see the source material there, but she veers away from it so deliciously in both character and plot that there’s no predicting how each story will turn out.

  26. I read Well Met by Jen DeLuca and The Billionaire’s Wake-up-call Girl by Annika Martin. They both feature characters that get together while pretending to be someone else and have to work out that out later. They’re both satisfyingly well written and fun to read. Recommended.

  27. I am re-reading Pride and Prejudice, the Barbara Heller version, which contains actual representations of all the letters in the book. She researched the styles of handwriting of the time, letter-folding, the speed at which mail was delivered, and how it was paid for. The recipient paid the postage by the number of pages! So, in consideration, writers wrote in small script and used few pages. She found experts to pen the missives in ways each character might have written. She even found some of Jane Austen’s letters. I can read the letters as I hold them in my hands. This has added a dimension to the novel That makes it more fun to read.

  28. Someone must have mentioned it here, because otherwise I wouldn’t have found and tried “The White Magic Five and Dime” which is a mystery that involves a heaping helping of Tarot. Not my usual bedtime reading, since mysteries tend to keep you awake rather than soothe and calm you, but I really enjoyed it.

    The suspense is pretty tame as mysteries go, and there was a hint of a romance that turned into a mistake, but the whole book was full of practically Jenny Crusie-level snappy patter that frequently made me laugh. All in all it was a great example of the kind of unexpected happy-surprise find that this site is so often responsible for.

    I thank whoever it was who recommended or mentioned it. A fun read!

    1. I loved the White Magic Five and Dime. I think someone here recommended it.

      1. Yes, someone here recommended it. That’s how I got started, and I’ve read all three currently in the series. They’re great!

      2. Here’s a quote from the July 22, 2021 Good Book Thursday:

        JULY 23, 2021 AT 11:20 AM
        a favorite book of mine is listed in Bookbub today as free on Amazon. I loved the story and the humorous interpertations of the tarot cards. it is the first book in a series. It is called White magic five and Dime .. here is the link ..

        Gary J
        JULY 23, 2021 AT 4:35 PM

        I looked in my Amazon/Kindle management thing, and it said I acquired it 7/23/21, which gave me a place to look.

    2. Started White Magic Five and Dime and liking it a lot so far! Thanks to whoever originally recommended it and you for bringing it up again.

  29. Several Crusie’s are on a very nicely-priced sale on Audible. Today is last day, I believe.

  30. I’m working my way through the Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny. I think someone here recommended, so thanks. I’m on book 15 and find myself wishing I could visit Three Pines. I love hearing about Quebec.
    As for listening, I’ve been trying to slog through Diana Gabaldon’s latest. I’ve have been a fan of hers for years, but this one seems so slow. Could be me.

    1. Her books get slower and more and more sprawling – mainly I think because she keeps adding story lines and different points of view. I haven’t gotten to her latest one yet.

  31. I got bummed out rereading the Tiffany Aching books. I felt that Pratchett was just pushing through them. I want some fiction to read while I ride the stationary bike, but no suggestions are attracting me and I’ve re-re-re-read all my favorites and near favorites. I have to improve my attitude.

  32. Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay is the first new book I have read in forever. I vaguely remember reading some of his other stuff. I like this quite a bit. It appeals for some of the same reasons The Goblin Emperor appeals to me: complex world, complex hero.

  33. This is a head’s up that my laptop is down again, and since I never set the iPad or the iPhone up to post on WordPress, I’m not going to be able to put up a happiness post tomorrow/Sunday. Yes, I’m working on it. ARGH.

    1. No happiness tomorrow/Sunday. Got it.

      From the TV Show “Hee-Haw” (1969 -1992)

      Buck Owens & Roy Clark

      Gloom, despair, and agony on me
      Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
      If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
      Gloom, despair, and agony on me

      We figured she was rich, loaded to the hilt
      And we figured she had class like the Vanderbilts
      ‘Cause we had heard for years how she was so well reared
      How was we to know they meant the way she was built

      Gloom, despair, and agony on me
      Deep, dark depression, excessive misery
      If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all
      Gloom, despair, and agony on me

      1. “Please don’t mind our doggie. It wasn’t his fault at all. Someone left a wet umbrella standing in the hall.”
        Oh wait, that’s Benny Hill.

      2. That brings back memories. When we were kids, my little sister would test out her best screechy corn-pone voice and “sing” that refrain or Kenny Roger’s “Lucille” because she knew they drove me nuts. Her favorite spot was when we were trapped in the car. It never got old (for her); she did it for y-e-a-r-s. Now it actually does make me smile to remember it.

        Oh and I hope the Apple/ISP provider deities are able to get our hostess’ devices back on track.

        1. I remember I misheard that song. “You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille – four hundred children and a crop in the field.” That’s not how you grow children, sir!

  34. I read Vespertine this week. Enjoyed it in an angsty YA way. But a good angsty YA not a “this heroine is too stupid to live way”.

    Also Cinderella Must Die which was good too. Not amazing, fantastic good but I enjoyed it and finished it which is getting rarer and rarer the more my stress levels go up and my attention levels go down. As the name implies, it’s a fairy tale rework. No huge surprises (let’s be fair, there’s only so many options of what to change before it’s got nothing to do with the original) but it wasn’t so obvious I was bored and I enjoyed being with the characters.

    I gave my Dad The Thursday Murder Club for his birthday, which he is enjoying (and he’s pretty picky). I haven’t read it but will be able to read his copy when I finally get to visit him this year. It’s been three years since I’ve been able to travel to see my parents so really totally amazingly excited about that.

  35. And I am happy today on happiness day because it is not a workday so that means I don’t have to go to work, just catch up on all the work I can’t do during workdays because of course covid went away, so everyone needs to come back to work immediately….

    Happy Sunday everyone! Good luck to Jenny’s dam laptop!!

  36. I’m picturing a huge laptop (covered in stickers and all sorts of art) stopping the flow of a ferocious body of water. We’re the tiny folks below, saved from annihilation by Jenny’s dam computer.

  37. Declaring Happiness in a Good Book Thursday post? Okay, I can hang with that.

    I’m happy today because it is the twins’s birthday. They are the last of the dotter’s kids. She’d put the limit at Three Kids, see… well, three pregnancies, anyway. Fraternal twins. Why is that not Sororal twins? One is female, after all. Even if both were female, they’d still be labeled “fraternal” twins. Lillian and Liam. Sororal twins. 🙂

  38. Well, I am happy this week because I survived last week (stuff every single day, but I did get it all done, except that I need to fill the gas tank tomorrow). And a few additional things:

    And happy because I now have a very nice Zoom background of a Craftsman-style home library, and got it to display on Saturday — other meeting attendees wanted to know whether it was my room (don’t I wish! — but it really is a gorgeous domestic library).

    And happy because I have a new third cousin. She responded to my Ancestry query and she does want to learn about our mutual branch of the family, because she had no clue about her biological father until her DNA test came up with someone. Little does she know what she’s in for! It’s too bad my mother isn’t living, because Mother would have been able to tell her family stories about the people she’s never met, and the best I’ll be able to do is extend her pedigree chart.

    Opening Arguments podcast 574 aired on Friday. It reviews the legal implications of the 1/6 Committee brief and why it looks as if Trump may face ACTUAL criminal charges, complete with entertaining extracts from the testimony of Pence’s chief of staff, who was totally exasperated at Eastman’s legal theories; there’s an especially good moment when he says he’d be happy to discuss this at a Federalist conference, but it’s much too far off the wall to have been used as a serpent in the ear of someone who, once he gets an idea in his head, finds it almost impossible to change his mind . . . . I’ve listened to it four times so far and may play it a fifth. RECOMMENDED.

    Also happy to have learned of the existence of Veggie. Veggie, it seems, is the name of a gadget which allows hydroponic farming in space, and which enabled the ISS folks to raise, harvest, and eat some lettuce. Zero-G poses challenges:

    Also happy to observe the new European game, Yacht Seize. By Google’s count, there are 56 possible yachts to seize. The French have one, the Italians have two, and the Germans sort of have one — the German government hasn’t seized it, exactly, but she’s not allowed to move from the shipyard — and, of course, the one in Spain that was semi-scuttled by one of her Ukrainian sailors. I don’t know whether Spain has seized her, but she isn’t going anywhere very soon.

    And interested to hear from my cousin’s husband of some of the weird things going wrong in Ukraine for the Russians, many attributable to the fact that Putin took a formidable Russian Army and privatized the contracts for his oligarch buddies, so now — after twenty years or so — the tanks look impressive from the outside but are terrible on the inside; the tires on large trucks are collapsing because they were, apparently, left out without moving for a year or two so they’re sun-rotted on top — in general, the maintenance hasn’t been done reliably. Money has been siphoned off all over, but particularly upkeep and training. Raul’s estimate is that the Russian economy will be over a tall cliff by July. He mentioned that the blocks of fancy apartments in London and Paris and NYC that are owned by oligarchs but unoccupied are now being offered for sale at MUCH REDUCED prices as the oligarchs scramble for cash.

      1. It’s more than a minute. The intro goes through the first two minutes, maybe three. At 4:00 Andrew says that this material suggests that this is solid evidence of TFG committing CRIMES and that the DOJ knows it — they had people sitting in on these depositions.

        I’d listen from that point forward. I don’t recall, but if there’s a point where Andrew and Thomas start thanking patrons, you can quit there. They do that on some shows, but not all.

  39. My original post is awaiting moderation, but I must add that my day was improved when I heard on the Talking Feds podcast tonight that among other sanctions, the International Cat Federation has banned Russian felines from competitions.

    “Fédération Internationale Féline, which hosts over 700 cat shows a year, said it “cannot just witness these atrocities and do nothing.””

  40. I felt the need to share:

    “They rose past a dozen stacked banks of growing vegetables to take an exit high in the chamber wall. NO ADMITTANCE, it said in glowing green letters. Quinn ignored the admonition with a verve bordering, Ethan thought, on the anti-social. He glanced back at the door as it hissed closed behind them. NO ADMITTANCE, it repeated on this side. So, they had committees on Kline Station too. . . .”

    – an observation by Dr. Ethan Urquhart, “Ethan of Athos” by Lois McMaster Bujold

  41. I hope it’s okay if I go back from Happiness to books.

    I was loving the start of Sorcery of Thorns, but good golly did it get angsty and suspenseful towards the last 100 pages. I was vowing to get to bed/sleep by 9pm to prepare myself for Daylight Savings Time, which starts in my area on Sunday. However, I didn’t reckon with all the threats to life and limb, deaths, near deaths, villains who didn’t disappear after all, and a race to save things near the end that kept me awake-ish and reading feverishly until late. It makes me think I might not look for the next volumes in what I think is a series. It’s time to acknowledge my own basic wimpishness.

  42. And I’m back online, so there will be a Wednesday post. This is a new computer (as of this Tuesday afternoon) because the old one is dead, just like my old car. Please send healing vibes to my septic tank. ARGH.

    1. Holding space for Jenny’s septic tank to cure itself!
      Wednesday post! Yay!

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