This is a Good Book Thursday, May 26, 2022

I’m still reading Lavender’s Blue. We’re close enough to the end of the first draft that I don’t have time to read anything else except Lavender’s Blue. I’ll have something more interesting to talk about in June. I hope. In the meantime, you guys are always interesting, so over to you.

What did you read this week?

95 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 26, 2022

  1. Lavender’s Blue is extremely interesting! Zombies on burning rivers – what more could we want?

    I’m reading Eleanor Cotton’s The Luminaries, which won the Booker prize a decade ago. It’s basically a murder mystery set on the West Coast of NZ during the 19th century gold rush. Slow detailed character development, showing a lot of stuff that I’m so glad has changed. I’m enjoying it but have a nervous feeling in the back of my mind that horrible things might happen.

  2. I’m currently reading Alexis Hall’s latest, A Lady for a Duke. I so dreaded how the main conflict might blow up that I jumped ahead. The mcs seem almost too good to be true, but I likd it a lot because ir’s my absolute favourite trope – best friends to lovers (I myself am far from being a passionate one, so I can far more relate to this trope as I experienced it in real life).
    This one is again very different from the last ones by AH I’d read, but once again the writing is exquisit. The mcs TALK to each other and a far from hairbrained. I like it a lot 😀

    1. Oh yay. I am so looking forward to this one, but haven’t been able to start it yet.

    2. I finished ‘A Lady for a Duke’ last night and really liked it too. Full of familiar Regency plot devices (Hall excels at differentiating his genres) but in a very supportive queer-friendly milieu, lots of likable characters, and (as in KJ Charles’ ‘Band Sinister’) the creative application of social power to engineer a desired solution.

  3. I read Paladin’s Grace by T Kingfisher, recommended by someone (sorry I forget but thank you) on this blog and then endorsed by Lupe – you were right, it was cute! Fantasy – a burly, knitting knight, god-blessed/cursed, gets involved with a perfumer who is accused of poisoning a prince. Also a serial killer golem. Better than cute actually; it was positively fun and funny. The mix of grim content with unexpected humour reminded me of Vespertine. My favourite read of the week.

    I read Invitation to a Dance by Tamara Allen, recommended by Caichal, thank you – an American historical about two reporters, fin-de-siecle-ish, and a slow burn of an M/M romance. Really enjoyed it. Also, I read Her Band of Rakes, which I enjoyed, although I found it somewhat…implausible. A regency poly is definitely a challenge to suspend disbelief for.

    DNF’d Manners and Mannerisms. Second time I’ve tried to read it. Nothing wrong with the writing. But two MCs bored me and I simply could not bring myself to care whether they fell in love.

    I also read An Affair for Aumont, the latest in Lisa Henry’s regency M/M series. Lupe, you might like this one because there’s no smut, unusual for Henry, although there is in the rest of the series. And I notice you’ve been read some smut again so you may be indifferent. Anyway, I found it delightful.

    1. I cycle in and out of very smutty to no smut. It depends on factors that I am not fully aware of. And yes, at the moment I am back to smutty. But Lisa Henry is on my list and I have several of hers downloaded, waiting for the right mood to strike.

      1. She has a real range of genres and voice, not easy to pull off. The quality is varied, however. And hey, welcome back to Smutty Land. We’re a very hospitable place to hang out, even temporarily.

        1. Thank you, thank you. I expect an inappropriately shaped chocolate on my pillow every night I am here…

  4. I have been rereading many of your rom coms. Not being a suck-up, truly! I really enjoy the characters, the dialogue, etc. It is soothing in a crazy world to revisit these delightful stories. I rewatch favorite movies as well, especially those with sharply drawn characters and snappy repartee…

  5. Two books this week — a reread of A Room with a View and a first read of Deb Blake’s Claws for Suspicion.

    The Forster was initially difficult to read; I guess I haven’t read early 20th century stuff in a while. But I’m now “hearing” friends and annoying people I know as if they were speaking like Forster’s characters.

    I agree with the Argher who wrote that with Claws of Suspicion Deb Blake really settles into the cozy murder mystery groove. I’m so sad that this is the last of the series! I LOVE the Shakespeare mug so much that I’ve ordered a tote bag with the same line. Hamlet — III.iii.87 — No. (It’s the point in the play when Hamlet finally makes a decision — and he’s totally wrong.)

    1. Smooches. I’m so glad you liked it. And I had so much fun coming up with the perfect quote for that mug. It made me laugh out loud. Who know, maybe there will be a miraculous upsurge in sales and Berkley will change their minds. Stranger things have happened. Although not much stranger…

      1. Crossing my fingers for an upsurge! I only know about your books from arghink, so perhaps Berkley hasn’t been marketing them enough.

  6. I finished Bet Me, the last Human Omega book available currently, and Beguiled by Joanna Chambers. All very enjoyable.

    I really want to give the new Alexis Hall a go, but I had already started Legends and Lattes and I want to give that a good shot. If I put it down and pick it up again my experience won’t be the same.

    1. Are you going to finish the Enlightenment series? the second one was actually my favourite.

      1. I will. I am pacing myself. I am dreading the last arc a little bit, Elizabeth’s plight was so bleak and the blurb for #3 mentioned blackmail. So I will have to work up to it.

        1. See, if Eileen Glass just finishes the fourth Human Omega book faster your choices will be so much easier.

          1. Only if Hoopla gets the audiobook 😛 But I am listening to a Lynn Gala now, so I am set for M/M alien romance for a while

          2. Claiming, Tails and other Alien Artifacts is the title. I’m not very far in, but it’s sweet and the premise is different.

    2. I enjoyed Legends and Lattes, so I would say, stick with it. It’s a quick read.

  7. While travelling to Paris yesterday, I read « 40-Love » by Olivia Dade, which was cute and «  You made a fool of death with your beauty » by Akwaeke Emezi. I think I liked it even though it was fool of beautiful people with glamorous jobs and dealt with pretty heavy topics.

    I thought it was well written in a slightly over angsty way (or maybe I am just toi rational for that kind of book). It is the author’s first romance. It sounds like their other books are pretty over the top too. Have any of you read anything by them before?

    I am now waiting at the Gare de Lyon to go South and I am looking forward to finishing « A Lady for the Duke ». Alexis Hall is good at parodying Georgette Heyer, I think. You see all the tropes but they are done in a nice tongue in cheek way. I am only on chapter 5 but I have smiled or laughed throughout :).

    1. How civilized: reading Alexis Hall at the Gare du Lyon – and about to get on an excellent French train, I imagine.

      1. Yes, a « TGV inoui ». I know already it is going to be better than the First Great Western train I took yesterday, if only because it is going to get me to Aix en Provence in 3 hours!

        1. Oh, envy: I fancy going to Aix. The only time I’ve been on a TGV was from Lille to Avignon some years ago. I sat on the upper deck and absolutely loved my panoramic journey across France.

  8. I was all excited a couple of days ago; felt I’d found another winner – Avon Gale, ‘Let the Wrong Light In’. Great characters – full of surprises, including the supporting cast – involving romance (kept thinking she wouldn’t pull it off, but it pulled me in so I happily suspended my disbelief), and an interesting world (architecture). Plus humour: an excellent m/m romcom, where the BDSM sex was central to the story.

    So I tried a couple of samples in the hope more of the same, and was really disappointed. She mainly writes hockey stories. I have less than no interest in sport, but will read in that world for good stories; but the characters weren’t attractive, the story looked predictable and the world looked unpleasant. I found a non-sporting novella, ‘Whiskey Business’, and though the sample didn’t grab me I bought it (it’s a novella, so quite cheap) to see if the story improved. It didn’t.

    I do recommend ‘Let the Wrong Light In’, though it won’t be everyone’s thing. And I know there are sports story fans here who love her hockey stories, so maybe other people won’t find her a one-hit wonder.

    1. I think you should give the hockey romances a go because they are not the usual millionnaire stories. The ones I read on Tammy’s recommandation were set in a lower league which made it more interesting I think. There was one with housemates which was very good. I can’t remember the title but Tammy will know I am sure 😀. The one with the coach was good too I think.

      1. I love Let the Wrong Light In and I re-read it on the weekend. Weirdly, it’s a comfort read. I don’t love her other contemporary works but I would recommend Next Season (it’s a novella). Don’t bother with her work with Piper Vaughn. But try the series in the ECHL league, starting with Breakaway which has a neuro diverse MC. And if you like funny/serious M/M BDSM – try Traitor’s Mercy which the first in her fantasy Starian series with her joint nom de plume as Iris Foxglove. Love that series.

        1. Thanks, Tammy. I’ll give them a go. I was expecting to tear through her backlist after that brilliant beginning.

  9. On my quest for romance series to become addicted to, since one addiction clearly isn’t enough, I have started Grace Burrowes’ “Tremaine’s True Love.” And fallen asleep to it probably seven times, which is not a good sign.

    I’ve liked what I read so far — merchant class self-made hero, invited to visit a noble’s home to “look over some sheep” but actually to meet the houseful of marriageable daughters. Oldest daughter fair to become a spinster by resolutely going out to minister to the poor, rides a draft horse with hooves as big as tea trays — what’s not to like? Except the author moves you from scene to scene with very little preparation for who is interacting and why. New names are having a dispute about something, most of the emotion is shown but without interior glimpses into the character’s thoughts and feelings, and who knows where the main characters are at that point.

    So, falling asleep while puzzling over whether you’ve read anything about someone named “George” or not, and….

    I had a similar problem with the G. Burrowes book I started with; events moved from one torturer of — who is this poor guy again? — to another person supervising the torture, then a break to some other people who might be usurping a title somehow, and then fall asleep. Except the torture was getting to me as I tried to sleep, so I threw that book into the library bag and decided to DNF, then sleep.

    Hopefully I’ll finish the Tremaine book and go on to others in the series, but I would like to know if this is entirely a problem with reading before bed or some new fashi0n in writing that builds tension via sudden scene shifts. Because I’m not going to get addicted this way, that I know.

    Grumpily, ….

    1. Jinx, I git intrigued by the torture book when you mentioned it last week because it’s set in tje Naoleonic wars. You didn’t miss anything imo. The first chapter was interesting because she let the reader’s imagination do the work. But it sort of stopped there. Not much working through the obvious PTSD. Love towards the heroine even restired his appetite…
      Also, it was a VERY talkative book – endless chatter from a “silent duke”.
      What upset me was that from the unlikely names to their behaviour it felt too modern.
      At the end the torturer made a reappearance and was the poor, misunderstood guy. And yes, he and his helper are the heries of the following two books.
      Not with this reader!

    2. In my experience with Grace Burrowes, this was not her strongest series. Some of the Wentworth saga are better.

  10. I’ve been reading and enjoying Jennifer Ashley’s Below Stairs series about a intrepid cook who solves crimes in Victorian London with a little help from her friends. Before that I did a read and re-read of all the T. Kingfisher I could get my hot little hands on. So good, as always!

    1. I read the first few with pleasure but the romance was proceeding at such a slow pace that I gave up. With series like this I like the two main characters to evolve together.

  11. I was up early and had a vague intention of getting into the WIP to write a scene before work, then opted for writer business and social media. Work will be worky enough without doing more work before work.

    This week I read two of my own things (proof copy of June title, and one of the older titles because my brain was too tired for a New Book by Someone Else), an anthology, a short story, E.J. Russell’s new Mythmatched book ‘The Skinny on Djinni’ which I enjoyed, a Vino & Veritas entry that was just okay, and Alexis Hall’s ‘A Lady for a Duke’ mentioned above (liked it a lot).

    Also read ‘The Chocolate Temptation’ by Laura Florand. Her books set in the world of patisserie are delicious (so very sensual. All about texture, visual effects, aroma, and flavor) but a bit exhausting; the main characters typically have so many layers of damage & repression that I’m halfway through before I’m even sure I like them. These two had a single essential conflict that neither could articulate and it’s tiring to watch people not communicate. Once they did finally figure out how to understand each other the tone of the book lightened considerably, which made the HEA both believable and appreciated.

    1. I’m going back to calling you Alexandra. I’ve realized every time I mention your blog name I misspell it.

  12. Two books to recommend this week. One is brand spanking new (released on Tuesday) and one older title. The new book is “Nightwork” by Nora Roberts. The book is written from the male protagonist’s point of view which is not typical of her but I really liked the character and the story. The villain is a bit too much like a James Bond supervillain but otherwise I found the book very satisfying.

    The other title is “Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano which my book group read this month. The novel focuses on a young boy who is the only survivor of an airline crash. I have to admit I was rather dreading reading it because of the subject matter but it was a lovely story. His struggles with physical and metal recovery are moving and feel true without being overwhelmingly sad. He is the focus of much attention both from the public and families of other passengers who write him letters which is where the title of the book originates. As one of the characters tells him, he is like Harry Potter, “the boy who survived.” I recommend both books.

    1. Dear Edward, sounds good, plus it has written letters. So much can be said in a good letter. It reminds me of the Newbury prize winner, The Hatchet. A boy survives a two passenger plane crash, the pilot dies. He must survive in the wilderness. It is the 30th anniversary of the book’s publication.

  13. Another week of little reading to report. Variations on a Theme Book 3 is up to Chapter 90. My reread of the trilogy is up to Book 3 Chapter 81, so by this time tomorrow, when Chapter 91 comes out, I will be all caught up and reread.

    Claws for Suspicion is still at the same point on the Kindle app, but I’ve added L. Frank Baum’s entire Oz collection, and opened it. I never read those as a child, but it’s never too late. Besides, Ozma is one of my favorite characters from Harmon’s “Wearing the Cape” series, and in the last book, she reconquered Oz.

    Official Weigh-In Day number 58 sees me at 248.4 pounds, the lowest my weight has been this year… officially. Unofficially, I was 248.2 on January 3, but I’ve been under 250 all week. Progress. Still morbidly obese, but less so. We take what victories we can.

    I’m tickled because I reviewed 9 different things on Amazon and used the same picture for all of them. Two different memory card readers, two different compact flash cards, two different micro cards, and cases for everything that didn’t come with one. All that stuff was laid out together. One photo.

    The macrame lampshade/chandelier is at a standstill until new materials arrive on Friday. I started to make a video but my phone announced the battery was low and foiled me. Curses! I was thinking of weaving in a strand of fairy lights. Could happen. Except I’d have to buy some fairy lights.

    Gardening. I’ve eaten salads. Lots of them. I’m down to 2 Romaine plants and 11 assorted lettuces. All the herbs are doing splendidly except the oregano and chives have not germinated. I’ve got six green onions growing from the bottom inches I saved for that purpose – all of them just shooting up. Another green onion from seeds has a long way to go.

    Meanwhile, back at the Ranches, the tomatoes are fruiting, the chilis are fruiting, the bell peppers… aren’t dead. The lone piri-piri is alone. The purple chilis are all purply and stuff. The last bok choy is waiting for the next salad. That one lone Wild Strawberry is begging to be put out of its misery. Back to the Harvests, then.

    Harvey and Harvey Too announced simultaneously that it was “Feed Me, Seymour” day, so the AeroGardens and iDOOs all got fed. Harvey has Red Fire Peppers sprouting but the Purple Super Hots haven’t germinated. Seble has four of the onions and two mini-jalapenos that haven’t germinated. Harvey Too is down to two Romaines. When those are harvested, I may dedicate Harvey Too to tomatoes, different kinds. I have no Rosy Finches left, but I can do a red tomato and a yellow. I can plant Romains in Ethel as I harvest the weird lettuces there.

    All y’all live long and prosper.

  14. Over the weekend I read Thea Harrison’s Dragon Bound and the next book in the series, Storm’s Heart. Fun fated mates stuff.

    In non-fiction I’m almost done with The Rapture Exposed by Barbara Rossing because it’s important to understand the way the radical right has highjacked the Bible to justify every awful thing they’re currently doing.

  15. Jill Paton Walsh’s A Presumption of Death is advertised as a Peter Wimsey sequel, based of Dorothy Sayers’s famous mystery series, but I think it would be a mistake to open this book with the expectations of seeing Lord Peter and Co. The readers who do that are sure to be disappointed. The story or the writing or the characters have no similarity with Sayers’s and her aristocratic sleuth. Only the names of the leading characters are the same, and even that seems accidental, more to do with marketing than with literary merits. But if you don’t really expect Dorothy Sayers inside the pages of this book, it is a decent historical novel which takes place in England in the spring of 1940, just before the Blitz, with all the inherent fears and anguish and horrors of the escalating war in Europe. Strangely enough, all the secondary characters (100% written by Paton Walsh) are more alive than the leads, which she borrowed from Sayers. Overall: I enjoyed it. In moderation.
    Georgette Heyer’s Regency Buck was a re-read. I don’t admire this particular story – I dislike Lord Worth – but it read well, as everything by Heyer.
    Dorothy Sayers’s The Nine Tailors was also a re-read, but I read it the first time so long ago, I didn’t remember anything, so I absorbed it with fresh eyes. It was a darn good mystery book, except for two aspects. First – the bell-ringing discourses, multiple and long-winded. I didn’t understand any of them, and frankly, I didn’t try very hard. I just thought that 9 hours of continuous church bell ringing on the New Year Night (which sort-of started the story) was too much. Nobody for miles around could’ve slept through the clamor. Just think – 9 hours! In my view, it was a criminal disruption of peace. I would’ve called the cops, but the author seemed to think it was glamorous. Argh!
    The second aspect I disliked was the book’s fascination with religion. At times, it read almost like a sermon, extolling the church, the faith, the bible, the pastor, etc. For me, a confirmed atheist, it sounded wrong, but that is just a personal quirk of mine. Still, it reduced my pleasure in reading this otherwise excellent novel.

    1. Sayers, of course, was a committed Christian; it was central to her life. Have you heard English-style bellringing? I’m not sure whether it’s the music or the fact that it’s calling the community together, but I rather enjoy it. Of course, if I lived nextdoor to the church, and it went on all night, I’d doubtless change my mind. They were ringing a peal as I walked back into town recently, and I realized it’s been a while since I heard one – I now live on the other side of town from the parish church.

      1. To my knowledge, I never heard English style bell ringing. But I doubt I’d like 9 hours of it. A few minutes might be OK, or even an hour, if I regarded it as a concert of classical music (I like those). But 9 hours. I can’t get over the number.

        1. To each her own. I like bells, handbells, windchimes, the whole range of bells.

          Staying near the cathedral in Wells, England, we heard exceptionally beautiful bell ringing.

          I agree with Olga that Nine Tailors is “a darn good mystery book.”

          I agree with Jane that English-style bellringing is lovely. Also, Sayers was religious, as Jane said. A fine medievalist, in fact.

          I wouldn’t have any problem with 9 hours of bell ringing on New Year’s as long as I was outside the bell tower.

          But — I haven’t reread Nine Tailors for centuries, and I’m currently very critical of organized religion. Perhaps I would have difficulty rereading the book now just as Olga had. On the other hand, I like researching medieval times; studying the growth of the Church simply strengthens my dislike of organized religion.

          1. Yes: I read it as a teenager, when I was a Christian; but soon after I switched to strongly disliking organized religion; so might well feel like Olga if I reread it now.

  16. I read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I thought it was phenomenal. It is long and doesn’t actually finish, but the ending isn’t a cliff hanger or jarring. I know that sounds weird, and normally it would infuriate me, but the story is told in a very leisurely manner and when I got close to the end I realized that there was no way the story was going to be wrapped up by the end of the book, so I was prepared. There is a second book and I am excited about reading it. Hopefully it does actually end properly.

    I’ve also continued listening to the female Sherlock Holmes series by Sherry Thomas. I listened to books 2 and 3 and enjoyed them both. I have just started the 4th one.

    On an unrelated note, I have now ordered a Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon t-shirt. Until I read about it here, I had not idea they even existed. Once you told me, I had to have one.

    1. I have been waiting for Rothfuss final book in for it seems like decades. I heard some time back ( 1? 2? 5? years) that he had finished the first draft of it. Is he even still alive? Is he still writing? If he ever does get the next book finished, I will have to reread the first two because it has been so long. But it is very good so I will probably do so.

      1. And The Slow Regard of Silent Things, is amazing. It is told from the viewpoint of Auri.

      2. Yes Rothfuss is still alive and still working on the 3rd book. I think he’s kind of in the same boat as GRRM though, trying to write something that will be a satisfying end to the series. But, coincidentally, he’s teamed up with Ursula Vernon and Grim Oak Press on a kickstarter to pay for a reprint of Ursula Vernon’s Digger books. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can produce…

    2. Yes, The Name of the Wind is so good, although the heavy foreshadowing is anxiety inducing. One of those books I picked up, read the opening page and immediately bought and sat in the car to read… It was hours before I got home.

      But argh to the end, no, the series isn’t concluded yet.

  17. I’ve been so fussy about finding anything I want to read (or listen to). I just cannot settle. I chanced upon The Proposal by Mary Balogh, and I felt immediately at home. I’m not sure an 1820 gentleman would have asked a lady “What do you do for fun?” but I’m hanging in there.

    1. I love that book, and the series that follows it. It epitomizes what feels to me like the best of British character — decency, restraint, humor, sensitivity to social norms — and probably a bit of gardening thrown in there, sort of like the Argh British folk.

  18. Someone here recommended The Book Lovers by Emily Henry, which was very good.

    I also read Golden Plan by Patricia Rice, the second book in her new Psychic Solutions series after The Indigo Solution, which are both very good. Warning: The romance in these books is much much slower burn than most Patricia Rice books. More like her Family Genius series (Evil Genius, etc.), which is my favorite series of hers.

  19. My energy level still isn’t up to much, but I reread THE TALISMAN RING and LADY OF QUALITY, both by Georgette Heyer, and I’m now partly through SYLVESTER, or The Wicked Uncle.

    GASTRO OBSCURA: A Food Adventurer’s Guide, by Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras from the folks at Atlas Obscura, informed me of the delights of rappie pie, iceberg ice, and ice cider, little-known delicacies of eastern Canada. There are many more delicacies from all over the world, so this is a book for dipping in and out of at leisure.

    I’m also working slowly through THE PALACE PAPERS, by Tina Brown, an interesting assessment / history of the last seventy years. Haven’t found much to disagree with . . . .

    1. Hope you feel better soon, Ann. Talisman Ring and Sylvester are two of my favorite Heyers. I’m going to look up Gastro Obscura — it might be a good gift for several of my friends.

  20. Read Hot Money again. A Dick Francis novel. It will end up being a reread every year I believe. I read Nan Reinhardt’s The Baby Contract. Read Susan Wigg’s library story set in San Francisco. The Lost and Found Bookstore. Skipped pages. Disappointed. Susan’s The Firebrand, historical novel is one of my favourites. May have dig that one out for a reread.

    Will pick up Dear Edward.

    1. ‘Hot Money’ is constantly duking it out with ‘Straight’ for my favorite Francis. Time to re-read both of them and see which is the winner this year. 🙂

    2. The Edge – makes me want to go on an expensive train trip, and I love the hero.

  21. The glorious 25th of May triggered a re-read of Night Watch, which was excellent as always. And last week someone mentioned The Deal by Elle Kennedy, so I picked that up and read it through in one sitting. So thank you to all those who recommended it here.

    1. Most of the books in that series are fun. There are two four-book series set in the same place. I think one is called Off-Campus and one Briar U. But The Deal is the best one.

        1. The one with Colin, which turned out to be called The Chase, is also free on kindle right now. Hard to go past that price point.

          1. Is The Mistake free, too? Because that was good. And the one with Allie and Dean was good. Crap, the titles escape me.

  22. Hope I’m not too late to let you know I got the latest book by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller from the library this week. I enjoyed it very much. A good addition to the Liaden universe.

      1. Yes. I forgot to mention the title “Fair like all their books. It is layered, so I galloped through it, then read it more slowly. Their next one is also. About Jethri.
        I’ll have to wait for the paperback to buy it.

  23. I’m reading Sarah Maas’ Throne of Glass. The heroine just found a secret passage. It is a rule of the universe that one must explore secret passages. So she took several spare candles, and a weapon, and a couple of balls of yarn. And jammed the door open with a chair.

    Ah, competence. Such a breath of fresh air!

  24. I’m sitting around at home recovering from covid so I’ve been working my way through Nicky Pellegrino’s books. They’re set mostly in Italy and the focus is on the Italian countryside and food, and friends and family. The romance is there but not centred. They’re kind and low key. Just what I need at the moment.

      1. Thank you! I’m on the mend, but it’s taking longer than I’d like. On the upside, I’m getting to read a lot.

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