This is a Good Book Thursday, April 28, 2022

I am mostly reading Lavender’s Blue, Acts One and Two, getting revved up for Three and Four. And then come the rewrites, but we’ve been rewriting all along so with any luck, we’ll be able to just shoot it off to beta readers and start brainstorming Book Two. Or, as Bob says, “Let’s finish this one first.”

What did you finish reading this week?

156 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 28, 2022

  1. I am so looking forward to reading your new book!

    In the meantime, I am still reading some KU books. Right now, I am reading Claire Kingsley’s Bailey Brothers series. I am enjoying it. It makes me think a lot of Susan Wiggs Lakeshore chronicles which I used to like a lot back in the day but with more graphic sex scenes.

    What is it nowadays that sex in this kind of romance has to be more graphic?

    I am finding myself skimming these bits more and more actually. Give me the feelings, not the squelching …

    1. Depending on my mood, I don’t mind the squelching and can definitely be in the mood for trashy and smutty. It depends on the book. I do have a hard time with overly flowery or euphemistic language. It makes me want to giggle.

      1. Another thought: I really enjoy how sex scenes change generationally. I feel nostalgic about how the 90s wrote them, etc. Different authors, but there is very much an overall feel for a decade. Of course, I don’t mind squelching and sometimes bread erotica for mindless comfort, so take that with a grain of salt.

      2. I mean, Linda Howard is the only mainstream author I can think of who regularly uses the word penis in her sex scenes. I remember being jarred by it the first time I read one, but something about the bluntness of the vocabulary was appealing.

        1. It’s true. And I also appreciate it. Although I notice it’s always a thick one. Really? How many thick ones are actually out there?? Never met one myself.

          1. And PS – I’ve got my mother reading Linda Howard now – haven’t told her that it’s romance which she always scoffs at.

  2. I read Alexis Hall’s Arden St. Ives trilogy, with the active encouragement of Alexandra and Lupe, and you were both right – quite delightful. And then Alexandra suggested the Sons of Britain so I’ve read the first one there and am onto the second, also enjoyable.

    The real treat this week was that Rachel Reid’s conclusion to Heated Rivalry came out – the Long Game. So happy! Her writing style is not sophisticated, but her insights about her characters and how those two MC’s pop up from the page make them one of my favourites. I could honestly read about them grocery shopping. Loved it.

    1. Me too, highlight of my week has been The Long Game. I love how this one connected to other books in the series, the way things got a bit deeper for the characters, and how a lopsided situation was resolved into a fairer one. However, definitely not recommended for those who aren’t fans of squelching. LOL

      1. Oh yes, lots of squelching! I like squelching though. In books.

        Hey I meant to also recommend you take a look at RJ Scott and VL Locey – LOTS of content there so I would suggest starting with Changing Lines. Together they are great. On their own, RJ Scott is not my fave but VL Lockey’s Point Shot series with Victor Kalinski who is such a good red-headed angry character.

    2. Heated Rivalry is one of my favourite romances, but I don’t love the rest of the series (I mean, they’re fine) so I had low expectations for The Long Game…

      I really enjoyed it, but I think that’s mostly because I love Heated Rivalry. I think I recall Jenny writing something about stories (romances) being about the life changing thing, well that had already happened for these characters, so this was a ‘what comes next’. So yeah, I read it in a day, enjoyed it, will reread it for sure, but it made me think of the Rivers of London discussions: here because I love the characters.

      1. I also really liked Heated Rivalry. It is the book that made me like m/m and I have read all the others too. I did like Tough guy a lot and of course I read the Long game.

        I love the characters but this time unfortunately I did ask myself, do we need quite that many sex scenes?

        Also, whenever I read a sec scene now, I ask myself the Jenny rule, what is this scene bringing to the story?

          1. Definitely the sex scenes in this one didn’t drive the plot or character forwarded as much as Heated Rivalry. But still carried its fair share. And she did cut out one scene, which was quite fun, and is on her blog.

  3. I’m reading Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Homes. The story isn’t anything special, but the voice and characters shine, so I’m enjoying it.

    Also, today is my birthday (gulp) so I am reading lots of lovely birthday messages, which is quite lovely, since my big plans for the day are to go to the dump and pack for my trip. (Not at the same time. That would be really bad.)

    1. Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag, Deborah!
      May this day be sunny, happy and just all around lovely 🙂

  4. Not much reading here, just comfort re-listening as I clean. The book I was working on went bad on me and then we watched Death on the Nile, the first two thirds of which was fun and then they changed things and the end made me mad. Why do a Christie if you don’t want to make it feel like a Christie?

    1. I was very annoyed by the effort to make Poirot a Tragic Romantic Hero. Thought it was a bogus use of WWI and did nothing for the actual plot.

      1. And the death of his friend and the unnecessary action scene. Not Poirot and not Christie. She is almost a cozy author. I trust her not to go anywhere I don’t want her to. This movie trampled all over that. Bleh.

    2. This is the one with Kenneth Branagh? I haven’t seen that one yet. But the mustache in Orient Express was really distracting.

    3. Hey is that you responding to my post above? your icon is the same but…your email is showing not your …name.

        1. I was convinced somewhat was pretending to be you and then was going to make fake recommendations on books to me and lead me astray. It was all very dramatic in my mind. Oh well.

          1. Gasp… What would they recommend? Amish romance perhaps? Although I did read a m/m one once… Only tasteful spam to my email please, friend. No russian brides need apply.

          2. One of my favourite old school romances is an Amish/English one so never you mind. I was more worried that there would be recommendations like Master and Commander or Naked Lunch – my two most hated reads of all times.

            Russian brides ignore me. However, I have been contacted by four attractive young Asian women in the past week via text who believe my name is Mike/Tom/Jim/Steve and then are shocked and appalled that they have a wrong number and incredibly grateful that I’m so gracious about it and want to know where I live and what I’m doing right now…lucky me.

            I was

          3. Lucky you indeed. I keep winning iphones apparently, from Russian sounding accounts.

            And pardon the foot in my mouth. I was trying to think of the genre most unlike what I know of you. Should have gone with Lord of the Flies…

          4. Well…I read Lord of the Flies. Scarred me for life. Maybe I overlooked the romance part. Not too many genres I completely abhor – even went through a Louis L’Amour/Zane Grey westerns phase in my misbegotten youth. I tend not to read any horror books except Stephen King and I could never get into car-themed books so maybe those are my reading kryptonite. Along with Master and Commander’s knots and sheets blah blah nautical blah blah all male blah blah.

      1. I think these days I come back to the comments repeatedly just to see how your sistermance with Lupe is going 😀

          1. That made me laugh out loud rather than blush. And I confess we do have a sistermance going but…can’t we have a group sistermance?? All welcome!

          2. Honestly, I just take a lot of joy from having a friend who doesn’t shy away from some of the more “out there” aspects of some of the books I like. I am blessed with one in person friend who has similar tastes, but one of the ladies I work with had never heard of paranormal romance… So it makes it hard to have discussions. Also, I am solidly over being ashamed of what I read, but it’s still a delight to find like minded souls.

          3. And I take great delight in having a friend who has led me down some completely untrodden (for me) reading paths and seems to enjoy some of the same paths I’ve been on and lets me lead her astray occasionally. I mean, how perfect is that? Plus funny.

  5. I read Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson and loved it, so I immediately read An Enchantment of Ravens, also by Margaret Rogerson. I have Sorcery of Thorns on my holds list now.

    I also read Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia and really enjoyed it.

    I listened to The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. It was great. I had to put it down (or on pause I guess) for a couple of days because I was so afraid that something (else) bad would happen to someone I had come to love, but I finally pushed play and finished it. I’m glad I did.

    I was on vacation last week, so I also had time to read Iron and Velvet by Alexis Hall. It’s about a paranormal investigator. The story is great, but there are a lot (truly a lot) of gross sewage, guts and pus related incidents. I’ll definitely read the next one, though, and can’t wait until the next Winner Bakes All book is out (October maybe?)

    I also want to mention One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston – I finished it a couple of weeks ago, but it was really interesting. She is the author of Red, White and Royal Blue, which I never finished (again because I knew something bad was going to happen to someone I had come to care about) (I have a thing). But I have put Red, White and Royal Blue back on my reading list and will finish it this time.

    1. I loved Vespertine too, but got bogged down in An Enchantment of Ravens. I look forward to hearing what you think of Sorcery of Thorns.

      Like you, I sometimes put a book down when I feel a conflict coming. At least the characters in Red, White and Royal Blue behave well and communicate, which made navigating that part easier for me. It’s when it’s a Big Misunderstanding compounded by silly behavior that really upsets me.

      1. Sorcery of Thorns is my favorite of the three. Then Vespertine. Didn’t enjoy Enchantment of Ravens as much, but that was her first foray.

    2. Red White and Blue has a good ending. One of my favorite books.
      I wandered off about a third of the way into One Last Stop. There wasn’t anything bad about it, but I had to stop reading to go do something, and never went back, just forgot to. I think she has a new one out now.

      1. I had a similar reaction. I love, love, love Red, White, and Royal Blue, but was disappointed by One Last Stop. Maybe my expectations were too high. I finished it, but I wasn’t that invested in the characters, and the speculative premise was distractingly flimsy: “This must be what happened that caused this unnatural situation, so if we do this other extremely risky thing exactly right, we can reverse it.”

        The new one is YA, coming out I think next week. I’ll still read it, but I didn’t buy it.

        1. I agree that the premise of One last Stop was pretty flimsy, but I loved the characters and the general feeling of the book. But not as much as I loved Red, White and Royal Blue. Must reread that again.

  6. I listened to Amongst our Weapons – twice. I fell asleep and missed things the first time around and had a burning question that was never resolved. It was answered quite early on the second time around. I didn’t realize or I would have rewound.

    I found that quite often when listening I can miss chunks of stories and it doesn’t really make a difference. That is not the case with Aaronovitch.

    Also, the end of Amongst Our Weapons felt like it might be the end of the series. Did anyone else think that? Has anyone heard/read anyting along those lines?

    1. I don’t think so. Among other things, Aaronovitch dropped some heavy hints that Peter has A Destiny! (Cue ominous music).

    2. I didn’t think so either. For one thing, the latest (I think) graphic novel happens after Amongst Our Weapons; it has the twins in it. I still think that whatever was staring back at Peter from the Mary Engine will show up again. I think what’s happened is that the series has changed along with Peter. In the first one, he was a complete innocent, knowing nothing about the Folly. At the end of this one, Nightingale is talking about retiring, he and Peter work as partners, and Peter is the one training innocents. Plus the Folly, which used to be Nightingale and Molly, now has people going in and out all the time, Abigail practically living there, Foxglove definitely living there, and Peter spending most of his nights with Bev (and now their two kids). It’s a huge arc.

      Plus there’s Lesley. I don’t know where she is or what she’s doing, but she’s still acting as antagonist/Peter’s back-up, and that’s not resolved yet.

    3. In the past, Aaronovitch has said that he’ll keep writing Rivers of London as long as people are willing to buy the books, and he hit the bestseller list in the UK (not sure about US), so people are still buying! I think he also said he’s planning to alternate novels featuring Peter with novellas featuring other characters. He’s working on (or was recently) a novella from the POV of … forget her name, the US agent who’s his liaison with American magical cases.

      1. Kim, I think.
        I have to admit, I wasn’t crazy about The October Man. For some reason, I couldn’t get into it.
        But I loved the Abigail novellas. I will show up for Abigail any time.

    4. I find that for the most part I can’t listen to books that I haven’t read first. I suddenly realise that my mind has wandered and I’ve missed chunks. This may be because I usually listen while knitting and sometimes I have to pay attention to what’s on the needles. So, normally I read the print book first and listen on the re-read.

      Sometimes I find a book that hits the right note that makes it listen-to-able (isn’t English grand?) at first go. For example, I’m currently listening to The Kaiju Preservation Society without having first read it in print. It’s working for me, perhaps because, as John Scalzi himself says, it’s the book equivalent of a pop song. Also, I love Will Wheaton as a narrator (and for Wheaton’s Law).

      1. I find that non fiction books or novels I know really well are the only things I can listen to. The slow pace of reading out loud means that I get distracted too easily.
        I read The Kaiju Preservation Society this week, just gulped it down in one evening. It was delightful. Scalzi is very good at writing a kind of frictionless prose that propels you through the story. It’s deceptively simple, but requires lots of skill to carry off.

  7. I read book 1 of Kim Watt’s dragon cozy mysteries – Baking Bad. I loved it so much I immediately bought and started the second one. 😍 Cozy is the right description it was a lovely hot chocolate with a blanket rainy afternoon kind of story.

  8. I ended up reading 4 books in the Roberts mystery series about a woman that can dowse for dead bodies. This was recommended by someone here a week or two ago. Thanks for the recc! I do see a lot of similarities between this series and the Charlaine Harris series about a woman who can find dead bodies. I like both series although I think I am more drawn to the Harris series.

    I also read The Shop on Royal Street by Karen White. It’s a spinoff of the mystery-ghost story-romance series set off in Charleston. This one is set in New Orleans, and features Melanie from Charleston’s daughter Nola who is renovating her own haunted house there. I enjoyed it overall even if I sometimes wanted to take Nola and shake some sense into her.

    I also read Welcome to the School by the Sea by Jenny Colgan. It’s the start of a boarding school series which she originally wrote under a different name. It was a pretty typical Jenny Colgan, but for some reason I didn’t find it as satisfying. Maybe because 1) there were multiple main characters and storylines instead of the usual one or two and 2) there were too many storylines left dangling without a good resolution at the end.

    I’m now reading The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake which is a SFF book. I’m not sure what to make of it yet. I’m on page 136 and the book is holding my interest while I wait for the metaphorical boom to drop on the characters. Am curious to see if my initial wild surmises as to what is really happening are on target.

    1. I should probably be more specific. I was referring to the Bodies of Evidence series by Wendy Roberts, and the Harper Connelly series by Charlaine Harris. I recommend both!

    2. Good to know about the Jenny Colgan. I got it to take on the plane, but I was wondering if I wouldn’t like it as much as her others, so maybe I’ll take something else and read that when I get home.

  9. I read T Kingfisher’s Nettle and Bone and ahhhhh what a book. One of the best romantic declarations ever, a White Rat cameo moment, impossible tasks, a perilous quest against hopeless odds, and a very good dog, what more could you want?

    1. It is still on order in our library, but I have it on hold. I wish she published it herself instead of giving it to TOR. The Kindle version would’ve been cheaper.

  10. I devoured both India Hayes cozy mysteries written by Amanda Flower. She’s gone on to other series, but I’m bummed that there are no more about India. Fun things for me: cats are featured India is a college librarian (as Flowers and I were), and it’s set in NE Ohio, where I grew up. Not many books reference small towns like Tallmadge and Stow, or the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Also, India’s parents are protesting hippies; they keep a lawyer on retainer for occasions when they want to be arrested. The mother is a pastor. I’ll go on to other books of Flower’s.

  11. Just want to thank you Jennifer for writing so many fun books. I recently retired and hadn’t read in many years but now that I have time, I am loving it!!
    I seriously want to read everything you have written!!
    Just had hip replacement so have plenty of time to enjoy your books!
    Thanks for sharing your wonderful talent with us everyday people!!

  12. I went with two recommendations from last week. Kerry Greenwood’s Corinna Chapman’s series, the first is at the library waiting for a pickup. Devil’s Food is already on Hoopla but I won’t read it until I can finish the first. The second book is a bit like a memoir of Carol Burnett’s success story. I know I’ve read about her in the past so this will be like reading a chapter for a chuckle every once in awhile.

    One cookbook that I received on KU was The Tutorial 100 Cookies Baking. I only got it for the recipe for Neapolitan cookies, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. My husband has gone grocery shopping and may be on a mission for freeze dried strawberries. Sometimes just reading the recipe satisfies me. If he comes back with the goods I may just have to make them.

    If this was yesterday (Working Wednesday) I would tell you that this morning after washing my hair I grabbed the scissors and chopped an inch off. The way I figure it as long as I can wrap a curling iron around it it’s all good.

  13. Finished Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny. Will be rereading again. Ordered a sample of her short stories – Single Carefree Mellow. Will probably purchase, thanks again, Jinx.

    Reading Miles in Love, Lois McMaster Bujold. Second chapter in, I think I’ve read this before. Names are familiar….

    Also, The Lost Gutenberg, Margaret Leslie Davis.

    1. I think Miles in Love is an Omnibus edition, so if you’ve read…I want to say Komarr, and A Civil Campaign…(maybe Memory is in there to start? I’d have to look it up.) then you are rereading.

  14. I’m about halfway through Nettle & Bone by Ursula Vernon (w/a T Kingfisher), and it’s the first (non-reread) book that’s really held my attention in months, perhaps since the Lady Sherlock book last fall! Hallelujah!

  15. I’ll lead with the book I finished at arse o’clock last night (this morning): A DUKE BY DEFAULT by Alyssa Cole. Funny-sexy-angsty. I wished the heroine had been given more opportunity to do what she actually went to Scotland to do, and that there had been a tiny bit less Never Relationship ruminating by hero + I’m A Failure ruminating by heroine (that time could’ve gone to putting their happy ending on the actual damn page), but overall I liked both characters very much and thought the ways they dealt with the main (external) conflict worked.

    Also: very good M/F historical AFTER DARK WITH THE DUKE by Julie Ann Long. Bad first impressions lead to slow burn then to passionate affair with imminent expiration date, but of course they can’t stand to let it end. 🙂

    My M/M rec for the week is FLARE by Jay Hogan. Everything I like about her stuff (muscular style, New Zealand setting, serious external conflicts overcome by teamwork), plus fashion.

    1. What I mainly remember about A Duke by Default was how bugged I was that the story hinged on an illegitimate son inheriting the title and property. Any reader of historical romance knows it doesn’t work like that! I totally lost confidence in the author because how hard would it have been to have a secret marriage in there? So it was either ignorance or laziness. It’s too bad, because I liked the first one in the series. Anyway, I just thought I’d throw that out there for anyone else who would be bothered by that.

      1. That was definitely a Thing Insufficiently Addressed but there’s a moment where the guy’s mother refers to the duke, his bio father, marrying again. Which to me implied that the two of them actually had been married, and that she left via divorce. In any case, romances about fictional royals in an otherwise real world have to be taken with a bagful of salt, so it didn’t much worry me. 🙂

  16. I read another Emma Mills this week. I am not a huge YA reader, but I find her books delightful, as long as I don’t read them too close together. Dear sister and I both agree that “First and Then” is her best, but “Foolish Hearts” was very satisfying. The people are too good to be true, but I LIKE that in a book.

    1. I agree about the ranking order. First and Then was wonderful, and slightly less angsty than Foolish Hearts, but I loved Iris so didn’t mind the extra teenage-ness.

  17. I continue my Peter Wimsey re-reading project. This week, it was Dorothy Sayers’ Murder Must Advertise. On the whole, this book felt somewhat grimmer than the previous books in the series. And there was no Harriet Vane to occasionally relieve the suspense with Peter’s lighthearted banter.
    The book was written almost 90 years ago, but the world of advertising hasn’t changed much since then. And the author’s cynical view of advertising fully coincided with mine. A few years back, I worked for a few months as a copywriter in an advertising agency. I still remember it as my worst job ever. I had to write pretty lies in spiffy format and make my false statements exciting and convincing. Argh! No, advertising was definitely not for me.

    Wen Spencer’s Monsters in Our Midst was an old novella, although I had never read it before. It was part of the author’s ELFHOME series, #3 in the Pittsburgh Backyard & Garden sub-series. A must for Spencer’s fans, although it could’ve used better editing. You can read it free on Baen website:

    Another novella, a new one – Sarah Wynde’s A Gift of Luck – was a light, fluffy story of luck, romance, siblings, and a bit of paranormal. Shortly, Tassamara in the Disney World park. Loved it!

    Katee Robert’s Neon Gods was a retelling of the Persephone and Hades myth, set in an alternative modern America. It was a DNF for me, as the book concentrated on kinky sex at the expense of the story. Not my thing at all.

    Travis Baldree’s Legends & Lattes was a blast. Thank you, Arghers, for recommending it. I enjoyed it tremendously. It has some similarity with the old pulp fiction fantasy books, but with a twist. Its heroine, a former mercenary, an orc with fangs, finally decides to leave the battles behind her and open a coffee shop. With cinnamon pastries. Delicious!

    Finally, Murder by Magic was an anthology of 20 short stories by various authors. All the stories combined a murder mystery with magic. Not bad, as anthologies go.

    1. Murder Must Advertise always reads to me like a masterclass in relatable writing. Cricket is so culturally specific that you would imagine that scene would fall flat for anyone who doesn’t understand the game, but she writes is so well it doesn’t matter whether you know how it works, the tension and stakes ratchet up anyway.

    2. I love Murder Must Advertise. Sayers nails the world of advertising. And I actually prefer Wimsey without Vane.

      I too DNFed Neon Gods. Glad I got it from the library. I’m not bothered by sex scenes per se but there’s got to be more, otherwise it’s just boring. And although ostensibly there was more in Neon Gods it fell flat for me. Possibly because I find the whole brooding male MC with the ‘Im not worthy and can never find happiness’ inner monologue a total yawn fest. To be fair, it could have gotten better later but I think at about a quarter the way through I just called it. My litmus test is: if I was sat next to the MCs in a coffee shop listening to them talk what would I do. With Neon Gods I would get up and leave.

      Legends and Lattes, however, sounds interesting …

    3. Murder Must Advertise was the first Wimsey book I read and I thought he was just someone who worked in an advertising agency.(rather than an aristocratic detective pretending to be someone working at an advertising agency.) I would quite happily have read a series set in various advertising agencies where people died mysteriously and Mr Bredon solved the cases.

    4. I liked Neon Gods, but I liked Electric Idol better. I read them out of order and then circled back. Eros just has this deep sweetness to him, despite his life and situation.

      Anyway, Neon Gods does get better as she works through the Hades/Persephone trope. But what I think really makes her stand out is that her female characters really take the lead role in resolving the conflict, and tend to be harder and more practical than the male characters. Idk. It’s an interesting dynamic that I don’t run into very often. A subtle subversion of the trope perhaps?

  18. Work has been crazy for the last . . . forever, but I managed to read over the past weeks two standout books:

    Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher, who was a new-to-me author. I don’t know how it managed to be cosy instead of gross, what with all the severed heads, but it was funny and sweet and incredibly real. I loved the characters so much. I’ll be picking up the remaining books in the series as soon as I have time to read them. I’m hoping Marguerite will show up again, but if not, the saints of steel are wonderful together.

    The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton. It was a delightful romp that reminded me of Three Men in a Boat. Delightful romp bears repeating.

    I also read Teach Me by Olivia Dade, which wasn’t quite my cup of tea, although there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. I mention it because it’s an absolute love letter to teachers, so I wanted to give it a shout-out to the teachers on here.

    1. Severed heads, I KNOW! I love her writing so much. So lovely. With severed heads. I don’t know how that’s possible. I think it’s because the main characters are decent and kind.

      1. Yes! I’m really looking forward to reading the others in the series. And everything else . . . such fun to find a new author with a backlist. 🙂

  19. Back to work after two weeks of holiday with little time for reading. Back to reading… escapism!

    I’ve read two KU-books by Jay Hogan and though pleasant stories and solid writing set in one of the loveliest places (New Zealand), what I didn’t like so much was the insta attraction between the protagonists in both books. Plus, the stories were told from alternating perspectives which I was totally fine with, but the respective voices were a bit too similar for my liking.

    As LN already pointed out, rather graphic descriptions of the physical aspect of love seem to have become very common. Which is also fine, but I personally rather see how the two protagonists get closer. That’s a far more interesting dance imho.

    Exactly that aspect was brilliantly done in Heartstopper, a YA graphic novel series, the first two books of which were recently brilliantly adapted into a Netflix series.
    “Opening day” was Friday April 22, a day fervently awaited by dd who binged it with her bestie on the very same day. I did the same the last weekend (alas without my bestie):
    The books are about who an unlikely friendship between a nerdy shy student and a more sporty Rugby playing student at the same all-boys school develops into more. How it affects themselves but also their friends and family. Community is important here as well.
    And it’s such a delicately portrayed first love!
    As the hosts of This morning described it, it’s also a family friendly show – definitely no squelching, yet ever so much more heartwarming.
    Highly recommended!!

  20. I finished Amongst Our Weapons and am now listening to a St. Mary‘s short story.

    It pleases me to know end that the “future of British magic” is TL Huchu’s Ropa Moyo and Abigail, two young Afro-British girls with foxes.

  21. I participated in the Taurus Arghers’ Birthday Run yesterday and was given All That She Carried by Tiya Miles. I’ve enjoyed reading the beginning and think I’m into a great book.

      1. End of April seems to be a popular time to be born. The dotter is now officially in her late twenties. Twenty-seventeen, I think, is a way to phrase it. 🙂 (VERY late twenties.)

        Happy birthday to all to whom it may apply, whichever stretch of twenty you can claim. 🙂

  22. I decided to follow in JaneB’s footsteps (or her comments from last week) and read some Loretta Chase. Thank you.

    I haven’t read her in ages and decided on The Carsington Series, which I had never read. Book one was so good I wondered if the next would disappoint or be too much the same. It was vastly different, but equally as pleasing. I just finished it, set in Egypt, and wow! What an adventure.

    Chase’s humor is unexpected, delightful, and her attention to detail is fabulous. Can’t believe I’d wandered off and not read this series.

    1. I love that series. I get strong Mummy vibes from Mr. Impossible which makes it even more fun. I love that kind of hero, the good old boy who turns into competence porn.

      1. I have always assumed that he’s actually quite smart but he has a learning disability.

        I really love how comfortable he is with the heroine being smarter than him …

        1. I think it’s like Freddie in Cotillion. He’s not academic like she is and he doesn’t want to be. But he’s competence porn; if you want to escape a walled city or fight off people trying to board your board, he’s the guy you want. The same way Freddie can always get a cab in the rain or stop a guy from harassing you with one look. He’s content to let her be the brains and he’ll be the brawn.

    2. Glad you’re enjoying the Carsingtons. Mr Impossible is my favourite, but all the stories are quite different, which is unusual in a series; and all good.

      1. It’s a great series. I’m fond of Lord Perfect, too, probably because it sets up Last Night’s Scandal, which I love. But Mr. Impossible may be the best. SUCH a great hero.Reminds me a little of Freddy in Heyer’s Cotillion.

  23. Last week I was travelling so it was all easy reads, including Cat Sebastian’s ‘The Soldier’s Scoundrel’ and ‘The Lawrence Browne Affair’. Both very enjoyable.

    Home again, I reread ‘Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen’, which is a very domestic book with little happening except the development of the relationship between Cordelia and Oliver. Now I’m rereading ‘Lord Vorpatril’s Alliance’, and chuckling whenever there’s a passing mention of Admiral Jole.

    1. I found Gentleman Jole really frustrating. I just can’t believe that Cordelia and Aral and Oliver had a group marriage and Cordelia let it be a secret from Miles even though half Imp Sec knew. She was much too comfortable with the marriage and too practical and upfront. Nor can I believe that Cordelia and Oliver had sex with or for Aral and yet Oliver never figured out he was really bisexual until 3 years after Aral died.

      I think she both wanted to show that it could have been a polyamorous marriage and show Cordelia and Oliver building a romance from scratch and she should have picked one and gone with it . Doing both didn’t work.

  24. SISTER: The War Diary of a Nurse, by Helen Dore Boylston, probably better known as the author of the Sue Barton nursing books and less well known Carol Page acting books, both series stocked by public libraries in my youth. She was also a close friend of Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and stayed at the Wilders’ Missouri farm. She’s a good diarist, not surprising, and I recognize a couple of characters from her later books. There’s been some speculation that she and Rose Wilder Lane were more than friends; I can’t speak to that, but from this book, the odds are at least as good that she was just one of the surplus unmarried women of her generation — a statistic when so very many men from the pool of available spouses didn’t come back from the front or were taken by the influenza. One interesting thing is the diseases she survived — trench this-and-that, diphtheria, flu. World War I was before even sulfa drugs, and long before penicillin or antibiotics were even thought of.

    THE FORGERY FURORE — The Ladies of Almack’s, Book 1, by Marissa Doyle. This is a Regency fantasy mystery, definitely on the light side, where the sleuths are the ladies’ committee of Almack’s. A side of Lady Frances Dalrymple, Lady Bathurst, Countess Lieven, Lady Jersey, Emily Cowper, Lady Castlereagh, Lady Sefton, Princess Esterhazy, and Mrs. Drummond-Burrell not previously shown — who knew they actually had supernatural powers? — with the addition of Annabel, Lady Fellbridge, a young widow with twin sons and the ability to disappear into a shadow. Someone is selling forged vouchers for Almack’s! I enjoyed it, and am now reading the next in the series, THE VANISHING VOLUME (copies of the third volume of the newest rage, THE FIFTY SHADES OF UDOLPHO, have suddenly vanished from every bookshop, library, and private home in London, and everyone who is anyone wants to know what happens next! Especially the people who won’t admit to actually reading this work.)

    MURDER AT THE MENA HOUSE, by Erica Ruth Neubauer, first in her series of Jane Wunderly Mystery Books. My cousin was reading this and enjoying it last Sunday, so I read it, too. Cairo between the wars. I suppose my cousin and I are spoiled, because although this is a perfectly good cozy mystery, it just doesn’t come up to my standard, which is Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Mertz. Not the author’s fault, and apparently Jane goes on to at least two more books of being an amateur sleuth, set in other locations.

  25. I re-read THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger. Good teen romance with a dollop of realism. Different story to the film, which is also good.

    Mostly I’m just waiting for UNDER ONE ROOF by Ali Hazelwood to come out on the 3rd of May. She wrote THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS which I adored. Bizarrely the audiobook is already out and has been for some time.

  26. What does KU mean? I guessed Kindergarten University, but that doesn’t fit the context. Knuckle Under? It must be something like YA, but I’m at a loss.

    1. Kindle Unlimited 😉
      Amazon’s ebook subscription makes it easy to try books that might might be a discovery or a fail. But with a fixed price reading a lot is tempting. Some of my favourite light reading authots have a lot of titles on KU. Yummy.

  27. I read/listened to two novels in the past week to ten days that were coincidentally about motherhood. The Overdue Life of Amy Byler which was recommended by someone here (thank you!) and I found it funny, heartfelt and satisfying overall with some snappy dialogue. I even survived the first person narrative without too much struggle. I especially loved the supportive family-by-choice relationships between the friends.

    I also read Katie Fforde’s mid-90’s Wild Designs which has much that I loved about gardening and the Chelsea Flower Show, but there were moments when the protagonist was Too Self-Sacrificing To Live and I nearly DNF’d. Which surprises me because I love a sweet, low angst British story. It does have a satisfying ending.

    1. The one really excellent Katie Fforde is her first, ‘Living Dangerously’. I’ve also kept ‘The Rose Revived’ and ‘Wild Designs’, although I agree with your reservations. After that, for me, she’s just gone downhill, which is a shame. I think she must have had a lot of editing for the first book; and she changed publisher after the second or third. I’m in a minority, though – she still seems to sell well.

    2. I’m not a Katie Fforde fan. She is one that I think I should like, all of the elements are there, but she doesn’t work for me.

      1. Might be worth trying ‘Living Dangerously’: it’s one of my all-time favourites; head abd shoulders above the rest.

        1. I looked at it on Amazon, and it not available in e-book, the paperback is $26 and the hardcover is $32. Thriftbooks and other places have it a lot cheaper, like $6, but no digital.
          Was it reissued under another name?

          1. It’s available on Kindle in the UK for £1.99 (I was thinking Lupe could try a sample). No idea why it’s not available in the US; though when I went to they did have it in paperback for $9.99.

  28. I have been reading Simone St. James, which was recommended here. I am not usually a reader of ghost stories but the characters and the romance just seem to resonate right now. I have even been able to overlook a few inaccuracies of the period without it being a deal breaker.

    Much to my surprise I DNF Elizabeth George’s SOMETHING TO HIDE. To be honest I barely started it. By the third scene, there were three different point of view and three different locations and it appeared more to come. They all read like prologues and I could not engage. Which is sad because I used to love her stories. She still is an excellent writer so it must be me.

    HOW TO READ A FRENCH FRY by Russ Parsons is … Well, I don’t know what it is. First it is easy to read despite the fact that it is technical and discusses a lot of the science involved in cooking. It has recipes which riff on each technical aspect he has been discussing. And even though I think I know a lot about cooking, there are lots of stuff in here I have not considered. I love it.

    1. You read Russ’s book? Isn’t it great?
      Full disclosure, Russ Parsons is my cousin. My favorite cousin.

      Here’s a blog post from 2005 about dinner at Russ’s house. He lives in Ireland now, but back then, he was food editor for the LA Times, and we were on the coast for a book tour.

      1. I am still reading it. I looked at it and thought “this is going to be hard.” But it really isn’t. It is like taking a really good cooking class from someone who really enjoys cooking and wants everyone else to enjoy and understand it too. The ultimate uber cooking nerd. If you like to riff on recipes and want to have a reasonable chance for a successful outcome, this is the book to read.

      2. I love that post. Good thing I wasn’t sipping my scotch as I read it or I would have singed off my nose hairs off by spurting scotch out my nose.

      1. I really tried to stick with her. But once she shocked the heck out of me by killing off his wife, it was tough slogging after that and I gave up on her a while ago. Sad!

        1. Yes, that was so awful! Like a complete betrayal. And then she wrote ‘What Came Before He Killed Her’, which was just as heartbreaking if not more so.

  29. I read The Verifiers by Jane Pek. It is about a young woman who works for a company that verifies people really are who they say they are on dating apps. It is mostly a mystery about a woman who came to the company who later dies. It looks like an accident but she doesn’t believe it. I liked the mystery and her family relationships.

    Now I’ve started A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Yee which may have been recommended here. It has a great folk tale beginning and I think it will be great.

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