This is a Good Book Thursday, June 16, 2022

This week I read Slouch Witch and its two sequels once. And the instructions for a cat tower WHICH WERE NOT HELPFUL several times. And Bob’s revisions on Lavender’s Blue for the millionth time. We really have to move on now, I’m starting to have parts of this memorized.

What did you read at least once this week?

128 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 16, 2022

  1. I’ve read Kay Peter Jankrift’s concise book on illness and medical sciences in the Middle Ages and started on his book on Medicine and black magic. I didn’t want to bring the huge tome with me on holiday, so I only have pictures on my phone. But it’s fascinating and very well written.
    Apart from that I read all three books on the Brothers Grime by Z.A. Maxfield, recommended here. Nicely written, likeable characters, no unnecessary hurdles to their HEA.
    As my phone doesn’t serm to like the heat/wonky Wifi, I’ll take a real book with me to the beach – Italian Grammar to brush up my long forgotten knowledge.
    Sadly, we didn’t have enough time for me to find something easy to read in this nice bookshop in Venice, some days ago. Plus, the attention of all 5 of us was fixed on the cute ginger cat that lounged on a box ot titles near the cashier. Who can browse for books with such a peope’s magnet? The kids definitely couldn’t.
    Well, dd had spotted the Italian edition of Heartstopper before Ginger intervened, so she got volume 1 as an incentive for diving into the language soon (starting her 3rd language at school in September).

    1. Z.A. Maxfield actually has audi books available with my audible membership, which makes me happy. So I listened to a couple of those this week as well. Not the ones that you mentioned, but I agree about the ‘no unnecessary hurdles ‘ and it was nice. I really appreciate the lack at this point. My sister and I used to call them jaguars, referencing the movie Apocalypto, which we had to watch for school. The main character survives So Much and then they throw a jaguar at him and it’s just…. Come on. Give the poor guy a break…

  2. I listened to Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles which was not my very most favorite but still fun. And Just A Little Bit Twisted by Alessandra Hazard which I really enjoyed. It’s a m/m professor and student trope that mostly avoids the usual plot twists that I was expecting. They are never in danger of being found out and the final dramatic arc mostly takes place off screen, which I like. It’s just about the characters trying to learn how to be together and get better. Oh, and lots of sex.

    I started a Madeline Hunter and just sort of wandered away. Nothing wrong with it, but it just didn’t grab me.

    So now I am without a reading book or audio book. I’m not sure what I am in the mood for and I have to be sure, because most of what I am interested in is usually only available (free) through hoopla and I only get 5 borrows a month there. Must not waste them.

    Oh, and I watched the trailer for the new version of Persuasion. It looks all wrong and made me mad. Grrr.

    1. Alessandra Hazard is addictive, I should warn you…wait until you hit Just a Little Bit Ruthless.

      I had the SAME reaction to the trailer for Persuasion! Why oh WHY are they screwing with Jane??

      1. Right? It makes her look like an idiot. Plus she is going to pick Wentworth over Henry Golding, and who in their right mind would pass up a rich Henry who is interested in you?

        Also, give the Asian guy the lead role. Not the slightly bad guy role. Grrrr.

        1. I would totally pick Henry. He does look gorgeous on those outfits. The Wentworth looks slightly dyspeptic.

          1. Yes! Also, Anne has her hair down a lot and I am pretty sure that only women of ill repute ran around with their hair down at that time. They are making seem all rebellious, which then makes no sense why she wouldn’t have married the man she loved. Come on people. Motivation is key.

          2. Completely wrecking my favourite Austen. Well, tied with P&P. My point still stands – why are they friggin’ with it??

          3. Argh! I hate when do that to Austen, especially Persuasion. That one with Sally Hawkins running panting through the streets of Bath like Forrest Gump turned me off modern movie versions forever. FYI Alexis Hall is doing a leisurely “Austathon” on his blog, watching all the movies going pretty far back. He’s always entertaining and insightful.

          4. Jen+B! Long time no hear! And hey good news – Taylor Fitzpatrick is back. But I digress – yes, totally agree about the Sally Hawkins version – but believe us, when you see the trailer for this one, you’re going to want the Sally version back…

          5. The Sally Hawkins version made me spit. However, the latest Emma was really good, I thought. It kept the spirit of the story with a gentle upgrade for modern viewers.

    2. This is an excellent ymmv post, because I love An Unnatural Vice (moral dilemmas! Genuine conflict and compromise! Character arcs!) but I was a bit squicked by that Just a Little Bit Twisted (and I only read a couple of that series before quitting). What’s interesting is that they both have themes of power and wealth imbalance, and where one character needs the other’s help, but they’re treated so differently.

      1. Well I have very high standards for KJ Charles, so it’s still very good. I don’t know why it didn’t grab me. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t. Honestly, part of it might have been the narrator. He used a deep, older voice for Nathaniel that wasn’t my favorite.

        Whereas I was trying Alessandra Hazard for the first time based on a recommendation here and had few expectations. And it was available as an audio book. And the narrator was very good.

        So I wouldn’t say that one story was better than the other. They are too different for that. I should have said that I had certain expectations for the trope Hazard was using and she surpassed them. Surprise always elevates my opinion, I think.

  3. I read Electric Idol by Katee Robert, a hot version of Eros and Psyche in an alternate urban version of Olympus. I enjoyed it very much, and loved her gorgeous plus-size social influencer Psyche and Eros as Aphrodite’s fixer.

    And then I re-read Neon Gods, the first in the Olympus series, about Persephone and Hades. Katee Roberts is good at delivering a steamy romance.

    I’m also reading Terciel and Elinor, by Garth Nix, and loving it. It’s a prequel to Sabriel and the Abhorsen series.

    1. Helen’s book is out now too, from Katee Roberts. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on the list.

  4. I just started Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I’ve had it on my to-be-read list for years and years, but for some reason I never picked it up.

  5. I just read Bob Mayer’s Shane and the Hitwoman. It was a fun, fast read.

    Now I’m working on The Rose Code by Kate Quinn. Excellent.

    If you’re into medical history, Lindsey Fitzharris has The Butchering Art (history of surgery) and just came out with The Facemaker (history of reconstructive plastic surgery starting in WWI).

    And of course anything by Mary Roach is interesting and fun. My favorites are Stiff and Gulp.

    1. I’m a big fan of The Butchering Art! Read it for book research a few years ago. It’s amazing how much they actually did back then, but man, I’m happy for 21st century medicine.

      If you want to read more about the early days of modern surgery, An Anatomy of Addition, about Sigmund Freud and William Halsted, was fascinating.

    2. I love Mary Roach’s books! I must look into your other mentions.

      I have not been reading for fun this week, it is spraying season in Agriculture so I’m reading up on the variety of things I’m supposed to know about to help farmers with spray and weed issues. Fun!

  6. Last week I was very happy to FINALLY get Anne Bishop’s “Crowbones” from my library. I read and enjoyed it, but it had multiple activities going on at once, heralded by the change of focus character in the headings. Some of which (like “Them” and the obscure crow feather one) were ambiguous and a little confusing at first.

    I finished it on the weekend and went back to the beginning just to read a few pages. Lo and behold, it turned out to be one of those books that’s very fun to re-read, because once you have a few things clarified through knowing how the book ends for many characters, the obscurity cloud was lifted. It’s twice as fun to read the second time. I am praying that she’ll go one to continue the series with her next book because oh gosh, she’s an author that works for me every time.

  7. I read Cambion’s Law, by Erin Fulmer and liked it a lot.

    Also read this great article in the New Yorker about Pinocchio, comparing the book to the Disney movie. According to Dr. Spock, the movie was so dark that Radio Cuty Music Hall had to reupholster the seats after showing it because so many kids wet their pants. And the book made the movie look like hearts and flowers.

    1. I vaguely remember seeing it as a kid and being terrified. It’s the only Disney classic movie I refuse to re-watch.

      1. My mom refused to let my sister and I watch Dumbo. When we were kids we never noticed, but she told us as older kids she wasn’t going to expose us to the cruelty and call it entertainment.

      2. Me too as far as vaguely remembering it. I don’t remember what age I was but when I was in parochial school the nuns took the class into Boston by bus to the movie. They probably saw it as a teaching and life lesson on lying. Jiminy Cricket!

    2. Bambi was the movie that terrified me. I had fire nightmares for years. Back in the 50s Stephen King wrote an article saying Bambi was the movie that terrified him too. He said what truly terrifies children are things happening to other children, things happening to pets and things happening to parents. And Disney is good at all of those things. You need to be very careful with Disney movies.

      1. I understand that someone’s about to provide a more unexpurgated translation of BAMBI, which in the original is actually a parable about capital / labor conflict.

        1. ‘Bambi’ as a book was one of those things I wished I’d just left alone. As a movie, it’s one I have not felt inclined to return to.

        1. I saw Old Yeller ( about a dog) as a kid and I was hysterical.. Totally embarrassed my parents but as a child I thought it was real and I think left some deep scars.

          1. I hid behind the recliner…. and still had nightmares about Old Yeller… 🙁

        2. Kay, I remember beginning to read Watership Down aloud to my son when he was little. When the tension rose, we set the book aside.

      2. With me it was Return to Oz. My mother innocently took a very tiny me to see the wizard of oz sequel and it was maybe not the best thing to show a six year old. There is a hall of decapitated heads and a nightmare psychiatric institution. High octane nightmare fuel.

  8. I read Seducing the Sorcerer and Arghers, you were right. Really charming fantasy of two men from Different Sides of the Magic Track – some humour, some smut, some character building (although my only complaint is that the Sorcerer himself didn’t get as much of that as he should have) and some subplot twists – all my favourite things. By the way, I’ve also read Lee Welch’s Salt Magic Salt Skin or something like that (too lazy to look it up) and …nowhere near as good.

    Also read our own Chacha1’s Make Me – a hurt/comfort book – the two MC’s, then each with their own issues, meet, then go away and resolve some stuff, then meet again and start something hot and fast and before they can really declare their feelings, one gets a job opportunity he has to move away for. After a suitable interregnum they meet again and resolve stuff together. Really enjoyed it. I will post an Amazon review and it will be more coherent than that, I promise.

    And finally – I read Cat Sebastian’s newest, The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes (yes, Lupe, you can stop listening here although I am firm in my conviction you would like Peter Cabot Gets Lost), a sequel/parallel story to The Queer Principles of Kit Webb. Rob and Marian get their own story – he’s a thief avoiding his aristocratic heritage and she’s an upper class lady developing as a thief. Sebastian’s usual anachronistic style or writing in a regency setting takes some suspension of disbelief. Love the interesting twist that Marian cannot get pregnant again for health reasons – makes for some very feminist sex.

    1. Lalalala. I can’t hear you. Lalalala. Tammy, your hope springs eternal.

      Good to know about the Salt Magic book. That is on my TBR list.

      1. I’m going to try some of my superior influencing skills next: begging, whining, pleading, guilty and manipulating. The Big Five.

          1. Stay strong Lupe, I am not a fan of Cat Sebastian either. I don’t know why since on the surface I should but somehow her books don’t work for me.

          2. I will regard you as a Friend with a Fatal Flaw. So I will be kind but somewhat pitying toward you.

            And LN – et tu Brute!

  9. I read/listened to The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton. I don’t know if someone here recommended it or if the title just caught my eye. But I liked it. A light fantasy romp where pirates fly houses instead of sail ships. And a romance with enough spark between the two and hidden agendas – but not so hidden that the reader doesn’t know about them.

    It was fun and, like most of my writing, not at all serious, and I think I will read another of her books.

  10. I have finally reached the last book (number twelve) of the True Gentlemen series by Grace Burrowes. Her writing helps put into perspective the fraught and threatening times for women today. I look forward to moving on to some new books, recommended by this venerable assemblage. I also read a collection of interviews of persons who had nearly died, and found it very encouraging that they felt relief and peace at that moment, not terror. The AARP magazine that came yesterday contains a long article on how aging has changed, and part of the results of a survey, showing that people’s fear of death diminishes as they approach advanced age. This is on my mind, since my DIL’s lovely mother died on Monday of Leukemia, and just 5 days after entering hospice. “She was ready.” said her daughter. I told my brother, who is two years younger than I, about the survey, and he said, “Sure, they can’t wait to get out of here.” Well put.

  11. I read Killer Smile by Tawna Fenske, the third book in her new Assassins in Love series. I actually like the entire series more than expected to, and it was a fun fast read. (Tawna’s writing is a smidge spicier than I like, but I enjoy the books enough that I ignore that.)

  12. I read Book Lovers, by Emily Henry. Thank you to Romney for the recommendation. Will be looking for more of her books. Finished Straight another Dick Francis novel.

    1. Amazon gave me and unexpected $5 off the Kindle version of Book Lovers today because I am signed up for their email. Much appreciated.

  13. Everybody’s been reading Good Stuff. I’m all about the re-reads this week. Assassins of Thasalon by Bujold, The Book of Firsts by “Anders,” the graphic novels – more like NSFW comic books – of case 1 through 30 of Spying With Lana by Sean Harrington. And of course, that serial “do-over” epic, Variations on a Theme Book 3, now over 100 chapters with no end in sight. Grey Wolf needs lessons on clarity, brevity, and whatever else Simon Illyan taught Miles.

    Other than that, I read (pronounced “red”) articles about the irregularity of verbs in English, and thinked to myself, “English needs more fiber!” I have read (pronounced “rud”?) all that stuff before.

    Official Weigh-In Day #61: 248.8 pounds.

  14. Books read recently:
    * Paladin’s Strength by T. Kingfisher: enjoyed it about as much as the last one, enjoyed werebear nuns as a concept. Fun times.
    * Meant to Be by Emily Giffin: basically an alt-universe John Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette managing to work it out and survive a plane crash. Not quite as much drama as I expected in their relationship itself, but very sweet.
    * Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis: in some respects, extremely depressing and the heroine and her alien are massively traumatized. The new characters introduced really perked it up and made me like the book…and then the ending is horrendously depressing to the point where I may not be able to bear reading book 3. Sigh.
    * Caraval by Stephanie Garber: the author sets everything up and explains it, but I’m still not quite sure what the hell is going on in this one. Some kind of magic…game…thing?
    * Sense and Second-Degree Murder: does great things with the Dashwood sisters as budding detectives.

    I may be repeating myself from last week, who knows.

      1. There’s just something about the werebears and the different ways people react to them. Somehow I doubt that we’ll get another book just about them. 🙁

        1. I’m betting the next book in the series (if there is one) will be about the bloke who is married, but hasn’t gone back to his wife since the god died because he’s so broken. She has mentioned several times in the other books how much he still loves her, so I feel as if she’s setting something up.

  15. I started on Loretta Chase books for the first time. The difficult dukes book 1 & 2 were good. I will read cook 3 if it gets written.
    I got through the Carsingtons book 3 but just barely.
    I like all the characters that are her couples but her books really drag in the middle. I find myself going to check out the ending and then going back to read the middle and skimming more pages than I read. And that 3rd Carsington book – good grief – I kept thinking- find the kids already.
    So I reread Welcome To Temptation & remembered; oh yeah this is why I read.

    1. I love Loretta Chase books, but on re-reading some of them I skip the bits that aren’t about the characters I care about. I think she might not do that now so much but Miss Wonderful has the same thing, where I kept being dragged away from the main story to see what the villain is doing. The whole point of the villain is that I don’t care about them!

      1. I didn’t word my post well. I thought all 5 books I read dragged in the middle. Especially the Carsington books & most especially the third book.

  16. Having read lots more Sherwood Smith following some of Gary H’s excellent recommendations last week, I finally managed to finish The Wicked Skill.

    I still found it difficult to go through because of the sheer number of walk-on characters who clearly have a rich backstory I am still not privy to. I thought these detracted greatly from the main story.

    I think the main romance/civil war/reconnection with daughter was enough plot for one book.

    The book really didn’t need the other king’s story, especially since not much happened to him and there were no discernable links between the two plotlines.

    As for the numerous other kings/queens/secret princes popping all over the place… not sure what they were doing there, except maybe setting up the next book in the planned series or is that book going to center on the other king? I am not sure I have a burning desire to read it to get the answer to these questions.

    All this to say, it was a bit of a dud for me.

    On the other hand, having reread Crown Duel which only gets better on rereads, I finally read its prequel Stranger to Command which I also greatly enjoyed . Very reminiscent of Inda of course but that’s a definite recommendation since I really like Inda too.

    Well not every writer is able to be good every time and Sherwood Smith writes enough great stuff for me to keep looking for the truffles among the inedible mushrooms.

    1. I bought ‘Inda’ years ago and it’s been sitting in the TBR ever since because it’s Just. So. Big and my patience is Not. So. Great these days. Someday my brain may switch back to long-form (i.e. not ‘genre novel I can read between signing off work and going to bed’ length) but till then … .

      1. I definitely have to be in the mood for her and the size Inda is absolutely intimidating. For me, starting is the hard part, but once I am in and following her pace it doesn’t seem arduous.

    2. I’m still working my way up to The Wicked Skill. I went back (in the story timeline) and read C.J.’s notebooks, which do indeed introduce a ton of characters who play major parts in the overarching Norseunder saga later.

      Then I read/reread Banner of the Damned, but takes place 400 years after Inda, and 200 years prior to Crown Duel/A Stranger to Command. Which I enjoyed and it does supply a lot of context that would help while reading books after it.

      Then I read A Stranger to Command (the Crown Duel prequel) and that one at least you don’t won’t miss out on much if you haven’t read all the other stuff.

      Now I’m reading A Sword Named Truth, which is the first book in The Rise of the Alliance sequence, it takes place parallel to A Stranger to Command, but also blends together a lot of the other storylines, so I think you really need to have read the Inda books, the C.J.’s notebooks (Mearsies Heili) books, Senrid, Fleeing Peace, Sartor, or you really won’t have any idea what’s going on.

      After that I’m going to read the second book in The Rise of the Alliance, The Blood Mage Texts, before I finally attempt The Wicked Skill, though I’m not sure yet if/where The Wicked Skill fits in.

      1. I admire your dedication! Let us know what you think of The Wicked Skill once you have read all these!

  17. Read The Raven and the Reindeer and also Nine Goblins by T Kingfisher which I had somehow not already read. Both fabulous as you’d expect. Can’t remember if My Killer Vacation by Tessa Bailey was also this week or if that was last week’s Good Book. It’s the end of the school year haze, everything runs together.

    1. Ooh, I need to re-read Nine Goblins. Read it too fast the first time, I think, and it’s been a while since then.

  18. I finished Alyssa Cole’s When No Ine Is Watching (well weren’t thriller, but too scary for me) and then read Slouch Witch book one. and started book 2 last night. They’re actually four books in the series because there is a novella. I haven’t bought the fourth one yet. Thank you to whoever recommended this so much fun.
    My rom com Irish Magic is .99 tomorrow thru Sunday.
    The audiobooks for all three of my Susan B James books are on sale at Chirp, Google Books and Barnes and Noble are on sale thru June 30. Due to other stuff in my life I haven’t done much to promote them.

    1. I got about a third, maybe less, into When No One Is Watching and decided it was too scary for me, but I keep meaning to go back to it when I’m in a different mood–less scareable?–but I haven’t yet.

  19. Most of my week was dedicated to re-reads. Nothing new would stick.
    Dorothy Sayers’s Busman’s Honeymoon concluded my re-reading project of Peter Wimsey novels. I think this was the best story of them all. Harriet shined in it, as she did everywhere she appeared.
    There are a few short story collections by Sayers I’m going to read and several novels by Jill Paton Walsh about the later life of Peter and Harriet, but the original Peter has run its course and come to the end. It makes me sad.
    Trust Me on This was also a re-read, quick and charming as always.

    1. I read one of the Paton Walsh books and was disappointed. It had a feel of trying to fix all the things about Paton Walsh didn’t like about Peter, Harriet, or the times and class they lived in. Didn’t ring true.

      1. I had the same reaction to Paton Walsh’s Thrones and Dominions as you did to whichever of her fake Peter and Harriet’s you read, Reb.

        Olga, thank you for telling us about your reread of the Wimseys. I reread 5 Red Herrings and Murder Must Advertise and am most of the way through Gaudy Night now.

  20. I started The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison. I find her world fascinating which is good because, at least a fifth of the way in, the plot doesn’t feel much different than Witness for the Dead.

    1. I started this too. I haven’t gotten very far, but probably should have reread the previous one first. I remember the plot, but I forgot everybody’s names.

    2. Finished it yesterday — it got delivered in the morning. (Yes, I stayed up too late.) I liked Grief of Stones slightly better than Witness for the Dead, and I liked both a lot.

    3. I’m number one on the reserve list, but in the past three days it hasn’t shown up yet. (How much processing do you have to do to an ebooks? In my library working days they didn’t exist.)

  21. I blew by a re-read of the Silerian Trilogy by Laura Resnick (In Legend Born, The White Dragon and The Destroyer Goddess). This is a sword-and-sorcery fantasy trilogy about how an oppressed civilization on an island manage to regain their freedom. I really liked it. Lots of fighting, lots of angst, lots of magic, and lots of twists in the plot. I finished all 3 books in 3 days.

  22. I re-read NOT QUITE A LADY by Loretta Chase. I should say I devoured it. Really appreciated the villain this time round, who genuinely thinks he is doing the right thing and is completely bemused by the lack of appreciation he gets.

  23. I just downloaded two novels that are technically part of the Ring of Fire universe. They’re both derived from Time Spike, another of the Assitti Shards time travel alternate histories. (Out of the corner of my eye, I just saw Phredd and Ethel’s grow lights wink off. It scared me.) Where was I? Oh yes, Time Spike: Mysterious Mesa and Time Spike: The First Cavalry of the Cretaceous, both by Garrett W. Vance. I don’t know where to add them to the TBR list. Not at the bottom, but not at the top, either.

    Speaking of winking hydroponics, I noted that 1 of 6 Romaine lettuce plants (Oh! There went Sheba! All the iDOOs are dark, now. So are the Ranches. Only the Harvests are brightening my day.) I was saying, 1 of 6 Romaine lettuce plants that Seble is hosting has germinated a week ago. 5 of 6 of Teresa’s Romaine Plants have germinated. So I swapped the germinated one of Seble’s for the ungerminated one of Teresa’s. They look more consistent now.

    Correction to Official Weigh-In Day: 247.8 pounds.

    There. I covered books, gardening, and dieting.

  24. My reading is still stagnant (mostly re-reads), so how about a tv version of a book? Caveat: I’m not really an Agatha Christie fan (yeah, despite writing mysteries myself), so I never read “Why Didn’t They Ask Evans,” so I might have viewed the show differently if I had, but I really enjoyed Hugh Laurie’s recent adaptation (and him playing a bad guy).

    I don’t know if the banter between the two leads was in the original book, but I thought it was excellent — romantic and cute while not being cloyingly sweet. Made me wonder if it was an inspiration for the Nick & Nora Charles movies. (Never mind, I looked it up — first movie and first pub of the book were both 1934, so can’t be any connection. But the leads have a very Nick & Nora Charles feel to them. Maybe it was in the zeitgeist.)

    The show is also an example of how sometimes we have to be in the right mood to enjoy something (the reason I’m unable to find something new to read, I think it’s just me, not the books I’ve tried and rejected) — I watched the first ten minutes or so a few weeks ago, and just wasn’t hooked, but then this week when I started it over from scratch, I was totally hooked. Clearly due to my state of mind, not the show itself.

  25. I read 7 novels this week and DNFd one at 9% – not going to give a whole night of my life to a book in which a flaky American girl goes to Scotland for flaky reasons precipitating a landslide of egregious cultural stereotyping and, presumably, later falls in love with a kilt-wearing hottie. Next!

    Favorite book of the week was ‘The Quid Pro Quo’ by A.L. Lester, a short M/M novel in her Border series (paranormal post-WWI). A workmanlike procedural wrapped around the quiet beginnings of a romance between a nurse and a detective, both veterans.

    Will mention a well-written book that was not quite what I wanted: ‘The Winner’ by Erin Bomboy. The subtitle is ‘A Ballroom Dance Novel;’ the author definitely knows her dance onions; it’s solidly mainstream fiction, not romance. One of the POV characters does achieve a pair bond, and it’s somewhat (?) satisfying (the bulk of the on-page relationship is ups & downs to disaster, with a happy ending tacked on in an epilogue), but the bulk of the book is struggle, sadness, pain, disappointment, loss, deception, coercion, and anxiety. I know a lot of ballroom dancers. I *am* a ballroom dancer. *My* books about ballroom dancers have happy endings, dammit.

    1. Yeah I’m with you. Not reading any books about unhappy ballroom dancers. Downloaded Quid Pro Quo though.

    2. “struggle, sadness, pain, disappointment, loss, deception, coercion, and anxiety.”

      Never am I in the mood for this. Unless it’s Hamlet.

  26. I read A GRIEF OF STONES and enjoyed it — looking forward to the next — but was slightly exasperated that whoever formatted it didn’t provide chapter links in the TOC.


    Cookbook was BETTINA’S BEST SALADS AND WHAT TO SERVE WITH THEM, by Louise Bennett Weaver and Helen Cowles LeCron. 1920’s recipes, so some interpretation is necessary, but home cooking.

    And I’m enjoying MANHUNTING . . . .

  27. I finished Grief of Stones and I am
    Sure I will reread it because you get sucked into that world. I’m happy to see she is working on a third.

    I will admit that it still bothers me in Goblin Emperor that I don’t understand why Maia is the heir when his older brother (who died) left a son.

    1. When I reread it recently, I wondered the same! We just have to assume that inheritance flows differently in that Universe 🙂

    2. No, I think that it makes sense. If a King dies, then his son becomes heir before his grandson. If the king died first and the elder brother ascended to the throne then his son would have been heir, but because they died concurrently Maia held the same status as his brother, whereas the grandson probably wasn’t technically a prince until after his father’s death.

      1. Not the way it works in the UK:

        Little George
        Cheeky Louis


        then finally Charles’ brother:

      2. The usual way is inheritance of First born son … or closest male heir, this is why in Pride & Prejudice Mrs Bennet was so desperate for her daughters to marry Mr Collins. There is also inheritance in order of birth, so the title goes to the children of the Emperor in order rather then skipping a generation to grandchildren. Or there is the old snatching the throne, usually by bloodshed, military might, marriage or simply being the one people want to do the job … possibly by being sane Catherine the Great for example

        1. See, this is what I thought. The other way doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. But then I guess I never paid much attention to the British monarchy.

          1. It has always been to the next male heir till they changed it recently so Charlotte would be in the running. This is not uncommon, sometimes circumstances, how many regents were Dowager Empresses, Queens by marriage etc also factor in times changing, Japan was running out of male heirs and was actually considering changing it so they could have an Empress, rather then let the line die. then someone had a Prince that would be eligible, so they archived the paperwork

          2. Yep, Charlotte and Lilibet are not excluded due to the changes in the rules of sucession but Princess Anne is way after Andrew, which frankly is wrong.
            By the way, no I am not an expert on the British monarchy, I had a vague idea how it worked because I have lived in the UK for a long time now and I googled it. When I am in France, my family and friends always seem to think I am 1.interested in the royal family 2. an expert, when I couldn’t care less!

      3. That’s certainly one possible explanation that I hadn’t considered but it’s not spelled out in the book. It’s definitely not that the nephew is a minor because there is a reference to Idra being able if he had been an adult to try to overturn Maia.

  28. I read Bonk by Mary Roach. I have transported more patients for an MRI then I remember. I am gobsmacked by the idea of 2 people having sex in it. Wow. And holding still for the individual scans. Wow.
    The Palace Papers by Tina Brown was wonderful. In it’s own way had as much sex as Bonk, No MRI’s, though.

  29. I read A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking which was as much fun as I expect T Kingfisher’s books to be.

    Also A Dead Djinn in Cairo, which was good, except I didn’t realise it was a novella, so went into it with the expectation of a novel-length story, and was discombobulated when it all happened so damn quickly.

    1. I love Defensive Baking! I listened to the audiobook with my daughter when she was 13 and she loved it too.

      Even though it’s fun, I absolutely buy into the SORR OF SPOILER…

      …adults making a mess of things and kids being just a bit pissed and ‘not fair ‘ about having to fix it.

    2. Just read A Dead Djinn in Cairo, Thanks. I wanted to read it just from the title. Found it on the Tor website. I haven’t been able to concentrate recently so the fact it is short helped.

  30. I forgot to click Post Comment. No, I’m not distracted…


    I was reading Putting the Fun in Funeral, but I kept getting irritated by the apparent love interest. He was supposed to be dripping with sex appeal, but he kept trying to take her places (literal places) she didn’t want to go, and he kept grabbing her arm or trying to constrain her movements, and whatever else I was enjoying was not enough to keep me from reaching my “that’s it” point, and closing the book.

    I just got The Grief of Stones audio, and I’m saving it for the weekend.

    1. He definitely starts out as a villain, trying to kidnap her, though he rather stupidly thinks he’s doing her a favor. But I really enjoyed how she kept making him look like a fool, as he so richly deserved.

        1. If a hero’s qualities are not attractive to you, story usually doesn’t work. I can usually appreciate what others like, even if they are not my type. But if it isn’t obvious sigh

          1. Putting the Fun in Funeral is not a romance. So there is no hero. There is the main character and her cadre of fabulous friends and a bunch of shadowy villains who appear after her abusive mother dies. The ‘apparent love interest’ is one of the villains, who keeps getting made a fool of because he thinks she’s weak and helpless and therefore he’s actually doing her a favor because he knows things she doesn’t know. He’s not actually doing her a favor, he’s kidding himself, his motivations are entirely self-serving to begin with. A fact that she eventually forces him to confront. And he eventually does end up helping her. But he’s still a secondary character.

  31. I’ve been reading lots of gardening books and fall bulb catalogues which is rather odd since I don’t have a garden nor any land at all, actually, since I have a third floor condominium with a small balcony.

    But since I read this NYT article (v long unlocked link below) last year about Monty Don and Gardeners World some months after it was published, I am utterly hooked on plants and flowers and the whole world of (mostly) British gardening reading and television. This new universe has provided an outstanding source of soothing and comfort and well-being for me.

    There are 306 comments with this article of which 305 are positive. Positive comments, y’all. I thought the only other place safe to read the comments was Argh.

    1. And gardening! Gardening is so positive and life-affirming in the deepest sense. (Unless you believe the Roundup commercials that say spraying it all around your yard is so easy! and so safe for everyone except the evil weeds! and no problem whatsoever for your nervous system or the ecosystems or ANY thing!!!)

      I used to be a gardener, until the deer came. They ate my hostas, they ate my daylilies, they basically ate nearly everything, so now I have a wilderness. With deer.

      Have you watched the classic British garden TV series like Ground Force?

      1. Deer ate the daylilies??? Around here they won’t touch them. Hostas now: this is the first deer-infested place of many I’ve lived where the hostas just disappeared. I assume these deer like them better than deer ten or fifteen miles away.

        1. I have been able to keep my garden reasonably deer free including hostas and lilies using an organic spray called liquid fence. And I do plant a lot of deer resistant things.
          This is important since the deer have a regular path in our backyard and we see them on our outdoor camera most nights. Occasionally they come on the stone patio 5 ft from the house . Where the hostas are

        2. Daylily flowers and buds are edible for people so they should be edible for deer. There are some stir fry recipes you can use them in. There is a difference in flavor between the various cultivars: some are peppery like nasturtiums, some are sweet like lettuce. They petals are somewhat thick to use in salads but they add a lot of color. The problem with them is you have to use them the day they bloom, hence “day” lily. My favorite flower to sprinkle on salads is borage. It is a sweet taste like lettuce and the blue flowers look spectacular against the greens.

          1. Borage. Ha! In my garden slash wilderness, THAT’ll be the day. (Borage is gorgeous, though. I’ve seen pictures.) 🙁

  32. Just found out Jayne Ann Krentz is starting a new romantic suspense trilogy; The Lost Night Files. Book 1; Sleep No More, comes out in Jan 2023.
    Can’t wait.

    1. Oh, thank you! So good to know I’m not forgotten (g).
      I actually agree, that’s my best book.

      1. Is it? What about Welcome to Temptation and Bet me? I think that’s the trifecta (with Faking it, for those who have not read the Reddit post).

        1. I think that Faking It is more centered on the romance whereas Bet Me and WTT are a little more focused on family and other relationships. For me, it’s not better or worse, just different.

          Although Faking It is my all time favorite. But that might be because all of the art… I return to it when I forget how to paint.

      2. Sorry to hear that because I consider Fast Women to be the best romance ever written. Though I am quite fond of your others including Faking It.

  33. Top 10 Crusie books in order of my favorites:
    1 Maybe This Time
    2 Agnes and the Hitman
    3 Welcome To Temptation
    4 Faking It
    5 Tell Me Lies
    6 Crazy For You
    7 Don’t Look Down
    8 Fast Women
    9 Bet me
    10 Charlie All Night

  34. I persevered my way through the first couple of chapters of The Hands of the Emperor and then it took off for me and I loved it. Then I read another couple of Nine Worlds books and enjoyed them too but not as much. Can anyone tell me which Nine Worlds books have the same feel as The Hands of the Emperor? I read The Return of Fitzroy Angursell and enjoyed it but it was much more of a caper and less about the character development and the love between them.

    1. The only ones I’ve found in the same vein are Petty Treasons (a prequel, but best read after The Hands of the Emperor) and Portrait of a Wide Seas Islander, which takes place concurrently. I enjoyed both of them; whereas I can’t get on with her Greenwing and Dart stories – all plot and contrivance.

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