This is a Good Book Thursday, May 5 2022

This week I read many drafts of Lavender’s Blue, and then went back and re-read Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax and Colin Jost’s memoir, A Very Punchable Face, for the first time as a brain cleanser, and enjoyed them both. As a writer, you really get to the point where you eat, sleep, and breathe a story, and that’s bad. For one thing, reality takes a real hit. I also reread The Deal, too, just to get my mind exercised on first person.

How did reading exercise your mind this week?

114 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 5 2022

  1. I read Tiya Miles’ All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake. Mind blowing, mind changing.

    Ashley’s sack is a bag on which is embroidered a note by a granddaughter about her grandmother’s gift to her 9-year-old enslaved Black daughter when that child was sold away. The 9-year-old survived to hand the sack and its story to her own daughter who embroidered the note.

    Few facts about the sack or the three women, Rose, Ashley, and Ruth, survive. Tiya Miles takes the artifact and what she can find about the places, times, societies (Black and White, primarily), and people to enlarge what can be said or guessed about the sack and its owners. The results really impress me. (And I’m the “give me the facts” sort of person.)

    The reason this book seems now to be engraved on my memory is the writing. Miles loves, respects, and honors her subjects. She presents the expressions of other enslaved women as well as writers about slavery as clear, brimming with meaning and understanding. All That She Carried is a slow read that forced me to reflect on what history, American history, and being a woman among women means to me.

    In the afterword, Tiya Miles explains how she found Ashley’s sack and the idea for the book. Then she applied to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a grant under the Public Scholars program. The main parameter of that program is to write history for a general audience. Miles succeeds.

    1. Isn’t that sack a real artifact? I seem to recall seeing it at the Smithsonian African American History museum.

      1. Yes! You were lucky because it’s moving back down to the former plantation where one of the women lived, so it won’t be as available to view.

  2. I had a good reading week. Hoopla had several audio book versions of things that I had on my TBR that were recommended here.

    First was Provoked by Joanna Chambers, a m/m regency with some mystery thrown in. There was such sad longing from both main characters, not usually my thing, but very well done. I am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy.

    Then came a very smutty alien romance recommended by Tammy, thank you very much. It had all the sweetness and comfort that I expect from the genre with the bonus of a language barrier trope, which I also love. Short and a little cliff hanger -y but that’s fine. I look forward to the next two books in that trilogy as well.

    And my road is finally paved. I can park again. It took two weeks to get to it, but once they started it was done in a day. It’s so smooth and nice. Shall we take bets on how long until another branch of city maintenance takes to dig it up? Smart money is on under a year.

    1. I absolutely love Joanna Chambers’ Enlightenment trilogy so I think you will enjoy it.

      And hey, you’re welcome – smutty alien romances R us.

      My bet on the digging up…7 months.

      1. PS – Lupe, I’m reading that Andrea Host that you recommended. Thoroughly enjoying so far. More later.

        1. Yay! I haven’t read her extensively, but she seems to do quiet competency porn really well. Plus very imaginative worlds and scenarios.

      1. Did I mention that it was m/m? I know that is not for everyone. Honey Phillips does good m/f alien romance if that is more your speed.

  3. Reading A Grave Mistake by Ngaio Marsh, which has some just amazing lines, the kind of lines you wish you’d written. “He sat there like a hangover”. Wow. Anyway if you like English countryside murder mysteries, this is your jam.

    Alternating that with Summoning Up Love (Silhouette) because hot Ghostbusters at the beach.

  4. I’m been working through the Eye of the World by Robert Jordan. Things have picked up since the slow start, and I’m closing in on the end. I’m invested in the characters, so I’m interested in how things turn out – in this book. I don’t know that I need to go further – but that will depend on how things end I guess.

  5. Read Miles in Love. Reading A Civil Campaign. Staying up late to read. Always a good sign of a good book.

    1. I’m not so sure about the “so bad, it’s worth reading”. 🙂 It’s really terrible.

    2. Didn’t make it past a couple of paragraphs, that was painful, I’ve read better written stuff on reddit. I watch films that are so bad they are good, this book is just so bad it should be recycled.

      1. I know! It’s so bad! But I read an the way through it before I got to the title of the book (because someone told me to), and then I died.

        1. Read the title… because of your comment 🙂 wondering if she considers restraining orders romantic wouldn’t be surprised. The whole set up for a great dramatic destructive, delusional self inflicted train wreck of her life for a story is awesome, if written by a decent author. All that potential and drama wasted by her writing sigh.

    3. That sounded intriguing, but her depressing title gives away that this doesn’t end well.

      1. Yes! If satire dead, this woman has killed parody.

        I thought when reading it unaware that it was romance parody (and I was working up a little rage accordingly) but, no!

  6. I read The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. The book starts with a grad student grabbing a random teacher in a hallway, asking quickly if she can kiss him and then kissing him (she has a compelling reason). I was a grad student and that was very (very, very) hard for me to accept, but the writing was good and the story was engaging so I kept going and enjoyed the story. At the end, I was reminded of Jenny’s story about someone writing to her to criticize her for writing about a teacher without knowing anything about being a teacher (Jenny was a teacher). This writer was also a professor, so she knows the academic world better than I do (I still have a hard time with the intro, but it’s entirely possible that I’m just a boring, regular person who doesn’t kiss random strangers).

    Also, based on a recommendation here, I listened to A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas. It is the story of how a young woman becomes Sherlock Holmes. The reader is excellent, which makes it a lot of fun, but the attention to historical detail and the weaving together of many threads to get the whole picture is seamless. It was delightful and I downloaded the second in the series before I even finished the first.

    I also read The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. I liked the characters and the premise was interesting. There was a fair amount of very obvious moralizing which turns me off, even when I share the same values, but overall it was an engaging story and a good read.

    1. New novella by Ali Hazelwood has just come out – UNDER ONE ROOF. If you liked the THE LOVE HYPOTHESIS then you’d probably like this one. It’s an enemies to lovers plot in a shared house. She’s releasing one a month until the new full-sized book comes out.

    2. Do you have to read/listen to the Lady Sherlock in order? My digital library has book 3 as an “always available” title, but Books 1 and 2 have LONG wait times.

      1. Yeah, I would recommend reading them in order. There are lots of references to what happened in earlier books and who the killer was. Does your library offer Hoopla? I found the earlier books there with no wait (unlike at Overdrive/Libby, where there was a wait.)

  7. I read Victoria Stoddard’s novella prequel to Hands of the Emperor, Petty Treasons. Found it a very difficult read. It’s told in second person, always a challenge, exacerbated by occasionally moving into first person in the same paragraph, and all in past tense. Second person should be in first tense yes? It’s all about the immediacy of the experience which is first tense. Anyway, so challenging to read.

    I read the second in the Sons of Britain series, bought the third, but I’ll try some other stuff for a while.

    I re-read Rachel Reid’s The Long Game – because the first time you read to find out what happens and the second time to luxuriate in what you know happens! Loved it all over again. And re-read Cait Nary’s Season’s Change for about the tenth time. Must be because the Leafs are in the playoffs.

    1. Second person? I can barely get through reading a short story in second person. Argh.

    2. Second person is a D&D adventure, as told by the Dungeon Master.

      You see a set of doors, smashed open and barely hanging from their rotten leather hinges. Close examination of the doors and hinges reveals no information of any value.Beyond, a set of stairs leads down into The Dungeon of Mental Doooooom. Being adventurers, you take the stairs. MWA-HA-HA-HA!

    3. I loved the 2nd-person POV device in Stewart O’Nan’s Prayer for the Dying. I know I’ve read a few other novels that use it, but none have stuck with me as being done well.

      1. The only second person story I’ve ever read that worked was in a short story collection called The Company She Keeps. Every story has a female protagonist, and you gradually realize that it’s the same protagonist, she just changes to fit every man she’s involved with. The second person PoV is pretty much a demonstration of how detached she’s become from her own reality. There’s a line in the last story that I love: “Preserve me in disunity,” the idea that she’s all of those women, a multitude. It’s a great collection (as I remember, it’s been awhile). Mary McCarthy. Published in 1942, so it’s practically a historical novel.

  8. I read books two and three in the Ladies of Almack’s series by Marissa Doyle. This series is totally addictive. There’s some fun magic, lots of humor, and a slowly building romance…just perfect. I am impatiently waiting for the next one to come out.

  9. I read the new Patricia Briggs short story in “Heroic Hearts” and it was fabulous! For those who have been following along, she has written a series of Asil dating stories and this is one of those. It is another game changer in her longtime Mercy Thompson series. I highly recommend!

    1. I read the first one and enjoyed it but I haven’t read the others because I didn’t especially want to read the other stories in the anthologies but now If you say it’s a game changer… I am very tempted to shell out!

      1. I too, have little interest in the rest of the anthologies. So far the library has gotten them so I don’t have to take the plunge to read more about Asil. I really wish she would just self publish them herself or gather them together at some point in the future.

      2. Patricia Briggs has taken major steps to change the dynamics of things/the balance of relationships between Bran and his mate, Charles and his family, and now Asil’s life. I have re-read “Dating Terrors,” this short story, five times because I found it so satisfying. I am wild to read what happens next.

    2. Oooh, I’ll look for this. Very intriguing that the story is a game changer. His stories have been a lot of fun. Loved him taking his partner dancing in the last one.

  10. Official Weigh-In Day #55. 251.6 pounds. Still 90 pounds overweight.

    On that note, on to the books. Claws For Suspicion is open in the Kindle ap.

    I reread Variations on a Theme Book 1. I’m halfway through Variations on a Theme Book 2. And Variations on a Theme Book 3 is up to chapter 88 in my browser (updated on M/W/F). That series contains more than too many references to Debate and Drama as high school subjects AND high school life. “Drama drama,” they call it. And then there are all the references to musical numbers that have me going to YouTube, the latest being There But For You Go I because they’re putting on Brigadoon. Two plays every year, at least one a musical. (In book 1 they did Oklahoma!. In book 3 it’ll be The Sound of Music.)

    My reading rate is down. I blame gardening. I was forced to take time today to harvest lettuce from four different plants*, two tomatoes lest they become overripe, and a bit of Bok Choy. I didn’t want to throw them to compost, so I ate a salad, with a sprinkle of shredded pepper jack, some fried onion garnish, and my homemade dressing. Sad what one’s hobbies compel one to do, isn’t it? And there’s more work on the horizon – in the herb garden, the Thai basil and Genovese basil have both germinated. Those things grow like weeds!

    *Romaine, Red Romaine, Black Seeded Simpson and Red Sails lettuces. Yellow Mini Tomatoes. Red Pak Choi.

        1. I may have to get someone to needlepoint a sampler for me:

          Hydroponics: It’s Not a Dirty Job, But Somebody’s Got to Do It.

          I had stir fry again for dinner. Sliced up a pork chop this time. Harvested all of the bok choy from one plant. Fortunately, I had a seed pod standing by to replace it. Now I’m out of bok choy in inventory. The tomato plant has already replaced the two I picked. The chili plants are filling out.

          1. I am NOT taking up needlepoint!

            I did, however, download a background and two needlepoint fonts, created the virtual sampler, and posted it to my blog. I am holding you, Aunt Smack, responsible. Before you protest, remember that if you are not responsible, then you are irresponsible, which is worse.

          2. Gary, I would volunteer to needlepoint that for you but my arthritic thumbs have made me give that past time up.
            And the name is Aunt Snack, because I am too busy eating to talk smack.

  11. I read Crowbones after someone mentioned it last week. I had forgotten to keep looking for its release. Now I am halfway through a second read, hoping to catch all the details this time. Complex and delightful.
    Most of the time I get home from work so tired I eat supper, get in bed, and read for half an hour before falling asleep. Today I’m off, having had my schedule changed with half a day’s warning. This is getting old, and so am I.

  12. So glad LB is coming along so well, and I adore the hero in The Unknown Ajax.
    I finished the fifth and last book in the Carsington series by Loretta Chase, so much fun. I immediately started on another series. I’ve apparently got a ton of her books to catch up on.

  13. A third thru The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley and loving it. Good writing is more important to me that a great story and she writes marvelously. Paraphrasing this because I can’t find it in the book right now – ‘Kite spoke so precisely that Tom could hear the punctuation.’
    She’s written a few other things that I can’t wait to get to.

  14. I read and reviewed some ARCs-By the Book by Jasmine Guillory which was a sweet re-telling of Beauty in the Beast set in New York and Santa Barbara. Very NA and I would have liked more spice in the romance but it was charming.

    I also read an ARC of Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews which completes Catalina’s journey in Hidden Legacy series. It was just fantastic and the conclusion packs a punch. I don’t get to read about many introvert heroines in paranormal or urban fantasy and she is just my favorite Baylor. It was wonderful to spend time with the Baylor family for a little while. I hope they write more and give us Arabella stories. I’d take a Leon novella too.

    I’m starting Emily St. Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility as soon as I turn in final grades. Station Eleven is a big favorite and I’m hoping over break that I can watch the mini-series. I did see the first episode and it looked promising so once the semester is over I will take a break and watch some television.

    1. I look forward to hearing what you think of Sea of Tranquility. I too love Station Eleven, and recently read Sea of Tranquility. I liked it, but it didn’t have the depth and complexity that I hope for, so it wasn’t as satisfying. Maybe I was having an odd week, but I was not expecting the end…as in “wait, that was the last page?” It felt like it ended abruptly. But I still enjoyed my time reading it.

      1. I’ll let you all know!

        Sometimes mood really affects how I experience a book. I’ll see how it goes.

    2. I’m so glad you are pleased with Ruby Fever. I have been a little worried since Fated Blades came out. I was disappointed in that one.

      1. I think readers will be happy with it. I know it was hard to write due to the pandemic but it really doesn’t show.

      1. I have accounts on NetGalley and Edelweiss. I just request books I’m interested in and try to leave timely and well-written reviews. Anyone can create an account. You don’t need to be a bookseller or librarian although they do get books consistently. I probably get denied about half the time, but I just keep reading and reviewing.

  15. Books I finished: Girly Drinks (fun book on the topic), Generation Friends (ditto), Knitting Yarns (same).

  16. Read Game On, the latest Stephanie Plum, by Evanovich, Competently written, ticked most of the boxes, missing the fun quirkiness it used to have I think

  17. I read a gift of luck by Sarah Wynde and immediately decided to read or rather reread the rest of the series. I love it. I know my Mother’s Day present is the latest Amanda quick. I know because I asked. I have a meg Cabot to read it is first person. But since I’m currently trying to get a novel out of first person that into third I thought maybe not a good time to start. I can’t wait for lavenders blue

    1. Came to find something to read — everything I’ve read lately has annoyed me for one reason or another — but had to hit the Like button. 🙂 Leigh Michaels, who is a friend of a friend, told my friend that she rereads them every year, then gave me the nicest quote for the series — “Comfort food for the brain — a new book in the series is like coming home.” I might actually use it on an ad, just because I like it so much. (I haven’t really run ads before, but apparently one should…)

      1. Hi Sarah – I also loved it and went back and re-read from Natasha’s story (I’ve re-read the first two books too many times to count!)

  18. As always, my TBR, library holds, and wish list grew after reading these comments.

    I finally read the last Murderbot short (Fugitive Telemetry). I hesitated to buy it because seemed an extraordinary price for a short novella so had it on hold a the library for ages.

    I enjoyed it, but I don’t think Murderbot was a snarky as usual and I missed that.

    Also, having listened to all the audio version of Nero and Archie available in my library, thought I’d take a shot with Dick Francis novels, and am loving this narrator, too. I find listening to books I am very familiar with is my sweet spot with audiobooks. That way, if I drift off (which I am very prone to do) I can catch up without having to rewind!!

  19. I read/listened to Beth O’Leary’s newest, The No-Show. It has a twist that left me with …feelings, but I find I can’t discuss at all for fear of being even remotely spoiler-y.

    1. Go, me, I am now #34 on holds for seven copies of The No-Show.

  20. I finished the 2 books in the”Noumena Series” by Lindsay Ellis. The first book – “Axiom’s End” – was nominated for a Hugo Award for Best New Science Fiction Writer and I can see why. It’s a First Contact book between a young woman and a traumatized alien who came to Earth, trying to find his people.

    I liked it; it was fast-paced, had lots of action, believable characters, was thought-provoking and it ended on a nice, bittersweet note.

    The second book, however, “Truth of the Divine”. . . . Well, it came with a page containing Trigger warnings about suicide ideation and PTSD and massive trauma descriptions. And, that page did not lie. There is a LOT of suicidal thoughts and descriptions of people going through PTSD episodes. Since I happen to be a fairly happy person, I still found it interesting albeit rather disturbing and hoped that everything would be better by the end of the book. Well, reader, I’m here to tell you, it does NOT get better by the end. Instead, it gets worse. Bah, humbug.

    If Lindsay Ellis continues this series, I’m going to be very careful about picking it up I really hated the ending of the second book.

  21. I just finished a re-read of Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune. I picked up The House in the Cerulean Sea as well but am not really in the mood for it right now.

  22. I reread ‘The Unknown Ajax’ too; also ‘Venetia’. I needed a palate cleanse after watching series 2 of Bridgerton. Not sure I’m going to bother if they make another. Also (first) read the one Julia Quinn I had, ‘Romancing Mr Bridgerton’, hoping that’d cheer me up, but found it just as unsatisfying, but in a different way. Heyer worked, though.

    1. Jane and Jenny, I just love ‘The Unknown Ajax’. I’m very fond of that ‘pretending to be dumber than I am’ trope.

      1. Plus he’s a Yorkshireman. It’s fifty years since I read them both for the first time – my O level year. The paperbacks are just about holding together.

          1. I just bought them as soon as I could lay my hands on them: they’d been out of print (in paperback, anyway). I don’t think I did much extra studying for O levels; that came later. I did go and stay with a French family for three weeks in the Easter holidays, on an exchange – whereas the Easter before my A levels I nearly polished myself off by revising 9 hours one day and 6 the next, all the way through the fortnight.

          2. Oh, come to think of it, apart from a four or five-day pre-A level course at the Sorbonne. French at Easter seems to have been a thing.

  23. Claws for Suspicion arrived today and I have 2 books to get at the library so I’ll be well sorted for next week when I have time and no paint on my fingers.

    Still listening to the St Mary’s short stories while I paint.

  24. Most of my reading last week was re-reads. Only two new books:
    Michelle Diener’s Trailblazer was the #3 novel in the author’s VERDANT STRING series. I enjoyed reading this light sci-fi adventure romance.
    The same author’s Wave Rider was the #5. I’ve already read all the other books in the series. This one was a solid sci-fi with a romantic flavor and it concluded the series. For now. She might write more.
    Anyway, I think I’m saturated with this writer for now. I like her stories, but I’ll have to take a few months break from reading her, before I start a new series of hers. But I definitely will. Her fiction works for me.

    1. One of hers, Dark Horse, was the book that drove me to searching for something new to read today. It’s not that it wasn’t entertaining, but if it had been paperback, I would have hurled it across the room in disgust at the ending. Without being too spoiler-y, if I was in charge of the government and a member of an unknown alien species arrived on my planet and this unknown alien species was a) capable of learning multiple alien languages fluently in less than three months; b) could so easily see through my military camouflage that it didn’t even realize my soldiers were supposed to be hidden; c) was able to survive direct hits from my weapons without being killed; d) possessed a talent that left my population in stunned silence of appreciation and e) had somehow made friends with the enemy of my nightmares, I would NOT be treating them like an idiot.

      I am not fond of books where the main character is Too Stupid To Live, but it turns out I also don’t like books where the entire government is Too Stupid To Live. And I really had to wonder whether the disdain these people had for the character was sexism: do they automatically discount her because she’s got breasts? Because they assume she’s stupid and incredibly gullible when they’ve got plenty of evidence to suggest she’s actually scarily brilliant. (Three months to fluency in a completely alien language? Or two?)

      On the other hand, I was obviously invested or I wouldn’t have been so annoyed. And I did enjoy the Verdant String series.

      1. Actually, all the heroines in that series learn the alien languages easily. In one of the books, I can’t remember, it’s explained that the learning programme is somehow making it easier. As a language teacher, I’d love to get my hands on that programme… 😀

        1. The things that crack me up in that series is the effect of their singing and the fact that they weigh a ton. Whenever their partner first take them in their arms, they are amazed at how heavy they are compared to their relative sizes. So basically the tall buff alien love interests are lightweights.

  25. I started Red, White and Royal Blue, and it is very well written, and moves very quickly. I mostly read books by and for women, but this one has me hooked. T
    Thanks to those of you who have mentioned it on this site!

  26. I read Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake. Thought I wasn’t going to like it when she lied to Alain about Malawi. I thought was going to be one of those books that sets up a really artificial barrier between the two main characters that lasts the whole book but could be easily settled if only they would talk to each other. But the lie was disposed of fairly quickly, and I ended up really enjoying it.

  27. I’m reading ‘Women without Superstition’ which is an anthology of writings of women freethinkers. I’m now a big Elizabeth Cady Stanton fan. She’s so accessible and is probably turning in her grave over America’s misogynistic government.

  28. I read “Revenge in Rubies” by A.M. Stuart. It’s the third in her Harriet Gordon mystery series. Mystery set in Edwardian-era Singapore. Nice change of setting.

  29. I finished Nettle & Bone by T Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) in two days, proving to myself that it is possible to immerse myself completely in a book if it’s compelling enough, something I’ve been struggling to do for quite a while now.

    Also feeling encouraged about future reading — I read an interview of Martha Wells who was quoted as saying she’s working on the next Murderbot book, another novella (typo in the interview itself if you see it; she corrected on twitter that it’s a novella, not a novel). Obviously won’t be released for a while (next book to release is the start of a new, unrelated series), but it’s good to know another Murderbot is in the works! (And the non-Murderbot book sounds good too. Wells is a fabulous worldbuilder, a skill that will have room to shine in the new book, based on her description of it.)

  30. The only thing I have read recently that I would recommend is Coma Girl by Stephanie Bond. It was originally written as a Kindle Single serial but is finally available a two part collection, cola 1-3 and 4-6, but also still available for free with Kindle Unlimited.

    Basically it’s told from the point of view of a twenty-something coma patient who can hear what’s going on around her but cannot move or communicate at all, which sounds terribly boring, it people apparently say all sorts of things to people they think can’t hear them, and it was really a lot of fun

  31. Yes! If satire dead, this woman has killed parody.

    I thought when reading it unaware that it was romance parody (and I was working up a little rage accordingly) but, no!

  32. So many people here love Murderbot, but I keep tripping over the prices. (I read a book a day and I buy them, so 2.99/short story or 3.99/novella or 9.99/novel means ‘wait for it’ for me.) Keeping an eye out for sales and have acquired two of the titles that way, planning to let them sit until I have them all.

    I exercised my mind with nonfiction! Today I finished reading ‘Monster, She Wrote’ by Lisa Kroger & Melanie R. Anderson, which is a survey of speculative and horror fiction by women. Biographical sketches and notes on major works + related reading. Very interesting even though I don’t like horror and haven’t read much SF since college. 🙂

    Also in non-fiction this week, finished ‘The Guns of August’ by Barbara Tuchman, which struck me as foundational reading for the 1920s Paris trilogy I’m planning. That is A Book, y’all. Then there was ‘The Great Crown Jewels Robbery of 1303’ by Paul Doherty, who has a troubled relationship with punctuation but knows his way around an archive. And finally, ‘Ace & Proud: An Asexual Anthology’ which is a collection of autobiographical essays.

    In fiction, there was one F/M romance I didn’t love plus five M/M romances, starting with ‘Flowers by Night’ by Lucy May Lennox, the only one I’ve ever read set in Edo Japan, which is chock full of interesting history. The romance part of it didn’t set my heart to five, but I’m glad I read it. Then there were solid titles from Sarina Bowen and Annabeth Albert; another unusual historical: Neil S. Plakcy, ‘The Lock-keeper’s Heart,’ set in 1872 Pennsylvania, in which I could have done with less fear/worry/poor communication and more making it work (the last 15% was very satisfactory) but again, interesting history; and ‘The Silver Medalist’ by T.J. Blackley, which is not your average sports romance.

    ‘Medalist’ is NA taking place over a period of years beginning when the POV character, a Swiss figure skater, wins a Junior Worlds title and advances to adult competition. He has several affairs over the course of the book, all of which are conducted with intelligence & discretion (and strict attention to prophylaxis). The romance through-story is with an ice dancer who’s even more deeply closeted than the rest of them (and acts like a dick when the chips are down). My favorite secondary character was a longtime FWB, a Russian skater who’s a solid ally when the main character needs one. He’s also the guy who keeps winning gold. 🙂 I appreciated the way athletic competition was presented here: as a job, one in which you develop bonds with some of your competitors as well as with your teammates. My experience with Dance Sport was the same, though we weren’t at an elite level.

    1. “…a troubled relationship with punctuation but knows his way around an archive.” I love it. And also laughed out loud.

  33. I read Loretta Chase’s A Duke in Shining Armour, which was delightfully funny. I think it’s my first of hers, I can see why so many of you like her.

    And Margaret Rogerson’s Sorcery of Thorns which was good too, with great world building. But I liked Vespertine better. This one didn’t have the same level of fun snark.

    And Katherine Heiny’s Standard Deviation. Wasn’t totally sure what to make of that. On the positive, lots of hilarious descriptions of strange people, but the MC seemed to know no-one but strange people and after a while the hilarious descriptions started to feel like he was an arrogant a-hole.

    Now I’m reading Set My Heart to Five, which is about a bot and very sweet. I’m loving it.

    1. I’m so glad to see someone else who had trouble with Standard Deviation. I guess it’s not my kind of humor (a lot of it seemed mean IMHO) and the ending dropped off the edge of a cliff. I liked the son, though.

  34. I went back a Grave Mistake. I am always struck by the scene where Alleyne tells two drunk people to get in their cars and go home. Once you start paying attention to drinking in all the golden age mysteries you can’t ignore it. The alcohol consumption and tolerance for drinking is striking .

    I am having trouble finding something new to read, except for the news about Roe and the many thoughtful pieces including threads on Twitter. I am terrified for my children and my nieces and nephews.

  35. On Argh’s advice I bought a used copy of Aaron Elkins’ Old Bones for my husband last fall.

    He enjoyed it.

    Now I’m enjoying it.

    Thanks very much!

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