This is a Good Book Thursday, June 23, 2022

I am currently reading Rest in Pink.

Yes, I know my GBT posts have been all Lavender’s Blue and now Rest in Pink, but we are working on this now obsessively and it’s all I’m reading. Thank god there are other people in here who do not have reading tunnel vision.

What did you read this week?

126 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 23, 2022

  1. I read Slouch Witch – liked it and…thought it could be funnier. Not sure I’ll continue with the series.

    I read Katherine Addison’s Grief of Stones – even better than the last one although of course can’t compare with The Goblin Emperor.

    Chacha1 recommended Quid Pro Quo which I read and enjoyed – but was disappointed that the only sex was one incidence of hate sex.

    And speaking of Chahca1 I read her Public Offering – a booty call arrangement between a London investor/billionaire and an LA lawyer over two year makes a sudden turn into a relationship. The two MC’s who say a whole lot of nothing for two years really captured me – I couldn’t put this book down. Alexandra, I think it’s my new favourite of yours.

    1. I wished Slouch Witch had been a one-off rather than a series. It started well (the bad-tempered talking cat was the perfect antidote to the cat-besotted friends I’d been staying with), but there was too much plot and not enough real story for me. I would like to have the rest of the romance, but not enough to buy two more books. It’s doubtless better for those who love mysteries.

      1. Yes, the cat was good. I did like the heroine. Maybe if the romance had been a little more fulfilled rather than hints of things to come…not sure I want to invest myself in three more books.

      2. “Too much plot and not enough real story” hits the nail on the head for me for too much of what I’ve read/tried to read lately. (Not Slouch Witch: not in my library.)

      3. I sometimes think that “bad-tempered” is the description that best describes the sign of every cat’s frustration that humans don’t GET what’s important in life, or when. We’re unusually poor companions to one another sometimes. But it’s the other times when we can meet as equals (while both are somehow purring).

    2. I read (listened to) Slouch Witch too, and I’m not sure if it was the narrator or the book itself, but while I finished it, I’m not inclined to read more. Narrator made the character seem really immature (twelve, not twenty-something), and I’m not sure if the character comes across that way in the words themselves, so I might have liked it better if I’d read it instead of listened to it.

      1. Forgot to say, for anyone who wants to try the audiobooks without investing too much in them in case you don’t like them, Hoopla has them.

    3. Ooh! Thanks! A personal friend who read ‘Public Offering’ said she liked the power flip when Forrest loses his temper. 🙂

  2. I also read Slouch Witch – and kept going because they were light and entertaining and generally that’s what I needed. Urban fantasy, not grim even with the murders.

    I read the cover quote for Samit Basu’s The City Inside and have added it to my TBR. “They’d known the end times were coming but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.” I read an op-ed from a journalist I like that was headlined ‘everything feels bad all the time’ which is kind of true especially when you overconsume news. Ignorance is necessary sometimes.

    So now I’d quite like some more romance, good people win- type books please. Reality sucks. I’m off to reread some Murderbot. Or maybe a reread of Left-Handed Booksellers. Anyway, looking forward to some happy recommendations today, we have a new public holiday tomorrow (!), So no work and no kids sport and it’s freezing which seems like book weather to me. Hooray! (So, not everything is bad!).

      1. I like Jen DeLuca until the final dramatic arc. Those leave me dissatisfied. But then, I have long disliked the Big Misunderstanding. I read the first two, but the fact that the hero continued to lie to the heroine even after she caught him and told him not to do it again really bothered me. So I didn’t try the third, but I enjoyed her characters and her worlds. Does it end ok? Maybe I will give her another go.

        1. It did. But while I wouldn’t call it a Big Misunderstanding, it was definitely a “oh, get out of your own way” moment. Mind you, I’ve had those in my own life, so i can’t judge the character for that.

    1. Reality does indeed suck, big time!!! Ignorance would be bliss, except I would be wondering what awful things have happened that will affect my life, and I don’t know about them. Thanks for the extended comments on Slouch Witch.

  3. I read Grief of Stones as well and agree with Tammy’s assessment. Better than the previous, very enjoyable, but still not close to the magic of the Goblin Emperor.

    Otherwise, I am in that awkward place of the month where I have used up most of my Hoopla borrows and am trying to pace myself so I don’t run out of audio books in the next week. I listened to another Alessandra Hazard and enjoyed it, another ZA Maxfield. This one was ok, but didn’t feel fully formed, and am now listening to Sharon Shinn’s Troubled Waters. It’s good except the narrator pronounces the main character’s name as Zoh instead of Zo-eee which keeps jarring me. I learned to say it the other way.

    1. That pronunciation would throw me too. In my head, she is Zoé with a French accent. In fact, in my head, every character’s name is pronounced with a French accent even though I read mostly in English 😀

    2. I’ve just finished my first Z. A. Maxwell, Drawn Together. There were great things about it, especially the characters, but it seriously needed an edit – especially to format the dialogue correctly. It was really irritating to continually have to reread the last few lines to work out who was speaking, because new speaker/thinker = new paragraph hadn’t been applied consistently. And the story lost shape and fell apart in the second half. I looked at some of her other stories, since this was an early one (reissued, though, so really no excuse for not dealing with the dialogue, at least). Doesn’t sound as if she’s sorted herself out – which is a great pity, since it was so nearly brilliant.

      1. Well, I listened, so I can’t speak to editing. The narrator did a good job. I very much liked the first one that I read, about an ex-cop who now has the Sight helping to find abducted boys. The mystery was a little predictable, but the characters were well flushed out and the romance was engaging. I think that the other one I listened to was an early work as well, possibly with a different publisher.

    3. Which Alessandra Hazard? Can’t imagine listening to one of those…I would blush.

      1. Unnatural. And you get used to it. I wear my ear bud, so it’s private. The narrator was very good. Eyebrow wiggle.

        1. Oh that series gets even better….PS – epic fail on my suitcase packing. Ended up paying $105 for overweight bag.

          1. You’re back to your email address! What’s happening?? The centre cannot hold!

            Sorry, feeling dramatic as I head out on vacay. Okay my embarrassment of riches: one pair red sketchers, two pairs flip-flops (black and purple), slippers, Cole Haan casual shoes (black and violet), kitten heels black open toe, kitten heels rainbow open toe, gold wedges open toe. Don’t judge me!

          2. No judgement, just envy. Enjoy your trip.

            And it might just be my fat fingers. I have to type it all in every time I comment at work.

    4. I am still waiting for Grief of Stones to come in on my reserve. It’s been saying “approximately 2 weeks” for days now.
      Since I consider Goblin Emperor to be one of the greatest books of the century I don’t expect it to live up to _that_.

        1. I think it did reply to me, just got squished down by all the chit chat between Tammy and I.

          And I am with you. The Goblin Emperor is exceptional.

      1. I read Grief of Stones. Liked it, especially since Celehar is again the main character. But nothing compares to Goblin Emperor.

    5. I agree with the pronunciation of “Zoe” as “Zo-ee”. I bought and downloaded the audiobook and listened to it once. Every time her name was mentioned, I got annoyed and mentally corrected it. I will not listen to it again, despite really liking the book.

  4. I read Deep State by Chris Hauty. It is a thriller with a female protagonist to rival Bourne, Reacher or Ryan.

  5. I’m almost done with Well Matched by Jen DeLuca. This is the third in what is rapidly becoming one of my favorite romcom series. Set around a local ren faire, the characters are wonderful, and the male love interests are all guys I’d like to go home with. Plus, this one has a guy who wears kilts. I’m just saying. I’m just sad the next one won’t be out until December. (Well Met and Well Played are the first two.)

    1. I really enjoyed the Jen DeLuca books, also, and echo the recommendation. Thrilled to hear another is on the way! I didn’t know.

    2. I feel bad because I was reading book 3 and just got…bored…with it? I love Renfaire but it just did not have enough conflict/drama for me to stay interested. Like “oh, we’re in insta-fake relationship and sharing a bed in front of your family and that’s cool and now we’re all gonna talk abut guacamole,” and I was all, “eh….” I decided I wasn’t interested enough to finish it 🙁

      I think I am just not staying interested in “sweet” romances where people just get together with ease and all is chill. I don’t really remember them once the book is done ei ther.

    3. I saw a guy wearing a kilt yesterday, but had a very mixed reaction. I certainly enjoyed the view and will always prefer a skirt in hot weather (it was 98F and humid), when I added in the fact that it appeared to be made of pleather I had to wonder about the guy’s sanity,

      1. There’s a man who works at one of the Krogers I shop at who is always in a kilt. I have not identified the plaid but it’s mostly green and blue but not Campbell. I really don’t notice his legs because he has waist length red hair. Go Kroger’s inclusive dress code!

  6. I spent a bit of time reading up on rules of succession following our little discussion at the end of GBT last week and I came accross the « agnatic » rules which seem to fit the Goblin Emperor.
    There are plenty of different rules and some really seem to offer maximum opportunity for strife among siblings.
    Otherwise, I have been rereading the Touchstone series for the nth time.
    I really really like the short story « Snow Day ». I hope Höst would do a few more of those. A very enjoyable way to revisit the characters. For those who have not read the series, do not start with that though, it will make no sense!

  7. Re-read one of my favourite YA books from the 80s – The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth by Marilyn Singer, about a highschool production of Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    Re-reading Cousin Kate.

    1. I like Cousin Kate. Hits all of the gothic tropes except the dark and brooding castle.

  8. My best read was Alexis Hall’s blog – thanks to whoever mentioned it. Mostly for his ongoing series on every Jane Austen adaptation for film or TV, starting with the 1940 Pride and Prejudice. I can vaguely remember the 1970s and 80s (British) TV adaptations – which is as far as he’s got. Made me think about the characters and Austen’s writing; as well as how the technical and social milieu affects each production. (The hair!) Here’s his first entry:

    He’s also interesting on Bridgerton. Might have made me reconsider giving the next series a go.

    1. Oh the 19040 version – that was Laurence Olivier yes? All the costumes that looked like they were out of Little Women!

      1. I grew up on this version. Literally, my grandmother had about 6 VHS tapes and no cable. I still enjoy it for nostalgia and silliness, but it really isn’t a good version.

        1. But Greer Garson was such a wonderful Elizabeth! And no one does snooty better than Laurence.

          1. Agreed. It’s loads of fun and I love the ridiculous costumes, but I don’t consider it a good representation of the story.

    2. I went to check the Hall blog out and read a few entries. Great rec, Jane! Thank you!

    3. JaneB, that was me! I’m glad you are enjoying the blog. He is so insightful and entertaining I even enjoy reading what he writes about video games, which I know nothing about.

  9. After taking Crowbones back to the library yesterday, I started a re-read of Lake Silence — Anne Bishop’s intro to the setting and characters in that book.

    Although I loved the intricate plotting and especially the appearance of well-loved characters in the sequel, it’s been really fun re-reading this book. The protagonist Vicki is kind of socially uncertain, mainly from an ex-husband who was a gaslighter and all-round creepy person. But it means that she second-guesses her actions, quite often with a lot of unintended humor. I hadn’t remembered how funny that was. For instance, as she returns from revisiting the bank vault after discovering the previous day that her safe deposit box had been opened and emptied of cash and deeds to her property:

    “Opening the safe-deposit box the next day was better than watching a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. You got the happy surprise of something empty being filled without the brown presents at the bottom of the hat.”

    The chapters of the book, like those in the sequel, are divided by title that show the focus of that scene or section. There isn’t the added mystery of exactly WHO the “Them” chapter title refers to, or the use of a feather to head a chapter — that’s part of the whole focus of the sequel on what’s happening and who’s who. But the animal shifters in this book are largely friendly and endearing, the allies step in or step up to help things, and I found it heartening that almost all the good guys in the book have some type of underlying wound or sensitivity that they are not sharing with everyone else. Meaning that much of the book depicts the gradual uncovering of real people behind their facades, with all the insight and sensitivity that implies.

    Man, do I ever hope that she writes sequels set in this particular neck of the woods.

    1. I liked Lake Silence much more than Crowbones. Actually, Lake Silence was my introduction to the entire Bishop’s Others series. After I read Lake Silence for the first time, I decided to give the other books in the series a try. So happy, I did.

      1. Helps to keep in mind that the “THEM” sections cover more than one set of bad guys, and the “FEATHER” sections are Other-related. By the end of the book it’s all pretty clear, but not at the beginning.

        Oh, and helps to have read the book “Wild Country” at some point.

        1. I did read Wild Country. (Although my brain doesn’t hold onto things long.) Thanks for the tips. “Them” sections had already confused me.

  10. I finally got around to reading The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard. Loved it! It reminds me of The Goblin Emperor. After Hands, I quickly started reading the associated books in that world including the semi-sequel to Hands: The Return of Firzroy Angursell, and the Greenwood and Dart series. They are not of the same caliber as Hands but I enjoyed them nonetheless. Has anyone read the next book after Return of Fitzroy Angursell, which is, I think, The Redoubtable Pali Avramapull? I’m trying to figure out whether to spend my limited money on it.

    I also read a cozy murder mystery called An Unkindness of Ravens, about a librarian who fancies herself a sleuth in the mode of Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, and Miss Marple. I had a bit of a problem with the MC risking her life to snare the murderer by herself instead of sensibly waiting for backup from police or friends! Nooo! But I liked it enough otherwise that I’ve ordered the next book in the series from the library.

    Not sure who to thank for the recommendations! In the case of Hands of the Emperor, that would be almost everyone! But thanks!

    1. Well I wouldn’t recommend Petty Treasons, about when the Emperor hired his new secretary. Way too irritating. And OMG – I haven’t ever encountered someone who’s read Trixie Beldon – I adored her when I was a kid! When there was such a thing as a ‘tomboy’ which verges on being politically incorrect now I think…

      1. I read Trixie Belden as a kid, my godmother gave me one of her books as a birthday present, and I must have so young I didn’t know what a clock was in a stocking. Why I still remember that I don’t know.

      2. Good to know about Petty Treasons. I haven’t read this one yet but it’s on Hoopla so easy enough to try it and return it if it irritates me as much as it did you. Hoopla has a lot of Victoria Goddard available at the moment, so I’ve been reading them with impunity. But they don’t have the Pali Avramapull one so I was debating whether to shell out actual $$. As for Trixie and Nancy, I read a bunch when I was a kid. I was always more of a Trixie than a Nancy. Still have some Trixies somewhere. I priced some used copies a few years back because I was curious about the series entries I was missing and they were pretty darn expensive. Speaking of Nancy, I’ve enjoyed watching the Nancy Drew tv series which is a big, and extremely supernatural, departure from the books. So much so as to be virtually unrecognizable.

        1. I liked the Pali better than the Fitzroy one even though I didn’t like Pali herself that much but I liked her view of Cliopher as some sort of sinister puppet master the Emperor needs rescuing from. That cracked me up.

        2. I enjoyed Petty Treasons. Don’t know the title you’re havering over, but she does sell some extremely short works, which other authors might give away – so do check the length.

      3. Oh, come on, a lot of loved Trixie Belden.
        I still remember one line, when she was so tired that she went to be without brushing her teeth and didn’t care if they rotted right out of her head.
        I think of that every time I think I’m too tired to brush.

        1. Well NOW I know you all loved Trixie along with me! But back then and until now I was floating in an island of lonely Trixie love.

      4. Trixie Belden was my intro to mysteries as a kid. I read Nancy Drew only sporadically, but all the Trixies I could get hold of. Still reading cozy mysteries!

    2. My sister and I used to have Trixie Belden paper dolls! She had Honey and I had Trixie, and I was always a little jealous because the paper doll version of Honey was prettier.

    3. I loved Hands of the Emperor which I finished Tuesday. I kept wanting it never to end, which the time peculiarities would have almost made possible.

    4. I had all the Trixie Beldens when I was a kid. In fact, I bet they are still at my mom’s house. Along with all my Nancy Drews. One time we were visiting my cousins in Montreal and stopped by a used bookstore, where my dad bought all the Nancy Drews so my sister and I could read them all the way home.

      The last few Trixie Beldens came out when I was in college and much too old, but I bought them anyway. Many many good Trixie-related memories!

  11. Read “The Paris Apartment” by Lucy Foley for book club. Started it out not liking it much, lots of present tense narration, no one I actually liked. But it certainly grew on me and I ate it up. Which I kind of had to because I didn’t get hold of the book until the day before me met. For some reason the blurb included the word “cozy,” but it’s definitely *not* cozy. Good suspense read, though.
    Listening to Katherine Addison’s The Angel of the Crows, enjoying it.
    The Brothers Karamazov are taking a break. I know they’ll be waiting for me.

  12. I read The Roughest Draft and enjoyed it. It only has a few characters and is very insular and pretty obvious where it’s going to go (ex-writing partners who broke up years ago are forced to finish their last book under contract), but it’s steamy and emotionally hot. I really like the authors and plan to read more of them.

    I also read Don’t Kill The Birthday Girl: Tales From An Allergic Life, an autobiography about the author surviving life with multiple food allergies and having reactions to something at least once a week or so. I have various friends with food allergies (including the crush) and it was really affecting to read. I feel so bad for people. One person interviewed in the book said she associates food with death and how could you not, under the circumstances?

  13. I read Susan B. James time travel book Time and Forever. Oh, the memories it brings. My eyes bugged out when traveler’s checks were mentioned. No one has talked about them in years. Anyway, the story is about two best friends in their sixties who travel back in time to the 1960’s for a do over. One is a widow (Lorena) who wants to meet her husband again and her friend (Sherry) a divorcee who wants to deal with a chance not taken. Well worth the read.

    1. Wow. What happens when the 60-year old meets her much younger husband? How would a person interact with someone who doesn’t know them but whom they know super-well?

      1. River Song and the Doctor

        The first time in his life that he meets her is the last time she meets him in hers.

        1. Ahh…. That is like a door into sadness, isn’t it?

          That was such a bittersweet episode of that Doctor’s ending sequence. But maybe my favorite Doctor?

          1. My heart belongs to Eccleston because he was my first Doctor, but Tennant was probably the best. And I really liked Matt Smith, too. There’s always that moment when they change, and I’m like Rose, I want my Doctor back, but then they’re so good . . . . Those first episodes are always so good, too.

            When I think back, though, a lot of my favorites episodes were Tennant. Don’t Blink. The Adipose episode with Donna. But then there’s The Empty Child and Ecclestone saying, “Just for once, everybody wins!” with such joy on his face.

            When the Doctor is good, he’s unbeatable. “I don’t want to go” still breaks my heart.

          2. I agree with your Doctor rankings, Jenny! But I do like the current Doctor. Disappointed that we’re going back to a male Doctor in the next incarnation. But glad to see he’s a POC. Wish it could’ve been a female POC.

          3. I liked Peter Capaldi & Bill. Also like Jodi Whittaker though I am very behind on my Dr Who watching.

  14. Still working my way through Sherwood Smith’s latest Sartorias-Deles books.

    And then I took a break from that when Jenny mentioned she thought Faking It was her best book, and my reaction was that no, Welcome to Temptation was her best book. So I reread Faking It and decided maybe she was right after all. Now I’m going to have to go back and reread Welcome to Temptation.

  15. I read Aurora Rose Reynolds latest; Until May. It’s from her long running Until Her/Him series. I enjoy them despite the alpha males. I always like her characters right away. After reading several books her plots can be predictable but still hold my interest. The first book is the story of Asher and November. The title escapes me. I’ll find it and put it in a reply.

    1. Until November is the title. Forgot to say- lots of sex which I skip but I know some of you enjoy.
      Also want to recommend Prime Suspect series for anyone who has Britbox. It was made in the early 90’s and my daughter and I are loving it.

      1. Geez keep forgetting stuff. Prime Suspect stars the fabulous Helen Mirren.

      2. Went back to re read the original Asher / November story. I forgot that it is part of a 4 book series (the Until series) that starts before Until Him / Her.

  16. I half read/half listened to Emily Henry’s Book Lovers and finished last nigh. Outstanding narration by Julia Whelan, as usual.

    I loved the smart characters, really funny dialogue, great hero, fun references to rom-coms but as in Henry’s other books I’ve read, the heroine reaches a point of emotionalism that is so overwrought that makes we want to stop reading. I want to grumble, “buck up, Buttercup” and throw the book against the wall.
    I push forward, but the sweet ending is never as sweet as it could be for me because I’ve lost connection with the character and am a bit resentful by the time it all works out. Which I suppose shows how much I am invested in the characters to be this bothered.

    I’ve been writing off my roadblock as my being worn out by the first person narrative, but now I’m thinking it may be generational; perhaps I’m just too much older than the characters (and author) to have sympathy with all the ado about, well not nothing, but gee, count your blessings, woman.

    That said…so much good in this book.

  17. Read “Grief of Stones” by Katherine Addison. It was very well done. I really like how it ended. I had read a review that complained that it started out the same as “Witness for the Dead” and the reviewer was bored. Hah!

    I’m mid-way through a re-read of Patricia Brigg’s Alpha and Omega series – “Cry Wolf”, “Hunting Ground”, “Fair Game”, and “Dead Heat”. I”m currently on “Burn Bright”.

    The re-read was triggered by the fanfiction author josephides at Archive Of Our Own in the Alpha and Omega fanfiction area. This author is currently writing a fantastic fanfic where Leah and her grand-daughter Freya are in a world where the fae, witches and vampires have overthrown the humans. Everyone else from Aspen Creek seem to be dead or missing. In the first chapter of the story, she meets a mysterious werewolf, who looks young and very unassuming. Not dominant at all.

    1. I’m annoyed by the publishing of Grief of Stones. It’s not out in the UK until 7 July (as opposed to 14 June). The publishers obviously haven’t heard of the internet and global interconnection.

      1. I feel the same way about UK and Canadian books published long before American. I think the latest Jasper Fforde was published in UK in Nov (?) And in US the following June (?) I ended up ordering it from AmazonUK and paying for overseas shipping. But I
        am thankful I even have access after listening to the problems our friends in Aus and NZ have in getting books. Speaking of, I am wondering how different the pub dates are for the Kerry Greenwood books. I am waiting with bated breath for the next Corinna. Anyone know if and when that might be?

        1. I love Corina Chapman. Because of the popularity of KG’s Phryne Fisher series she doesn’t write much for Corina. I hope there will be another one.

      2. I do know that the differing dates are a hangover from pre-digital days. And I guess may still make more sense for print editions – if they’re all being printed in one run and then shipped overseas. Though I doubt that’s happening much with non-illustrated books now, since surely the shipping costs wouldn’t be worth it when you can just send the file to a local printer. I think publishers are losing potential sales by making people in other countries wait, now that most books generate an international buzz.

        1. I know that a lot of printed books sold in Germany are still printed overseas/not locally. It still seems to cost far less to risk all the shipping.

          Not producint stuff locally reminds me of the days of the middle-to-high-end fashion company my father worked for decades. Sometime in the 90s they transferred production from Munich/Southern Germany to Eastern Europe and then farther abroad. Not that those folks couldn’t sew, but you have to implement what you expect the level of quality of the finished product to be.

          Which didn’t happen. Which made quality control hell. In the end the company wasn’t able to keep their usually high standard of quality. Count in the second generation now helming the company (3 unexperienced younger siblings compared to their very experienced father) and the company was soon run into ground.
          Thankfully, my father had by then retired. Made his heart ache nevertheless.

          It’s different with printing houses of course. The quality expectations are well established and fine.

      3. Yeah, it’s the 7th in Oz too. But the audiobook came out a couple of weeks ago. So I’ve listened to it and will read it again. when I get my copy.

  18. I just finished A Lady for a Duke, which I read because folks here recommended it. It was a worthwhile read, and the descriptive language was excellent. I did keep thinking “Get on with it. Tell us what the heck is going on, here.” I was not upset enough to stop reading, but it was taxing my patience. Slouch Witch and The Goblin Emperor are next up on my TBR pile. I liked and was enthralled by the little bit I got to read of both when I looked on Amazon.

  19. I read The Change by Kirsten Miller – it was great. Incredibly femenistic but an enjoyable ride.

  20. I just finished The Emma Project by Sonali Dev. I liked the main characters and was rooting for them to get together despite the obstacles to their HEA, but I think that the tie-in to Emma was rather tenuous. This may be because Emma is the only Austen I haven’t reread countless times over the years, but I might have been less distracted if I hadn’t been trying to figure out the title for so long.

  21. Nothing new I started this week stuck, but I whizzed through all the Murderbot stories. Again. What a delicious re-read. I wish a new one would come out soon.
    I also read an interesting article about Murderbot being ‘autistic-coded robot’ on site:
    I’m not autistic myself, but I have ASD and I surely identified with the socially awkward part of Murderbot’s personality, although I never could articulate it as well as the author of this article does.

    1. I just read that article while thinking “hmm, maybe I should research some symptoms?”

  22. Sophie Blackall, best known as an illustrator, has written and illustrated Things to Look Forward To: 52 Large and Small Joys for Today and Every Day. Most are two pages–the text and an illustration; occasionally she expands text to 2 pp. It’s a lovely book; I plan to give it as a gift, often.

  23. My best read this week was ‘The Lost Man’ by Jane Harper. I loved her first book, ‘The Dry’, wasn’t so keen on her second. But this was wonderful. A long, slow burn of a book that had me gripped from beginning to end. The gradual revelations. The hostile, beautiful setting of outback Queensland. The claustrophobia, in a land so wide you can almost see the curve of the earth. It’s a mystery about a cattle farmer who dies of heat stroke and thirst, and no one can work out why he walked away from his car.

    Also ‘Okay for Now’, an exquisitely written YA by Gary D Schmidt, about a boy whose violent father moves the family to a new town, which the boy hates. And you can see he’s maybe going to turn out like his father and brothers – except he wanders into the library and sees an Audobon print of an Arctic tern, and it gradually changes his life.

  24. Finally read Deborah Blakes ‘Claws for Suspicion’. It was the bes of the three. So sorry there won’t be more.
    Now, finally, starting Michael Pollan’s ‘This Is Your Mind on Plants’. I also read ‘Her Band of Rakes’ and “Band Sinister’, both recommended here. One was definitely more melodramatic than the other but enjoyed them both.
    I’m all over the place as far as genres; I’m never sure what is going to hold my interest.
    Oh well, back to the 1/6 hearings…

    1. I’m so glad you liked it, Audrey! I agree that it was the best…I finally hit my stride with that one, I think. Ironic that I got the hang of writing the cozies just in time to have my contract canceled. Ah, publishing, you fickle bitch.

      Still, so glad you enjoyed it.

  25. Grey Wolf has reached Chapter 104 of Variations on a Theme (Book 3). So have I.

    I too read the article about Murderbot being ‘autistic-coded robot’ on site:
    Can’t argue with it – it seems right.

    I also read snatches from a dozen books and six graphic novels, none worth mentioning, and definitely not honorable mention.

    Official Weigh-In Day #62: 249.6 pounds, despite only eating soup and less than 1,000 calories yesterday.

  26. I read a few books, none of which were notable enough to mention, except for the fact that one of them had not one but two epilogues–the original one, which was already solid evidence for Jennie’s views that epilogues are unnecessary and annoying, and then there was a “Click here for a bonus epilogue!” link at the end of the first one. When I clicked on it (out of morbid curiosity), it took me to the author’s website, where I would’ve had to make an account to read it.

  27. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but a good book is a good book, and there might be someone who hasn’t read it yet. I highly recommend P. Djeli Clark’s A MASTER OF DJINN. It was nominated for every major SFF award this year and has already won a few. Also his novella, “The Haunting of Tram 015” set in the same world. Next up, I plan to indulge in T. Kingfisher’s NETTLE AND BONE. In the past couple of years, she’s become one of my favorite writers. If you haven’t read THE WIZARD’S GUIDE TO DEFENSIVE BAKING, stop what you’re doing and download it. You’ll thank me. Trust me. It’s romantic and funny and surprising, and it too was nominated for every major award in its eligible year, and won most of them. And remember, I said it was funny. When was the last time a funny book won major awards? 🙂

  28. I read another zillion work-related emails. Also two short stories and eight novels, of which I can wholeheartedly recommend only one, and it is NOT for everyone.

    The really memorable book, which I will certainly re-read sometime, was ‘Jack of Hearts (and other parts)’ by L.C. Rosen. It’s a YA drama about a gay teenager who attends a NYC private school with other rich kids, where he is the topic of constant gossip because he’s a) out, b) fabulous, c) sexually active. There’s a lot of behavior in this book that goes under the heading ‘we’d like to think bright teenagers don’t act this way’ which I’m sure accounts for some of the book-banning (it’s a frequent target). The rest would be the queer content. Discussion of sex is more explicit than acts of sex.

    Several character-evolving subplots are woven together with a through-arc about a stalker whose harassment escalates to a point at which, in a mainstream book or movie, there’d be violence. I liked Jack a lot, so am relieved to report the situation is resolved *without* violence, AND also without any of his important people saying ‘you have to change.’ I’d put this book up beside Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ as a teachable examination of peer pressure, consent, and consequences.

  29. Apparently today (June 23) is Stuff Your E-Reader Day with lots of free books. I just saw a post about it but didn’t take a close look, so I don’t know if there’s anything good. This site has links to romance specifically, but maybe it’s all genres? No idea; I’m just relaying the message. (This is the link for Kindle; separate links for other e-reader apps,)

  30. I read the Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison after finishing the Grief of Stones and needing more. It may be that I just am not a big Sherlock Holmes fan but it didn’t work for Me.
    So I’m rereading the Goblin Emperor and Witness for the Dead.

    1. I am a big Sherlock Holmes fan and it very much worked for me, so that’s probably a prerequisite .

  31. I read Slouch Witch, followed by Paladin’s Grace. I also finished reading Once Upon a Wardrobe be Patti Callahan.

  32. Read two new books; nothing to recommend. The historical was an early novel re-release as e book. Skipped many pages. It should have had a major edit. So much was repeated page after page after page. A modern romance, skipped pages. Not to mention the he or she was “all …….” descriptions. Had high hopes. Back to rereading another Dick Francis.

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