123 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, August 11, 2022

  1. I read Four Queer Weddings and a Funeral. Okay, I read Husband Material – but I see what you did there, Alexis Hall! Even funnier than Boyfriend Material – stuff coming out my nose from laughing. No spoilers but – his verbing is funny – boyfriending, acting, pray-mantising her head, etc. And commentary on things like breadboxes. Brilliant.

    So then I read Pansies, also by Alexis Hall, which finishes up the Spires series for me. Completely different vibe than the Material books, not as brilliant but I enjoyed it.

    Also another Ali Hazelwood, Below Zero – another STEM girl and boy romance. Yep, she’s got a formula but it’s a good one.

    1. I agree with your assessment. Husband Material was a hoot. And I liked the ending. More spoilers later.

    1. Did that for you! But you gotta read it fast so we can dish properly! No pressure of course, LOL.

  2. ’twas a peculiar week, reading-wise. I re-read.

    The Sicilian Coil by Goodlett and Huff, third in the Heirs of Alexander series. Another Alternate History by way of an Assitti Shard sending a late 21st century cruise ship and its refueling barge back to the years shortly after Alexander the Grate died. (I don’t know how great he was, but he grated on everyone.) In this one, everyone around the Mediterranean is trying to build steam engines.

    Security Concerns by Bjorn Hasseler, his third “security series” book (I’ve read an excerpt from the fourth, coming soonish), which is a part of the Alternate History by way of an Assitti Shard sending the town of Grantville, West Virginia, to Thuringia Germany in the year 1631, smack in the middle of the Thirty Years War.

    Tamer: Enhancer and Tamer: Enhancer 2 by Dave Barrack. Alien abduction, dumping the abductees onto a planet infested with dinosaurs from multiple periods on Earth to see which ones survive. One problem is that the beam of light that the alien transporter uses to deposit said abductees has become associated with “free food” by the dinosaurs…

    There were other bits and pieces of stories, but no other novels except Variations on a Theme Book 3, and parts of Books 1 and 2. Chapter 126 of Book 3 will be published tomorrow.

  3. A mixed bag this week. I read Husband Material and really enjoyed it. I couldn’t really tell you why, it’s lighter in the character interaction and more a long string of vignettes, but it just hit the right spot for me.

    I dnfed a F/M/M that had promise, but really flopped on execution.

    And I am half way through an anthology that I am really enjoying but as stated yesterday, am frustrated by because I think that it may no longer be available for purchase. Grumble grumble. Anyway, it’s Rakes I would like to F*&%$ and the first short by Sierra Simone is about a highway man who kidnaps the wrong brother (who very much enjoys being tied up and decides to seduce his way to freedom). I forget the title. The second one is Two Rakes for Mrs. Sparkwell and it was lovely. Good smut, sure, but oh, the emotions. Both the male characters are really sweet and Vivian makes a good lead, finding her strength and going after what she wants. I plan to read more by both these authors and have high hopes for the second set of stories. Oh, and they have another anthology coming in the fall, Villains I’d like to F… which sounds like my catnip.

    And I used one of my precious Hoopla borrows to get the new Nalini Singh on audiobook. I don’t pay full price for her anymore, but will probably own a discounted copy someday. And I am enjoying the familiar world right now.

      1. Exactly! It’s only available in paperback now. Maybe I can loan my ecopy? Because I think that you would enjoy the first one especially.

        1. I’ve contacted the author. Let’s see what she says. I don’t know if I can read actual paper anymore…ewww…

          1. You don’t have one? Gasp. At one point I had four… Anyway, I doubt libraries bought this one.

          2. Surprisingly enough, Philadelphia doesn’t have that one but they have the previous, Duke I’d like to F. I stand somewhat corrected.

          3. It’s true. I don’t have a library card. I have Kindle Unlimited so that kinda counts doesn’t it??

    1. Rakes I’d like….. is available in the Toronto Public Library Overdrive system. Just saying

      1. Oooh thank you – will definitely find it once I get the wherewithal to register for a card. Why can’t they just scan my retina??

          1. Anybody who doesn’t get a card and go to ANY Toronto Public Library all the time must be missing so many treats it’s not even funny. Those griffins!!! The windowed ceiling! I’ve never been there and I yearn to go! Get that card!

        1. I learned to print my name in order to get my own library card. It is an important rite of passage.

  4. Since last Thursday, I have been binge reading Kelley Armstrong’s Rockton series.

    I read her Women of the Otherworld series back in the day so when someone here mentioned reading her new book, a Rip Through time, I gave that a go and enjoyed it very much so I decided to read Rockton which I had been on my list for a while.

    Rockton is incredibly violent with a very high body count and the heroes seem to spend most of their time searching for people in the forest, losing them and then finding them and then losing them again and an awful lot of people, good and bad end up dead in various gruesome ways.

    The main characters however are great separately and together. The « will they- won’t they » does not last too long. I really hate series where the central relationship grows at a glacial pace or even worse doesn’t grow at all. I much prefer it when they get together in the first book and then the rest of the series explores how they adjust to being a couple without any stupid big misunderstandings and grand drama. It’s much more interesting to see two people being careful with each other’s feelings and slowly opening up to each other. Armstrong does that very well.

    Also, I love the setting. It makes me want to go to the Yukon but maybe not too deep in the forest!

    1. It must be said that this isn’t Jo Walton’s Favorites – it’s a “Good Book July” post by Jo Walton, everything she read last month, with comments. At least some of the comments are “Don’t read this.” Not favorites.

  5. I’ve been listening to Robin Sloan’s Sourdough after being reminded of it by someone here last week and enjoying it despite the almost complete lack of plot, although (like last week’s recommender) not enjoying it as much as the author’s other book, which had an actual plot.

    But mostly I’ve been wishing I liked comic books (I am just not an image-based reader), so I could read Gaiman’s Sandman stories after watching the Netflix adaptation. Although I also think that maybe the reason I liked it so much (and did NOT like the Good Omens adaptation) is because I’m not constantly thinking the books were better.

    1. We are watching it too. I’m not a Gaiman fan and this is confirming that for me, but my significant other remembers this series fondly. He keeps falling asleep mid episode though, so I can’t tell you how it measures up.

      The actor who plays Dream is great though. And I really like the portrayal of Death. I do wish Lucifer and Desire we’re different though. Now is not the time to portray transgender or gender fluid characters as the villains, I think.

          1. I liked it a lot. It’s not for all tastes for sure. First season especially was great. Gillian Anderson as a Marilyn Monroe avatar cracked me up.

    2. I just checked this out out of the library. Going to start it as soon as I finish my current read, “flames flirts and festivals” a group of short stories by diverse authors. Last week I finished Holiday Swap and Good Omens.

  6. I had two home runs this week in reading. The first was the latest Nalini Singh, “Storm Echo.” This is part of a long series but I found this one to be more tightly focused on the couple who are the main characters and their backstories and developing relationship.

    The other book was by Becky Chambers, “A Prayer for the Crown shy.” It is a follow on to the “Psalm for the Wild Built,” with the same two main characters. This one was as good as the first and just as heartwarming. I just want to take that robot home. A very interesting feature of this story to me was more explanation of how the human economy works. I would LOVE to have the opportunity to live in this alternate reality.

    I don’t remember August being such a prolific month for books as this one is being. I have three more long awaited books all publishing on August 23rd: “Ruby Fever” by Ilona Andrews, “Soul Taken” by Patricia Briggs, and “Into the Broken Lands” by Tanya Huff. What a feast!

  7. I read “The Art of Prophecy” by Wesley Chu which is like a wuxia film in novel form. It asks the question what happens if a prophecy is fulfilled without the the Chosen One actually being responsible for fulfilling it?

    The story is set in a wuxia-style ancient China fighting against Mongol-adjacent hordes. Hundreds of years ago a prophecy was foretold in the China-adjacent country that a Hero would be born and lead the country to peace and fortune forever against the Eternal King who rules over the Endless Steppes. A religion grew up around this unknown Chosen one until sages determine he is born. Unfortunately, before the so-called Chosen One can confront the Eternal King, the King is killed by an unknown foot-soldier which happens in the 1st or 2nd chapter of this novel. The rest of the story deals with the fallout.

    I really liked the story and am looking to the next book in the series. Yes, this is Book 1 of a series of unknown length.

    I also read “Linesman”, “Alliance” and “Confluence” of the Linesman series by S. K. Dunstall who is a 2-person writing team from Australia. The Linesman series deals with the human race, having spread to the stars, encounter artifacts from an unknown race. The protaganist is a Linesman who repairs ships, but since he grew up in the slums and not from an “approved” lineage, he does things a little differently from other Linesmen. Which makes him the perfect person to deal with the unknown artifacts. I love this series and wish the authors could have continued in this universe, but since this series is unknown to Archive Of Our Own, I’m assuming it was not widely read.

    I also read “Round Up the Usual Peacocks” by Donna Andrews which is the latest chronicle of the crazy adventures of Meg the blacksmith and her friends and family dealing with the latest mystery. Entertaining fluff. One thing that is new is the description of lots of strange Nordic foods which sounded absolutely delicious. It made me hungry and regretful that I don’t have access to a restaurant featuring these goodies.

    1. You know, it’s funny. I’ve read many many books in which a king, or a clueless prince who becomes a hero and then a king, reach their HEA and then start ruling a happy kingdom, and I’m beginning to think that modern day events are making that a plot I can’t cope with any more.

      What is Vlad Putin but another Tsar, living in palaces, fawned over by fawning courtiers, throwing enemies or rival heroes into dungeons, and insisting that everyone in his kingdom agree that it is a happy place for his loving citizens/fan club?

      And I don’t have to point out the parallels with that old orange-colored man in Florida, and probably the current Emperor of Jinah, sorry CHINA — the orange man took over my fingers there — all of them privileged, self-centered, angry men who consider themselves really special and their world as their fan club, fighting all the terrible enemies that constantly threaten them and must be punished.

      Now is ruining my books about the Them.

      1. Jinx – and don’t forget about the wanna be king in Florida Desantis – so very scary. And a much more pliable effective tool for the right wing despots.

    2. I actually think The Linesman series, by S.K. Dunstall did fairly well amongst science fiction fans. I know that I loved it.

    3. One of my favorite podcasts “Be the Serpent” which has a big fanfic focus, said that the best source material for fanfics are imperfect stories because then people want to “fix” the original material!

      1. Yuri – our own Jenny wrote ‘Maybe This Time’ – one of my favorite Crusies, because she ‘wanted to fix’ Henry James gothic novel, ‘The Turning of the Screw’.

        And ‘The Devil and Nita Dodd’ which we might get to read one day, came from Jenny needing to fix Lucifer, the tv series.

    4. Funny! just started rereading this series last week. Must be something in the air.

  8. I read The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart after seeing comments about it here. I remembered the twist at the end but was struck by Anabel’s reaction to seeing Adam’s hands. So much emotion in a small moment. Lovely. Also surprised at how much has changed since it was written. Her 19 year old cousin thinking about marriage and no one considered her young at all. The 19 year old I know do not have marriage on their minds.

    I also read Nora Goes Off Script by Annabel Monaghan and liked it a lot. A story about someone who writes formulaic scripts for Hallmark type movies about leaving high powered city jobs to live in heart warming small towns who writes a more complex honest story after her husband leaves her.

    1. My mother got married when she was 19 and had three children by the time she was 23. That is mind-boggling to me now. When I was 23 I couldn’t keep a plant alive.

      1. My husband and I were 23 when we got married. Our children think this is a sign of the backwards times we lived in. They are shocked at their 26 year old friend who is getting married to a somewhat older man. Things change and you don’t notice until something calls your attention to it.

        1. But older guys are the best… I can’t imagine settling down with one of my age. Sure, they are pretty, but they generally seem immature to the point of ineffectual. My partner is 11 years older and he cooks, cleans, does laundry and pays his bills on time. Oh, and he likes me more than his phone. Some of it might be the area I live in, but that is pretty hard to find.

          Oh, and my mother got married at 19 to an older man (I kept that tradition going) but they waited 10 years have kids.

          1. Ha! Mine is 17 years younger. I went the opposite way. He’s not a hot young stud though – he’s an IT nerd.

      2. My mother was also 19 when she got married, had three kids by 22 (my brothers and I are Irish triplets, all born within 26 months of each other), had a nervous breakdown at 24, then had two more kids by 28. I’m the oldest, and I definitely knew early on that I was not going to follow that path.

        1. My mom married just under 20, had me at 23 and twins 13 m later and my brother five years later. My daughter was at 31…two weeks off my birthday… and my son was six years later on and exactly on my brother’s birthday. I wasn’t trying to replicate my birth family without the twins but there you are. I certainly would never have had even a singleton 13 m after my first

        2. My mother had 5 kids in 7 years. There is 14 months between my oldest sister and me and 12 months between me and my brother. The doctor told her to slow down after that so there is a slightly more sensible 16 months between him and my younger sister, then 2 years between her and my younger brother. My mum had it in her head that she wanted to have lots of kids before she turned 35 and she started when she was 28.

          I had a much more sensible 3 years between my 3 kids. I had this vague idea that I’d also like to have 5 but definitely changed my mind after my first pregnancy.

    2. I got married at 21 and had my daughter at 25, and the thing that makes that stick in my mind is that when I called her on her 25th birthday, she said, “I can’t believe you had a kid at my age.” I can’t believe my family thought I was going to be an old maid if I didn’t get married at 21. Any time you think today is bad for a women, go have a look at the seventies. Although I’m reading Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own” now and counting my blessing because I don’t have to put up with crap she did.

      1. Sometimes the times dictate when you start your family. My parents married in 1942 when he was 23 and she was 19. He wanted to wait a few years before having kids, but she was afraid that he wouldn’t make it back from the war and insisted they start then. She had one miscarriage and then my brother was born 19 months later. Then he was shipped out for 1.5 -2 years immediately after the birth. Brother #2 is 2.5 years younger than #1 and the rest of us are 3-4 years apart.

      2. I got married at 20, under pressure from my parents to save them from the disgrace of having a daughter who was (gasp) living with her boyfriend ‘as man and wife’ (my mother’s words, my father’s emotional blackmail).

        At 20 + 6 months, I thought, Well THAT was a mistake. And I left. No kids and never remarried.

  9. I listened to the Round up the Usual Peacocks, which I enjoyed, although I was hoping for a little more wedding in there. I listened to two of the Quantum Curators series by Eva St. John, and I’m waiting for the next to show up on Hoopla. Lots of fun, multi-Earth, different histories, etc.

    I’m dipping into Why Design Matters, by Debbie Millman. It’s a coffee-table sized book full of interviews artists, designers, writers, and more. Lots fascinating people talk about all kinds of things.

  10. I read Emily Henry’s Book Lovers. Liked it, finished it. It took a loonnngggg time to get the MCs settled together, I’m not quite sure why.

    The witty banter, though, was good. Reminded me of Crusie conversations.

  11. Hello authors in here. I’m reading an old Nero Wolfe “Plot It Yourself” published 1959 the plot is plagiarism, what I’m wondering (I’m not very bright obviously) after rereading a few times is the amount they pay the plagiarist? $85,000.00 and another $135,000.00. Now I know from this blog (Thanks Jenny) that many of you have to work at a day job. I Don’t imagine any of you were writing in 1959, but I worked in a bank and that would be many years salary. So was Rex Stout, a best selling author himself, writing fiction or fact?


    1. For the midlist or lower author, absolute fiction. For a big name, well, probably still fiction. As I recall, when Nora Roberts (as big a name as they come) was plagiarized by Janet Dailey a long while back (it’s more than 20 years ago now!), the facts were crystal clear (Janet admitted to the plagiarism), and the case settled for what I believe was an undisclosed amount paid to charity, not to Nora. My guess at the time was that it was probably a fairly nominal sum (tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands, but it’s just a guess), since no one wanted to go through the litigation process (not fun or cheap even when you win), and it was just a matter of getting it on the record that the plagiarism had happened, and the person plagiarized had stood up for herself so no one should try it again. (Although, of course, there were allegations it did happen to Nora again by someone else just a few years ago. Dunno what happened with that case.)

      The thing is, there are some automatic damages (if the copyright is registered), but they’re pretty small, just a few thousand dollars as I recall, and to get larger amounts, the plaintiff has to prove that they’ve lost that amount in sales, which is REALLY hard to prove (sort of proving a negative — how do you prove you would have gotten sales that you didn’t get? I mean, there are ways, but it’s not easy or obvious.), and then, even if you prove the lost sales and you get a large judgment, then, in most cases that you might hear about (except the Janet Dailey case above), the defendant is a no-name author who doesn’t have any money or assets to collect the judgment from, and you’ve just spent $100K or more on legal fees out of pocket (not the type of case any competent lawyer would take on a contingency basis where the client only pays if they win), so you’ve “won,” but you’re out $100K in legal fees, and you’ll never be able to collect the judgment.

      So, while there is in theory a cause of action for breach of copyright by a plagiarist, you don’t see many actual lawsuits, beyond possibly the occasional big-name one designed to publicize the plagiarism (out and shame the plagiarizing author) and seek an injunction to stop the publication of stolen words.

      1. As always, not giving individual legal advice here, just general information. And I’m not a copyright or trial attorney, just aware of the basics. If you’re interested in copyright law (intellectual property in general), check out the Twitter feed of Mike Dunford (also not giving individual legal advice, just general information).

      2. Thanks Gin, I had a suspicion it was Fiction, I’m a reader not a writer. I am rereading my Nero Wolfe’s, I always enjoy them but since reading the blog I noticed a lot of writers, even though they have books published are not rolling in dough.

      3. You could compel the plagiarist to disgorge the ill gotten revenues;from the sale of their book?

      4. There was more to the Roberts/Dailey mess than just law. Janet Dailey had mentored Nora, and Nora felt a great debt to her. She talked to Janet after readers found the first plagiarism, and Janet swore it had just been that one time. Then the other examples started to surface, all found by readers who read both authors, and the publisher came in, which was right, but it was absolutely awful for Nora, who’s a really good person.

    2. They are not paying her for her writing. They are paying her not to sue and destroy their brand by claiming the real authors were the plagiarists. They were presumably very successful authors who would have lost most of their future sales if she sued

    3. Don’t confuse contract amounts with money earned.

      When authors sign a contract (usually), it’s (usually) for a percentage of the cover price, which they will be paid for books as long as they’re in print. But the money reported is the advance; it’s the amount of money the publisher will pay the author now, to be taken out of the first royalties, much like an advance on your allowance.

      So say an author signs a contract with an advance of $5000, and a 10% royalty (that’s high, but it’s easy to do math with).
      The book is sold for ten bucks, so the author gets a dollar for every book sold.

      The idea advance amount is so that the advance never earns out; that is, large enough that the author gets all her royalties up front. That almost never happens. Usually a year or two goes by, and the book generates enough sales to equal the advance, and then the royalty payments start coming in.

      The key to the payments in the Wolfe novel is two fold:
      1. They were all best sellers (that’s why the criminal picked them to scam) and
      2. They couldn’t afford the bad PR.

      So yes, the amounts were possible if the author’s book had sold really well, best seller status, and if it was important to protect that author’s reputation for future sales.

  12. Rereading. Too hot. Perusing my bookshelves, should land on something, maybe…
    Balcony furniture set up on the patio. Lovely, cool, in the shade, great for afternoon naps

  13. Read Annabel Monaghan’s Nora Goes Off Script. It was lovely – a love story at its best, warm, funny, and poignant. I enjoyed reading it and I would recommend it to anyone. It might’ve been called a rom-com, but it doesn’t have the genre-specific romance formula for sex on the page. There is no sex in the text, no naked thighs, etc., although we all know it happened behind the closed doors of Nora’s bedroom. So I would call it women’s fiction with a humorous attitude. A truly charming book.
    Now I’m half-way through Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher. I’m enjoying it, although I must admit, it is a sad story in a sad world.

    1. I enjoyed Nora aside from being annoyed about a Big Misunderstanding that they wouldn’t talk about even though they knew it had happened. But then eventually we find out what it’s all about and it actually makes sense. Two people that hardly know each other don’t have the channels to fix this kind of thing. I love how in any other book the ex-husband would turn up at a crucial point so she can show off how great her life is now and that doesn’t happen. He remains off-screen and irrelevant as he deserves.

  14. I reread Alexis Hall’s Boyfriend Material and then read Husband Material. Both excellent; the new one getting better as it went on. (I was a bit distracted by his hopeless geography and misleading place names – bad enough that you wouldn’t think he’s British – but then the story got so strong I forgave him.) I’m now halfway through a reread of his Billionaire trilogy.

  15. My sister recommended A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde. She said it’s a mystery, inspired by Jane Austen. Rosalind Thorne’s father has absconded, leaving her and her mother impoverished and debt ridden. She supports herself by being a “useful woman” to people of the aristocracy and finds herself having to solve a mystery when a man is found murdered at a big ball. So far I am liking it. Ut I have to say, my sister told me the author also wrote several regency books that she (my sister) didn’t care for. I found a few of them on sale on Amazon and downloaded them. I am halfway through the 2nd one of a trilogy and have to say that I agree with her.

  16. I’m about a third of the way into These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer, and I’m struggling a little bit. I don’t particularly like either of the main characters yet. I’m just kind of meh on the duke, but the FL (won’t share her name because it would kind of be a spoiler for those who haven’t read it yet) has been getting on my nerves. I guess part of it is that she just feels so young and a bit entitled, especially given the background she thinks she hails from. She throws tantrums that aren’t quite cute or charming in my eyes, and the way she idolizes the duke is a bit off-putting if we’re eventually working towards them ending up together. Plus she seems to look down on basically everyone that isn’t the duke. I’m only a third of the way in, so there’s plenty of room for growth and development, but even when she playfully pushes back against him or is petulant and stubborn to get her way, I don’t really get “yes, a woman standing up for what she wants!” I mostly just get “brat.” Maybe I’m being too harsh on her, and I’m still willing to keep reading at this point, but I’ve been a bit frustrated yet also bored.

    I’ve also been reading this delightfully creepy web comic on the Webtoon platform/app called Stagtown. It’s about this young woman who moves back to her hometown after college and keeps encountering weird, creepy stuff. I suppose that’s how many creepy stories start, but this one has really grabbed me. Interesting art, believable characters, and a creepy mystery/conspiracy to unravel!

    1. Zoe, I know that These Old Shades is beloved of a lot of Heyer fans but I have always preferred the sequel, Devil’s Cub. It’s about their son, and the heroine really does stand up for herself and her sister, calmly refusing to bend and consistently treating the hero like the spoiled brat he is. You may prefer it too.

      1. I prefer Devil’s Cub, but reading it made me enjoy These Old Shades more than I had originally

    2. To me, These Old Shades (1926) like The Black Moth (1921) is very much juvenalia. Heyer’s books get better at her craft after.

      1. I meant Heyer’s books get better after as she gets better at her craft or something like that… not my native language.

      2. I was going to say the same: it’s a very early work, and also of its time. I loved it when I was 14 or so, but I also read Stanley J. Weyman then, until I realized how misogynistic his stories were.

        Maybe let it go and read one of her later stories instead.

      3. The Black Moth reads to me like GH wanted the bad guy to be the hero (redeemed by love of course) but just couldn’t get there, gave up, and made him All Bad. It’s kind of a mess.

  17. I listened to a kids’ horror novel, the last in a series, by Katherine Arden and really enjoyed it. Evil clowns. So much easier to take than the kind who run around looking all friendly and hiding their true natures.

    I DNF’d a mystery about a woman who supposedly committed suicide with an overdose of pills prescribed by her doctor. The MC was the doctor and she didn’t prescribe the pills but was afraid to tell the cops that she didn’t. I was with her right up until that point. I was okay with her checking her notes and the patient’s file first to make sure but then I decided she was TSTL when she wouldn’t tell the cops.

  18. I read 7 novels and one novella this week. Two of the novels and the novella (all M/M) were disappointing so I won’t go into detail.

    Re-read ‘Little Fuzzy’ by H. Beam Piper, having first read it more than 35 years ago; am tempted to get John Scalzi’s authorized update, because damn does this book show its age, but it’s still an excellent ‘first contact’ story full of thoughtful good people, charming non-humans, and effective suspense due to realistically-motivated not-so-good people.

    In F/M, ‘By the Book’ by Jasmine Guillory was more fiction w romantic elements than a romance. The male character was a total jerk at first (and I knew this was a riff on ‘beauty and the beast’ but still. Good thing he got better) and the primary plot was not Love Story, it was Being A Writer story. Which is fine. Well worth my time.

    M/M I liked: ‘Hexbreaker’ by Jordan L. Hawk (magic & mayhem in turn of the 19th century NYC); ‘Lucky’ by Garrett Leigh (lots of triggers in this one).

    My M/M rec-of-the-week: ‘One Giant Leap’ by Kay Simone. This is a very unusual slow-burn romance in which the main characters are an astronaut and his 13-yrs-younger CAPCOM (capsule communicator). They fall in love while the astronaut is in space. 🙂 Sweet, thoughtful, empathetic, and respectful of what it takes to do jobs like these.

    1. I’m a very shallow person because I went to look at One Giant Leap and I didn’t like the look of the two heroes on the front cover. Couldn’t imagine them together.

        1. I downloaded it. Will report back when I read it. Have a backlog of your recommendations…

    2. So happy someone else enjoyed Hexbreaker! I really like all of Jordan L Hawk’s Hexworld books.

      Plus One Giant Leap sounds really good

        1. Ooh good. Unfortunately Widdershins was a bit too horror for me and I gave up after the one set in a mining town.

    3. I read Scalzi’s Fuzzy Nation and enjoyed it. And listened to the audiobook narrated by Wil Wheaton which was also good. Haven’t read the original yet.

  19. Rereading Murderbot, and also Grace Draven’s Radiance. Just bought Kate Johnson’s The Untied Kingdom, which is a dystopian romance I read a few years ago and haven’t been able to find since. I remember it as being really good, so snapped it up when I found it on Amazon. Hope it lives up to my memory of it.

    ‘When Eve Carpenter lands with a splash in the Thames, it’s not the London or England she’s used to. No one has a telephone or knows what a computer is. But worst of all, everyone thinks Eve’s a spy. Including Major Harker, who has his own problems. The general wants him to undertake some ridiculous mission to capture a computer, which Harker vaguely envisions running wild somewhere in Yorkshire. Turns out the best person to help him is Eve. Eve knows all about computers, and electricity. There’s every possibility she’s mad… And Harker is falling in love with her.’

  20. This did not show up in my email today. Maybe you all just searched for it, like I finally did? I finished Agnes and the Hitman, and enjoyed it. When I re-read it, I’m going to keep a running body count. It seemed like there was at least one body per chapter, at one point. I liked the cooking stuff, the various romances, the transformation of several of the characters as time passed, and the southern vibe. I loved that Agnes, a name that, in latin, means “lamb”: Agnus Dei= lamb of God, is nothing at all like a lamb, and finds her true ferocity by the end of the book. I’m reading another Susan B. James, Time and Forever, because I bought it before I knew better. Same meh feeling, but reading on because it moves along and I’m curious where she’s going with this.

    1. “Agnes” also looked close to “Anger” to me.
      But it was really the comic strip Agnes that sold me on the name. Agnes is awesome.

  21. I’ve been reading the news. And Twitter. Specifically anti Trump lawyers on Twitter who can be scathing and insightful.

    Also rereading sone Jo Goodman’s

  22. I dnfed a lot of samples this week.

    Now I am reading Marian Keyes book The Brightest Star In The Sky. So far so good. I have read and loved her in the past.

    She is starting a cozy mystery series. Not sure but I think it is ‘The Charming Man’ series – that is the title of the first book in the series. I hope it’s good but I can’t try the first one until payday because they don’t have it in the library yet.

    1. Forgot – I also reread the Jayne Castle trilogy with Amaryllis, Zinnia & Orchid. Good books.

  23. Just saw that Tal Bauer has an m/m hockey romance (Gravity) coming out tomorrow and was wondering if anyone maybe received an ARC and can tell me if this is any good (or even somewhat good?). I’m very close to one-clicking based on nothing but the author and the fact that it’s m/m hockey.

    1. I’ve only read one Tal Bauer and it was – though in a romance anthology – a M/M horror short set in Antarctica, which totally stressed me out, so I’ve been afraid to try any others. Don’t need extra stress right now!

      1. So far I don’t think hockey/horror is a thing. Will let you know though. Hey I thought the day job was getting better?

  24. I am reread The Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvater and they’re so great. All the characters are wonderful, and if it’s a bit weird a group of private school boys living in a converted factory building, and maybe there are a few bits that aren’t perfect in the plot, well I don’t care, I’m along for the ride and 100% in. The writing is also noticeably good.

    It’s a story of four not-your-typical teenagers trying to find an ancient sleeping Welsh king in Virginia, US. And about friendship, magic, finding your path, and a good adventure.

    In some ways they remind me of Murderbot, perhaps the way in which character is revealed.

    Anyway, still highly recommended on reread.

  25. A friend recommended The Dawn of Everything: A New Human History of Humanity.

    It’s thoughtful and creative, not nasty like Sapiens.

    I remember when I was teaching that kids were astounded that ideas that they perceived as truths actually aren’t at all. Like “If you work hard, you will succeed.” Nope. The Dawn of Everything tosses perceived truths. I’m excited about what I’m going to discover as I continue reading.

  26. Yesterday I started Robin Sloan’s first novel, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore” because I always find Olga Godim’s recommendations of potential interest. It is largely written in first person present voice, which I wasn’t accustomed to and had a bit of trouble with at first, but the unfolding adventure of the protagonist made it realistic, and I soon got used to it. For the first twenty or thirty pages he was trying to figure out his first job, as the overnight clerk in the titled (San Francisco) bookstore, which of course has very few patrons during the overnight hours, as you can imagine.

    Once the first unfamiliar patron (bearing a coupon) does come in, things start percolating, and soon it becomes a mystery involving folks from Google headquarters in Mountain View, a quest with quest comrades, romantic vibes with that coupon customer, and a whole lot of coding & tech novelties that I fail to understand but fully believe in.

    I’m about 2/3rds through it, and it’s lots of fun. Makes me want to borrow Sloan’s Sourdough when I finish this one.

  27. Started “Ancillary Mercy”. Also trying to read my handwriting for the board minutes I have to do.

  28. I finished The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband ( Steffanie Strathdee and Thomas Patterson). So much good information wrapped in a well told story.

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