155 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 28, 2022

  1. I finished all the Penric and Desdemona. It was really nice to read them all in one go and see Penric evolve into the quietly formidable sorcerer and contented paterfamilias that he is by the end of it. I do hope there are more though!

    1. I still haven’t tried those. I loved the Vorkosigan series SO MUCH and then was disappointed by the Challion series so I have been afraid to try this one. Any reassurance or perspective for me?

      1. I love everything that Lois McMaster Bujold has written and have reread all her books many times so I can’t give you an unbiased opinion!

      2. I love everything that Lois McMaster Bujold has written and have reread all her books (Except Spirit Ring) many times so I can’t give you an unbiased opinion, either!

        I will note that the Penric and Desdemona stories take place in the World of the Five Gods, which is where the Chalion stories take place. If it was the world you didn’t like…

        1. No it wasn’t the world I didn’t like. I found the characters boring. After Cordelia and Miles and Ivan and Gregor – I expect interesting characters and sparkling dialogue.

          1. Well, *I* think you get interesting characters and sparkling dialog in the Penric stories. Even though sometimes it’s just between Penric and his demon.

      3. Having just finished a reread of the Chalion books and starting on the Vorkosigan series, there a couple of things that might have affected your enjoyment. The Chalion books have MCs who are not young. You do not expect Ista at age 40 with one indifferent marriage and two children (one dead, one adult and highly successful) to have the same HEA as a teenage Miles, which is what he is in The Warrior’s Apprentice, would want or have. This might explain some of your disappointment. The two have a different frame of reference to me.

        Penric is different from Miles. He starts in Penric and Desdemona as a 19 year old country kid and a tall, blue-eyed blond -as Desdemona says “pretty boy”. He is somewhat naive which can’t be said of Miles. But he is not dumb and Desdemona is not naive at all. Like Miles you get to watch him grow up and grow into his HEA.

      4. When I read Curse of Chalion when it came out, I was disappointed – but warmed enormously to it on re-reading and have probably reread it more than any other book except Memory. The Five Gods books are quieter and more subtle than the Vorkosigan books – but the Penric stories (initially) are novellas and a good place to test your liking of them.

      5. Challion series were written for a publisher. They’re serious and heavy. In contrast, Bujold wrote Penric for herself, to have fun. All the books in the series were published originally by her agents, not by a publisher. They are in essence indi books. So the stories are optimistic and light. Penric himself is a darling, and I can’t say enough about Desdemona to do her justice. I love the whole series much more that I ever liked Challion.
        In related news, there is going to be a third hardcover collection of Penric novellas from Baen, Penric’s Labors. They are releasing it in November, and the book will include The Orphans of Raspay, The Physicians of Vilnoc, and Masquerade in Lodi. I can’t wait. I wish they would publish The Assassins of Thasalon. Maybe next year.

        1. Your post to God’s Eyes. I hadn’t mentioned Penric’s Labors here, but I posted in Baen’s Bar, Miles to Go Conference, back on the 24th of June that I had pre-purchased my copy. Lois replied,

          Be it noted, this is exclusive to the Baen E-Bookstore. Which should not be a problem for folks here…

          Ta, L.

          She then went on to reply again,

          In its e-book morph, I should clarity. Baen has rights to sell its paper edition worldwide.



          Clarify. Gorf…


          Sorry I didn’t post it here as well.

      6. I’ve read a couple of the Penric & Desdemona novellas, and I like the concept, but I had one big problem with it (need to read the first novella to see if it’s addressed in any way there) namely the degree of agency Penric has in accepting this problematically symbiotic relationship which seems, in the ones I’ve read, to completely obliterate any personal privacy, ability to form an independent emotional bond, etc. The idea of sharing my consciousness horrifies me. 🙁

          1. I agree with chachal. Free will and human agency are big questions in the World of the 5 Gods. Perhaps that’s why in the Sharing Knife series the gods are absent. That said, I’m convinced that Ingrey, Ista, and Cazaril make their own choices in the 3 novels.

            I’m not as sure about Penric: he’s given a remarkable situation and has to deal with it. No Privacy Ever. Or, any privacy is totally based on trust that Desdemona will not listen in. He does achieve some free will, but that doesn’t seem to be the point. The point is that he turns an incalculably awful circumstance into something friendly, supportive and productive.

          2. I definitely have a dark side. It’s more that as someone whose life has been dominated by practical decisions driven by outside forces, i.e. nobody else is going to take care of this so I have to, the thought of someone actually *in my head* and **taking over** is like NOOOOOOOO. And is Penric asexual + aromantic? Because if not, WTAF.

          3. Chachal, it’s a while since I read the early Penric books, but I seem to remember that’s something that bothers him too. But he does find a way of coming to terms with it.

  2. This week I’ve finished reading Dance of a Lifetime Book 3 by Frank Downey writing as Don Lockwood, Loving Between the Lines by Brenda Margriet (Hi, Brenda! Good book!), TAMER: KING OF DINOSAURS 2 by Michael-Scott Earle, and up to Chapter 119 of Variations on a Theme Book 3 by Grey Wolf. Also complete are Compulsory, All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy, and Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory of the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

    The books open in my various readers are Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett and Fugitive Telemetry (more Murderbot). Network Effect. is in the queu with Anne Stuart’s It Takes a Thief.

    In other news, a Public Service Announcement: Never binge on pizza and birthday cake the day before Official Weigh-In Day. OWID#67 has been cancelled due to lack of discipline.

    1. Oooh, I also reread Network Effect and marvelled all over again at how good it is. Just all of it, but especially the character building, and the casual looking lines that are really ginormous insights into character and are even better on reread. Also Murderbot and ART and the pathfinders and starting media for each other. Bestill my romance heart.

      1. I know it’s SO good. I also love the relationship Murderbot has with the teenager (A something, darn it). And how protective ART is of her.

      1. It was entirely my pleasure. Somehow, I have joined the league of people reading hockey romances. (..:..:..: This is me rolling my eyes.)

  3. I read Wicked Beauty by Katee Roberts and enjoyed it. Electric Idol is still my favorite of that series and this was by no means a perfect book, but I liked the characters and was invested in them until the end.

    And now I am most of the way through listening to Nine Coaches Waiting, which was always my favorite Mary Stewart. Happily, for me it holds up. The narrator is very good, which is always helpful, but what sucks me in is how steadfast Linda is. She is so good to Philippe and keeps her word, and on top of that she refuses to believe that she has no power, even as an orphan, alone, who is hired help. There may be more revisiting of Mary Stewart in my near future.

    1. My favourite was always The Ivy Tree, although I was also very fond of Madam Will You Talk? A good place to revisit.

      1. Those are both very good. I didn’t see the twist in The Ivy Tree coming, which hardly ever happens to me anymore.

        1. I guess I have to give that one a reread, because I can’t remember the twist anymore. Fortunately, I still have a copy.

    2. My mother loved Mary Stewart and left me all her bedraggled paperbacks of her books. I like her writing, too. I must dig those books out again.

      1. I started reading my mother’s copies as teen and fell in love. I didn’t know it at the time, but I think that it was with the heroine’s competency. It’s a rare trait in YA literature.

        1. That’s just it, They weren’t written as YA, they were written as adult romantic suspense so there was no expectation that the heroine was not a responsible person. The villains assumed that the heroine was particularly malleable due to her youth and isolation, but that assumption was part of what led to their failure.

          My Mom brought it home from the library for me once while I was home from school with some illness, but I don’t remember how old I was at the time. I think it was when they were still giving me grief about checking out books from the adult section of the library, but that varied by which people were working each day, so I’m not sure how old I was.

        1. I’ve been purging a lot of stuff. Found my box Mary Stewart books. Nine Coaches Waiting is my favourite, The Ivy Tree was in my aunt’s library shelves. She had a small lending library for the lake community. Loved that book. Must re-read it. Yesterday I found a couple of early Susan Wigg’s books. Read the endings again. Hard to purge the books, but it must be done. Way too many books.

          1. Did anyone else read other oldies but goodies: Victoria Holt, Catherine Gaskin, Norah Lofts and Daphne du Maurier?

    3. I love love her work! Airs Above the Ground was a favorite. All of them are so good.

  4. Isn’t summer a great time for re-reading things? I was rearranging the Mary Balogh books stacked up next to my bed when I suddenly realized that I could recall all the plots of the Survivor’s Club series except for the one about Ralph Stockwood, who watched three close friends in his regiment get killed in a battle in France during the Napoleonic wars. That much I remembered, but the love story escaped me, so I read it again, which has been very satisfying.

    Balogh is so good at incorporating the inner thoughts and feelings of her main characters, and I think that’s what I love most about her books. In this one, which is “Only a Promise,” the main characters meet and barely register on one another, but they end up married and as the marriage progresses with some unexpected bumps and some dreaded interactions with others, it deepens the feelings and relationship of each one with the other in a very satisfying way.

    My least favorite of the Survivor’s Club books is the last, which kind of makes no sense to me, but it brings in all seven members at the end, which is the part I’m looking forward to. A good series is more than the sum of its volumes, I think.

    1. I think Survivor’s Club is her best series. Balogh just tears your emotions out with each book. And yes, I really liked the last one too. I appreciate an older heroine, although I could do without the miracle baby plot, which is all too common in older heroine books.

      1. I am with you there!

        I hate the miracle baby epilogue as much as the big misunderstanding plot.

        As for the woman who has never come through penetrative sex but with the right man, it happens right away because he has a magic … wand. 🤷‍♂️

      2. I don’t think that is a miracle baby. There is no reason to think either person is infertile aside from age and they are not that old. They just assumed they were too old.

        1. My great-grandmother married late, at 36, and her father, a doctor, told her that she shouldn’t expect necessarily to have children. She promptly had four little boys . . . . This was in 1883; Grandfather arrived eleven months later.

          1. That’s amazing! Then there was Mary Tudor, poor thing, who was assured she could still have a baby with Philip despite her age, so much that she deceived herself into thinking she was; and Elizabeth, whose advisors kept bringing her stories about women who bore children late in life so they could continue to pressure her into marriage. My own great-grandmother had thirteen children, well into her forties, and hated them all (her parents dragged her out of the convent to marry her neighbor). Women’s history is so interesting!

  5. I read Glitterland by Alexis Hall. Thank you everyone for warning me about the MC’s accent. The accent might not have bothered me anyway, who knows, but it didn’t for sure because I was primed by you for it. In fact, I adored that character! What I had a harder time getting over was the other MC’s unexpected act of cruelty toward the first MC. I couldn’t suspend my disbelief that they could ever get over that. Hall is sometimes too ruthless with his characters I find.

    I read Gerald Poole and the Pirates which was not badly written but still not satisfying.

    Finished Laurell K Hamilton’s most recent two Anita Blake books – still worth it after all these years.

    Am reading four other books simultaneously – I plan to finish them all but can’t get into one fully. Spent more time rereading Avon Gale hockey books. I’ve been a restless reader this week.

    1. I really love Glitterland (although the first time I attempted to read it I didn’t get past the first chapter). I think the Essex accent is vital – I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was a bit judgy of Darian, and the accent is part of that. But really, he’s wonderful. Which reminded me to watch for my prejudices, and shove them.

      1. For me, trying to decipher the phonetic spelling of the accent was jarring. I would pause and find myself mouthing the words until I recognized them, so it broke up the flow of the story. I understand that the accent is important. I just struggled with the portrayal of it.

  6. I read the second book by Patrick Rothfuss, The Wise Man’s Fear, and am now one of the many people hoping he finishes the series. Just like the first one it is a very slow moving action filled story. I’m not sure how he manages it and why it doesn’t make me crazy or bored, but I really enjoyed it. I will get the short book from Auri’s perspective soon. I think it is supposed to be a trilogy, but I can’t imagine how he could cover all of the events that he has hinted at and wrap up the story in just one book.

    I have a request for you. I am part of a book club. We alternate between fiction and non-fiction books. We are a progressive group and someone had suggested that we read a fiction book that addresses abortion and adoption. I was actually a foster parent and am an adoptive parent and am also an avid reader, so you would think that I would have some ideas, but I have nothing.

    So, readers of wonderful books: any novels that address abortion or adoption that you would recommend?

    1. Good question. Perhaps, if you want to look at past attitudes, try Summer by Edith Wharton. It’s the kind of abortion story that you see in the musical Cabaret. The balance to those would be the 19th to 20th century adoption story, as in Anne of Green Gables.

      1. A friend of mine recommended “A spark of Light” by Jodi Picoult. She said it tells a lot of abortion-related stories from people who are all over the spectrum from pro to con to “I don’t know.” And set in a reproductive health clinic, I think she said.

  7. Maybe Sarah Morgan’s The Christmas Sisters which I rather enjoyed but I’d have no idea about how true to life it is. It’s about adult adopted sisters.

  8. I skimmed through (due to time) the Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn. It was fun and had elements that the Netflix series omitted. The Pall Mall scenes were the best. She really captures the family rivalry in the best ways.

    I am in the middle of Navigating the Metaverse. It is revolutionary! I also finished I Know Why the Crawdad’s Sing. I know, I am late to the party. It was beautiful.

  9. I stayed up too late to finish the Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi. I was interested that he never identifies the gender of his main character. You get a name – Jaime – which could be any gender. I think the reader gives a gender based on their own personal experience while reading. It was an interesting exercise. I also enjoyed the story.

    1. Scalzi does the same thing in his Locked In series, where the main investigator is a sufferer of the Locked In Syndrome and interacts with the rest of the world via telepresence robot.

  10. Read ‘Pretty Face’ and ‘Making Up’ by Lucy Parker, both of which featured delightful banter and people working together in the theatre. Very enjoyable.

    Finished up Emilie Richard’s Shenandoah Album series with ‘Sister’s Choice’ about the heroine becoming a surrogate for her infertile sister. I enjoyed it but almost wished she’d dropped the romantic subplot, and let the sisters’ relationship be the heroine’s sole focus. Some of these books are a tad dated but I really like the historical and craft aspects.

    Also enjoyed Roan Parrish’s ‘Best Laid Plan’ featuring cat lovers and DIY.

    1. I really like Lucy Parker. Plus she adds interesting and artistic occupations, which is my favorite thing. Her newest, Battle Royal, is about dueling cake artist and the wildly creative confections really stuck with me.

      1. Lucy Parker has another book called Artistic License under the name Elle Pierson. Unlike the Lucy Parker books, it’s set in New Zealand, where she lives. FMC is an art student; MMC is a guard at an art exhibit where she has an asthma attack. It has a different feel; more serious, not as banter-y, lovely romance.

  11. I’m relatively new to Georgette Heyer, and I’ve had mixed success with her books, but I tried Sylvester this week, and it was such a fun ride! It actually occurred to me that it would have been accurate if it had been titled “Pride and Prejudice” because I think it had more pride and more prejudice than the Jane Austen novel haha.

    It’s got wonderfully imperfect characters, a punchy female lead, several awesome female characters, and a fairly unexpected plot of twists and turns (at least I was a bit surprised).

    It also made me think of what you’ve written before about expectations because (spoilers ahead) it’s set up right in the beginning that the male lead, Sylvester, is handsome enough, impeccably mannered, and very rich, yet…his mother has a moment where she has a sudden epiphany and fear that he might be just a touch arrogant. He’s talking about how he’s thought of taking a wife, but he does so quite dispassionately and as if it’s all a matter of course. His mother raises the question of what if one of the young women he was considering were to reject him, and he scoffs at the idea, saying of course that’s absurd. Heyer expertly wields this moment to set up the expectation that (and even craving for) him to be rejected, and you spend a large part of the book just waiting for that to happen. We also learn that the female lead’s main objection to him is his arrogance and pride, so we’re waiting for her to take him down a notch and for him to grow as a person.

    My only reservation about this book is that I left it not completely convinced that all problems had been solved and/or that they would have a happy marriage with each other. His mother discloses to the FL that he will probably always be a bit proud, and I can’t help remembering how coldly and distantly he would cut anyone who offended him. I don’t see why in a fit of anger her couldn’t turn that on the FL once more. I suppose what we’re supposed to take from that is that she would call him out on it and know how to manage it, but it still left me feeling a tad flat.

    Has anyone else read Sylvester? What did you think?

    1. It’s been a while, but I remember really enjoying Sylvester. Of course my preference is Villain/Asshole redeemed so I don’t have a problem with him behaving badly. Bad guys are just so much more interesting…

      And I guess I just assumed that A. he had changed and B. he probably wouldn’t behave that badly with someone he actually cared about and C. if he did, his heroine would set him straight in short order, otherwise he wouldn’t love and respect her to begin with. I mean, we all put up with bad behavior from those we love, and work with them and they with us to correct it. So, I wasn’t worried about the HEA with Sylvester.

      1. I had the same reaction as Lupe. Both Phoebe and Sylvester have lost a lot over their experiences together, yet they’ve gained much more. I think the ending shows Sylvester’s mom’s realization that they’ll have a lot more fun fighting over things than living a staid, cold life — Sylvester as the Duke and Phoebe as the solitary novelist (I suspect Phoebe will write more novels in the future).

    2. It’s my favorite of all Georgette Heyer books, but I started with a very soft spot for Phoebe because her stepmother reminded me of my own mother, and I knew how much of a wound that can start someone off in life with. My sense was that Sylvester had some similar treatment from his father except that the father also trained him to behave like the uber-aristocrat he was to become.

      To me, it’s a book about navigating the world with handicaps of all kinds, including the immobilized dowager duchess, the horse with a snowstorm injury, the clueless but helpful boy with a broken leg, and the debilitating societal pressures around caste, wealth, gender roles, and marriage. Totally worth a re-read, also. 🙂

    3. Silvester is a delightful book, but then, I love many of her books. No, to be more specific, I love Heyer’s romances. Her mysteries never worked for me and her few serious historical novels left me cold. But her romances are charming, and I re-read them all occasionally. My most recent re-read was Venetia. It was great.

    4. His mother also points out the lengths Sylvester will go to, to care for someone he loves – which is also a big part of the story where he goes after his nephew, whose shallow, self-absorbed mother he knows won’t take good care of him. I trust he and Phoebe will have a loving, lively marriage.

    5. I love that novel.
      I think, based on what Heyer sets up, that they’ll be fine. Once the hero loves somebody, he’s extremely careful with them–see his mother and his nephew–and he’s clearly all in on Phoebe. I imagine there’ll be a period of adjustment, but there aren’t any more secrets lurking, she inadvertently showed him how he’s perceived, and they’ve both learned a lot. There are some couples in Heyer I’d worry about, but not those two.

    6. I read somewhere that These Old Shades is a reworking of Sylvester, but I don’t know if that is true. What makes the comment stick in my mind is that although I enjoyed Sylvester when I read it, borrowing it from the library was quite enough for me, while my copies of These Old Shades and Devil’s Cub (the sequel) have been reread until the pages came unglued.

  12. Oh, I also wanted to ask how y’all read your books. Physically or digitally? From the library, amazon, bookstore, secondhand bookstore, swapping with friends?

    1. Yes? I read a physical book with breakfast and then use my Kindle in bed before falling asleep (because my eyes are so tired by then it is good to be able to make the print larger). I’ve never gotten used to audiobooks, alas. I buy my favorites and ones I can’t find in libraries, but also use interlibrary loan a lot. (There is a great library extension you can get online and if you go to Amazon to look up a book you’re interested, it will tell you if you can get it from your library!)

      1. I am a complete kindle convert. I got the first generation kindle as soon as it became available in the UK. The ebooks were purchased via the American site and my bank blocked my card because I had so many suspicious small dollar purchases.

        Prekindle, it was very logistically complicated to feed my book addiction when I went on holiday. Now, I have access to my 1778 books wherever I am.

        I don’t even miss reading on paper anymore. In fact, when I read a physical book, I will absentmindedly press on the side of it to turn the pages 🙂

        I think however that I need to make sure to have paper copies of my absolute favourites because if I have grand children, I like the idea of them browsing my bookshelves and discovering new authors that way.
        I’d quite like for instance to have nice secondhand copies of my favourite Heyers.

        1. I’m always wanting to tap a word to get its definition, and am frustrated it doesn’t work in paper books.

          1. YES AND I’M TOO LAZY TO GOOGLE IT lol I remember the days of looking words up in dictionaries, and I just think of how I’m even lazier today hahaha

    2. I am like Deb. I glide between formats. I was a die hard paper book fan, but then authors who I adored were offering short stories and such only in ebook form. So I took the plunge, and I love it. I like to read some odd, smutty stuff and the anonymity of my phone or a kindle is great. Also the portability. And I can borrow both from my local library and the largest on in my state. Oh, and I am an avid audio book listener on a budget, so I am always looking for the best deal across multiple platforms. I still haunt used book stores and library book sales and am building an apocalypse library.

      1. Same here. When I got my latest smartphone 2 years ago it was possible to switch more and more to ebooks (the new phone has more storage). I can read in bigger fonts, at night with no extra lamp, I have the book wirh me with no extra weight and hardly anyone sees the sometimes rather smitty covers.
        The favourites I still want to own in paper version, but I haven’t that much shelf space left, so need to cull other books first which is stressful…
        I do consume books differently when it comes to non-fiction: here I definitely prefer paper copies, probably because I love to highlight and write in the margins (with pencil, no distructive usage allowed in my books!!).
        The downside
        is that it’s more difficult to lend books. The family can read my oe-books on my ancient ipadd, but they never do. The dd who has recently got the reading bug, is niw the great buyer of books and the architect of book pyramids…

    3. Digitally. At one time, I held paperbacks in my digits and licked a digit to turn a page. I’ve been buying Baen Books ebooks since 1997, and shopped Fictionwise eBooks until Barnes and Ignoble bought them and killed them. Most of my Crusie came from there. I read books in HTML or MOBI these days, mostly, using the Kindle ap or Mobipocket Reader on the desktop or one of my Kindle tablets. There are other sites and sources for digital content.

      I have the entire Spying with Lana series in PDF. They are Graphic Stories (not long enough to be novels). For Graphic Novels, I have several of the Schlock Mercenary novels, also PDF.

      Audiobooks. I have libraries at Audible (Amazon) and Downpour, a subsidiary of Blackstone Publishing. Also, I had CDs of MP3 audiobooks, like Hunt for Red October and Winterfair Gifts.

      All my treebooks have gone to libraries, thrift stores, and waiting rooms, except three inches of bookshelf. Everything else fits on a couple of thumb drives.

    4. I read almost exclusively digitally, because of arthritis in my hands, making it difficult to hold a book (hardcovers are totally out of the question, and I don’t recall the last time I read a paperback). I’m doing more audiobook reading these days, not so much by preference (although I do love the narrators for Murderbot and Harry Dresden and Rivers of London), but because I’ve developed thyroid eye disease, so my eyes don’t focus well when I’m tired, and I do most of my reading when I’m tired (before bedtime).

    5. Totally digital now although it took me a long time to get here. Easier to hold, cheaper new books versus having to purchase them in hardcover, everything in one place so I can reread super easily and means I can go on vacation without lugging 10 heavy books around. Plus my husband and I have some shared tastes, and my mother is also on our Kindle (don’t think she likes my smutty hockey books but hey, deal with it mom).

      1. I now read almost all fiction on my Kobo e reader despite thinking initially I would never feel the same enjoyment from ‘relaxation’ reading if I wasn’t holding the paper book in my hand. But this has not been the case for me. The convenience & physical availability of my books & the reduction in weight on arthritic hands are all wonderful. The trade off is Kobo (Aust) does not have all books available including some Cruise & Crusie/Mayer ones which is very disappointing but is the trade off for a disinclination to assist Amazon.

    6. I read fiction mostly on Kindle for font-size control and space management, though I still have lots paper copies of beloved books in case of the apocalypse. My favorite way to read is a well-narrated Audible whispersync’d with Kindle so I can read the same book throughout the day while in traffic and doing chores.

      I prefer paper format for gardening books, non-fiction in general, anything with photos.

      1. Excellent point. I have an addiction to glossy color pages in my various non fiction.

        1. I can’t imagine cooking from an ebook. At least with a cookbook stand, a physical book has some protection from spills. If I spill something on an e-reader, it dies and I lose everything I have loaded on it. I may be a good cook, but I am not a neat one.

      2. I have the same ‘in case of the apocalypse’ library of paper copies, Lisa. Plus I do like reading a paper copy. Most of my lighter reading is on my kindle, and it is wonderful for travelling.

    7. Zoe, this is a question I wanted to ask if there ever would be another Random Thoughts Saturday!

      I read in bed before sleeping, so I much prefer physical books to digital ones, even though I have a kindle that I’ve used in the past to find otherwise unfindable books.

      But when someone recommends the latest! just published!! finally available!!! book here, I’m always sad because like Deb, I get most of my books from the library or used bookstores, and in both cases, it takes awhile before the NEW! NEVER PUBLISHED ANYWHERE! books are available to me.

      I also find hot mechanical devices uncomfortable to read in bed. And they get heavier and heavier as I get sleepy. A trivial objection, but maybe it’s just me.

      1. In my case I love books both physically and for the matter they contain.

        In a few cases I’ve downloaded stories that aren’t available in print. But I don’t enjoy the process of reading them and I don’t remember their contents for long.

      2. I’m not sure how, but my ex-boss got his laptop hooked up to his 65″ flatscreen TV so he could surf the web, watch videos, and read ebooks while in his recliner after back surgery. I know he used a wireless mouse and keyboard.

        My number 1 reading device is the All-in-1’s 23″ screen. Hooking to my flatscreen would be no improvement – it’s a 24″ screen and further away.

      3. Is that an Argh People random thoughts or a Crusie Random Thoughts?
        Because all my thoughts are about finishing this trilogy and you all have to be sick of that by now.

        1. Jenny, you are talking about a crowd of people, most of whom would pay to read your shopping lists if you put them online. For me, you are in the company of a very small group of writers that I want to throw money at.

          There’s you. There’s Lois Bujold. There was Eric Flint who passed on July 17th (RIP Eric!), there are Paula Goodlett and Gorg Huff. There have been others. The list grows and shrinks, but you’ve been on it for decades. Talk about your WIPs all you want. We’ll devour every word.

        2. Jenny, we love ALL your random thoughts.

          I think I somehow don’t feel I actually do have permission to post any old thing on a post with a specific title. I love the freedom when the title is something that suggests we can post any old thing we like there.

    8. 99% of my reading is on Kindle. It’s easier on my eyes and less cluttery than buying dead tree books which I then would have to find new homes for or be gradually smothered by. I buy my books rather than using KU or libraries, so I typically wait for sales, except for the growing list of authors who I pre-order … . 🙂 Over the years I’ve reduced a physical library of over 2000 books to 450, which is still a proper hoard of books.

    9. I’m all digital now unless it’s art or some cookbooks. I’ve just got too much stuff to add more books.

    10. These last few years, I mostly check out ebooks from the library (or Hoopla) and read them on there Kindle app on my phone. I have eight library cards for this purpose.

        1. My library limits you to 50 books a card BUT you can only have 15 holds per card. I could use a lot more holds per card.

    11. I have a kindle I rarely use. I thought it would be great to carry lots of content in a small space. But there are two things.

      One, I tend to refer back to things to verify my memory. And that memory is linked to a physical portion of the page, something like – oh, he talked about this several pages back, it was on the top quarter of the left page – so I flip back and find it. I realize that you can mark things in an ebook and go back to them, but that implies that you recognize the importance as you first encounter it, and that’s not how my mind works. It stores everything and sorts out the important stuff as needed.

      Second, most of my recreational reading is at the end of the day in preparation for sleep. I’ve been working with a functional medicine doctor, and he’s very keen on me reducing exposure to electronic things two hours before bedtime, in order to help the mind settle down for rest. While I may not turn off the TV early enough, or stop playing with my phone, at least when I’m winding down for the night it is with a paper book.

      1. I’ve experienced the same phenomenon, where I have a very physical memory of where in the book something was that I want to flip back to, and it’s frustrating not to have that in an e-book. Although you’re right about the bookmarks, I often don’t know I’ll need to refer back to something until I need to refer back to it, so I probably wouldn’t think to mark it at the time I’m reading it! haha

        1. It can be done! One of the many formats for ebooks is RTF (Rich Text Format). If you can remember a few words, you can search the entire document. The Kindle has a search function. Mobipocket Reader has a search function. For html, it can be a bit different, but I routinely search in an html editor (NoteTabPro), which lets me search across multiple documents. So, if it was in Chapter 27 of 45, NTP will search until there’s a match.

          Windows Explorer has a search function that will look inside files on the drive. It’s a bit slower, is all.

    12. I read through the comments and saw no mention of one of the reasons I like to read on my kindle: I don’t need to turn on the light and wake up my partner. And when he wakes up in the middle of the night and reads for awhile, he doesn’t wake me up.

  13. I just started reading Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, which I ordered from the library as soon as I finished Beach Read, which I loved. I think both were recommended here, so thank you!

  14. Finished “With Or Without You” by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka and Hooked: How Crafting Saved My Life by Sutton Foster. The second book is exactly what it says on a tin and as a theater/crafter person, I was really into it. The first book is a teen romance (of sorts) about a high school couple that has been together for three years and she’s starting to get the quarterlife crisis and is kind of considering breaking up with him to see if she can get her own life. Then he finds out he’s moving a few states away for senior year and they keep it long-distance instead. Very thoughtful and not cliche-y, which is great.

  15. No fiction reads for me besides my own books, either. But I am all caught up on season two so far of Only Murders in the Building. Still fun and the Tina Fey character is a hoot:)

  16. I read a romance by an author I had read before. This one was either free or super cheap, and good thing, because I didn’t like it as well. We were fighting attraction because reasons, and then suddenly, with no reasons resolved, we have sex. And then quit talking. Just no. “Blinded by passion” is right up there with “Big Misunderstanding” to me. Other people would probably have liked it ok, so not naming names. I think this author is aiming at a younger audience than old, cynical me.

    Also reading (slowly) “The Book of Joy” which chronicles conversations over a week between the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. Inspiring and funny – just what I like in a spiritual leader. I am not much for non-fiction, so this is an extra high accolade.

  17. I have done some rereading recently; the new to me library books failed to hold my interest. So far I have reread Catseye by Andre Norton, Owl Sight by Mercedes Lackey, and last night when I could not fall asleep, Thale’s Folly by Dorothy Gilman. I needed something light and fluffy so it didn’t matter if I fell asleep over it and that fit my criteria well. I didn’t fall asleep as soon as I had hoped and woke up very early so am running on about 3 hours of sleep right now. I probably should find something long and dull, maybe that will put me out for a while!

    1. I loved Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs. Pollifax series- some of my first books on tape back in the 90’s.

      1. Okay, I am going to blame you for tonight’s insomnia. I have a vague memory of a book set in a circus in England with the carousel possibly in the title. I thought it was a non Mrs. Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman, but I can’t find a listing for anything like that in her titles. This reminds me of when I worked at B Dalton and customers would ask if we had a book and all they could tell you is the color of the cover.

        1. Gilman’s ‘The Tightrope Walker’ used to have a carousel horse on the cover (it’s a plot point) but is not set in England nor does it involve a circus. 🙂 It’s a proper little thriller revolving around a fictional book that Gilman in fact wrote, called ‘The Maze in the Heart of the Castle,’ which once I found out it was an actual book I went looking for and now have in my hoard. #BookGeek

        2. Noel Streatfield wrote “Circus Shoes” which has (gosh, bet you never guessed… a carousel on the cover). That cover may just be on the edition I own. Streatfield was always filed in the children’s section, but I’m not sure if those books were just for children.

  18. I started the week reading Lessons in Chemistry which I truly wanted to love but had to abandon because it was “realer” than I was wanted at the moment. Well-written just harsher than I anticipated. YMMV.

    So I moved to a re-read of Boyfriend Material because the sequel. Husband Material, is coming out next week. I’m not a huge reader of M/M, but Boyfriend Material is so very sweet and so very funny, and Luc and Oliver with their sets of friends have truly won my rom-com loving heart.

  19. I’m re-reading The Left Leg, by Phoebe Atwood Taylor writing as Alice Tilton. Has anyone else read this author? Taylor wrote two series in the ‘40s: funny (mostly) mysteries with Asey Mayo as the sleuth, on Cape Cod, with WWII as a backdrop in some of them, and a very enjoyable cast of characters; and slapstick mysteries (as Tilton) with Leonidas Witherall, an ex-teacher who looks like Shakespeare and secretly writes blood-and-thunder epics.

    I love them both—witty dialogue, interesting characters and authentic New England flavor. There’s usually a romance in there somewhere, not much gore, real escape reading.

    1. I really like Leonidas Witherall books, I have some on my shelves. I only found them in used book stores, where do you find these ones? I’m in Canada 🇨🇦 so the postage from USA is a lot.

        1. Unfortunately I have these ones, I must look on addall again, to see what’s available. They are so lighthearted and enjoyable. Also craving Emma Lathen she is a good reread.

    2. I stumbled across Phoebe Atwood Taylor some years back. I began with the Asey Mayo titles which I loved and only began the Leonidas Witherall when I had read all the Asey Mayo titles. I loved the Leondias stories even more than the Asey ones! Leondias are like riding a tobogan, you are picking up steam all the way down and you are flying by the end. One impossible thing follows another. They are all good and great fun. Highly recommended!

    3. I love, love, Phoebe Atwood Taylor and Alice Tilton. I wouldn’t call the Tilton slapstick so much as FARCE! She is one of my keepers, till death do us part.

  20. I was rereading (again) Crowbones by Anne Bishop. Her Others books are ones I return to frequently and then I just tend to reread to series from start to finish. She sucks me into her world so much that I just realized that in Crowbones one of the characters is an author who writes under his own name and a female pseudonym, said pseudonym is Margaret Shaw which was my mother’s name. And it didn’t register until the fifth reading. Which is embarrassing and very funny both. Enjoy a good laugh on me.

    Oh, and I finally managed to get Shane and the Hitwoman which I enjoyed muchly

    But joy, the new Donna Andrews is due out August 2nd and my local bookstore had a copy already which I will be picking up today!! I highly recommend her humourous mysteries starting with Murder with Peacocks.

    1. Donna Andrews is always a winner. (And I’m hoping to finally meet her in person at Bouchercon this year in September, after being online friends for years.)

      1. You are mentioned in the Acknowledgements in this book. Trust Meg’s mom to want peacocks again for a family wedding

  21. Before I went to Normandy last week, luckily I happened to download a whole series to my Kindle: The Beaufort Scales novels by Kim M. Watt. Imagine a little village in Northern Yorkshire with a very committed W.I. (Women’s Institute). These ten ladies suddenly find out that there are dragons living in caverns nearby who need their help to buy Weber barbecues so they don’t have to forage for heating materials any longer. It starts with ‘Baking Bad’, featuring poisoned cupcakes. The writing is funny and imaginative, and I love the constant clashing between the very rational everyday world and the appearance of all kinds of Folk. I can only recommend these.

  22. Lolly Willowes, anyone? Or, did I already post about this book? Short novel about a woman who has been stifled by her family for 47 years who then breaks out. The breaking out part is like when the movie of Wizard of Oz goes from black and white to Technicolor.

    I checked the internet for more about the book, but mostly got feminist manifesto type stuff. In fact, I think it (written in 1926) belongs very much to books like the earlier (1906) A Room with a View and the later (1930s) Miss Buncle’s Book and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. In these stories, socially imprisoned spinsters discover their abilities and make their own happiness. Fun stuff.

  23. First off, I will confess to having started multiple books in the last two months and getting pulled away/distracted like a squirrel- this never happens to me but I am riding the wave and seeing where it takes me.

    So, on Saturday, I went to an author talk here in town- Katherine Center talking about her new book, “The Bodyguard”. Got a signed copy with my ticket. Plus I really want to reread her other 7 books – I just love her style and voice. I actually did read “The Lost Husband” again while watching the movie on Amamzon Prime. She is Texas based and that makes me happy.

    Just started “The Perfect Predator- a scientist’s race to save her husband from a deadly superbug” (Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson). My medical technologist brain was yelling “must read!!!” when I saw it at my library.

    And still reading a few chapters at a time of Bill Bryson’s “The Body- A Guide for Occupants”. It is a great read and he always makes me laugh, regardless of the topic.

  24. One new book for me this week was Mary Balogh’s older novel, Irresistible. I finished it but I didn’t like it. The reason: I didn’t like or understand its female protagonist, Sofia. She was being blackmailed, but instead of seeking help, she suffered in lofty solitude and complied with all the blackmailer’s demands, including severing all her friendships. She practically isolated herself from the world. The blackmailer rejoiced, while Sofia’s former friends scratched their heads in bafflement and went their own ways. Why would she act this way? Definitely not the best of Balogh’s novels.
    Then to soothe my lacerated nerves, I started rereading Jessie Mihalik’s Consortium Rebellion books. I’m on #3 now and hugely enjoying all of them.

  25. I’m listening to “Memory” by LM Bujold. It’s one of favorite of the Miles books. Last week I listened to the “Curse of Chalion.” Next week I’ll probably read “Paladin of Souls.” Not very adventurous, but I am getting the new Donna Andrews on the 2nd. Yay!

  26. I’ve now gone through the entire Gil Cunningham series:

    “At the May Day dancing at Glasgow Cross, Gilbert Cunningham saw not only the woman who was going to be murdered, but her murderer as well.”

    “Gil Cunningham said later that if he had known he would find a corpse in the coalhouse of Glasgow University, he would never have gone to the Arts Faculty feast.”

    “Gil Cunningham still maintained, after it was over, that ordering up books from the Low Countries had been a good idea.”

    “Gil Cunningham worked out later that at the moment when the dead man was found in the almshouse garden, he himself was eating porridge, salted by a furious altercation with his youngest sister.”

    “When the peat-cutters came to report the dead man, Gil Cunningham was up in the roof-space of his mother’s house, teaching his new young wife swordplay.”

    “‘And you are telling me,’ said Gil Cunningham, ‘that this David Drummond vanished away forty year since, and is now returned seemingly not a day older?'”

    “Although he was watching closely when the mummer was poisoned, it took Gil Cunningham several days and three more poisonings to work out how it was done.”

    “Gil Cunningham had hoped that the first time he set foot in the whorehouse on the Drygate would also be the last; but by the time all was settled he felt quite at home within its artful painted chambers.”

    “She was quite certainly dead.”

    “‘The tale seems very improbable,’ said Gil Cunningham cautiously. ‘How should the Devil enter a house of Religious, and carry off one of its members?’”

    “When the news of Mistress Audrey Madur’s disappearance reached Gil Cunningham, he was walking with his young wife Alys in the orchard by his mother’s house of Belstane, enjoying the green shade of the high fruit trees.”

    and working my way through THE UNKEPT WOMAN, the latest Sparks and Bainbridge mystery.

    1. I love Pat McIntosh as well, except for A pig of cold poison. Ick. I think my favourite would be A counterfeit madam.

  27. Haven’t read as much this week. Two M/M novels by people other than me (one pleasing, one less so); two of my own books, because we’re getting some new covers ready; a short story; and the first three volumes of The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, which I’ve read many times before but finally got for myself in an e-book collection. Will finish the other two tonight, I’m sure. Cracking good adventures. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the Lloyd Alexander reminder. I haven’t read his books for years, but used to love them. Going back to the first one with the pig!

  28. Mostly I’ve been reading emails, but I just finished listening to Witness for the Dead, the follow up to Goblin Emperor. I quite liked it. It’s one of the first books in a long time that I made excuses to listen to. (I have a rule that I have to do something productive when I’m listening to an audiobook.) I’ll probably start on the next book immediately.

  29. I read on the Kindle app on my phone. I also prefer cookbooks in bookform.

    I’m not sure what spurred me on but I did a re-read of Faking It by Ms Jennifer Crusie. Loved it as usual.

    SEP, JAK & Christina Dodd did a very funny facebook live thing. I wasn’t in on the live but I watched it afterwards on SEP’s page.

    And that inspired me to re-read Guild Boss by Jayne Castle aka Jayne Anne Krentz aka JAK.

    SEP & JAK had books that are already out in other forms come out in mass paperback – thus the live thing.

    Christina Dodd had a book come out new: Point Last Seen If you are a fan of hers I’m sure it’s good. I haven’t tried her because I’ve heard she can be pretty scary. SEP joked that she doesn’t read Dodd right before bedtime.

    We are getting closer & closer to the release of the new book by Sarah Addison Allen – Other Birds! I am counting the days. 8/30/2022!

  30. I haven’t had time for much reading, but I did read The Wrong Rake, which someone here recommended, thank you. It was pretty short and fun and an enjoyable escape. Now reading When London Snow Falls, also recommended on here, which I’m enjoying too.

    1. That was Chacha1 and me with The Wrong Rake so glad you enjoyed. Have you read other Eliot Grayson’s? I’m a big fan except of her contemporary stuff. I’m also reading When London Snow Falls so will likely report next week.

  31. I actually read two books this week:

    The Guncle by Steven Rowley about a man who takes in his niece and nephew for the summer after their mom, one of his oldest friends, dies and their dad, his brother, goes into rehab. Patrick, the Gay Uncle, is avoiding mourning the loss of his lover a few years previously and hiding from his acting career in Palm Springs. Healing and hijinx occur.

    I really enjoyed it. I also read Hatchet Island, the latest Mike Bowditch mystery by Paul Doiron. This one was a bit of a tough read because so many of the people involved in the case are really awful. The person who actually committed the murders is as much a victim of that awfulness as the people who died.

    I listened to The Light Between Worlds by Laura E Weymouth. It’s a portal fantasy, but most of it happens after the siblings come back to our world. Its about the youngest who can’t readjust to our world and wants to go back and the fallout from when she does.

    The Psychopath Inside by Dr. James Fallon, a memoir about a neuroscientist who discovers that he has the brain of a psychopath, something his friends and family have been telling him for years. His self reflection doesn’t really change his behaviour, he freely admits he enjoys being a selfish jerk, but it makes him rethink a lot of his professional soap boxes and work to be aware of how his actions impact people, especially his wife. The neuroscience is very interesting.

    I’m in the middle of listening to Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher and loving it, as so many of you have. I am pretty sure all chickens have demons in them though.

  32. I read a crime novel this week that made me realise that it’s possible to have too much banter. At first it was funny, but then EVERYONE did it. Just wisecracks all the way through. Way too much, and it took away from what otherwise was a really enjoyable book.

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