This is a Good Book Thursday, March 17, 2022

This week I ordered another book on cleaning and reread the first two Rivers of London books because the new one (the ninth?) is out in a month. It’s about an impossible murder. Also Beverly Brook is having twins. But it’s going to be all right because Peter Grant can do magic. Cannot wait.

What did you read this week?

126 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, March 17, 2022

  1. Quelle coïncidence!: I’m half way through Moon over Soho in my reread of the series. Actually I’m listening to them this time round and loving Kobna Holburn-Smith’s narration. Honestly, he’s one of the best readers I’ve ever listened to. He really nails the accents. I’d forgotten about the hostage exchange and the Irregulars and the visit to the Bodleian basement and… In my defence it’s been almost ten years, and what I remembered most about the first two books is what happens to LM.

    I’ve also gotten hooked on the various series of Scottish police procedurals available on Kindle Unlimited. Who knew there were so many and some of them quite good (JD Kirk, TJ Reid and Alec Scarrow come to mind).

    1. I downloaded a sample of the first Rivers of London. I need something good to read.

  2. Had to take a break from some intense fiction (Brothers Karamasov: 11 hours left) so went to visit Meg Langslow in a Donna Andrews mystery for a while.
    Very excited about the Peter Grant coming out!

    1. I’m following your Brothers Karamasov marathon with great interest. Keep us posted.

      1. The funny thing is that I read before, a long time ago, and can’t remember who did the deed. That’s unusual for me not to remember a book, so the slow approach works well. And I’m also listening to professors talk about it on Youtube, which is also quite interesting. I don’t understand Russian society the way I do English, where I can make my way through Dickens or George Eliot, for instance, and understand most of the social interactions.

  3. This week I read Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane. One of those going back home after living in the big city books. The romance is good but it’s only half the book. I wish I were the sort of person that could skip chapters that look irrelevant.

    1. I am a skip chapters reader. Never would have got through Gabaldon otherwise. I skip at least half of her books.

      1. The host of one of my favorite podcasts talked about when she read Outlander and skipped all the parts where “Claire is doing herb stuff, skip skip skip, herbs herbs herbs”… so now they call it “herbs-ing” a book and it cracks me up every time.

  4. Reading an alien/human romance series by Leslie Richardson. She’s a very quirky writer. The first book the two MC’s didn’t meet each for for literally a third of the book, as the human underwent medical procedures in order to embark on said alien romance. So there was a deep dive into the medical procedures. Then the romance part. Then a deep dive into alien legal procedures. Her next book did a dive into performance management on an alien space station. Hey, as an HR consultant, I’m all interested in performance management processes but….not used to finding it in any kind of romance. And I’m not sure if I’m complaining or admiring! Because I actually enjoyed the geeky deep dives in all three instances. More research required.

    Plus I’m re-reading all Taylor Fitzpatrick’s stuff. Jen+B, I keep meaning to tell you that I messaged her and asked her point blank if Catherine Cloud was an alias of hers and she says “no”. I think Catherine Cloud is just extremely derivative of Fitzpatrick in her writing style.

    1. I sometimes really like when an author goes full geek and deep dives into a topic that is mundane but not common knowledge. I will put these on my list.

      1. Not saying I recommend them necessarily! An acquired taste. But I’m definitely enjoying them.

        How are you and your partner doing today?

        1. You are a dear for asking. We are ok. My work has been very supportive, which made me tear up. Partner is talking a lot about the good memories, which is nice.

          His brother is being an absolute pita, but that is not unexpected.

    2. Thanks for getting that confirmation. I’d reached that conclusion despite some striking similarities in their writing. Catherine Cloud just doesn’t go as deep as Taylor Fitzpatrick does on the business of hockey, the game itself, the different cultures and nationalities of the players, or even the relationships. I did read the three CC novels and the stories on AO3, but I have also gone back to rereading TF recently. It’s now hard to wait for little snippets coming out piecemeal after having the experience of bingeing all the existing stories. I fantasize about organizing all her works from all the sources and putting them in order by story.

      1. Oh I have already started on your fantasy – I’ve organized a couple of the stories into my own pdf and sent to my Kindle – so Soulbound for example with Dave and Jake, and Needs and Wants. Very satisfying. I’d like to put a whole bunch of the Dave and Jake stuff together at some point, and the Liam and Mike stuff.

  5. I had so much fun reading The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood that I started rereading it almost before I even finished it. I really liked the MCs and the parts about the politics around PhD topics and who gets the grant money sounded very much like what a friend of mine went through for years.

    1. I was just coming to post how much I enjoyed this book. And I did the same–started re-reading after, just because it was so well done. [Since I have had the exact same thing happen to me with contacts that the MC did in the inciting incident, it was quite easy to believe.] I think those without that experience might have to stretch their willingness to suspend disbelief, but that was the only small issue I think anyone reading would have.

  6. Every time I see Idris Elba in one of those ads I think what a great Peter Grant he would make. He even sounds like the Peter I can hear in my mind.

    1. For me every time I see Idris Elba I zone in on his eyelashes, I’m so jealous. As for what I’m reading, not much to report except getting out the manual for my car and looking up the directions to change the clock to daylight savings time. Let’s see I bought it new in 2016 which makes it about 12 times give or take a few times when my husband made the changes. The page should open to itself by now.

      1. I hear you passed legislation in the US to stick to the Daylight Savings Time year round – is that correct? Then you’ll never have to look at that part of your car manual again…

        1. Yes but it only passed in the Senate. It has to pass the House, assuming the House gets their thumb out and actually schedules a vote on it, then be signed into law by the President. And it would not go into effect until 2023.

          Oregon passed a State law over six years ago but it needs Federal approval which has never been forthcoming.

    2. I picture/hear Micheal Elcock – most recently, the lieutenant on Queens of Mystery.

    3. I think Rege-Jean Page would make a great Peter. I LOVE Idris Elba, but I think he might be a tad too mature. Peter is only 25(?) at the beginning of the series and now he’s 31-ish.

    4. I adore Idris Elba but he’s more than 20 years older than Peter Grant, so I’d prefer someone closer in age. Also Grant refers to himself as being of mixed race, looking sort of Middle Eastern… Mind you, I believe they both have a parent from Sierra Leone (and Elba is proud of his (Sierra Leone) Creole heritage whereas I don’t get the impression that Grant’s mom is Creole). I wonder who Aaronovitch would choose.

      1. Actually, Peter talks about his Sierra Leone heritage a lot and his mom speaks creole

    5. Every time I see Idris Elba, I think about Idris Elba. I’m shallow and that is one good-looking man.

      In the books, somebody compares Peter to Obama, joking that the US should hire him as an Obama decoy, so I always see him as slender, and because of his age in the first books, young.

  7. For work, I am reading kid books. I just finished Holly G. Sloan’s Counting by 7s, which I would classify as a YA. I think it’s a juvie book only because the narrator is 12 and the paragraphs are often one sentence. However, it deals with death of parents and subsequent miseries, and the vocab level is high. The narrator is a genius, so her internal monologues, as well as her regular speech, is full of quirky details. I’ve started Sloan’s novel Short, about a summer production of Wizard of Oz, in which said short girl is a Munchkin.
    Also for work, just read Safia Elhillo’s Home is not a Country, a novel-in-verse with magical realism and some Arabic works. (Elhillo is Sudanese-American.)
    I love my work!

  8. Scalzi’s KAIJU PRESERVATION SOCIETY – loved it
    Read through all 10 the Ishmael Jones series by Simon Green
    the newest Extraordinaries (Beguiling Birthright) by Melissa Mcshane
    4 of Nora Roberts trilogies
    With a sinus infection lingering through 2 courses of antibiotics, I’m either reading or sleeping.

  9. Thursdays are multifunction.

    Official Weigh-In Day #48: 251.2 Pounds/113.9 kg. Still lurking in the same 251.2 ± 3.0 pounds all year so far. I should like to get to the bottom of this, then get lower. This is where all my diets stall out, unless I add an exercise element. Well, I’ve earned a certificate in Chair Yoga. It’s time I put it to good use.

    It’s Saint Patrick’s Day. I’m wearing a green pocket t-shirt. I’m not Irish. My antecedents are French Canadian and German. The green shirt is just a coincidence. I like green.

    Happy National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day to all those who enjoy corned beef or cabbage. Does bok choi count, I wonder?

    Happy Evacuation Day in Massachusetts. I’ve lived in Massachusetts. I’ve never celebrated this day, before.

    Happy Good Book Thursday. This one I celebrate every week, smiling the while. Last week, I mentioned a re-read of Lois McMaster Bujold. I started with the collection, Miles, Mystery, and Mayhem containing Cetaganda, Ethan of Athos, and Labyrinth, moved on to Memory, and now have Miles in Love containing Komarr, A Civil Campaign, and Winterfair Gifts in progress. I also listened to The Assassins of Thasselon and Masquerade in Lodi. I was organizing albums and playlists in my “music” subdirectory. All eleven Penric and Desdemona stories. The other three “Five Gods Universe” stories. Some, but not all of my Crusie files, the ones I could download as MP3. What else? A “Ring of Fire” series book, The Grantville Inquisitor, being a compendium of stories previously published in the Grantville Gazette e-magazine.

    1. Evacuation Day in Massachusetts celebrates the day British troops left Boston in 1776. I’m pretty sure it is only celebrated in Suffolk County of which Boston is part of.

      You just mentioned corned beef and cabbage. We only have it once a year but this year because of leftovers I made a Shepards/Cottage pie for supper.

      And I’m also wearing green. Now I’m trying to remember where I put my mother’s St. Paddy’s Day pin.

      1. Mary, please excuse my pedantry, but shepherd’s pie is made with minced lamb. Cottage pie is made with beef.

        My parents were stationed near an American base during WWII, and they used to tell the story of how the Americans were issued with lamb (or it might have been mutton) which they disliked. So the Australians (who had been issued with a vast amount of tinned corned beef) did a swap with them. Everyone ended up thinking they had got one over the other side!

        I have no idea if Americans really dislike lamb. But most Australians – at least the non-vegetarians – love it.

        1. Lian, I grew up thinking shepherds pie was ground beef and cream style corn under a mashed potato crust. I freely acknowledge that “authentic nineteenth century shepherds pie” must contain lamb or goat meat, but I’m a twenty-first century curmudgeon, and I say meat, of whatever origin, is sufficient. As long as it isn’t turkey. (Or even if it is.) I blame cultural assimilation for this. Or maybe I mean “credit,” but either way, insisting on lamb is like my insisting on salami and provolone in order to call a sandwich a “grinder.”

          1. Gary that is like calling sweetened strawberries served on meringues with whipping cream “strawberry shortcake” instead of strawberry meringues or strawberry pavlova.

            There is a fisherman’s pie made with fish and cream sauce under mashed potato with some melted cheese on top. (This can be really delicious but between the cream sauce, the butter in the mashed potatoes and cheese, it is about 5,000 calories a serving). It would meet your definition of a shepherd’s pie. If you go into a pub overseas and it says “shepherd’s pie”, it is lamb. If it says “cottage pie”, it is beef. This is modern usage.

            Fortunately I have never been served either a cottage pie or a shepherd’s pie in a base of creamed corn. Or with goat’s meat. I think what you are describing is an American creation from the 1950’s. Are you sure it does not also contain Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup?

          2. Oh, on the strawberry meringues. If you break up the meringues (which occasionally happens as you try to take them off the parchment paper), you can still serve your strawberry meringues but call it an “Eton mess” instead.

          3. Jessie, I have no problem with those definitions for pies overseas. Part of my naval service was in Scotland, where I learned to appreciate fish and chips with malt vinegar, i.e. the correct way.

            Also, forgive me for using my mother’s cooking as an example. She was not the worst cook in New Wingland, but I’m sure they were friends and shared recipes.

          4. Gary, it may also be a West Coast thing. Suddenly every neighborhood dinner has turned into a brew pub that makes its own brew and about a third of them serve cottage pie. Very few serve shepherd’s pie. And most give you the option for malt vinegar with your fish and chips. (This is the West Coast. They all serve fish and chips. And bratwurst or some other kind of sausage. Well brew pub – it all goes well with beer).

        2. It was probably mutton. Americans eat lamb reasonably often — my brother usually has some in the freezer, ready for company meals — but we don’t have a culinary tradition of mutton, and most of us, pre-Internet, would be hard pressed to find a suitable recipe for it.

          Whereas — and since yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day — corned beef is a meal a lot of Americans serve in honor of the day, and probably WWII cooks were used to meals based on canned meats, too.

          1. Lamb is expensive in the US while hamburger and chicken are comparatively less. Also, the more affordable lamb is shipped in from abroad.

            I buy lamb from local farmers, but it’s at a premium price.

    2. Likewise, I am not Irish, but I have an Irish surname courtesy of this guy I married

  10. Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev is just so well written that sometimes I felt like I could smell the food. It’s kinda clean ito of sexy times but worth the cost.

    Loathe the author introduction. It’s written for people with little to no interaction with PoCs. But hey, if it gets someone to buy, it I hope it works.

    When I have money for the series, I will buy them ALL, no hesitation.

    1. I’m glad to hear that you liked it. I read Incense and Sensibility a few months ago and just ordered PP&O from the library. The only reason I didn’t read the other book immediately was the size of my TBR pile.

  11. I read John Scalzi’s Kaiju Preservation Society and Melissa McShane’s new Extraordinaries book Beguiling Birthright, both pretty good.

    Now I’m halfway through the fourth and final book in Sherwood Smith’s The Phoenix Feather series, Dragon and Phoenix. Which I stayed up reading way too late last night and I’m still only halfway through.

  12. I read a lot this week, but the best books were a couple of Bujold re-reads. Neither of the three new books provided the true reading bliss I was aiming for.
    Jayne Castle’s Guild Boss wasn’t the best in the Castle’s series of futuristic romances, but it wasn’t bad per se. It was immensely readable. And of course, there was Otis, the dust bunny.
    Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered was not as much a retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty as a gut-wrenching twist on the theme. It read more like a fable than a modern fantasy story. BUT… it was too sad for me, too hopeless. I’m a conservative girl at heart (even though I’m pushing 70). I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve always liked the sanitized Disney versions of fairy tales, with all their pretty animation, sugary tunes, and dancing mice. At least, the Disney movies are uplifting. They make me happy. This book veered as far from Disney as possible and as a consequence, was pretty disheartening. I didn’t enjoy it much, but objectively, it was OK. Especially if the old Disney’s unalloyed sweetness is not your thing.
    Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief didn’t impress me at all. I hoped it would be better.

  13. Believe it or not, the next books in The Thief series are wayyyyy better than the first one. I never re-read the first one but I re-read all the others regularly. Others on this site might chime in.

    1. Don’t forget that The Thief was iirc a children’s or YA book. Especially compared to the next one it shows. Still, I really like it, it has it’s own rhythm in which I was happy to immerse myself when I read it first (well before the kids, + years ago)

    2. What I mostly disliked was the fact that the author never revealed Gen’s true feelings and thoughts until the very end. I resented it. I don’t like it when a writer lies to me. Gen is the POV character. Ideally, I should know what he feels and thinks. I should be ‘in his head’, so to speak, and I was never allowed there. I think this literary gimmick is called ‘unreliable narrator’ and it is one I can’t stomach. I wonder if her other books are written like that too.

      1. Gen is always unpredictable but I don’t think any of the other books are written from his POV.

      2. That was my problem the first time I read that book. Oddly enough, the second time round because I knew the truth, I didn’t bother me but I do like the follow ups more!

    3. I really liked them all, though I think I preferred Thick as Thieves; Kamet was a fascinating character and watching him achieve inner and outer freedom was very satisfying.

      1. I liked it, too. I like it when I can share the narrators thoughts, but I equally like it when in some instances I don’t. Some of my favourite books habe elusive heroes and I don’t regard it as literary gimmick. But tastes vary.

        1. I share Olga’s reservations about the narrators in “The Thief” series. I also feel that the author uses the narrator to play games on the reader.

          At a sci-fi / fantasy convention someone referred to a historical/fantasy story which brought in a gun inappropriately to the time. I started nodding as several other audience members recognized the reference to one of the books in “The Thief” series.

          1. Fwiw the author says that it is not set in one time but rather across 3000 years. “ And then, yes, the story that I wanted to tell had a lot of things in it, like things that happened around the Mediterranean in the past 3,000 years. But it’s a mix and match of the past 3,000 years, it’s not like I picked one time period and I’m trying to mimic that. It’s more like I read a lot about the ancient world, and then evolved it further. So it’s like a Byzantine level of technology, but it’s not supposed to be an echo of the Byzantine world. By the time the Byzantine world had gone on, the Mediterranean was really a very different place than the world that I’m imagining.”

  14. Close to the end of Kage Baker’s In the Garden of Iden, I would say for fans of historical fiction and sci fi and time travel elements. Future humans form a company (“The Company”) that travels back to create immortals that then travel into different eras to save species, plants, medical techniques, etc. for the good of Future Humans.

    Timelines can’t be changed in this world. Immortals are definitely enhanced via invisible tech.

    From the perspective of a newish immortal botanist whose first assignment is during Bloody Mary’s reign in England. She’s determining her feelings about humans in general, icluding falling in love with one.

    She’s quirky and smart and so are her co-workers who are thousands of years old. Their black humour and practical disdain for world-changing events is very funny. It’s a series and I think this is a really engaging first book.

    Next: This month’s Christie re-read – The Man in the Brown Suit.

    Also: My recently retired father is delving into British classic mystery short stories. He’s plowed through all the Christie collections, so any recs for short story collections in this genre would be much appreciated!

    1. Dorothy Sayers did one, though it’s really best read after the Lord Peter Wimsey series, since the stories feature him.

      1. In the US the short stories were most recently published in five collections:

        HANGMAN’S HOLIDAY (1933) Also contains Montague Egg stories
        IN THE TEETH OF THE EVIDENCE (1939) Also contains Montague Egg stories
        STRIDING FOLLY (1972)
        LORD PETER (1972)

        LORD PETER duplicates the Peter Wimsey stories in the previous four titles.

        1. Especially Meet the Tiger, which is I think the first one, and introduces Patricia. Love that one.

          Or Modesty Blaise books? Except the last one anyway.

      1. Jeanine that would absolutely work! I remember him reading EQ magazine when I was a kid. Thx for the reminder..

    2. Michael Gilbert is brilliant at short stories. Game Without Rules and Calder and Behrens are great collections about aging spies, probably in their sixties. Anything for a Quiet Life is great, about a solicitor who is getting ready to retire and moves to a nice quiet coastal town that isn’t that quiet.

      Wikipedia lists all of his collections:

      Collections of short stories[edit]
      Game Without Rules (1967)
      Stay of Execution (1971)
      Amateur in Violence (Davis Publications, 1973)
      Petrella at Q (1977)
      Mr. Calder and Mr. Behrens (1982)
      Young Petrella (1988)
      Anything for a Quiet Life (Carroll & Graf,1990)
      The Man Who Hated Banks and other mysteries (Crippen & Landru, 1997)
      The Mathematics of Murder: A Fearne & Bracknell Collection (Robert Hale, 2000)
      The Curious Conspiracy (Crippen & Landru, 2002)
      Even Murderers Take Holidays and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2007)
      A Pity About the Girl and Other Stories (Robert Hale, 2008)
      The Murder of Diana Devon and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2009)
      The Man Who Could Not Sleep and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2011) — radio plays & play synopses

      He’s also brilliant at novels, but if your dad is in to short stories, the ones I mentioned are available on Amazon for download.

      Now I have to go see if I can find some of the others.

      1. The Michael Gilbert collections that are in digital are affordable. The ones that are out of print are not:
        • Amateur in Violence (Davis Publications, 1973) $45.51

        • The Mathematics of Murder: A Fearne & Bracknell Collection (Robert Hale, 2000). $139.16

        • The Curious Conspiracy (Crippen & Landru, 2002) $26.00

        • Even Murderers Take Holidays and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2007) $74.99

        • A Pity About the Girl and Other Stories (Robert Hale, 2008). $49.44

        • The Murder of Diana Devon and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2009). $150

        • The Man Who Could Not Sleep and Other Mysteries (Robert Hale, 2011) — radio plays & play synopses. $164.36

        1. Woohoo. It is like trying to find some of Elsie Lee’s more obscure titles. They are fun reading but not worth big bucks. Fortunately I have both her Regency’ and her mysteries and even Roommates.

        2. Thank you for extra down a rabbit hole effort! Those Gilberts are definitely Dad Bait!

  15. I went to the library and picked up three winners: Sophie Kinsella’s latest, The Party -crasher (great fun once I got past my usual irritation at her childish heroines – there were redeeming features/an arc), Sophie Haywood’s The Cactus (a hilariously obnoxious heroine: it shouldn’t work, but it does) and I’m halfway through Salley Vickers’ The Gardener, which is set in the Shropshire countryside, and which I’m enjoying so far – she writes light literary fiction/woman’s journey.

  16. I actually have a second book to recommend this week. Advanced Love by Ari Seth Cohen is a collection of pictures of older couples and a short thumbnail sketch of how they got together. Some of these couples met in childhood, some are more recent pairings and all of them have their own distinct style. A few entries also show a wedding picture and it is fascinating to see how they have changed over the years.

  17. To the Argher who recommended Red Heir by Lisa Henry, thanks! Just what I needed, ridiculous fun that didn’t take itself seriously for a second. It’s not subtle, but it’s still funny.

    I have just started book two (Elf Defence) and it has the best first line:

    “To be fair,” Benji said as Duke Klaus of Tournel plummeted down the side of the tower and hit the ground with a sickening splat, “that was mostly gravity’s fault.”

    1. It may have been me, or I may have found it here. I liked Red Heir a lot, but the second one didn’t gel for me. I didn’t bother to explore the rest of the series.

  18. I’m reading my own series, so I don’t think that counts. I’m reading to create a better series bible because as the series grows, there’s more to remember re consistency and I want to make sure I got everything right for the next book coming out.

    Other than that, I recently did a reread of Goldie Hawn’s A Lotus Grows in the Mud memoire. Really like it, but then it’s Goldie so always smart and fun:)

  19. I’ve been listening to the Thursday Murder Club, and while it’s not my usual fare (I prefer a more focused/intimate/close protagonist/narrator voice than this kind of scattered multi-pov format (and a more clearly defined protagonist), it’s compelling, so I keep listening.

    I also started Lindsay Buroker’s latest, Elf Tangent, which I’m enjoying more than the last few series. (They weren’t bad, just not my cuppa — the werewolf one was too predominantly romance, when I prefer that to be secondary to a fantasy plot, and the epic one was too, well, epic, which is not my genre of choice.)

  20. I really liked A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver. It’s a spy/mystery novel set in Britain during WWII. Heroine is a housebreaker by trade who gets sucked into the world of spies.

  21. Last week was Agatha Christie week. Went through the favorites. Death on the Nile is on hold due to the movie coming out (or is it out already?). Kenneth Branagh did an amazing job with Murder on the Orient Express. I have high hopes for Death on the Nile.

    Just started Elly Griffiths’ The Zig Zag Girl audiobook. Early days, but I love a good murder mystery. Plus this one has a professional magician.

    Also, read Sarah Strohmeyer’s Do I Know You? I’m still digesting that one…It’s been awhile since a book has left me so…annoyed…at the protagonist and the people who claim to love her.

  22. Finished re-reading all the Murderbots, thank you Martha Wells. The Kaiju Preservation Society is the current audio book we listen to in the car while making laps to and from ballet school, and Simone St. James has a new book out, The Book of Cold Cases, which I am hoping will take my mind off everything as well as Murderbot did.

  23. I read the new Rivers of London graphic novel: Monday, Monday. You don’t see much of Beverley, but the twins have arrived!

  24. Six full-length things this week, including a re-read, and a couple of shorts. Disappointed with ‘Castle Shade’ by Laurie R. King; the tone felt off, there were plentiful modernisms/Americanisms that I don’t recall encountering before in the series, and the Russell/Holmes relationship doesn’t progress at all. Not a bad book by any means, but not what I wanted.

    Read two M/M post-WWI historicals that I liked. 1st, ‘Best Laid Plaids’ by Ella Stainton is set in Scotland and has to do with ghost-hunting; there were times the POV was unclear, and the sex scenes seemed, shall we say, not fully visualized (body mechanics are a thing!) but enjoyed sufficiently that I will read the sequel.

    2nd, my favorite book of the week, ‘A Gentleman Tutor’ by Harper Fox. POV character is a badly injured 25-year-old veteran who gets a too-good-to-be-true job tutoring a 20-year-old who hasn’t yet even approached university and whose father turns out to be a complete monster. A lot goes terribly wrong but all ends happily.

  25. I reread one of my favorite Crusie’s, Maybe This Time. I love Andie and North. The portrayal of the kids is so spot on and they are so lovable. All the secondary characters are quirky and either lovable or hate-able. The plot is compelling. The ending is satisfying.
    I read it on my Kindle but I have a signed copy. I got to hear Jenny speak. It was a fun night!

    1. I have to reread that to write Alice. I think the biggest mistake I made there was keeping North and Andie apart for so long. I was just so caught up in Alice . . .

      1. Alice was certainly compelling. And North was supposed to be distant to fit the gothic thing, right? You arced him so elegantly.

        1. It was a perfect amount of North. What I particularly liked about the first half is that as much as we would like life to be about romance, really you have to try to introduce nutrition to kids, you have difficult home help to deal with and HELLO how do you get the cable guy to come out when you need him! Sex is great but it isn’t all there is to life.

          1. I liked the idea that they began to connect on the phone. Far away enough not to threaten each other or bring up old fights, focusing on the kids, but realizing that what they’d valued in each other ten years before was still there. It was too slow a burn for a lot of readers though. And I got distracted by Southie, too. I loved Southie.

        2. In The Turn of the Screw, the guardian never does show up, just leaves the governess to deal with the ghosts/her own psychosis, which leads to tragedy. Since I don’t do tragedy, North showed up.
          Oh and thank you.

          1. I also bet Henry James doesn’t have a kick-ass recipe for banana bread either.

      2. I have this unabridged on CD and I LOVED the reader… her voice for Alice really made her come alive for me.

        As a matter of fact, I think I’ll put it on right now.

        1. Oh, thanks for telling me. I really have to get over my aversion to audio. I’ve never heard any of my books.
          Please note, I’m thrilled other people like audio. I just don’t like being read to. No idea why.

          1. Once upon a time I had a really long commute to work. Audiobooks were the best! And I have a few Crusie books that way. This was one of my faves!

          2. Whoever casts for your audiobooks is/was very good. I don’t recall any of your books where the narrator was even ‘meh’. They’ve all been really really great. Renee Raudman, Deanna Hurst, and Susan Erickson are my favorites. That’s how I found your books. Checked out Agnes and the Hitman on CD and thoroughly enjoyed it.

            Narrators can make or break an audiobook. One of my favorite books was so horribly narrated that I can’t even read the book now without hearing the terrible Russian accents and shrill English voices (Ugh!).

            I used to have a 1-hour commute (by train) and audiobooks were my way to relax and enjoy books again. I would have read the books but I get motion sickness and that commuter train was bouncy and crowded. These days, I listen to your books before bedtime, to wind down the day.

          3. Oh, good. My audio publishers have always been good to me, so I feel guilty about not listening. Good to know they work for you!

          4. I’m with you; I really don’t like audiobooks. I love [some] podcasts, but don’t particularly want to be read to.

          5. There are some more replies to this, so I hope I fall in line at the end.

            I remember Jenny saying that Maybe This Time was about Andie’s trajectory — taking longterm responsility, or maybe just “hanging in there” — rather than North’s trajectory. I like the way the greater focus on Andie works out. I’m also convinced by North’s realization that she is/was his wife and that he damn well better get involved. And at the end he even comes to believe in ghosts.

          6. I fall into books so I can’t listen to audio books in the car — I see the story and not the road. Rather hazardous. And audio books take too long! I tend to read very fast and rip through a story the first time at least. I only have a very few audio books and all are things I read already in print.

  26. A REVOLUTION OF RUBIES (Applied Topology Book 6) Working my way through this series by Margaret Ball and still enjoying them. This one inspired me to check out Casa Batlló online. I hadn’t heard of it before and seeing pictures of the interior made my eyes bug out, though it is absolutely the ideal background for a topologist. Now on to A CHILD OF MAGIC, though I feel we’ve moved quite a distance from pure mathematics.

    Comfort reread: THE CURSE OF CHALION. I love all the Five Gods books and my only disappointment is that there aren’t more of them.

    New this week: BRUNO’S CHALLENGE, by Martin Walker. Short story collection, and, as always, heavy on community and food porn.

    Still into LIVES OF UNFORGETTING, which I decided to alternate with HOW DEAD LANGUAGES WORK, by Coulter H. George, to see if these books improved my insight if read together. LIVES OF UNFORGETTING discusses understanding what Biblical authors were really trying to say, sometimes difficult to discern when words really did have wildly different overtones and nuances in long-dead languages.

    Cookbook of the week: 1,000 FOODS TO EAT BEFORE YOU DIE: A Food Lover’s Life List, by Mimi Sheraton, Low on recipes, high on background information, and it includes a handful of Ukrainian classics:
    Borshch, cabbage-and beet-laden borshch has no “t” in Ukrainian;
    Holubtsi, sweet-and-sour stuffed cabbage;
    Korovai, wedding bread-cake;
    Kotlety Po-Kievski, known to us as chicken Kiev;
    Kutya, wheat berry pudding, traditional for Christmas Eve;
    Pierogi; in Ukraine they are called pyrohy by anyone who can pronounce the word.

    This one has inspired me to hunt down a place which still carries Chicken Kiev; turns out there’s one across town.

  27. I read A Marvelous Light by Freya Marske. Read it very quickly and may have to read it again because I think I missed some things in my rush to find out What Happens. Started several other things but didn’t finish them. Blah.

  28. Good news!!! I just got A Gift Of Luck on Amazon. It is Sarah Wynde’s latest. 5th in the Tasamara series. It’s free for Kindle Unlimited folks. If you haven’t read this series, it’s wonderful. Book one is A Gift Of Ghosts.
    Sarah comments on here sometimes.

    1. That *is* good news! I really enjoyed the first four Tassamara books. Off to buy it now.

  29. I read Anne Bishop’s newest, Crowbones, during which I realized I had forgotten most of Lake Silence, so I re-read that one. I really loved both of them, especially Yorick’s vigorous appendage, which made me laugh out loud. I remember not liking the middle one as much, so I didn’t go back to that one.

    I’ve been re-reading a bunch of Linda Howard’s older stuff and mostly enjoying them, although there’s a little too much of the squicky, 70’s “forceful” heroes…

    I read David Weber’s eARC A New Clan, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I also re-read a bunch of Susan Andersen’s older romance/thrillers – they have held up surprisingly well, especially On Thin Ice and Exposure.

  30. Went from ‘A Beginners Guide to Matchmaking’ to ‘A Deadly Education’ and am liking them both.

    This group has definately expanding my reading adventures. But, sometimes I think I’m going to give myself whiplash.

    1. I think that’s what’s so nice about hanging out here, the sheer breadth of what people read. It’s like being in the best book club ever where nobody tries to impose a narrow definition of what is a good read.

    2. This is true. But for myself I like a lot of stuff: some romance, non-fiction and fiction about the medieval period, some detective, fantasy, science fiction, cookbooks, YA. Someone here is sure to recommend something in some genre that I haven’t read before that I am going to enjoy.

      1. It’s almost as if we’ve self-curated so that we really do have similar tastes, we’re just eclectic.

        That is, if we tried, we could probably come up with a list of things we don’t like–tstl protagonists, infodump that slows the story, the word “smirk” used incorrectly (sorry, sorry, I know that’s just me)–which is the reason we tend to like the same books across genres. I know there are non-sf readers here who love Murderbot, etc. We just like good story.

        This is a Good Book Thursday is the best blog idea I ever had.

  31. I just the new JD Robb “Abandoned in Death”.

    And am on the waiting list for the new
    Anne Bishop book “Crowbones”

  32. Last but not least I just noticed that Bet Me is read for free on KU.

    I also took note of Susanna Hugo’s post about re-reading Susan Andersen’s early romance thrillers and have gotten four books from the e-library, one which I’m reading now and I know I’ve never read it before. I would have remembered the name of the H – Elvis. Exposure is the title. And I’m not going to be fussy about VCRs and tapes the characters so far are that good.

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