I was really pleased to find a book I could recommend this week, light and fun, until I got three quarters of the way through and saw a Big Misunderstanding looming. So I skipped ahead to the last chapter and yes, there was our heroine alone and devastated but wait! here comes a public declaration of love from her one-and-only.
Did you read anything good this week that did not have a Big Misunderstanding, let alone a Public Declaration of Love? Or anything good period? Please tell us. Please.
110 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 21, 2022”
I’m currently hooked on Spy X Family (both the manga and the anime) about a top spy who needs a wife and child for his next mission. He doesn’t know, however, that the woman he proposes a marriage of convenience to is an assassin, who accepts his proposal as cover for her own work, and the child he collected from the orphanage is a telepath who can read what they’re both thinking and has her own vested interest in this odd little family staying together. Hijinks ensue. I’m loving the tight set-up, and the found family looming.
Sounds really interesting! Will look for it.
What a coincidence, I was hoping I would remember on Thursday to talk about Georgette Heyer book ”Penhallow”. I was rereading it years since I read it last And it is (to me) very unlike her books. Anyone know why this. Book is so depressing?
To cheer me up I am rereading Tell me Lies by one of my favourite authors. Truth, not sucking up.
I think she only wrote it to get out of a contract with a publisher she hated, and intentionally made it as unpleasant as possible. I’m currently listening to and enjoying Duplicate Death, having just finished Cousin Kate. It’s a similar set up but a LOT more fun.
I had plot confusion – Duplicate Death is nothing like Penhallow, it’s No Wind Of Blame that has a similar plot.
I like that book, too. The characters are so unique and interesting. It seems very apropos in these days of lies everywhere.
Saw a really well-written meet-cute in the Netflix movie, The High Note. In fact, all the scenes were well-written until the hokey wind-up scene which felt like it had been welded on by studio execs. Highly recommend for fans of music, strong female leads. I had no idea Dakota Johnson is a decent actress.
Are we skipping Working Wednesday this week? Unfair. I cleared out a huge amount of nut sedge, some of which is already resprouting. And I have planted almost all the new plants I purchased. I keep this up and I will start to get things under control.
No, I screwed up the posting. This one will post again on Thursday.
You are forgiven (Of course). As long as we get another book – or three- in the future.
On the nut sedge — the nuts in the root (one per plant) have to be pulled up or the plant will sprout again. The nuts are small (size of a pea, more or less) and brown, about avg. two inches below the surface. Surprisingly, they taste kind of good if you wash the dirt off thoroughly — I recall reading that native americans would cook and eat them.
I wonder if boiling water would help dissuade the stuff from coming back. It works quite nicely on dandelions, tiny ants, and crabgrass. It’s not a particularly efficient way to remove large swathes of crabgrass, of course, but it smells wonderful and works well on small growths of it.
No. Jinx has it right. I have tried everything: boiling water, alcohol, vinegar, flame and noxious chemicals. Only getting the whole root system out works. Not only do they generate from the nut but they create other nuts to produce more plants on other rootlets. They are the worst weed to irradiate because like oxalis, there is this thin root that connects the primary nut (bulb) to the growing plant and it is almost impossible to see. My one hope is that every time I dig some out the soil loosens and eventually the soil is in good enough shape that I dig the plant out and the connecting root does not break and I get the nut too. I have heard some master gardeners say that even if you don’t get the nut, if you can keep the plant from forming and generating chlorophyll, they eventually starve and die. Not in my experience.
I must have done something particularly evil in a past life and when I redeem myself enough, the nut sedge will shrivel and die.
Sounds a lot like Lesser Celandine, which also spreads by itty bitty nodules, that break off when you pull on the plant and then go dormant, only to reassert themselves next spring. Horrible plant.
This is so Pogo! Walt Kelly would be pleased. “Good Book Thursday done come on a Wednesday this week.”
I’m partway through Maybe This Time, the seventh story in the Jennifer Crusie Collection. I expected to be done by tomorrow. I’m hoping that cranking out the collaboration inspires you to finish some or all of the sequels, even if you have to let Bob write Ethan or Carter.
I’ve started Michael Scott Earle’s Tamer: King of the Dinosaurs, Book 2 (of 8). I just finished Book 1. People of different worlds are abducted by aliens and abandoned on a planet full of dinosaurs. They must struggle just to survive each day. The aliens removed an eye and replaced it with an identical-in-appearance cybernetic eye that allows them to understand Each other (except for idioms, which are translated literally). It also has a videogame-style interface that shows their “stats”, like strength and endurance. Our Hero is an Animal Control employee with a special skill called “Tamer.” He isn’t the smartest, the strongest, or the fiercest, but he seems to be a natural leader. It’s sort of like Jumanji.
Variations on a Theme Book 3 Chapter 116 (of ~142) will be out today around 9 AM.
Oh thank god Good Book Thursday is back! I was getting desperate. And dramatic, clearly.
Anyway – I take it back that Eliot Grayson needs a werewolf and/or a vampire to be at her best – read The Wrong Rake (a long novella I think?) – not much plot, some lovely characters and just this side of delicious.
Alexandra Caluen gifted me with an ARC of Mistletango which I adored – two men meet on vacation in Argentina and learn about each other through dance (Caluen is a dancer herself so dancing is like a third character in her books) and then have to decide what do about each other after vacation. One of our Chacha1’s books about how a relationship twists and turns (pun intended) and – works out.
And I re-read the first five (don’t love the sixth) of Iris Foxglove’s Starian Cycle – “M/M Dark Fantasy Romance”. Actually, I only found the first one a bit dark and it’s still my favourite. Foxglove’s world is predicated on Dominance/Submission being a biological imperative, which makes for some interesting sexual and non sexual dynamics. I love the politics, the vividly written characters, action/adventure elements and a little bit of magic. Eventually even some humour threads its way in. Love this series.
<3 thanks for the kind words! Getting that book queried out is my primary August To Do in the 'writer business' category. 🙂
I also read 'The Wrong Rake' and liked it. Serious grovel was needed, serious grovel was delivered, and the real rake got his ass appropriately kicked.
Yay! So happy all is well. I am my father’s daughter, so why believe that everything is fine when you can believe that your loved one is dead in a ditch? And then drive around checking all the ditches obsessively.
Mostly rereading for me this week. Faking It, because I am trying to paint again and I need the reassurance. I always feel like I have forgotten everything when I take a break from it… Plus competent adults who fix things. Always wonderful and another good reminder.
And Morning Glory Milking Farm came out on audio, so I bought that and listened. One of the things that I liked about it was that the looming Big Misunderstanding was unraveled almost immediately. I wasn’t expecting that and really appreciated it. Since then CM Nascosta has become a staple comfort read for me. Like the Book of Firsts, she describes her writing as fluffy and kind of about nothing, but it is not, just subtle. Lots of smut, but lots of feels and communication too.
I will try to read something new for next week, but I have been in a weird mood and nothing seems to grab me.
I’m totally there with you on the ditch thing. You forgot the part though where the loved one is covered in blood in the ditch.
I thought it was implied…
I think it’s important to make the blood explicit. Adds a certain extra something to rationalize all the driving around checking the ditches obsessively.
Ha. Joke is on you. Reason has nothing to do with this.
Funny, both times I’ve been in accidents involving ditches I walked away unharmed. 🙂 (The cars were f**ked though.) ((not my fault either time! I swear!!))
The listening continues this week, with more Georgette Heyer and a new to me book called Sourdough, by Robin Sloan. An easy listen that I could tell I would also enjoy reading on the page, poking fun at Silicon Valley tech culture and the homemade sourdough craze, with more than a touch of magic realism. Things escalated nicely from a little strange to batshit crazy, which suited my mood, and the romance was subtle but sweet.
That sounds like my kind of book, and even better, the library has the hardcover. Thanks!
As does mine. Thanks from me, too.
Oooh, sounds like my kind of thing too.
I need to try this one.
I’ll be interested to know what you all think!
Mimi Matthews’s The Viscount and the Vicar’s Daughter was a charming clean historical romance, short and imminently satisfying. I’ve come to rely on this author for such stories. Whenever I feel down or get into a reading slump, I turn to her romances for entertainment and escape, and she always delivers. I still have a few of her books I haven’t read yet, and the anticipation of reading them one day, immersing myself in the worlds of her creation, is sweet.
Another romance of the week – Mary Balogh’s Indiscreet. It was a solid historical, one of her earlier books (1997). A gratifying novel of love and understanding and the time it takes to reach both. Not perfect, but a great read anyway.
Wen Spencer’s Harbinger is the latest book in the author’s SFF Elfhome series. It’s #6. It’s been 7 years since the book #5 – a really long wait. But I’m a fan, so I waited, and waited, and now, I feel that this book let me down. It seems compiled of fragments. The author took every major character of the series, from all her previous novels and short stories, altogether 8 characters, and gave each one two or three chapters to drive forward their separate plot lines. So no protagonist at all. Presumably, all 8 different story lines are equally important, and all converge towards one big confrontation with the bad guys. And then, she finished on a cliffhanger. The confrontation started, and the novel ended. I’m really disappointed. How long would I have to wait for the conclusion? Another 7 years?
That’s really frustrating. Sympathies.
That’s so frustrating. I did the same with the latest Outlander book. I didn’t even make it to the end.
Olga G — I had a similar feeling about “Indiscreet”. All three of that series have big challenges at the beginning, but they’re understandable and very carefully and believably resolved, with both MCs changing as the resolution occurs. I almost DNF’d one of them — only one of Balogh’s that’s happened with.
I totally agree Jenny. I cannot stand the big misunderstanding plot device anymore.
I am trying to think of a book I like where it is used and I am coming up blank.
I came back from my Italian holiday in a slight state of book deprivation. For once in my life, I was too busy to read much so I made up for it by reading frantically for a couple of days.
I noticed that Maria Vale is having a new book out in her legend of all wolves series soon so I thought a reread of the first four was in order. I gobbled them up so now I have to wait a few days for the next one.
In the meantime, I am embarking on a sedate reread of Penric. I have reread the first which I hadn’t reread for a long time as I tend to reread the ones with Nikys and I had forgotten how good it is.
Whenever I read Lois Mcmaster Bujold these days, I try to work out why she is so good but I am no critic, I can’t explain it, I can just enjoy it.
It’s the same with you, Jenny. I don’t know how you do it. That opening scene with Anna you posted a while back was so much fun, it’s still in my brain.
I can’t wait for the new books.
I haven’t read any of Bujold’s books. Which do you recommend to start? They look like something I’d love.
I’m a big fan of starting with Cordelia’s Honor which is actually two books in one. Then a whole series unfolds from there.
Ditto. That book will give you all the background you need to really appreciate the series. Wonderful author, great reading!
Yes! Cordelia’s Honor is an amazing book.
If you like SF, Cordelia’s honor is the best start, followed immediately by Barrayar which is it’s immediate sequel even though it was published much later. Other favourites in the Vorkosigan saga: Memory, the « regencies »: A civil campaign, Captain Vorpatril’s alliance but honestly, they are all good and worth reading in order.
If you like fantasy, my absolute favourite LMB book is Paladin of Souls but you should start with the Curse of Chalion before reading it (that one starts slow but when it takes off, it is absolutely excellent too).
Have fun reading all these for the first time, what a treat!
Oops, I meant Shards of honor followed by Barrayar which have been united in Cordelia’s honor.
Cordelia’s Honor is good, but it’s the start of the Vorkosigan saga. Penric is in another series, The World of the five Gods, a fantasy series. This starts with the Curse of Chalion, also highly recommended.
I’m also very fond of the Sharing Knife series, which starts with Beguilement.
She has a couple of different series. There’s is Miles Vorkosigan, Cordellia is his mother. There is Penric (about 7 or 8 novellas) which occurs in the world of the five gods. The two Chalion novels plus The Hallowed Hunt also occur in this world. There is also the Sharing Knife series. The only series I haven’t reread is the Sharing Knife. But the Chalion novels I reread several times a year. Also the Penric novellas
I read My Kind of You by Tracy Brogan and wonder of wonders – I finished it. I will not be going back for more because it was a little too cheesy for me but at least it wasn’t a re-read or a dnf.
Jayne Ann Krentz had The Waiting Game on sale this week. I am re-reading it. It’s been long enough since I read it that I am not remembering it. So far. So good. JAK is a never miss for me.
I have Alice Walker poetry books on hold from the library mostly because I am looking for one of her poems that I vaguely remember. There is a new to me book of her poetry that I am anxious to read.
Are you familiar with Mary Oliver? Another excellent poet.
I reread K. J. Charles’ Magpies initial trilogy, starting with The Magpie Lord. This was the first book of hers I read, years ago, and I thought it was brilliant, and powered through the horror elements. I’ve reread the series several times, but this time it felt too dark, so I ended up skimming the third story.
I needed something light and cheerful after that, so reread Mary Balogh’s The Secret Mistress, which is the prequel to her much earlier book, More than a Mistress. I was worried that one wouldn’t stand up, but I enjoyed it, and have just begun the final story, No Man’s Mistress.
I finished Maybe This Time early Friday morning and decided to take My New Bicycle for a spin. It’s Like Riding a Bicycle. Thought I was gonna die. Back to the books until the weather improves.
I have Brenda’s Loving Between the Lines open in the Kindle Ap and Tamer 2 in Mobipocket Reader. I’m confining Variations on a Theme to HTML for now.
I’m reading Devon Monk’s Brute of All Evil, the 9th in her Ordinary Magic series. Fun urban fantasy set in Ordinary, a small town in Oregon where the gods go to lay down their powers and take vacations. Three kick-ass sisters, lots of romance, and cool not-just-the-usual paranormal folks. I love the series, and this one doesn’t disappoint.
Ordinary magic looks wonderful. Thanks.
This book is on the top of my TBR pile. I like everything Monk has written.
Me too. She never disappoints.
Read 2 Archie Goodwin’s — excuse me, Nero Wolfe’s — on Argh’s recommendation: Some Buried Caesar and Right to Die. Attraction between Lily Rowan and Archie is a hoot! Are there more good Lily-Archie match up books?
Coming back to Rex Stout’s old-fashioned racial values kind of hurts: we’ve lost so much optimism since Right to Die’s publication. Yes, lots of things are better now, but they all seem to be in danger of being turned back to pre-Civil War status.
Also switching between reading Bruno (Chief of Police) and Gideon Oliver murder mysteries. One leavens the failings of the other.
Well, I am hopeful and happy that bills to codify gay marriage and birth control have passed the House. Now they have to make it through the Senate. So I am trying to look on the bright side and ignoring all the people who voted against it. That is truly horrifying. But we got a win, and I will take it. It has been a while.
Is someone trying to outlaw birth control in your country? I missed that. WTF?
It’s on the agenda, after the overturn of Roe v Wade. Evidently, everything is on the agenda, since there is a very conservative majority in the Supreme court, now. These are bad times.
I am speechless. I guess that’s the point.
Yeah, I really miss the days when all I had to worry about was what I was doing with my life. Dark times indeed.
But apparently I can have all the guns I want? So I can prep for the apocalypse.
I just had to research guns for Rest in Pink and I kind of fell in love with this little pink Beretta.
And I am fully supportive of outlawing all guns, so that’ll tell you how seductive guns are.
Lupe, that’s exactly right, and you can “concealed carry” those guns to your heart’s content. This new court is all for having people die because of their decisions. If it only extended to them! Where is karma when you need it?
Honestly, I am not even anti gun. Or I wasn’t. I might be now, across the board. I grew up with bb guns and hunting rifles and my grandma had a tiny little handgun in her sock drawer. I just find it weird that I can have a room full of them, but apparently I shouldn’t have the pill…
Clarence Thomas said that could be next (he’s a Supreme Court Justice) and there are some morons in conservative states are for it.
Even the Republicans are not all so insane as to try something like that. I don’t know what the opinion on birth control is in this county, but it’s got to be extremely high.
The good thing about this is that it moved the House to make birth control and gay marriage legal by law. And there’s a chance both will pass in the Senate.
Clarence Thomas is an idiot. Anita Hill tried to warn us.
I have one word for you all: Canada. We welcome you all because you all seem like really nice people on this blog. And hey, we implemented gay marriage without a huge bunch of fuss even with a conservative prime minister who made homophobic comments, and we have the two best kinds of control: birth control and gun control. Know how many people have ever died in public school shootings in our entire history: 11. And none in elementary school. Yeah, our weather is dicey in some places but…have you been to Buffalo? or Montana? Believe me – colder there. Plus – poutine.
Tammy, the thought has crossed my mind. But we feel the need to stay for now and try to shift the balance…
But your health care is also really tempting.
Socialized medicine is a good thing – and nevertheless it’s a national hobby to complain about the line-ups, the wait times and the MRI’s scheduled at 3:15 am…Overall we live longer though, and I saw some very compelling research about how a healthier foundation meant we had a far lower death rate among people who caught COVID in the first phase.
another good thing about Canada: Roger’s Chocolates.
What amazes me and frightens me is that while a only a third of the House Republicans voted for protecting gay marriage, which is bad enough, only 8 voted to protect contraception.
I think that might have been because they figure nobody is stupid enough to come for contraception.
I can already hear Texas saying “Hold my beer.”
Lily shows up in a lot of them. He briefly has a fling with another woman but comes to his senses.
Death of a Dude takes place at her ranch in Montana(?) where she and Archie are vacationing.
There’s one where she’s hosting a bunch of cowboys and girls in her penthouse, but I can remember the name.
But she’s in the background in a lot of them.
Ah, I looked up that story. It’s “The Rodeo Murder,” a novella in Three at Wolfe’s Door.
Thank you for the Lily stories!
And thanks to all for the discussion. Heartening.
I just started Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. So far, I love it. I’m listening to Beechwood Harbor Magic Mysteries by Danielle Garrett. It’s fun, cute characters and the best part is it’s narrated by Amanda Ronconi, one of my favorites.
I just started Lessons in Chemistry and am loving it as well.
And I, too, am a big fan of Amanda Ronconi. Molly Harper’s Southern Eclectic series is solidly enhanced by her narration.
I read another Alexis Hall–Something Fabulous–and enjoyed it more than A Lady For a Duke. (Much less sitting, thinking, and worrying.) Very little, actually, it’s a road trip romp. A bit over the top, but it worked for me. It was fun.
I too am going back to Georgette Heyer. I’m reading the Toll-Gate. Heyer never fails. 🙂
Try Waiting For the Flood by Hall, short and sweet. He isn’t a slam dunk author every time, but when he gets it right, it is lovely.
Glitterland is also lovely, but he gave one character a very heavy accent all through the book and it’s very hard to read. Unless he got an editor and fixed it…
Dang. Now I have to buy Glitterland. I was hoping for ONE Thursday where I didn’t buy a single new Good Book.
I warned you. Make note. The accent is painful to read at times.
The Essex accent is essential to the story, though I can see it might be tricky for non-UK readers.
I love the accent but I have lived in the UK for over 25 years so I don’t have any problems deciphering the dialogue.
I keep hearing and picturing Rylan Clark when I read it :).
I think he is a perfect fit for the character.
I heard or read somewhere (maybe his blog) Alexis Hall saying that that character (Darian) had been inspired by Ryland Clark. (I had to look up who that was, but I was glad I did.) I agree with JaneB that the accent is important to the story.
I like Glitterland a lot, though it has one of my least favorite tropes (MC1 accidentally overhears MC2 say something negative about MC1). To me, Something Real is the standout in that series. The power dynamics in the book are so interesting and well done, between a high-status (age, class, education, career, wealth, experience) submissive and a low-status dominant. KJ Charles called it a masterclass on power in a blog post about conflict.
I didn’t know Rylan was the inspiration! So funny I made the connection on my own.
It’s lovely to listen to though 😉
There’s a new edition coming out …
With a revised accent?
Hahaha I doubt it!
Waiting for the Flood is my all time favorite by Alexis Hall. I think the writing is just beautiful and it’s one of those I pull off the shelf periodically just to re-read my favorite parts.
Just finished the long-awaited The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym. A surprising and excellent in-depth biography. Not surprisingly in-depth, not surprisingly excellent. Just surprising. What a woman.
(Long-awaited because it took a full year for the Toronto Public Library to acquire copies.)
I finished Irish Magic by Susan James. It was fun, and moved along, and yet- Meh. Then I moved on to Maybe Next Time. Suspense to the very end! Even though I knew it was coming, the takeover in the kitchen in Columbus just got to me. I started Heyer’s False Colours several times. Maybe I’m spoiled, but it was so slow starting, I put it down. I will try to forge on, soon, and see if it pulls me in. I really hate this literary period’s portrayals of some women as incompetent and silly and just unable to cope. Maybe that is what is putting me off.
I just read one of the Lady Whistledown short story collections by Julia Quinn, Karen Hawkins, et al. I was so annoyed by the sexual and power dynamics, that I couldn’t get through it. Historicals were never my favorite category but now think I need to stop reading historicals altogether. Especially because real life …
The heroine is very competent and non-silly.
The mother is not very bright, but she’s fast on her feet and she loves her sons absolutely.
I love that book.
FWIW, all the Heyers start slowly for me. She’s worth it.
I got a bootleg collection of recorded Heyers many years ago on a cd from someone in the UK, so it’s been years since I read them on paper. For me, they’re usually bed books, so the slow start is calming. The heroines I don’t like are the young silly ones (Hero, in Friday’s Child; April Lady). They’re just not interesting, and they have to be saved, which is tedious. False Colors’ mother is an interesting moral portrayal—she’s treated very sympathetically but in the end she has to take action to keep her debts from ruining her sons’ lives. In a way her life story is an indictment of the whole marriage-mart basis for the regency period!
I’ve read Maybe This Time several times and even though I know they’re coming, I find the final haunting scenes genuinely frightening each time. It’s a wonderful book – and I say that as someone who is not at all keen on scary in my reading.
A Heyer book that I’ve somehow missed in my travels. Yay! I’m so glad you mentioned it even if you’re finding it difficult to get into. Heyer does take her time introducing her characters and then setting them in motion, but it’s usually worth persevering. There are very few duds in her oeuvre.
I’m really enjoying Emily Henry’s “People we Meet on Vacation” — it has one of those “Beach Read!” covers, and the MC appears as a happy-go-lucky, everything’s easy kind of young career woman, but she deepens, the hero really grows on you, and I recommend it. Wonky air conditioning in a cheap hotel plays a major role, which is so on theme….
I just read Book Lovers by Emily Henry and enjoyed it. Henry skewered the Hallmark trope of city people relocating to a small town to save a business and fall in love, etc.
I loved People You Meet on Vacation just for the banter.
I don’t know if this counts since I technically haven’t read it yet, but I was listening to an episode of the delightful feminist podcast Hysteria from a few weeks ago, and they had a couple of author guests (Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz) on to discuss sci-fi and dystopia and speculative fiction, amongst other things. They were talking about how you can go in so many different directions with sci-fi/speculative fiction, so one of them has imagined worlds in which only pregnant people are allowed to be politicians because they’re viewed as the only ones who have the proper attitude of looking forward and truly caring about the future. Or another is about humans who lay eggs, but they have to bury their eggs and can only hatch and raise eggs that someone else has buried, as a way to explore the idea of found family. Really interesting and creative ideas like that.
Link to episode: https://crooked.com/podcast/we-ride-at-dawn-with-sen-kirsten-gillibrand/
(Show notes have a list of books, but I’ll c&p some below)
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders
Never Say You Can’t Survive by Charlie Jane Anders
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz
Oh, I love both of them. They used to write for an SF blog I loved. Such smart women.
They have their own podcast “Our Opinions Are Correct” too!
Been too busy to read much fiction this week, but my latest faves are T. Kingfisher’s Nettle and Bone (she never disappoints!) and P. Djeli Clark’s A Master of Djinn. I also recommend his “The Haunting of Tram 015” set in the same universe. No dopey misunderstandings in any of those titles. 🙂
I read a nicely-reviewed novel that charmed me in the beginning but lost its attraction as it progressed because the conflict between the protagonists could have been solved with a single, honest conversation. Frustrating but I did finish it.
I loved that the female lead is a brilliant scientist but since that apparently isn’t enough, she is also tall, “a little too thin”, works 80-100 hours per week, has time to train to run two marathons a year while living off of caffeine and junk food, is embarrassed by her concave stomach, has little experience with men yet has mind-blowing sex first round…oh, wait, I might just be jealous.
I just started Lessons in Chemistry which has a lovely storyteller voice so far, and I’m listening to Every Woman for Herself by Trisha Ashley in which the humor is delightfully enhanced by a dry, tongue in cheek delivery by Julie Barrie.
I am just making sure I can still comment here as I am having difficulties with word press.
sigh – relief
I recently finished Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola which is about college students in England navigating friendships, dating, and racism. I had to google several words because they were British young person slang and although I was able to mostly guess by context I wanted to know for sure. The story was about a young woman learning to open up and be genuine in all of her relationships—with her female friends, acquaintances who become friends and the guy she thinks she’s in a fake relationship with although her friends are never fooled and you, the reader, are not either. I really enjoyed it.
I also read The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams about the making of the OED told from the perspective of a woman who as a child sits at her father’s feet while he is working on it and then later works on it herself. There are plenty of sad things in the book but it is also funny. A book for anyone who loves words.
I read two wonderful books this week. Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan had a A Big Misunderstanding, but there was a really good reason for it, so I didn’t mind. And there was definitely no public declaration of love!
Also discovered a terrific new crime writer, Caimh McDonnell. Angels in the Moonlight is set in Dublin, and the dialogue is foulmouthed and hilarious. This is a prequel to his trilogy, apparently, so I’m about to go and read that.
I’ve been rereading (listening) the Thursday Next series. Fforde avoids the Big Misunderstandings by parodying them when he needs them. Great fun, and Emily Gray does a lovely job of narrating. Unfortunately, I’m on the last one, so I’ll have to find something else.
Reading this week = nine novels and one long novella – ‘The Wrong Rake’ by Eliot Grayson, which is a Regency mistaken-identity M/M involving lots of sex and groveling. I liked it. 🙂
Three of the novels were re-reads (the Character Bleed trilogy by K.L. Noone). One was Jay Hogan’s new title ‘Strut,’ a second-chance age-gap fashion-world story which I mostly liked though it’s pretty triggery and stressful.
Two more on the kinda-stressful side of things, meaning things aren’t going / don’t go terribly well for the MCs all the time, both of which I liked. First was ‘The Harder We Fall’ by Rebecca Raine, which deals with grief, social anxiety, negative self-talk, and martyr-level assumption of blame. The two MCs are in their early 20s which gives them some leeway for not having their shit figured out yet.
My Rec of the Week is ‘When London Snow Falls’ by Hayden Stone. If you liked ‘Boyfriend Material’ I’m pretty sure you’d like this, even though it’s not funny. Both MCs (also early 20s) have lots of work to do but a) they actually do it; b) they behave lovingly to each other almost all the time; c) they are well-drawn characters who are more than a collection of plot-driving flaws. Also the chief obstacle in their relationship is a real, consequential thing, not a trivial BS thing. Well constructed, well edited. I immediately downloaded another book from this author.
I downloaded your Rec of the Week.
And PS, I had to laugh at your description of it which pretty much describes most of your books!
I’m listening to Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Book store, on a recommendation here.
And yesterday to get out of the heat, we went to see Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.
Very light, warm-hearted, and full of beautiful dresses, I recommend it.
One of my favourite books when I was a kid so I am heartened to hear the movie is likeable.
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