This is a Good Book Thursday, May 12, 2022

I started some new books and DNFed them, went back to reread some old faves and DNFed them, figured out it because I HNF Lavender’s Blue and went back to work.

What did you F this week? (The F is for “finish,” people, don’t pretend you don’t know that.)

119 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 12, 2022

  1. I finished Andrea K Host’s “Pyramids of London”, which Lupe recommended as competency porn and she was right – a very capable heroine and super interesting. The book itself is really unusual combination of elements: alternate history, steampunk, ancient mythology brought forward, mystery plot and vampires. Can’t beat that. Sometimes the world building was a little too complex for me but it’s a minor complaint from a lazy reader. Question: how do I find the sequel Tangleways? It’s not on Amazon.

    I also read “Money, the True Story of a Made-up Thing” which was an Olga recommendation from a while back. Quite engrossing. Accessible, filled with interesting facts and myth busters. My favourite chapter was called: A Senator and a Bunch of Bankers Sneak Off to a Private Island to Plot a Central Bank. Can you call that foreshadowing? They told everyone they were going on a deer hunt because the US generally hated the idea of a central bank. And they came up with a brilliant idea – don’t call it a central bank, call it the…Federal Reserve. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Also read Iris Foxglove’s newest, “Summer of the Wanderer”. Didn’t care for it much so I went back and re-read their first, “Traitor’s Mercy”, one of my favourite comfort re-reads, despite it being BDSM and starting with a tough hanging scene…turns out sweet and funny and romantic.

    1. Yay! I am glad you enjoyed Pyramids of London. I don’t think Tangleways is out yet. I didn’t realize it when I started it and I too, am a lazy reader, only gently skimming the synopsis before diving in. I should have started with one of her completed series.

      1. I read a complete description of Tangleways so I assumed it was out, dang. She wrote the Pyramids in 2015 – what’s taking her?? (All the writers on this blog want to growl at me now; who can blame them.)

    2. She hasn’t published TANGLEWAYS yet. We’ve been hearing Real Soon Now, but other projects have inserted themselves.

      Once it does appear, don’t worry, you’ll hear about it here!

  2. I read Eileen Glass’s second book in her human omega series and liked it as much as the first. She has a good pace to listen to, which is something I always look for.

    Then I switched to comfort reading for my poor beleaguered brain for the rest of the week. I will finish Agnes and the Hitman this morning, perfect timing and very motivating as I clean my house. And I am almost done with my reread of Morning Glory Milking Farm. It’s still very sweet and reminds me of what it is like at the beginning of a relationship, something I haven’t done in years and hope to never do again, but revisiting the thrill vicariously is still fun.

    And since Jenny posted the first ever Blog post, I have been reading them at my desk at work. Trying to keep a straight face is hard…

    1. I read things from that first year as well, and it was so interesting! Not that many people who now post were chiming in at first, and in the first iteration, all the avatars were identical smiling pink faces. It seemed a bit like the Middle Ages….

      After reading from that first year, I went looking for the first Good Book Thursday, and that was interesting too! It started on 4-6-2017, and because it was the first, the posts were a mix of “My favorite books ever” and “Just read something good.”

      It even had the first mention I can recall seeing about reading Murderbot #1.

    2. Wait – where are you reading the first ever blog post? I tried searching, but that didn’t work.

      I ALWAYS read this site, though sometimes late – wondering how I missed this. No, don’t care, just tell me how to find it, please!

      1. Look to your right.
        Find the menu that says “Archives.”
        Pull it down.
        Go all the way to the end (it’s a long menu).
        Click on the first link which is “July 2005.”

  3. I finished Red, White, & Royal Blue, after nearly putting it down. Too much sex! Then it went to the next plot line, so I read on. I liked it. I wished it was reality, instead of the nightmare we are living through, now. There were a lot of names in the beginning, which I never mastered, so just read on, hoping that wouldn’t matter, and mostly it didn’t. I re-read Getting Rid of Bradley and started re-reading Charlie All Night. I wonder if Lucy and Alice have the same pink sweater? LOL Yesterday, I got the second booster, so I am miserable today, with aches all over and a sore arm and lymph nodes. The things we do to stay healthy! Last night I dreamt of a vampire who bit anyone, and anything, he could get his hands on. It was disgusting, and maybe a symptom of the shot.

    1. I’ve had the same reaction—very sore lymph nodes for about a week. My sympathies.

      1. My radiologist says this (swollen lymph note under same side arm) is a well known side effect of the shot and can last for weeks. She says she has been scanning armpits since the vaccine came out and it’s always fine.

  4. Finished a reread of Variations on a Theme Book 2, started on Book 3 which is currently at chapter 88. Claws for Suspicion is still open in the Kindle Ap. I reread Bjorn Hasseler’s “Security” trilogy, because it was open in my old Kindle when I went anywhere. Just convenient, and good stories.

    All my other reading was confined to webcomics and instruction books. It’s the farming, you see. I even forgot to post this:

    Work, work, work. Up at the crack of dawn, i.e. when the ten hydroponic garden grow lights come on. 4AM. Really brightens up the place! Toil, toil, toil. Spend many a minute tending the gardens. I have to add water every week. Today, I even had to add plant nutrients. (Harvey flashed the red “add nutrient” light at me. He does that every other week.) Fall exhausted into bed at dark. 8PM, when all those grow lights wink off.

    I am continuing to rearrange everything. Rubbermaid discontinued my book shelf unit. Amazon cancelled my order for a bookcase. Perhaps Walmart will come through with a cubical storage unit and I can hide… I mean properly store everything taking up all my space. If so, there will be pictures. 🙂

    1. Gary, I just had a visual of your apartment being surrounded by the local PD and SWAT team when someone realized your electric bill had doubled. It usually happens because people are growing weed. And just for laughs on naked gardening day to boot.

      1. Thank you, Mary. That visual tickled me, too. Let me think… ten times 23 watts (typical LED grow light) is 230 watts, or somewhat less than a 250 watt ceiling light. Also, I’m not sure it’s illegal to grow whacky weed in Virginia anymore. Not to mention all those YouTube videos of how to grow hemp in your AeroGarden Farm Unit. That’s a very tall plant – none of my hydroponic equipment could accommodate it, though I could start the seeds for transplant to the back yard. I don’t have room to grow pot.

        1. Can just imagine you being raided and walking out with your hands on your head shouting “Okay! Okay! you can take the lettuce, just leave me enough vegetables for stir fry”

    2. Update: I’m still waiting on the cubical storage, but I forgot that I bought AeroGarden AeroVoirs, one for each of the Harveys. They are reservoirs that you connect via siphon to your hydroponic unit, so you don’t have to fill the tank but every other week. I finished (mostly) rearranging the bookshelves and now the Harveys are on the bottom shelf with their reservoirs. That little acreage is now more spacious and possibly more attractive. There will be more changes, and more pictures.

  5. I reread Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ Dance Away with Me, and decided twice was enough. It just doesn’t really gel for me, as a few of her books don’t – whereas most of them are favourites. I then, in a rushed library visit, borrowed a book that I realized I’d read before, and had on my Kindle: Beth O’Leary’s The Switch. Which is good, but also not quite as magical/involving as it could be. So I’m finally rereading Murderbot for the first time, and am definitely swept away. Just started the second one, Artificial Condition.

    1. me too.. Dance Away With Me is the first SEP book I could not finish. I was really turned off by so many pieces of this story that just did not seem possible. I will tolerate some inaccuracies, but I felt there were too many unbelievable ones.

      1. I skimmed Dance Away with Me but I finished it. I had to skim because I just did not like the main characters at all, but I hoped this would improve. It did not. I didn’t care about them enough to care about inaccuracies!

    2. I loved Dance Away With Me. I’ve reread it several times. I love all her books. Another of my favorites is Heroes Are My Weakness.

  6. I am now in the middle of that not fun period of the academic year where I am endlessly marking.
    This means there is not much time for reading at the moment so my brain has decided it can’t cope with anything but very light reading. Somehow, I have had an urge to read Jennifer Echols’ The boys next door. I am not sure why since I haven’t read it in years. Unfortunately, I am finding the constant teen drama quite exhausting. I really like the setting though.
    I too want to spend the summer on a lake somewhere ogling beautiful boys, well, in theory…
    The reality of a middle-aged woman doing this is a bit icky.

    1. Yes, same for me, LN. I’m about to turn in my last sets of grades this afternoon. Chasing down the plagiarism on the essays was exhausting and I can’t read much for fun while in the midst of that.

      1. I’m curious, how do you check for plagiarism if it’s not something obvious? Is there software?

        1. Oh yes, there is software. Usually turnitin, but you can often tell when you read enough student essays. The voice changes, the language becomes complex all of a sudden, and sometimes they don’t even change the font when they cut and paste! A google search will usually find the source if the software doesn’t. What takes the time is documenting it all and explaining to the student in detail what has been detected and why academic dishonesty is a problem in general and a failing grade in particular.

        2. In my case, plagiarism is easy to spot as my students have to write in a foreign language.
          I once had a student who managed to plagiarise an entire essay including the introduction. He had one sentence that was his own.
          In those days, there was no software to detect this but I just had to put sentences in google and all his sources came up!

  7. I finished Grace Burrowes’ Never a Duke, the most recent in the Wentworth family saga, and perhaps the last. I think everyone has been married off now. Some pretty far stretches of credulity in the plot, but that’s why they call it fiction. One of the things I appreciate about Burrowes is her research, and documenting thereof. Part of the plot in this one is fact-based. Also finished a memoir, London’s Number One Dog-Walking Agency, by Kate MacDougall, which made me laugh and be happy I never gave in to the occasional urge to start a pet-minding business.

    1. I really enjoy Grace Burrowes’ writing. I love knowing how people lived in that time, and how they coped with everyday needs and tasks. Her writing has humor, and draws me in. The characters seem real, and mostly engaging. There are a few of the books that I haven’t read, but most are excellent. It’s nice to find another fan!

  8. Hi,👋 l need some help (bad memory) I read two books about a woman (W.W. all) with her uncle and cousins thieves she and uncle get caught doing a robbery and are used to help catch spies.
    I can’t remember the author, but I am sure there is another book out.

    1. A Peculiear Combination by Ashley Weaver. I think it might have been recommended here. I just read it a few weeks ago. Her books are really good.

  9. Well, because JaneB recommended Loretta Chase’s books in general, I read the only available book of hers from my local library, which was “Dukes Prefer Blondes.” Didn’t like the title, didn’t like the cover (woman naked above the waist, from the back, losing the giant-sleeved dark green Victorian silk gown she was wearing.) Liked some things about it, but it was full of orphans threatening other penniless street orphans and street gangs threatening to kill both the hero (about to become a duke’s heir) and the heroine practically throughout the book. Carriages careening, gunfire. Very Tom-Cruisish action piled on top of a plot that seemed to be “Hate becomes Love due to Lust and Vague Feminist Issues.” Not the best pre-bedtime reading at all.

    Plus it was chock full of extravagantly overembellished dress descriptions, rather than working class challenges, which I thought it might be, given that it was part of a Dressmakers series. So, I think I read the Wrong Loretta Chase intro.

    As an antidote, I re-read “The Proposal” by Mary Balogh, which is book one of her Survivors Club series. And that had every quality I like in a post-Heyer Regency. Both MCs are flawed, slightly wounded human beings who are drawn to one another’s personality and character, which get expressed through action as well as through descriptions of their thoughts and feelings in reaction to one another and their surroundings. It has a loving, supportive community of friends, all of whom I know and love from reading the 7-book series before. And the hero has a title, but it’s an honorary one bestowed by royals in honor of exemplary Peninsular war heroism, so he’s basically a middle-class person who is not happy about feeling so attracted to an upper-class woman. And the chief plot point is that each one visits and appreciates the other’s world during the book, which helps lead to their decision to marry.

    I like romances with this kind of psychological depth. You don’t just focus on how gorgeous and wealthy the MCs are; you see it and learn about their character throughout the book. And I like Regency settings when the period comes to life in many small ways, and not just via titled families, curricle racing, and visits to Gunters and Almacks. Love this book and this series. And of course, Mary Balogh.

    1. I used to really like Mary Balogh and then somehow I read one too many and stopped reading her books. Your review makes me want to read this one. Thanks! I think it may even be lurking somewhere on my kindle.

      1. Also, if you want a heyeresque romance done well, I am going to recommend The Mesalliance by Stella Riley. One of my favourite of hers, along her Civil war books.
        She had a long hiatus when she didn’t write anything and I like her earlier books more than her later ones but there are some good ones among the later ones too.

    2. Sorry Dukes Prefer Blondes didn’t work for you. Maybe Loretta’s just not your cup of tea: her plots are all pretty colourful. The two I can think of that are closest to the kind of story you obviously prefer are Miss Wonderful and Not Quite a Lady, with the second as my best bet. Although the protagonists are aristocrats, the setting is renovating a neglected manor house in the Cheshire countryside, and is very down-to-earth.

      1. Is Not Quite a Lady the one set in Venice where the protagonist is a courtesan? Because that one was good, too.

        1. No: that’s actually one I don’t like. I have a feeling you reciprocate re Not Quite a Lady: it’s the one where the youngest Carsington brother is given an ultimatum – a year to prove his academic theories on agriculture by turning round a neglected property; the heroine is a much-loved daughter who secretly had a baby when she was very young.

          1. Oh, no, I like all the Carsingtons. Just can’t remember the titles evidently. I think my fave is Mr. Impossible, the Lord Perfect and Last Night’s Scandal, then the other two. Not Quiet a Lady is the last one, isn’t it? And the other one is the first one? About the wounded brother? I also like it that they all stand alone.

        2. I think that’s Your Scandalous Ways which is a favorite. It has a James Bond quality which appeals to me. Very different from her usual books.

    3. I love Loretta Chase, but I could never get into the Dressmaker series, either.
      But the Carsington series and the Dukes (can’t remember the series name but one of the titles was something like “Ten Things I Hate About the Duke”) are both excellent.

      1. For Regency that is actually a decent modern runner up to Heyer, try Artemisia, Aphrodite and what’s the other one, oh yes, Aurora, three books by DG Rampton.
        I have read them each twice and enjoyed the heroines.

        1. Thanks, everyone!! I will give these others a try if I can find them in my local or interlibrary system. I appreciate the understanding, and the advice, both!

      2. This week, I reread Chase’s Duke in Shining Armor and am following up immediately with a reread of Ten Things… Both have great dialogue and I appreciate her humor.

        My gateway to Loretta Chase was Lord of Scoundrels which I still reread as well. Jessica Trent is one of all time favorite heroines.

        1. That was the other one. I loved both of those. When’s the third one coming out? Great series.

    4. I liked the Survivors’ Club series, every single book of them, as much as I loved most of her previous series. But the next series after the Survivors – the Westcott series – was a real disappointment. Now Balogh’s new series is about to launch, and I don’t know what to expect.

      1. Oh, fingers crossed. I have many Balogh favourites, but she lost me with the Westcotts. I thought they were really weak.

    5. I love most Loretta Chase books. Dukes Prefer Blondes was the exception. I’ve never reread it. I seem to recall thinking that the romance was settled halfway through the book.

    6. Didn’t like the title, didn’t like the cover (woman naked above the waist, from the back, losing the giant-sleeved dark green Victorian silk gown she was wearing.)

      I can’t read a comment about covers without contemplating Longmire Does Romance. I think I got there via “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books,” which I used to follow.

      I love most of his parody covers, but for some reason I’m totally tickled by a Zebra Sweater Romance: Vanessa Grant’s This Book Costs More in Canada. $3.99 (CAN $4.99)

      Carry on. 🙂

      1. Those are excellent! Although they are also not that far off from the old Harlequin-style covers, which I think were largely responsible for why I never touched a “romance” until I read about this person named Jennifer Crusie, who loved Heyer and Pratchett, and made me decide to try, I think, Bet Me. 🙂

        Books with Regency settings particularly irk me when they have these covers because they’re not in period, either in terms of the clothing or the behaviors depicted.

        Although maybe it’s the publishers I should learn to dislike….

    7. If you are looking for regencies with working class challenges try Courtney Milan’s A Kiss for Midwinter or The Governess Affair or Meredith Duran’s A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal.

  10. I liked Last Summer Boys by Bill Rivers. Here’s part of the description from Amazon:

    “Last Summer Boys is an uplifting story about the strength of family and friendship, about first loves and the precious final days of adolescence lived in the glow of firefly light. It is set over the course of one adventurous and life-altering summer. As Jack’s oldest brother, Pete, nears his eighteenth birthday (and eligibility for the Vietnam draft), Jack overhears someone complaining that famous boys don’t get drafted, and in his youthful naivety, he takes the statement at face value. So begins his epic plan to save his brother“

  11. A couple of weeks ago someone recommended Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake by Alexis Hall, which I enjoyed a lot.

    I also read Haunting Charlie by Wendy Wang, the first book in the Witches of Palmetto Point series, a paranormal mystery about a psychic medium from a family of witches who gets talked into trying to find out if a house is actually haunted or not. And it turns out it is, but by something much nastier than expected. It wasn’t bad and I liked the characters enough to try the sequel.

  12. I’m re-listening to the Sherry Thomas Lady Sherlock series and pleased to find that they stand up to a re-read/listen (and I suspect would stand up to another round or two). Most books don’t, in my experience, so it’s great to find a series that does for times when my eyes are too tired to read and I don’t have the concentration to listen to something new.

  13. I’m far too swamped by the day job to get much reading done. Also, I want to quit my bad habit of sleeping far too little because of my reading. I managed to get a bit more sleeping done, so that’s a plus.
    But reading… nope:
    Apart from a couple of excerpts that seemed quite nice but were costly, I only managed to read one graphic novel. Phew.
    But it was a good one: Heartstopper book 1.
    There’re three more on my tbr pile.
    With my spectacluar speed of late, I’ll hopefully manage to finish those 3 before the fifth one comes out.

    Plus: ds has wet my appetite to watch Gordon, Fred and Gino on the road. Three chefs touring Europe (Italy, France and Scotland) together in a camper van. DS is smitten, which I totally get after watching the promo and some interviews. So I might cut my reading time watching chefs bicker…

  14. I’ve been reading a rather gritty true life story of an undercover agent and when I break off from it go to Jenny’s page to get a grip I’m amazed by the nature of women and their ability to think of ways to commit murder and mayhem. Myself included, especially when I was working. But only in my head. Also when I read the reviews a good amount of comments are by women. It may be because some of us are fascinated by bad boys. But these guys are psychopaths. I find it hard to conceive that a person could put himself or herself in a position where they could end up dead. But so he did. The book is Riding with Evil by Ken Croke with Dave Wedge. The story is about the take down of a motorcycle gang and in order to do that the author and agent infiltrated the gang. He also has a family at home and any time he comes up against a wall he thinks of them. No romance is involved in the writing of this biography except when he talks about meeting and marrying his wife and fellow agent.

    1. Or could it be the women (at least the ones reading/commenting) want to see the bad boys get their comeuppance? In my (informal and totally unscientific) poll of friends who watch the ID channel, which features true crimes, the thrill is in seeing the killers finally–although all too often decades later–get caught and brought to justice.

  15. Paladin’s Grace by T. Kingfisher. Adorable romance between two people who are insta-attracted to each other, yet awkward as heck. The chemistry between them just being in the same room together was adorbs. Now moving onto the sequel.

  16. Hello – just took my first week-long vacation in 2 years – plenty of time to hike during the day and read in the evening. At National Park lodges with very little to non-existent wifi means Book Time!

    M/M romance Rachel Reid’s The Long Game. Great hockey romance series ender.

    M/F Hester Browne’s The Runaway Princess. Ordinary garden designer meets and falls for a Monaco-like prince. I didn’t think I’d like this one, but got sucked in rather fast – enjoyable very light reading.

    M/M Lee Welch’s Seducing the Sorcerer – older leads, good world building, and give me a down to earth MC who grounds a more high flying MC anytime. I liked this so much I immediately purchased the author’s contemporary Mended with Gold – also good.

    Graphic novel: Neil Gaiman’s Chivalry. Galahad finds the Grail in modern times and comes across a widow with a very practical view of holy relics. Charming and the art is gorgeous.

    Currently Reading: Kate Fox’s Watching the English. Anthropologist gives a lighter, funny view of the rules of the English. Bit of repetition, so skimming at parts.

    And Gail Garriger’s last in the Delightfully Deadly series, Ambush or Adore. Some longtime secondary characters get their romance. M/F, slightly older MCs.

    Hope wherever you are, there is some fantastic spring weather your way…

  17. To continue flogging the horse, I just saw a video on dyeing roses different colours by putting food colouring in the water…. Perhaps a blue-dyed bridal bouquet that gets smushed into face as body falls?
    Ps- sorry to be chatty Cathy these last couple of days, I usually just lurk.

    1. Don’t apologize! I love the idea of someone having talked Lavender into having a blue bouquet.

    2. Please chat! It’s so much fun here. Oh, and when I worked at a flower shop we had spray cans of different colors that they used for the flowers. Mostly metallic and sparkles for prom, but one woman wanted a black bouquet for her wedding. And the spray cobwebs were very cool. I don’t remember what it was called…

  18. Well I decided that our book group should read Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse.” I’m listening to it (narrated by Phyllida Law) and it is remarkable. It’s so kaleidoscopic in some ways that I can’t absorb too much at a time.
    So I listened to “The Goblin Emperor” again. I tried “Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors,” but it has no humor in it. If your title implies an Elizabeth Bennett-like character, I hope for some humor, but everyone takes themselves very seriously.

    1. I remember reading To The Lighthouse in one straight go! I stayed up half the night to read it, I was so mesmerized. Holy intense though.

    2. I loved To the Lighthouse! I went through a big Virginia Woolf phase in my 20s, and I think that was my favorite.

  19. I’m doing a re-read of Patricia A. McKillip’s books (and mourning that there will be no more). Just finished The Changeling Sea.
    Don’t care if it’s supposed to be for “juvenile readers” I still enjoyed it.
    (But I suppose that might be a comment on my mental age.)

  20. Sharon Shinn’s Wrapped in Crystal was a re-read, but I read it the first time so long ago (it was published in 1999), I didn’t remember much except that I liked it. I liked it on this re-read too. On the surface, it is a murder mystery in a vaguely sci-fi milieu. But in truth, it is a contemplation on faith, religion, and love. It’s a very quiet and gentle story. Slow. Thoughtful. And truly lovely.

    S J Bennett’s All the Queen’s Men was the second book of the author’s cozy series about the British Queen investigating murders. I enjoyed the first book of the series, The Windsor Knot, and I enjoyed this one too. It starts without a bang – a small painting is missing from the Queen’s bedroom. Not even a very valuable painting, but the queen liked it and she wants it back. She tells her smart and courageous Assistant Private Secretary, Rozie, to ask some questions, and those questions lead towards startling revelations, a couple of corpses, and a couple of murderers. Fortunately, both Rozie and the queen remain undaunted.
    What I find slightly off in this book is the the way the queen constantly effaced herself, trying to appear less smart than she is. And she teaches Rozie to behave the same, to give all the credit for unearthing the culprits to the men in the queen’s employ. Rozie, who did the lion’s share of the investigation, isn’t allowed the glory. The queen wants her quiet, and Rozie complies with her monarch’s request.
    This made me bitter on Rozie’s behalf. The men around her were bumbling, while she did the hard part, and now she has to keep mum to make them feel good about themselves. Yuck! Other than that – not a bad cozy, sweet and intriguing.
    Note: this book comes under two different titles in the US and the UK. The UK title is A Three Dog Problem. I’ll never understand this practice of calling the same book by two different names. It leads to the readers’ confusion. Why do they do it?

    Started a couple of regency romances by different authors but couldn’t finish either. Wooden dialogs, unpleasant protagonists, stupid, artificial situations. Nothing worked.

    Then read a nice, sweet Christmassy novel The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox (the duo of writers Karma Brown and Marissa Stapley). Nothing special, but it was charming, ironic, and immensely readable. I think it would be even better if read at Christmas time.

    1. Probably the title on the UK book will convey the book’s flavor better to the UK audience, and the same with the US title. I remember that the first Harry Potter was retitled for the US market because the publisher didn’t think that the US audience had any kind of grasp of “philosopher’s stone.”

  21. I’ve been sort of ambivalently reading the Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher.

    There’s a lot I like about it, and a lot I like about Harry Dresden, Wizard/PI…. but then there’s certain tropes that drive me nuts about him…and while it’s overall interesting… for me right now for whatever reason it’s not so interesting that I can’t put it down.

    And sometimes I have a really hard time following what’s happening in a particular fight scene…some of which is intentional because Harry doesn’t always have the puzzle pieces yet either, but some of which might just be that my mind wanders too much during some of the big action fight scenes….i’m like yadda, yadda, yadda….close brush with death, snide comment….can we finish the fight and get back to the story now?

    I feel like that goes against everything Jenny’s always trying to tell me. That a story should be about the action, but I honestly just want him to stop moving sometimes so that he/I can actually process some of the insanity.

    Or maybe it’s just mommy/pandemic brain making this a tough series to enjoy when otherwise, it should really ping all my sweet spots? I like it enough to keep going….but it just feels like it tips more towards effort than pure enjoyment at times.

    1. I know what you mean, on paper (hah) the Dresden Files has all the elements for a story I should like, but I never managed to to read past the first one. I think it is just how it is written.

      However I did manage to listen to quite a few of them on audiobook as they are narrated by James Marsters. It works better somehow. I also like the TV series even though it is different from the book.

      It is the same for Dexter and Bourne Identity, I dislike the books, but the TV series and the movies worked really well.

    2. I don’t like him either. His portrayal of female characters often rubs me wrong.

    3. I do quite like the series myself. But you know what they say, different strokes for different folks!

    4. Sometimes the Dresden Files are over-detailed fight scenes, I noticed that with the other series he writes, and didn’t read past the first. I’ll still go back for Harry, though. But he could use some personal growth, and it would be nice if the consequences weren’t so consistently the end of the world.

      I couldn’t listen to the audiobooks because even without the English accent, when I heard Marsters, I heard Spike.

  22. I read Sarah Wynde’s gift of luck. I enjoyed it so much I went back and reread the entire series. I am now on a gift of grace which is the last one before a gift of luck. Then I may go back and read a gift of luck again.

    1. I love all her Tasamara series. Have reread the series several times.

  23. I read Tamora Pierce’s Trickster’s Choice and Trickster’s Queen because my daughter recommended them. She’s a big Tamora Pierce fan and I’ve enjoyed other series, especially the Becca Cooper books. I like the smart heroine and her growth into finding what she really wants to do. But the violence gets to me.

    After enjoying Aaron Ellis’s Old Bones last week, I ordered a bunch of used copies of books starring Gideon Oliver. The first to arrive was Skeleton Dance which takes place in a town in France we visited several weeks ago. Now if my husband would just finish reading it so I could get a chance. . . .

    1. I do like the Gideon Oliver series although I’m not sure about his attitude towards women.

      1. He seems to me to be okay — two happy marriages and lots of well-respected female colleagues.

        1. It definitely wasn’t terribly overt, otherwise I wouldn’t have read and enjoyed the entire series. It’s been a long time since I read it though, so I can’t remember what struck me as slightly sexist. One of these days I’ll do a re-read and see.
          I like the other Elkins mystery series with, I think, Alix London who is an art appraiser. She’s fun to follow.

          1. I love Alix London (A Dangerous Talent). I wish they would write more of those.

  24. Best thing I read this week was The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton. Victorian pirates mixed with tea parties and flying houses. Respectability with a side dish of a knife in the ribs. It’s such an original book, undercuts so many tropes in such a funny way. Hilarious, clever and romantic. Highly recommended.

  25. I finished and liked Last Summer Boys by Bill Rivers. It’s set in the 60s. A boy hears that famous people don’t get drafted so he tries to get his cousin who writes stories to make his older brother famous because he’s worried his older brother may go to Vietnam.

    And since today is the 60th anniversary of MacArthur’s Duty Honor Country speech , and I’d like to say thanks for your service to Bob!

  26. Not A Book: last night we watched ‘The Lost City’ starring Sandra Bullock & Channing Tatum (streaming on Paramount); readers, I was entertained.

    Another classic Trek rec for you: ‘A Flag Full of Stars’ by Brad Ferguson. This one is set right before Star Trek: The Motion Picture and the primary plot involves a Klingon scientist who, after the Organian Treaty, has been granted a special visa to study/work on Earth but can’t get a job appropriate for 2+ PhDs because racism so he’s teaching high-school students. And inventing on the side, which gets him in trouble that Admiral Kirk has to help get him out of. It’s got a whiff of romance, a grieving 13-yr-old student, an adopted stray kitten, just enough action/mayhem, and a happy ending. It is, in its way, a love letter to teachers. 🙂

    Another unusual M/M historical, this one from Tamara Allen: ‘Invitation to the Dance,’ set in 1890s New York and featuring a newspaper reporter & editor assigned to work undercover in high society; they foil a fraudulent land agent and fall in love.

    Read a lot of other stuff this week, including my own book ‘Be Mine’ because it got a really good editorial review and I wanted to wallow in that for a minute. 🙂

    1. Okay you talked me into it – I’ve downloaded Invitation to the Dance and Be Mine. We can wallow together.

  27. I have been binge reading Jayne Ann Krentz – the Ghost Hunter series she writes as Jayne Castle (dust bunnies!) That led to the Arcane Society books, both the contemporary ones written under Krentz and the historicals written as Amanda Quick. I’m not sure why I enjoy these so much. It drives me crazy when the villains are willing to stand around and explain what they’ve done and why they did it when they have the hero/heroine at gunpoint. In every single one of twenty-five books! But I keep reading them. And re-reading them. And re-reading them again.

    1. That’s my main criticism of her work as well-too much explanation right at the end. But Krentz’s books are my main zone-out comfort books to read.

  28. Thank you Jessie!😇. I have ordered it from my library. I enjoyed her other series, so was glad to find this one.

    1. That’s amazing. And heartbreaking.
      I love it that he took his dog, the places that he had to carry his bag and then go back for the dog.

      1. And the fact that telling his story seems to be what got him through: the soldiers were hungry for stories.

        1. Oh, yes. And how amazed everybody was that he’d come so far, the people who automatically reached out to help him.

          It’s a terrible way to become world famous, but Ukraine will never again be some former province of Russia, some little country over there. There was a story about a politician in the Donbas (I think) who had been very pro-Russian and disliked, and one of the Russian higher ups contacted him to facilitate taking over the area, and he exploded and told them to basically go f themselves, and it went public and united the area. And now evidently Finland and Norway are about to join NATO. Whatever Putin’s big plan was, he just strengthen Ukraine and NATO in a. matter of weeks. I love it when the good guys win. (I hope the good guys win.)

  29. Thanks so much, Jane! I loved this story so much. But it’s so tragic that it all has to be happening in this world.

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