This is a Good Book Thursday, June 9, 2022

I’m still reading Lavender’s Blue, fixing the plot lines I dropped and the foreshadowing I didn’t know I’d need. Bob says he has notes on about ten things he has to fix. While I was waiting for the master doc to come back to me, I read Loretta Chase’s Difficult Dukes books again. I really want that third one in the trilogy, but Loretta’s blog says she’s having difficulty finishing it. Wonder what that’s like. ARGH.

What did you finish reading this week?

111 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 9, 2022

  1. I’m listening to Seducing the Sorcerer by Lee Welch, which is cute and fun. It may be lagging in the middle, or it might be me. Hard to say sometimes, but I will probably push on to the end. It’s m/m with two middle aged characters. Fen, a down on his luck groom, stumbles across a magical horse made out of burlap sacks that likes to eat silk bedspreads and old tapestries. This in turn leads him to the most feared man in the land. Morgrim is clearly (to the reader) infatuated and trying to court Fen, who keeps suspecting plots and evil magic.

    My reading book is Summer Berries by C.M. Nascosta, a m/f between a moth man scientist who is very shy and a human event planner at a local farm. I really like the world that the author has built in Cambric Creek. It’s cozy and most of her characters work at something interesting and creative. Not much happens drama-wise in the stories (a fair amount of explicit sex) but mostly it’s a slice of life with decent people just trying to figure stuff out.

    Oh, and I am very much looking forward to Lavender’s Blue. I have been reading the beginning of the blog, from before I found it and just reached some of the early Liz stuff in 2009. It’s fun to be on the other side watching the start.

    1. I’ve had that Seducing the Sorcerer on my wish list for a while. Okay dammit it’s time to promote it. It’s Sweet Berries not Summer Berries by the way – Amazon sent back a whole bunch of food items for me on that search…

      1. Well color me embarrassed. I claim morning brain. Thanks for the correction. Poor author. First I massacre her name and then I can’t remember her titles.

        1. I do it all the time on this blog. I only wanted anyone looking up that title not to be too puzzled. Or internally cursing Amazon as I was for their poor search return results.

  2. I read Andrea K Host’s “Towers, the Moon”, which looks like three short stories with her Pyramids of London characters – but it’s actually a sequel, and you’d want to read it before her next one in the series comes out because some important plot points arise in those stories. And thoroughly enjoyable anyway. Her MC, Rian, is so very competent.

    Also read an entirely forgettable hockey romance and an M/M alpha thingie by VC Lancaster called “Killer” that should have done better in the market than it did but…as she pointed out, was really outside her wheelhouse, so her audience didn’t buy. Such a sad lesson. Apparently she had writer’s block and was close to being depressed for a while after that.

    And I finished off the week with Eliot Grayson’s latest in her Mismatched Mates series, “The Alpha Contract”. Delicious.

  3. I reread Dorothy Sayers’ The Nine Tailors after Olga, Jane, and someone else commented on it last week. Olga felt there were too many details about bell-ringing for her taste as well as too much Christianity. Both of those points are true though in my case they are reasons to really enjoy the story. Please read my thoughts below with an “I think” starting each sentence.

    Throughout Lord Peter Wimsey’s career as an amateur sleuth, he is tortured about his role as a detective: is he just a dilettante whose fascination with solving crimes results in others’ unnecessary suffering? Or, is he aiding the workings of justice — ultimately, Justice? You see this in every Lord Peter Wimsey book.

    The Nine Tailors takes on the subject directly by using bells and bell-ringing as musical lines of human understanding, human justice, and God’s justice (1934 Anglican version) as they weave the actions and reactions in the story. While individuals do their best with what they know, the Rector, Mr. Venables, adds a faith in the acts of God which Wimsey sees as sweet and touching, if a bit archaic. Yet, as Wimsey forces individuals to reveal their secrets — often secret misunderstandings and mistakes — he begins to question his own right to interfere.

    The end of the story leaves the reader to decide several things. The Rector’s understanding, enlarged by his faith and by his sense of responsibility for his flock (he has prepared his townspeople for natural disaster), seems to confirm that the ultimate act of God shows Justice meted out.

    In my opinion, God is wrong in this case.

    1. The nine Tailors is one I figured out in the first five minutes. I thought the method was of murder was completely obvious so the book annoyed me. But then I am often annoyed by Sayers. I much preferred Allingham.

        1. My daughter showed me how I was wrong and the part of the ending I didn’t like was an act of free will rather than a mistake on God’s part. I love thinking and talking about books. (In The Nine Tailors.)

          I’ve read Allingham’s Tiger in the Smoke and Traitor’s Purse. There’s something that seems wrong to me about the way her characters work out her plots.

  4. Loretta Chase having difficulty wrangling Alice and Blackwood? I am not surprised. They seem…difficult.

    It will be a while before I comment on The Secret Life of Cows. I thought I would zip through it, short as it is, but instead every few paragraphs I have to stare into space and mutter to myself. (For example, “Everyone knows concrete is bad for cows’ feet, so why would you ask for trouble by keeping them on it all the time?”) I started by reading the list of Twenty Things Everyone Should Know About [Species] in the back, (and confirmed that I know nothing about sheep) and ever since have been going “But SURELY everyone knows that!”

    1. Yes, I stared into space a lot while I was reading The Secret Life of Cows. And I loved the lists of Twenty Things in the back.

    2. Actually, I think Alice and Blackwood would be fascinating. They’ve been married awhile, the marriage is evidently falling apart, so instead of the historical “we can’t do this” barrier, it’ll be about actually dealing with a relationship. Yes, that’s a lot harder to write than courtship, but so so interesting.

      1. Yes! I have wanted this book since Chase started the Difficult Dukes series. I find the marriage/relationship in trouble books so much more interesting because the characters have been “through it”.

        Probably also why I like her Lord Perfect the best out of the Carsingtons. Both characters are older, have been married before, and know what they want. Bonus for young Olivia and Peregrine too!

  5. I know that about cow’s feet – but I’m surrounded by vegans and I don’t think everyone is.

        1. My son is not so sure about undemanding… one of his buddies is vegan and quite belligerent about dairy, demanding milk production to be extremely bad.
          Which it well may be in many parts but not all…

  6. I’m reading The Masters of Solitude by Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin. I read it years ago (circa 1978) and loved it. And it’s holding up. It’s one of those far-future jobs. One thing about the book that fascinates me is figuring out where the action is happening. The names of towns have been squooshed, so Charles Town, WV, becomes Charzen, and Philipsburg, PA, becomes Filsburg, etc. I haven’t figured out all of them. Towsen, for example, is supposed to be east and maybe south of Charzen. I keep grabbing my phone to consult Google maps.

  7. I went through four titles not finishing a one before starting Nora Goes Off Script by a new author Annabel Monaghan. Totally perfect for summer at the beach – pool, lagoon or just lazing in a hammock. The story is about Nora a script writer for The Romance Network whose marriage has fallen apart and writes about the failure, sells the story and Hollywood comes knocking. A movie is produced and during filming the crew and actors come to Nora’s for a couple of scenes. The actor, Leo, who plays her ex Ben decides to stay and worms his way into the family, the town, Nora’s son Arthur’s play etc. Yes, it is a bit Hallmark but so good. And here I thought I was doomed from beach reads.

  8. I have actually finished some books lately:

    * Wired for Love by Stephanie Cacioppo: scientist who studies love but never found it finally finds love and has a blissful time of it after marrying “Dr. Loneliness,” until he dies. I enjoyed her scientific findings and her finding true love, am sad for her, it’s a bit short.

    * Tear Down The Throne by Jennifer Estep: A book where you need to have read the previous books beforehand, but very good, very steamy romantic plotline.

    * Sense and Second-Degree Murder by Tirzah Price: in which the Dashwood sisters are budding detective-ish career girls (chemist, detective, mystery writer) investigating the sudden suspicious death of their father. Very well done.

    * Caraval by Stephanie Garber: girl, her sister and a “mysterious sailor” get invited to play some weird magical game on an island. Very…strange? The author mostly makes it clear as to what is going on, but I found it kind of disorienting to read anyway. Not a favorite.

    * Truth of the Divine by Lindsay Ellis: second in a series about aliens landing on Earth. Literally super depressing. I absolutely loved the two new main characters in the book, they made the book for me. Then it ends on an extremely sad note to the point where I doubt I’ll be able to read book 3.

  9. Happy MFT! That’s “Multi-Function Thursday,” because it is, for me at least.

    First thing this morning I stood on the scales for Official Weigh-In Day #60 because Thursdays are OWID for me. 249.2 pounds (113 kg). Under 250 again. About 96 pounds away from ideal weight, but just this Thursday, I’d be happy to shrink from Obese III to Obese II. And I’m closer to that.

    Second thing this morning, my AG Harvests (Harvey and Harvey Too) flashed red signals to remind me it’s FMS day. (That’s “Feed Me, Seymour!”) That isn’t every Thursday, it’s every other Thursday. Fortnightly. So I broke out the nine inch eyedropper and fed all the Harvests and iDOOs 5 mL of MiracleGro liquid plant food.

    Third thing… I’m here. That isn’t an indication of priorities, it’s just how my day has rolled out. So, books. I finished Dave Barrack’s Tamer Enhancer and Tamer Enhancer 2. What to say… I enjoyed them. I might be embarrassed to recommend them. They fall under science fiction and fanfic in a class called, “harem.” But still fun. I acquired a fistful of ebooks, no names until I finish, or at least start. Oh, and Variations on a Theme is up to chapter 99 tomorrow. I’ve got The Book of Firsts open on the little Kindle as a bathroom book, reading whenever I’m seated for any length of time. Someone just got covered with body paint.

    According to National Day (dot com), THURSDAY, JUN 9 is also:
    Day of La Rioja
    Day of Murcia
    International Dark ‘n Stormy® Day
    National Donald Duck Day
    National Earl Day
    National Sex Day
    National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day
    But none of those is a recurring Thursday theme.

  10. I tried to read the new Sherwood Smith but I found it bewildering. Lots of characters who I thought I should know about but didn’t so I decided to go back in time and read Crown Duel which I liked even more than when I first read it. It didn’t have any of the characters mentioned in the new Sherwood Smith so I am not sure where to look next. Maybe one of you will know :).

    1. I haven’t tried that yet, but she does have a habit of intertwining stories that you don’t realize are connected.

    2. I tried that as well and had to stop and go back and reread some older books that I hadn’t gotten to yet, or had mostly forgotten.

      I read the first two C.J.’s notebooks, which were actually YA stories that she started writing in middle school to entertain herself and her friends. They were the start of the Sartorias-Deles world she most of her stories, including Crown Duel, are set in. She updated and published them a few years ago, but that’s where the Mearsies Heili characters come from. Then I went back and read Lily and Crown, which is a long short story about the founding of Colend. Now I’m reading Banner of the Damned, which takes place in Colend and then Marloven Hess about 400 years after Inda, and Inda and Fox are historical characters. I don’t remember much about this one at all, though some of the details I do remember indicate I did read it. I’m actually enjoying it a fair bit.

      I should have finished Time of Daughters, which takes place between the two, which is a massive sprawling book that she had to split into two volumes because it was so long. But I couldn’t. I originally bogged down about two thirds of the way through book 1. I’m just not interested in any of the characters seen so far, and it feels more like a historical retelling than anything.

      Next I’m going to have to reread the Crown Duel prequel, A Stranger to Command, and then the Rise of the Alliance books, A Sword Named Truth and The Blood Mage Text, the second of which just came out a month or so ago and I haven’t read it yet because I needed to go back and reread A Sword Named Truth.

      Only then will I feel I can read The Wicked Skill, the new one which starts off by mentioning all these off-stage (for now) characters that I don’t remember or hadn’t read about yet. All of this rereading may not actually be necessary. The base description from Sherwood Smith’s Sartorias-Deles timeline reads ‘The Wicked Skill, Liere and Atan romance/adventure–two young kings and two very different revolutions’. Which sounds like I might be able to just ignore all the mentions of characters from previous books. But I just read that description yesterday.

      1. Thanks Gary! Exactly what I needed even though it all feels a bit daunting to read all that stuff before tackling the Wicked Skill again so I might just go back to it without trying to make sense of the backstory.

        I have just finished rereading the Trouble with kings and a Posse of Princesses which were lovely but no help whatsoever as far as I can see and stand alone very nicely.

  11. I’m rereading Loretta Chase’s Carsingtons series, so am really enjoying myself. They are so good. Just started Last Night’s Scandal, which I decided to read after Lord Perfect, so will finish with Not Quite a Lady.

  12. I was away at the cottage for 5 lovely read-on-the-dock days, and took a clutch of library books with me. To my surprise, I read all four of them from start to finish, loved (or at least liked) them all. Such joy. (Too often I toss them aside saying, WHY did I think I would like this?)

    A Bird in the House (1970) by Margaret Laurence
    A Radical Romance(2019) by Alison Light
    Read Dangerously (2022) by Azar Nafisi
    Lessons in Chemistry (2022) by Bonnie Garmus

  13. I’m reading the QA feedback on my reports for my new account at work and steam is coming out of my ears. This accounts uses British spellings so there are lots of extra O’s and A’s and S’s and not Z’s (hospitalise not hospitalize). I just had one bit of feedback come in where the person changed my spelling FROM the British spelling with an S TO the American spelling with a Z.

    I think it’s time for lunch.

      1. I do, hence the mixed up spelling. We kept the U’s (tumour), but lost the O’s (esophagus not oesophagus) and A’s (hemoglobin not haemoglobin). We are sketchy on the S/Z thing but account specifics say we use an S so I used an S and then got dinged for it.

        I’ve already had to email our “account support” people about some conflicting feedback. Everyone makes mistakes and I’m happy to be corrected on mine but if you are going to be snippy and tell me to follow account specs, you should damn we’ll be following them too.

          1. According to account specs, I believe that should be “humor.” Or is that not humorous? 😉

  14. Not the kind of book that most people discuss on this blog, but last night I finished reading BAD BLOOD, by John Carreyrou, about Elizabeth Holmes and the Theranos scandal. I found it absolutely riveting.

    1. I don’t think there is a specific kind of book we discuss on this blog. That’s what makes Thursdays so interesting in my opinion!

  15. I confess I haven’t been reading much. I did reread bit parts of a few books. I reread the epilog for SEP’s Heroes Are My Weakness because it’s real and beautiful.
    I have been rebinging the Good Witch. It’s still good but there are some annoyances this time around. Hallmark soundtracks are always irritating. I would watch more of their stuff if they would ditch the soundtracks.
    Also the Hollywood too white teeth, argh.
    And the Hollywood way too skinny. All the main characters except Martha. Stick figures. And this despite the fact that 2 of the stivk figures are constantly cooking and baking sweets.
    Then there are the stiletto heels. Imagine the first man saying to a woman; “Your ass / thighs / calves look better when you’re walking around on the tips of your toes with your heels 3 inches off the ground.” And that first woman saving us all decades of pain by responding; “F..k you. I’m gonna be comfortable. You wear stilettos.”
    Sorry, not sorry. Rant over.

    1. Hollywood seems to be getting forever younger too… I wonder why that could be…

      Still, sometimes they are so young that it is hard to relate.

    2. All the “History of High Heels” I’ve ever read say they started out as exclusively men’s footwear.

      Given that women started wearing heels when dresses still covered their calves, I doubt that was a factor. The article implies it was to keep their hems out of the muck and filth of urban streets.

      Besides, it was probably one woman telling another that the shoes made her look good.

      1. And they were wearing swords, too. How much intimidation do you need?

      2. Same reason I wear high heels. Well, it’s not always to be intimidating, but to be taken seriously. It’s a thing when you’re a very short woman, and was particularly necessary when I was in corporate America.

    3. LOL
      So agree with the stiletto thingy.
      I never got it why any woman would want to wear them, I’m just wired too much towards practicality. Plus my dh never insisted he prefered how they made my legs/ass etc look. Well, I’d be 1/ head taller than him if I had to wear them, lol.
      I also never learnt how to walk in high heels/stilettos…

      1. I’ve just spent 3 days in London, went to a very fancy restaurant and to the ballet, and walked all over the place, and in all that time I saw only 6 women wearing heels. Everyone is in trainers (sneakers). Even those women whose handbags cost more than my car were wearing trainers. It was fantastic! I’m all in with this trend.

      2. I loved the Miss Manners response to “How do you walk in high heels” – “Left, Right. Left, Right”.

  16. I read a light fantasy/mystery/romance and liked it enough that I may look for the second book in the series. It’s called Slouch Witch, by Helen Harper. A woman, who trained as a witch until she got kicked out of the school, now spends her days driving a taxi and sitting on the couch either reading or watching tv until she accidentally gets stuck working with a male witch solving a couple of crimes at the school she was kicked out of. (And, there’s a talking cat, although he keeps his conversations buried, as in “Food now”).

    1. I loved Slouch Witch. She’s unrepentantly lazy, though she was kicked out of school unjustly, for something she didn’t do (she was framed), not for something she was supposed to do and didn’t. But she’s such a fun character and spends most of her time skewering the pompous, who turn out to need her for something, though they would really rather not.

      1. I bought Slouch Witch on kindle sale a while back and never got around to it. Sounds perfect for a lazy summer day. If I ever get one of those! 😉

      2. Try Queen Bees with Ellen Burstyn

        Also thank you for mentioning slouch which. I went right over to Amazon and bought it. I am waiting in Alisa Cole I am reading and Alyssa Cole mystery- When No one is Watching. Well I usually love her writing. I’m not sure how I feel about this one. Possibly because it’s quite dark. A nd because I’m having problems concentrating.
        I am in Niagara Falls Canada this week filming a movie called the legacy of Cloudy Falls. It’s a wonderful cast and crew. We are doing late hours and when I get back to the hotel I mostly want to stare. I’ll finish tomorrow and head back to Los Angeles. In the meantime since I was born in Buffalo and have lots of relative still here I’m enjoying reunions.

  17. My library FINALLY produced its copy of Anne Bishop’s “Crowbones,” which I’ve had on my hold list for two months. And although some here have found it disappointing, I’m finding it just a treat to be back in the world of Lake Silence.

    So far I’m only about a quarter of the way through it; there’s tension and murders going on offscreen, but the characters and their familiar roles are making it up for me. And occasionally someone will get a phone or email warning of visions from Meg’s world back at Lakeside, so that’s a nice treat too.

    I want those worlds to exist so I can stay in touch. Fictionally, I mean.

  18. I read three really good books this week, two of them recommendations from here.
    First, Seducing the Sorcerer. I think the title gives the wrong impression of this book. It’s more substantial than I expected, more of a solid fantasy with romance thrown in. And I loved the two main characters.

    Second, The Deal, which was funny and smart, and I loved the way they sorted stuff out between them rather than going off in hissy fits.

    Third, Hannah Gadsby’s Ten Steps to Nanette, which was funny, heartbreaking and illuminating. I love her stage shows, and reading about her life, and what brought her to this point, was such a privilege. And she’s as funny and sharp on paper as she is on stage.

  19. I’ve been too busy binging all the episodes of the Repair Shop that aren’t available in the US to do any reading. I’m on the homestretch of my trip—Gloucestershire. I’ve had a very active couple of weeks. I may just lounge around tomorrow.

    I just read the first chapter of Seducing the Sorcerer on Amazon since it was mentioned twice today. Bought it.

  20. Several re-reads this week, including Wen Spencer’s Endless Blue, which I loved this time around as much as I have loved it all the previous times I read and re-read it. I would call it a funky sci-fi f/m romance. It is a pity Spencer didn’t write another book set in this unusual world.
    Only one new book: Eva Ibbotson’s A Company of Swans. I’m sorry I didn’t encounter this writer when I was a teenager. At fifteen, I would’ve been totally enchanted by this book and its heroine. Now, when I’m long past that age and an experienced (even jaded) reader, not so much, although it was still OK.

    1. I agree totally about Endless Blue. A great book.
      I love Eva Ibbotson and I did start reading her when I was much younger. My favourite book by her nowadays is Madensky Square, probably because the heroine is middle aged rather than her usual ingenues.
      I love the ending, it makes me happy every time.
      I also always like her heroes because they are always very competent. I like a competent hero.

  21. It took me a while, but I finally got around to reading some of the books you all recommended a while ago. My favorites:

    The Thursday Club Murders by Richard Osman. I enjoyed this very much. My dad lives in a “luxury” retirement community similar to the one in the book (albeit in the US) and having met several of his neighbors over the years, I could totally see this book playing out there. My dad would be the Ibrahim of the group: the quiet, retired scientist who is the only one who can still drive! (Guess what book Dad is getting for Fathers’ Day?)

    Make it Sweet by Kristen Callihan. An actress dropped from a Game of Thrones-type TV show retreats to a friend’s house to regroup. She falls for the friend’s grandson and his food, not realizing for quite a while that the reason he’s always grumpy is because he recently became an ex-professional hockey player due to concussions. This was very good, enough so that I glommed 8 more books by Callihan, all of which were pretty good. (Her VIP series and the Game On series, about rock stars and football players, respectively.)

    The Hands of the Emperor by Victoria Goddard. O.M.G! this book was amazing to me. Since there’s no romance and very little action, and the main characters are middle-aged men, I can see that it might not be be everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely loved it. The premise is that the Emperor-as-god is untouchable by mere mortals, and Cliopher is a bureaucrat who acts, literally, as the Hands of the Emperor. Cliopher has mostly given up his family and heritage for his work as the emperor’s extremely competent private secretary. Since he has the ear of the emperor he has been able to initiate many positive changes in the world and dreams of improving things even more. When he gathers enough courage to reach out in friendship to the lonely emperor, the story takes off. So good.

    I also read two oldies by Linda Howard, Shades of Twilight and After the Night. They aren’t my most favorite of hers (those would be the Blair Mallory books and Open Season) but they have memorable characters and solid plots. If you can get past the alpha-hole “heroes”, you might like these.

    1. I like a good Linda Howard reread now and again, and I think that her alpha holes stand up to time because there is more to them. Substance under the machismo. Now You See Her is my favorite, I think, where poor Richard is getting out of a hellish marriage but isn’t particularly traumatized by it. He sees Sweeney as a valid lol ve interest right away and takes the whole psychic murder solving in stride. Very low drama, Howard’s heros. They are going to get things done efficiently.

    2. I second The Hands of the Emperor, I’d recommend it to anyone who liked The Goblin Emperor. It’s rich, warm, insightful, and with a main character you really root for.

      1. That’s what I thought when reading JulieR. Bought it. Looking forward to reading it.

        Drove to Bellingham yesterday to replace my old spuddering Nook. New one is much better, much improved and finicky things are fixed. Very big library of books to just throw away. It was great to shop at favourite stores again, even in the rain. The food Co-op is excellent and Spode china at Macy’s and Joanne’s for Simplicity girls patterns.

    3. Thank you for reminding me about Make it Sweet and my intention to read more Kristen Callihan!!

    4. Good to hear that The Hands of the Emperor takes off. I’m slowwwwly reading it, in between other things, and keep getting ploughed down in the first couple of chapters. I’ll persevere.

      1. It does meander later on, as well. But if it’s grabbed you, you won’t mind (or not much). I think the author must be allergic to editing, but she gets away with it, just.

        1. It has grabbed me in the first chapter. She can meander where she likes. (When it was first mentioned here, my library did not have it. Now it does.)

  22. This week I read something like 2000 emails, two short stories (recommended: ‘It Rained All Night’ by Nell Iris), and eight books. Also DNFd a high-fantasy cross-worlds M/M romance because at 20% in there’d been too much fae politics + war for fun + real-world drab & silent loneliness.

    Three of the books were re-reads of Ngaio Marsh; one was my own ‘A Little Turn’ because it got a 5-star review and I wanted to hug that for a few hours; and of the others I can’t wholeheartedly enthuse about any. Thus my rec for the week is Marsh’s ‘Vintage Murder,’ which features a group of traveling actors in New Zealand, and an on-holiday Alleyn.

    Side note: is anyone else annoyed by characters described as highly intelligent and/or well-educated who can’t manage to feed themselves? I mean seriously. I could feed myself when I was ten.

    1. I was dnfing a lot of m/f contemporaries recently because the motivation in most of them for the main characters not getting together was their parents marriage/divorce. Does that count? I can’t put a frozen meal in the microwave or commit to decent guy because my dad cheated on my mom. Now I will be alone and malnourished forever…. Ah, the pathos.

      1. LOL my personal reaction to feeling uncared-for or unsupported IRL has always been ‘fine I’ll just do it for myself, dammit, and I’ll do it better than you would have.’ This mindset definitely colors what I find attractive/acceptable in a fictional protagonist. Helpless and self-destructive need not apply.

    2. Was that (adults not feeding themselves) in a Marsh? I remember reading Period Piece, which I strongly recommend (by Gwen Raverat, Darwin’s granddaughter, about her childhood in Cambridge, with her sketches). She talked about how her mom, a New Englander, had the cook teach them some basics and how it meant they were much better off than their peers after the war (I think she meant WW 2) when suddenly there were no servants any more. I think for upper and even middle class people not cooking was a definite thing …Including during the period of the first Marsh books.

      For that matter I remember six of us going to the beach for a weekend towards the end of college and banishing one guy from the kitchen after he put a plastic measuring cup on a lit burner. He definitely had no idea how to cook. That would be 1980

        1. That would end my suspension of disbelief. I think even the guy who would have melted the plastic could make a sandwich.

      1. My friend’s grandmother was a cook, the lady of the house trained her personally. Apparently they learned everything, so they could train up the staff to maintain a well run household. This was probably dependent on upbringing, so some people weren’t taught and probably only hired trained staff and never learned the basics. Especially as children were sent away to school

    3. Me too, it wasn’t fancy, but yes very young I knew the basic, put something in oven or steam it until it is cooked. Well done to avoid food poisoning.

      Reading sometimes I sigh and wonders why they don’t just eat cereal from the box or gets those multipacks of individual oatmeal & soup so they can just add boiling water.

  23. FEMALE ABOLITIONISTS, edited by Susan L. Rattiner, which starts with Phillis Wheatley and ending with Susan B. Anthony, an anthology of speeches, letters, lectures, and so on — original excerpts from this part of our history.

    THE CURSED CANVASES: (The Ladies of Almack’s Book 4), by Marissa Doyle. Lightweight Regency fantasy, and an easy read.

    Heyer, Georgette. THE NONESUCH and COTILLION, rereads of the week.

    And the cookbook is THE NEW CREPES COOKBOOK, by Isabelle Dauphin. Sweet, savory . . . what’s not to love?

  24. Allow me to share a Farm Report. (tl;dr)
    The hydroponic bay has found space to grow. I put a printer on the TV/Microwave cart and moved one of the AeroGarden Harvests to the shelf it had occupied. I’ve mentioned naming all my garden units. This was Teresa with Anny, her reservoir. There the new girls, arrived Thursday afternoon. Teresa hosts 6 newly planted Romaine Lettuce Seed Pods. They sprout in 1-7 days.

    Putting Teresa and Anny on the desk’s middle shelf let me return the Bucket, henceforth Sheba, to gardening duty. I had decommissioned her to install an external level indication, but the universe and I had different plans. My stop-gap was to glue a level indicator under the fill port, so I can see when the level is high enough. If the glue holds… Sheba is hosting a single Heirloom Cherry Tomato Seed Pod, sprouts in 7-14 days. They grow to max height and spread to block light to anything else so Sheba only gets one seed pod.

    Harvey Too with his reservoir, Nancy, hosts 5 green onion pods. They typically grow four inches per day. The sixth pod is a Romaine Lettuce. It hasn’t germinated yet, but soon. Romaine is Robust.

    Seble has no reservoir, so I have to keep a sharper eye on her. She has 4 green onions and two mini jalapeno seed pods (that haven’t germinated yet).

    That takes us to Harvey, who is tended by Shirley. Harvey has 2 growing Fiery Red Pepper plants, 2 un-germinated purple Super-hots, one green onion and a thermometer. I don’t expect the thermometer to bear fruit. No luck with purple super-hots, this is their second try.

    Then there is Phredd. Phredd has all my herbs, and it’s time to break out the weed whacker and prune those suckers back. Way back. I’m pretty sure that basil, dill, thyme and rosemary are just regional names for kudzu. I’ll keep the mint leaves for my tea.

    Ethel, old girl, is overrun with heirloom lettuce varieties. I’m due for another big salad tomorrow, so that won’t be a problem.

    I don’t have the best idea of what’s where in the five ranches. I’ve been harvesting chili peppers (and putting them in dishes.) Two purple chilis are fruiting, a third is blossoming, a piri-piri seems to be doing the same, and one of the sweet pepper plants is getting ready to bear. The wild strawberry looks to be giving up. I have back-ups. The red pak choi is going to be added to the next salad. There are a few baby tomato plants in the mix- I won’t know which are which until I see the color of the ripe tomatoes. The yellow cherry tomato plant is still bearing, and I’m still eating them.

    That’ll do for now.

        1. All my open surfaces are dedicated surfaces, like the top of my desk. I have two microwave carts, but one is now the printer cart. A better question is electrical outlets. Including the outlet in the bathroom, I have eight outlets.

          1. The outlet by the outside door powers two cordless phone base units, my heart monitor, a heater when it’s plugged in, and a black&decker portable power tool battery charging station, and a fan mounted on the wall. That outlet is actually outside – an extension cord brings it in.

          2. A GFI outlet on that wall powers the five Ranch Units and a micro-fridge (six-pack size) The micro-fridge can go. I don’t know why I bought it. Impulse. Insanity. Insane impulse.

          3. Continuing counter-clockwise is the bathroom outlet. It powers a night light and an exhaust fan (the kind you might find in an RV.) Things like vacuum cleaners get temporarily plugged in there.

          4. The “kitchen” outlet. A power strip is plugged into that one. Plugged into the power strip are the microwave, the toaster oven, the refrigerator, the hotplate when in use, the coffee pot when in use, and an under-counter LED light strip. Other things like my coffee grinder or crock pot use the strip, too. (I now have a hand grinder for coffee. Goodwill will get the other.) I already have to share time among the appliances. The 700 watt microwave, for example, is not good with the sharing.

          5. The bed nook outlet has one of those six-plug covers. It’s in the back of the nook behind the wardrobe. It powers a dim nightlight, a wall fan, an alarm clock, two low power LED lamps, an overhead/under counter LED lamp strip, and sometimes a heater.

          6. The outlet on the wall near the window. It powers the air conditioner, the 24″ wall-mounted television (rarely on), a 4″ wall fan (also rarely on), and Phredd, Ethel, Teresa, and Sheba gardening units.

          7. The outlet behind the computer. The top plug powers a USB charger that powers other stuff (like my 7″ Christmas tree.) The bottom plug goes to surge protector with 12 plugs, all in use. The twelve plugs power:
          a. The Ai1 Computer.
          b. A very low power LED desk lamp
          c. Two under-counter LED light bars mounted to the book shelves.
          d. Harvey (Harvest gardening Unit)
          e. Harvey Too (Harvest gardening Unit)
          f. Seble (Harvest gardening Unit)
          g. My rarely used paper shredder. (off unless in use)
          h. Brother Laser Printer (off unless in use)
          i. HP Inkjet Printer (off unless in use)
          j. My other charging station with two kindles, cell phone, battery pack on trickle charge
          k. My cordless phone charger.
          l. Something else. I’d need to move heaven and earth to figure out what. It’s crowded back there.
          8. A ceiling outlet. It was there in case someone installed an electric garage door opener. No one ever did. The ex-SIL painted it to uselessness.

          I have 12 gardening units in all. Even should I sacrifice what remaining horizontal surfaces I have (the top shelf of the bookcase?), I have nowhere to plug it in. The amazing thing is that I haven’t burned the house down.

          1. Yup, I read that list and thought I hope you have a good smoke alarm. And have you tested it lately? Please do.

          2. Mary Anne in Kentucky, the circuits aren’t melting because the appliances aren’t used simultaneously, and all the gardens together are barely equivalent to a 250-watt light bulb. The gardens and every light I own are LED, low power. Other accessories are rarely on. Two printers, a shredder. My major constant electrical loads are the Window AC and the refrigerator, and they aren’t on the same circuit.

            When my SIL (now ex-SIL) was turning the garage into an apartment, he installed an AC through the wall by the outside door. The way he did it doesn’t allow me to clean or maintain it, but when it was new and running, it shared a breaker with their microwave. If my AC was on, they’d microwave something for a long time and the breaker would trip. I would love to put the window unit through that same cavity, but it doesn’t trip breakers where it is.

            Having 12 of anything plugged in to the same outlet still scares me.

  25. I read and enjoyed Lynn Messina’s latest Regency cozy in the Beatrice Hyde-Clare series, An Ominous Explosion. These books sing when the main couple, the Duke and Duchess of Kesgrave, are on-page together and they were together most of the story. Included in Kindle Unlimited.

    I’m now reading/listening, again via Kindle Unlimited, to Rotten to the Core, a Lady Hardcastle cozy by TE Kinsey. They’re set in an early 20th century English village about a retired spy and her ninja ladies’ maid. Lots of fun banter and very light on the angst which is just my speed.

    I stopped reading The Sweeney Sisters in order to read these two and may or may not return to finish. It’s the story of three daughters and their postmortem discoveries of their famous father’s shenanigans. Nicely written but I’m just not sure I’m compelled to finish even though I’m more than halfway there.

  26. I’ve been reading Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changeling series–it’s been great overall! I’ve loved some, been meh on others, but overall a really good series. Technically they’re romance books, the HEA is definitely there, but I feel like the arcing story that ties them all together has a very strong presence. I just get sucked right in. I’ve finished the “first series,” and am now onto the second: Psy/Changeling Trinity. Silver Silence is the first book and it was awesome! It hit a lot of things I like, particularly the grumpy/sunshine trope, but this time, the grump was the female! who was a badass. Just awesome.

    I also tore through Katee Robert’s Wicked Beauty. I am looooving her Dark Olympus series. My biggest complaint about that book is that it was too short! I needed more! Especially more soft moments. It’s a throuple, MMF book and they found each other in a pressure cooker of a situation. I wish we had been able to see them in “normal life.” She will send out little stories as part of her newsletter though, so I remain hopeful.

    1. I really enjoy Nalini Singh, any of her series really, as comfort reading and I agree with you. She seems to be transitioning from a romance writer into longer arcs of scifi. I think Heart of Obsidian is on of my favorites, but then, I love a Big Bad redeemed.

      And I have Wicked Beauty downloaded and waiting. But what I really want is Pyche’s older sister’s book. The wait is killing me.

      1. Wait, which one is the older sister? Cause we got Persephone in the first book–do you mean the chaos personified one? Who married ****? Cause that’s like book 9 and I want that one so badly too!!!

      1. She has two long running fantasy series, one is Guild Hunter, (first book in the series is Angels’ Blood) the other is Psy/ changeling ( first book Slave to Sensation). She also has two contemporary series, Rock Kiss and Hard Play.

        I’d start with Angels blood first if you like fantasy. Rock Addiction if you prefer contemporary.

        She also has two thrillers out that had me guessing to the end.

      2. I started with the Psy/Changeling one (Slave to Sensation). I have my eye on the angel one, but I’m just gonna go one series at a time.

  27. My brain really is on pause. The other thing that happened this week is that my first book Time and Forever is free on Kindle through Sunday.

    Time And Forever (A Second Chance Romance Book 1)

    The next book in the series – Maybe This Time will be $.99 June 13-15 Irish Magic will be .99 June 17-19 the audio book for all three are on sale on Chirp, Nook, Google Books, and Apple Books thru June 30. I tried to make promo ads for all of this right up until 30 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the airport. At which point I thought it might be a good idea to pack. I’m not normally this behind but my son and granddaughter were visiting from Michigan and Jim and I both came down with Covid which foot both of our schedules out of whack. He had to stay an extra five days. Oddly enough my son Christopher and his kids did not get it although we were all together for the four days before we found out that Jim and I had tested positive. I

  28. This week I read BOOK LOVERS by Emily Henry. I love a book about books. This one is set in the world of publishing. The main character describes herself as a romance villain, the city-dwelling career woman that men dump after going to a one-horse town and having their head turned by a nice country girl. Naturally she ends up stuck in a one-horse town herself and romance ensues….but it doesn’t go as these books usually do.

    1. Good grief, every single book my library has by Emily Henry has a wait list! I suppose I will get to explore her writing eventually….

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