This is a Good Book Thursday, August 25, 2022

I finally re-read Boyfriend Material, every bit as good as the first read, and started on Husband Material. Same great voice and characters but no push. I think it’s because the protagonist Luc isn’t in trouble and his goal–so far, to get a wedding venue for his best friend–is not pressing. He was so damaged in Boyfriend Material, and so was the Boyfriend, that I desperately wanted them to get together and take care of each other, which they did; wonderful book. Husband Material is more . . . pleasant. Luc’s voice continues to charm, but we’re losing the plot. It is entirely possible that this will pick up soon, but for right now, it reads more like fan service–yes, Luc and Oliver are still together and taking care of each other and moving toward Serious Actions–than like an important conflict for Luc. Luc appears to be safe and happy (YAY!) and suffering for others now (meh). I’d rather see Oliver’s Awful Parents get their comeuppance or Luc finally level his awful father (mom rocks, however) than watch Luc chase all over England to get Bridget a nice garden to get married in. Key requirement for fiction: the reader has to care a lot about what’s happening.

And lecture over. I’m still gonna finish that book.

What did you read this week?

136 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, August 25, 2022

  1. I’ve finished The One that got Away by Nicky James that started out great and did not disappoint. I guess it could have had more exploring of the antagonists motives but overall I really liked that a paranoid/damaged MC who survived a very bad situation in childhood finally managed to overcome a lot. Yet not all which would have made the book implausible.
    Plus it had very, very tender love-making (and no overabundance of it) since the other MC understood the boundaries.
    Then I read a bunch of excerpts which I really found intrigueing but the it’s a trilogy and each book costs 5+ Euro, so I’ll ponder a bit more.
    Then I re-read a book that I remembered not liking too much when I listened to it. It has a nice beginning though. I skipped a lot and it had way too many sex scenes for my liking instead of the two MCs working through their issues: i don’t much like the bully-to-lover trope and I particularly don’t like it when there’s this animal-instict-attraction from the start. Where’s the basis for building a solid foundation? Well, I’m probably too driven by intellect and definitely not by my nether regions…

    Now I’m reading the last installment of the Hot Cannolis: the cover of this one, Hot Lips, is awful but I guess the authors don’t have much say in this, but the other three were fine to very nice. I was looking forward to this one because the main MC Tito was built up subtly in the first 3 books and I like him (nerdy, shy in a bit loud Italian family). Only it’s the solo book by Tara Lain: the first two were a collaboration with Eli Easton. Because of a health issue of TL book 3 was written by EE alone, so this book 4 was written by TL solo. I prefer their collaboration – EE is sometimes too sweet imho, the one book by TL I’ve read I didn’t like at all, so I dearly hope this one will be different.
    Apart from that I’ve read a bunch of historical stuff about Hospitals in the high to late Middle Ages and about leprosy and about archeological finds (fascinating stuff in the human genome explaining why leprosy after pandemic-style distribution slowed down towards the 16th century without any real medication).
    At the Roman Festival we went to last weekend I got even more interested in the hospital system of Antiquity: a irl-doctor doing sort-of reenacting and working in research explained the Roman medical system in the military and I just had to follow up his recommendations for reading. I love love love open access papers!! Most of the fascinating archeology papers I mentioned above are oa, and one of the historian mentioned by the medicus at Abusina (on the Limes) was available online as well.
    After the Festival we stayed near the Limes (comparable to Hadrians Wall, only in southern Germany/Bavaria). It was such a hoot to read this paper on early Roman valetudinaria (healty-making hospitals) while sitting in the shade of the reconstructed tower of castell Weissenburg 🙂 So my major recommendation would be this paper but I’m pretty sure only a very few of the Arghers would follow this rec 😉

      1. I also read The One That Got Away and I didn’t like it as much as you did. I did really appreciate the paranoid/damaged MC and how the other MC negotiated the romantic side of their relationship. What I didn’t like was the other MC being an jerk for the first third of the book and in a way that I thought was stereotypical – i.e., working class cop = jerk. Didn’t sit right with me. And really sorry to say this because it was a Canadian book – but it didn’t feel very Canadian, whatever that means.

        1. Don’t worry, tastes vary.
          For me, The Book of Firsts, was a such a muss – the book that everyone seems to love wholeheartedly.
          I’m wirh Lupe that there were some points that weren’t perfect (no 5 stars, more like 3,5), but nicely different.
          I wasn’t put off by Koda being the blue collar jerk ürobsbly because there are so many similar to this type of guy where I live. It’s actually good to think that deep down they are okay-guys..
          Obviously I wouldn’t pick up the non-Canadian vibes. But I can understand very well how that may jar. Sometimes it takes just a little glitch to make a story unpalatable for the “insider”: Same here when Bavarians are portrayed and more importantly the authour tries to put the dialect/accent on paper. Only the translators of the Asterix franchise managed to do do successfully 😉

          1. I have an Austrian friend who always made snide jokes about Germans – and of course I thought it was all one big happy sameness – Austrian, German, Bavarian, etc. – kind of like how people think Canadians are northern Americans. So it was an education for me.

      1. The Limes Germanicus (modern name) belonged to the Roman border fortifications as did the Hadrian’s Wall, Antonine Wall and some more in Africa etc. For some large parts it followed the big rivers Rhine, Danube etc so no wall or palisade was necessary, but the system of castra and watchtowers was the same in Britannia as in Germania: on an excursion from Durham to the HW my lecturer back in the past century drilled it into us: turret-turret-wall castle. The frontier on the continent existed from the 1st to 5th century AD. The whole logistics is fascinating: towers were built as near as to convey signals well. The number of milites were not necessarily high but were substituted by auxiliaries that were recruited some place else – in Abusina there were auxillary cavalry troops from Britain, so fraternization wasn’t too easy. The small castrum there had a small but fine bath house. Some luxury was provided by the hot waters they found nearby, so therme were built. Today those baths still exist, but not exactly at the same site (later a church was built over the baths….).
        The reason for constructing the “German” limes / fortifications is the same as in Britain I’d guess: too much trouble going further north when the gain would be relatively small, especially after the 3 (!) legions commanded by Varus were defeated in a horrendous fight (more guerilla warfare than a battle) by some Germanic tribes (shortly) united under Arminius (fascinating backstory there too).
        Sadly I can’t point you to a concise summary/book on the subject, but there have been very interesting newish insights into the mess Varus got himself and his troops into. The archaeologists even found the battle “field” (the Romans were surprised while marching in hhe woods, so no regular field) not so long ago (rather horrible fdeaths/destiny for the Romans).
        In fiction: Lindsey Davis had her private eye Falco visit the Roman occupied area of Germania in “Iron Hand of Mars” which I remember to be rather good.
        In folm: Netflix had “Barbarians” – a series which took its liberties but caughts the gist and had their actors speak classical Latin to a high standard. Quite good but the story made my skin crawl nevertheless. My forebears would have very probably lived in Raetia, i.e. in north of the Alps/ in a region that was Romanized early on. But one cheers for the underdogs in any case….
        Sorry for my ramblings…

        1. Don’t be sorry! Thank you: the Romans in Germany is not something I’m familiar with as I am their occupation of Britain. I do wonder how the multi-national army got on. I guess they’d have to acquire some Latin in order to have a common language.

          1. I’m pretty sure they picked up basic Latin fast. The colloquial Latin is manageable (Greek far less): there are some fans of spoken Latin on youtube (e.g. Polymathy/Luke Ranieri who also goes under Scorpio Martianus too) who demonstrate that it’s possible to understand it quite well. And as it was THE language, the impteus to beclme somewhat fluent was there.
            BTW my cousin in Italy recently told me that Latin is nowadays being taught as sokrn language again. Probably only in year one or so, but …

          2. As for multi-lingual chaos among the troops: I’ve seen a thrilling doku not long ago cold case style where three skelettals found in the wreckage of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII’s warship were analysed. The nutritional traces in their bones made it possible to roughly say where they came from: many seem to have been Spaniards more or less stranded on the British Ilses previously, so they found employment on the ships. However, in a difficult situation on board a ship, understanding the English superior’s (can’t remember the actual title) commands was crucial, so the researchers theory for the sinking of the shio was that indeed there might not have been the level of understanding needed.

          3. Dodo, Everything you are saying fascinates me. Besides everything else, I’m intrigued by ancient, medieval, and renaissance doctoring. It seems as if the physician was a theorist — in, say, the case of Chistine de Pisan’s father, he was a member of the court and an astrologer. It seems as if the actual healers were women and men who used natural medicines and hands on treatments: for example, the Physica of Hildegard von Bingen. This idea of separating hands on practice from theory strikes me as very strange.

          1. Elizabeth, you’re right in that there was a separation between gands-on and theoretical practitioners: in about the 12th century (when medicine got taught at universities) the Church issues that a medicus wasn’t allowed to do surgeries anymore (i.e. cutting and maybe thereby killing the patient). Most medical professionals at this time were ckerics, so no bloodshed to be allowed. In former times some of the ancient knowledge was kept alive at the monasteries (healing the body as well of the soul was part of their mission). Lately there have bern findings that the monastic apothecaries were far better than presumed.
            In the 13th century emperor Frederick II forbade doctors to be apothecars themselves, so by that time you had the apothecarius for producing the salves and concoctions, the medicus for analysing your urine (top step in any treatment) and the physicus/ wundarzt doing all hhe hands-on stuff like blood letting, cutting etc. The latter was a profession learnt through apprenticeship and not at uni. Pay was lower and reputation lower too, but they acquired a lot of experience, so weren’t that bad. There also was a specialization (eye doctors and vets I’ve read about for my city and even female practitioners).
            For important patients like rilers you’ll find teams of medici and physici: emperor Frederick III (15th century) had to have an anputation and while the team diagnised the illness, it was the job of the practical physici to cut the foot off. One very prominent and well documented example (even recorded in picture).
            As always, how the lower classes and especially the rural folks were treated us less well documented.
            In hospitals e.g. the “medical” staff consisted of women/maids under the supervision of the Spitalpfleger’s wife. They might have been trained medically but that basic stuff wasn’t usually documented. Also, hospitals weren’t hospitals in the modern sense but housed those who needed support (which could be medical). In Munich, at the most prominent hospital, the city physicus (yes, the city employes at least for some time physici and medici) had to do visitations there. In other cities they found only some bills for when the staff couldn’t deal with illnesses themselves and bring in better trained professionals.
            In other countries this might have been different: e.g. Luther way in awe of Florence’s big hospitals with trained medical doctors in their staff. But Florence seems to have been a shining exception even for Italy.
            I’ve just started to read about all this, so that’s only an overview.
            The role if women here is interesting but sources don’t dwell on them unless we have men fighting medically active women.
            In Roman times, women seem to have been able to do the apprenticeship and there are examples of mklitary doctors teaching the level that they could countercommand what ghe legion’s commander ordered (they were at least the same rank as Centurio, but hete I have to dig deeper).

            There’s the rare example of Hildegard of Bingen’s expertise for the high MA, but she was of high nobility, very well connected and respected, so we have sources.
            For the general role of wise women it’s generally when men/the authorities wanted to curb their influence/felt threatend that we get reports (more so after the MA when those women were prosecuted as witches).

            Midwives had varying degrees of knowledge but were also alloed to “cut” and especially in rural areas covered medical care but sources are sparse.
            We know that in cities to-be-midwives had to do an apprenticeship with a city-approved experienced midwife. In the later Middle Ages in many German cities we know that they had to sit a kind of exam (practical but also testunc gheir morals as their superior/boss would often be the parish priest, so their proper lifestyle was more important than their medical knowledge).
            City magistrates officialky employed midwives so we have written regulations about what their obligations.

            Very soon (late MA) those women were roped into announcing illegitimate births or attempts of birth control or abortions. Women in labour got forced to give the father’s name to get treatment etc… Even then the male authorities used everything to oppress women and keep them from supporting each other.
            I won’t bore you any longer though, but for me the topic keeps on getting even more interesting 😉

    1. Every time you mention medieval medicine I remind myself to hunt up some papers. Now I have to look for the Romans too? Maybe if I stopped reading fiction I would find time. Everything I have read in the past two weeks has been so meh.
      (The YA fantasy series I’m reading because my 17 year old coworker loves it and wants to discuss it with me is not meh. Very well written but far far far too grim dark for me. Oppression? Poverty? War? Torture? Death after death? No thanks I have Real Life for that. But it’s so much fun to have someone to talk SFF with that I persevere.)

      1. Dodo — Your history reminds me of King Henry I of England’s personal physician Faritius. (Here I’m taking info directly from Wikipedia.) Faritius was an Italian Benedictine monk, physician, and writer of the life of St Aldhelm. In becoming the Abbot of Abingdon, Faritius was noticed by King Henry I and became the king’s physician. Years later, King Henry tried to arrange for Faritius to become Archbishop of Canterbury (the most powerful churchman in England). Wikipedia says that the English bishops were opposed to Faritius because he was from Italy; they expressed their opposition by saying that it was unseemly for the Archbishop of Canterbury to have been a physician to women.

        I, like Mary Anne, need a fresh dose of history.

        1. Sounds highly interesting, too.
          I didn”t know about Faritius but then with history as I start learning about a newish topic I realize the huge gaps of what I don’t know. Sigh.

  2. I also read The One That Got Away and really enjoyed it. It’s not a perfect 10 of a book for me, but the situation was interesting and the characters were very engaging. I think that the supporting characters were also good, with various portrayals of how people treat someone with a mental illness. And the MC’s both showed a lot of growth.

    And I am listening to Pansies. Not my favorite Alexis Hall, but still good.

    Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews and Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs both came out on the same day, which is wonderful and terrible. I am not sure which one I will read first and am waiting for the weekend lest I stay up all night, multiple nights in a row.

    1. Oh Lupe – Alessandra Hazard’s latest in the Straight Guy series came out – Heartless. And it is delicious and naughty. Deliciously naughty. She really doesn’t disappoint.

          1. You are handing me the shovel to dig my own grave. And then pointing and saying, “Dig here, the ground looks soft.”

          2. No no – we’ve got to fix this metaphor. It’s more like you’re digging your own grave and I’m standing there pointing up saying: “Look what a beautiful night it is! See the gorgeous moon and the stars!” See? isn’t that better now?

          3. Fixing the metaphor would involve us digging graves side by side and throwing the dirt into each other’s hole.

        1. Bizarrely, Amazon UK won’t let me download a sample of this. I’ll probably buy it, but thought I might find it a bit samey, so would rather check first,

          1. Amazon Germany is acting weird right now, too.
            Would give me results for searches of long published titles but clicking on them leads me nowhere…

          2. She doesn’t venture far from her formula, Jane, so it likely will be ‘samey’ – a word I’m now going to steal with pride.

  3. I’m in the middle of The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh, and so far it’s lovely. It’s very, very Spirited Away in feel, and the descriptions of the world are just beautiful.

  4. I am reading three very different library books: The Good House (Ann Leary) – trying to read it before the movie comes out. Normal Family -On Truth, Love and How I Met My 35 Siblings (Chrysta Bilton). What Stars Are Made Of : the life of Celia Payne (Donovan Moore).

  5. I finally listened to the rest of Throne of Glass, which my niece recommended. There was a good story buried in there, but it dragged a bit. Okay, a LOT. I want to know what happens to the characters, but not sure I want to actually listen to the books.

    I’m part way through Heartburn by Nora Ephron, read by Meryl Streep. A friend highly recommended it. I am in a grueling class right now, so it may not be the best choice for my downtime. I also keep seeing the cheating husband as All the President’s Men era Dustin Hoffman because the character is based on Carl Bernstein. It’s distracting. Meryl does a good job.

    And because this class is so exhausting, my brief nighttime reading is Murderbot. I can practically recite them now.

    1. Heartburn is one of my favorite books of all time. I read that great bit at the end to my therapist because it’s so true, the part where she tells her therapist why she always makes the story funny. The fact that it’s a thinly disguised true story just reshaped to make it good fiction is so close to the way I know a lot of us write just makes it better, but that bit at the end, that gets me every time. Just a terrific book.

      1. sounds intriguing – i put a hold on it at the library – my library has a drive thru for holds – i love it!!!

  6. I read One Giant Leap by Kay Simone. Chacha1, I know this was your M/M reco of the week a couple of weeks ago – and I think you still under sold it! I adored this book (despite the terrible cover). I love everything space/astronaut anyway and those elements alone made it a good read. Then layer on an astronaut falling in love from space for his CAPCOM whom he’s never laid eyes on – loved it. Have already started re-reading it.

    I explored some of her other books and enjoyed those too, if not as much. She has quite the range – I read a football book, a great modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and one called Hard Stop that was …um…hard core. Definitely an author I will continue with.

    I also read Jeanine’s reco from last week – A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows. You are right, anyone who read Everina Maxwell’s Winter’s Orbit will likely enjoy this book – an arranged marriage in a fantasy land, surprising competence from one of the MC’s, well written. Has anyone read any of her other stuff? I looked at it but nothing caught my interest.

  7. I loved “The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics” by Olivia Waite which had been in my tbr for several years – why did I wait so long!? Lovely f/f historical romance featuring an astronomer and an embroidery artist. Very satusfying.

    Finished a non-fiction book a day which is unusual for me. “Being Seen” is a heartfelt memoir by Elsa Sjunneson, a deafblind woman, focussed on media representation of disability. Excellent, engaging and a surpisingly fast read.

    Also read “Crowbones”, having first re-read “Lake Silence”. Was good but I loved Lake Silence and I’m not sure I liked Crowbones quite as much.

  8. Husband Material is sitting on my TBR pile from the library. Just finished The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King, the first in her Sherlock Holmes/young female mentee series. I liked it a lot more than I expected to. It is told from the woman’s perspective and it’s really well done.

    1. I remember resisting the Mary Russell novels until, like volume 3 came out. Then I gave in and read the first one, and then I went ‘oh hell’ and immediately glommed it all. Still one of my favorite mystery series of all time, though the last one didn’t quite send me.

      1. I’m going to BoucherCon in a week and a half with a friend who is a huge Laurie King fan, so I figured I’d better read the first one at least. Then immediately started the second.

    2. did you watch the movie Enola Holmes (Sherlocks younger sister) – such a good movie! Netflix I think

        1. I saw that when I went to investigate via DuckDuckGo. Has anyone read the books? Are the books (as is so often the case) superior to the movie? I don’t want to subscribe to Netflix for one movie if it’s a disappointment.

          1. I liked the books better. Although Millie Bobby Brown is charming in the Netflix series.

          2. @Jeanne, I’ve used DuckDuckGo as my search engine for several years now, and it works very well, no different from the well-known big name search engines. It just deletes my search data instead of keeping it and selling it. I probably see less targeted ads, but as I don’t want to be pushed into buying stuff because of ads that is fine by me.

          3. @Jeanne, I got sick of the targeted ads. DuckDuckGo has improved that situation, a lot. I will say that if you are used to Google, some of the defaults with DDG are annoying, but you get used to them. MSEdge used “Bing” as the default search engine – it was worse, and I’ve made DDG the default for Edge as well as Chrome.

            I swear, you read a description in a story and Google “bloused sleeves” or “crimson sari with golden choli” and they want to sell them to you! Over and over! I just wanted to know what they should look like. I Googled “World Naked Gardening Day.” Have they tried to sell me any naked gardeners? No!

            The worst part of DuckDuckGo is that it’s hard to verbify their name, and you fall back on “search.” That’s okay. I never “Binged” nor “Altavistaed” nor Yahooed,” neither.

  9. I’m reading Where the Sky Begins by Rhys Bowen. A WWII novel about a five years married woman, Josie, whose husband, Stan, has gone off to war and her struggle after she is bombed out of her home in London. The tea shop she worked was also bombed and the owner killed. Josie had been injured and spent time at a convent to recuperate, eventually sent along with a group of a mother with children and children alone north with each being dropped off along the way to families taking them in. Josie is the last to find a home with a persnickety older spinster and her grumpy housekeeper. They want her to get well enough to leave and find another place to live. Whelp, that’s not happening. Josie is becoming more and more involved in the town and liking the country atmosphere. There are people in town she has come to know and are helping her, one a woman she meets and invites her a WI meeting and a couple, Nan and Alf, who have taken in children that were on the bus with her. Alf is helping her create a vegetable garden to save money against the ration coupons. What’s left are the servicemen from the nearby airbase she has met and now wants to create an atmosphere for them by making the sitting room of the house she lives in into a tea shop to give them a feeling of home. And that’s the sticky part. I feel she is thinking too much of Canadian pilot she met and not worrying so much about her husband even though there is a little tension because in the five years they have been married she has not become pregnant and the husband blames her. Plus, so far, she has only written him one letter telling him where she is. But I’m only halfway through so you never know. By now I usually read the end but I’ll try and contain myself and see how it goes.

  10. Okay, you guys — Zombie time.

    So last week I read “Light from Uncommon Stars” by Ryka Aoki, which I liked a lot. It’s a very unusual book, in that it involves two growing relationships — one pretty much a love story between two equals and the other an acceptance story between a teacher and student — and three subtheme stories about individuals connected to the MCs who are sparked by one of the MCs more or less giving them permission to start growing into the selves they want to become.

    So it’s all about recognizing who you are and what you want, and then gaining the freedom to more and more become your chosen self.

    At the same time, it’s kind of a pastel-shade book in the way it suggests and notes many of the things I’m used to reading much more graphically in modern novels; the fact that the author does this and yet manages to do it skillfully makes it a highly rewarding book to read, but it made me think a lot. About zombies.

    Bob often brings up zombies in what I take to be a fully (& drily) humorous way. As a kind of ‘Ha!’ shorthand way of alluding to dumping a big pratfall into something classic — a la “Pride & Prejudice…and Zombies.” And it always makes me laugh, but at the same time we’re dealing with public figures who are a whole lot like the student character’s nemesis in this book — a bullying father who demands that his son act and behave like the cisman he’s trying to force h/er to be.

    I mean, what is giant babyman Trump but a bully insisting that others be exactly what he wants them to be? Or sneaky babyman Putin but a spy insisting that he IS the czar of a huge continent the size it was when he was young?

    Ensemble-dancing MJackson videos aside, zombies as a thing seem like an embodiment of the demon inside anybody who is reaching out and INSISTING that everyone else do or be the thing they want them to be, rather than the individual they are. Since in fact decaying humans (with or without the theoretical infection that made them that way) don’t actually have working digestive systems to really EAT someone else’s brains, it makes me think the underlying image of them coming for people’s brains is all about control, and dominance, and forcing those around them to vote their way, think their way, raise an arm and salute them their way, or any other thing that some people try to force others to do or to be exactly like them, with no deviations or abortions allowed.

    So my question to you all is, why is this kind of thing happening all around us? What is the trigger that makes people accept the zombies who are trying to control our brains and vote them into power? Why am I reading romance novels instead of going out to undermine the power trips of the Zombies among us? Please help my fully egalitarian, exit-optional, anti-zombie crusade planning committee by giving me your thoughts on this.

    1. Well… There is a lot to unpack here, but I think that the root of your question lies in culture, maybe anthropology? Because really I think what you are asking is why a group of people adopt an agreed upon way of behaving. And the answer is usually survival at some level.

      Martha Beck went into this a little in her book, The Way of Integrity, where she was talking about freeing yourself from cultural norms that are hurting you. She also talks about how an abuser usually has a victim mentality, which also seems to have bearing on this conversation. I will have to think about it.

      Anyway, I think that the shortest answer to your question is that people feel scared, and/or that their lifestyle is threatened. After all, we had a similar perfect storm in the 40s when people turned to similar bullies because something in the rhetoric made them feel safe. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to violence and violence leads to the Dark Side. Or something like that.

    2. Because reality is what you make it. You construct what’s true and real about the world from your own experiences.

      Your reality has Trump as a giant baby.
      Somebody else’s reality has Trump as a rebel and liberator.
      Each reality is true, it just depends on where you’re standing.

      Trump is a great example. He has captured an entire political party, so saying he’s a dumb spoiled brat just doesn’t work. He’s no intellectual, he doesn’t read, and he has no self-knowledge or emotional intelligence, but he’s been a genius (no sarcasm) at locking on to the tremendous anger of part of this country and making it work for him. You can talk about him throwing ketchup at the walls all you want, he’s still had a greater impact on the US than almost anybody else in recent history. He didn’t do that by accident. People wanted him to have won, they believe in him, but they believe in him because of the reality they inhabit, the reality that he deliberately jacked into.

      Those people aren’t dumb. They’ve watched their way of life get smaller and smaller while corporations got bigger and bigger, and government contributed to the obscene income gulf in this country. They’re not angry about nothing; they’re getting screwed and they have been getting screwed for a long time. And the only way out they see is to go back because going forward sure isn’t helping. Trump promises to take them back to where hard work meant something, where they didn’t have to feel guilty about stuff they didn’t do, where the world was safe and white and everybody loved baseball. They’re not wrong that things were better for them then. They’re not wrong that things would be better for them if we all went back to that. It would suck for almost everybody else, but everybody else has been doing great and they’ve been getting the shaft.

      Do I agree with them? No. But I can understand that their reality has factual underpinnings the way mine does. Why don’t they see that Trump is a sleazy user? For the same reason it took me so long to see that Bill Clinton was a sleazy user: he was saying and doing things that fit with my reality.

      Once I understood that every person is living in the bubble of their own reality, people were a lot easier to understand. They’re not delusional, they’re just living with their own experiences and extrapolating what’s real from those. Just like we are. There is no one shared reality. We’re all living in our bubbles full of contradictions and impossibilities, constructing the worlds we need to survive, grouping together when some parts of our realities overlap.

      1. Wow! That is the best explanation of what’s going on in this country that I’ve heard.

      2. That is excellent, Jenny. I’m in total agreement with you about Trump’s skill at manipulating & his showmanship, and I see exactly the same thing about the huge income gaps between the wealthiest and poorest people and places in this country, and how much that motivates people.

        But he thing that really started hurting for me after reading this book is the dictator part — both Trump & the ‘conservative’ monolith in this country take the same selfish approach: “you MUST be like me, you MUST agree with me, you MUST do as I tell you to do, or you’ll be punished!” I think Trump has exerted that force against his own political minions in Congress, in appointed positions, in his family, etc., so it’s less obvious to a lot of the followers. He focuses their attention on the external people they’re supposed to be hating — media, the other party, “wokeness”, and so on, and uses their anger to his own selfish advantage.

        But the people who have spearheaded the whole anti-abortion movement have likewise been doing the My way/Highway thing. It’s not “let’s have fewer abortions and more options” — it’s banning and punishing and passing tattletale laws. And things in our systems are getting bent to the aims of the powerful bullies, so they’re winning and winning and winning some more.

        I don’t know why this book has made me so focused on the crazy mean dictators of the world, big and small, but my sense of the size of it all hurts me. I wish I knew how they could be countered.

        1. I have to believe that we are the hobbits in this story. Small hands do great things because they must.

          And I keep harping on Martha Beck, but I really found her book at the right time for me. She says to set aside ten minutes every day to make the world better, and another ten to make your life more of what you want it to be. I don’t manage it every day, but the small increments give me hope.

          For me, the thing that I can do to most effect our current state is be kind. A lot of the people I have worked with from more rural areas have this view of liberals as scary, angry, mean and crazy. So, if I am kind, calm and considerate in discussion then they may start to be willing to listen. But some days it is hard.

      3. The thing that scares me is the people who talk like it is INEVITABLE – that he will come back – that Ron Destupidest will be elected president – that right-wing conservatives will have their way.
        You can’t think like that because it closes doors. Doors that need to be kept open – guarded even – so opportunities to stop the madness can make their way through. It is not inevitable and a lot of people who think that are people who will not pay the price if right-wing conservatives have their way.
        And I reject that whole notion that we are not working hard today. I don’t about y’all but I work pretty darn hard.

  11. I read Ruby Fever by Ilona Andrews yesterday. It really hit the spot. The new Mercy book by Patty Briggs came out the same day. I am a huge fan of both authors. I can’t help but notice the price differential: Soul Taken is 4x the cost of Ruby Fever. I have long thought that Ilona Andrews charge too little for their books, and that Briggs’ books are quite pricey. That, combined with the fact that the last few Mercy books (and including the last Charles and Anna book), have been super, super dark, means that I have devoured Ruby Fever but haven’t purchased Soul Taken yet. I’m taking a wait and see approach.

    1. I think that the price is pretty much set by the publisher. Plus the Hidden Legacy books were picked up by Avon and only published in paperback, so the ebooks get the “paperback” pricing.

      I forget which fantasy house has Patty Briggs, but the Mercy books come out in glossy hardback first (same with ebook price) and used to be released as paperbacks later, when the ebook will also drop in price.

      I am also waiting on starting Soul Taken because I am afraid that she is going to rip my still beating heart out and feed it to the proverbial wolves…

    2. I’ve also been waiting for Ruby Fever. So happy it was affordable at first release!

      I enjoyed it–lots of action. I’m always amazed at the endless supply of folklore and mythology and imagination House Andrews draws from. And they’re brilliant at writing description. They’re one of the few authors whose descriptions I read rather than skim.

      And I liked that Catalina and Alessandro fought together, wing to wing and oar to oar, as Frost says, showing us they’ve earned their HEA.

      But (you knew there was a but coming) there wasn’t any character development. A little bit of relationship arc, but not much. A zillion characters (waves madly at everyone we’ve met in the first five books) which means there’s not enough room to really delve into any one person, including Catalina and Alessandro.

      But still a fun ride.

  12. I got to read Gwendy’s Final Task by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar. It was really good but now I have to go read the Dark Tower books to really understand things.

  13. Madame President: “This is not a drill” by O. L. Gregory muscled its way to the top of my TBR list. The possible ending would have been okay – the projected ending was very disappointing. I was warned.

    I started Brenda Margriet’s Secrets Under the Covers. I couldn’t deal with it right now. I’ll get back to it, some time, but not now.

    Then I started K. M. Fawcett’s Wilde Treasure. Something about the MC rubbed me totally the wrong way. DNF’d. Sorry, ma’am. Didn’t delete it, though. I’ll get back to that one, too. Not now.

    Finished L. Bujold’s Falling Free. I needed that! Old friends, the Quaddies.

    Started a reread of the Wearing the Cape series by M. G. Harmon. More old friends. “When you wear the cape, you do the job.” Superheroing 101. Nine books, so far.

    Official Weigh-In Day #71. Fat. Too fat. Depressing. Never mind. Forget I mentioned it. I’m going to harvest another salad.

    1. Thanks for giving Wilde Treasures a try, Gary. 🙂 Can I ask which character rubbed you the wrong way? If other readers feel the same, maybe I can tweak the character. Thanks!

      1. Rick McKinnon. And in a different mood, I’d probably have enjoyed him – I enjoyed Davy Dempsey and Tilda, after all – but I was NOT in the mood for an unrepentant criminal MC this week. Do NOT change anything based on a half-chapter “Not this week, Rick” opinion.

        If you want to change something, change
        “Where’s the treas-uh, Ricky?” Dominick asked in a deep, coarse Jersey City accent that dropped the ‘r’ off of treasure.


        “Where’s the treasure, Ricky?” Dominick asked in a deep, coarse Jersey City accent that dropped the ‘r’ off of treasure.

        You’re saying that he dropped the ah offa treazhah. No need to put in annoying attempts to “spell it out.” (Just my opinion.)

        Fawcett, K.M.; Falls, Candlewood. Wilde Treasures: A Candlewood Falls Novel (Small Town Wilde Romance Book 4) (p. 7). Kindle Edition.

  14. I made a run through some of the Vorkosigan series, starting with “Memory” through “A Civil Campaign.” That last is such a pleasure, with all the couples and the family, and lots of growth and companionship and friendship.

    Also re-reading “A Gentleman in Moscow.” Not much for new reads these days, but I’m sure I’ll find other authors. I keep looking for writer who have a certain tang, hard to define, but I know it when I find it.

  15. Spent a delightful week dipping into and finishing Christopher Fowler’s The Book of Forgotten Authors. If you like books about books, or writers from the 20th c who led bon vivant and colorful lives (sadly mostly ending in squalor) … short columns and he writes about the authors and their works with wit and affection and frankness.

    Certainly added to my To Be found and TBR pile. Now I want to check him out as a fiction writer – anyone read him?

    Also: Tal Bauer’s M/M You & Me about 2 fo0tball parent booster volunteers finding each other…landed much better than Gravity. Not so much about football, but about parenting and treating each other with kindness. Sweet.

    Read a duo in the YA genre, nice fast reads for summer: The Inheritance Games/Barnes and The Cruel Prince/Black. As touted, THG was a bit like The Westing Game and TCP was a good coming of age as a human in sidhe culture story. Both starts of trilogies. Not in a hurry to finish them but will continue.

    And lastly, I have been working my way through Kieron Gillen’s graphic novels Once and Future, about myths, primarily Arthurian, coming back alive in present day UK. Best part is the wisecracking, tough, ex and current monster hunter grandmother guiding her adult grandson in his role in the story.

    Looking forward to the last library/church rummage big fall sales in two weeks…laying in finds and books for the winter….I come away from these things with 60 books having spent $30…hard to resist..sigh..does anyone else relate?

    1. I used to be a borderline book hoarder and me + a library sale was #BadNews. 🙂

      Thanks for the note on Tal Bauer’s ‘You and Me.’ It’s been on my wishlist and ‘treating each other with kindness’ is EXACTLY what I’m after.

    2. The third book in the Barnes Inheritance Game trilogy is coming out in a few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens.

  16. Jenny, I agree completely with you re Husband Material. The stakes are much higher in Boyfriend Material. Also some of the side characters are too cartoonish for me to suspend my disbelief.
    Is Alexis Hall writing too fast and not revising enough? I can’t believe how many books he has published over the last few months or is that normal for him?

    My favourite read this week has been a reread of Bujold’s Sharing knife tetralogy and short story sequel Knife Children.
    I really love the world building and the unusual fantasy premise: no pseudo medieval setting, no gods , no kings.
    I think my favourite part is the river journey but I like it all really.

    I am now reading Patty Briggs Soul taken. It’s pretty dark so far and the price made me wince too but I have been invested in these characters for so long that I need to know what happens next.

    I have enjoyed learning a bit more about Sherwood Post and I sincerely hope there is going to be some more stuff about him because that’s been the more interesting plot point so far in this book and I am halfway through already.

    1. I generally don’t speculate about what authors are doing because I’ve been there, and I’d get annoyed when somebody would say, “Well, she’s just dashing these off now.” The hell I was, every damn book was covered in blood, sweat, and Diet Coke. There are a million reasons to write a book that doesn’t quite hit the mark, among them finishing a book and not realizing it doesn’t quite hit the mark. I think there’s also a lot of pressure eon authors to write sequels, I get that all the time. People even want a sequel to Bet Me which has a last chapter that tells what happens to everybody. And since authors are pretty much people pleasers, it’s hard not to follow through. I generally don’t write sequels because I have a very short attention span; my brain looks at a book we’ve finished and says, “Yep, that’s done,” it’s over. It’s been a real eye opener writing three together, moving back and forth among the books.

      All of which is to say, I have no idea what happened. Hell, I have no idea what’s happening in my career. Good luck, Alexis Hall!

      1. That’s why I was wondering whether it is normal for him to write so quickly. Frankly I am in awe of both him and you and Bob!

      2. Jenny your book that people ask for a sequel for that really throws me is Fast Women. They want a Suz & Riley book. I am always mystified because Suz & Riley are drifting together at the end of Fast Women so any conflict would seem fake, I think.
        LOL that said – if you wrote it I would, of course, read it and love it!

      3. I thought Husband Material had a lot of emotionally honest moments that were well worth reading. What I had a little trouble buying was the ending; it just seemed a little rushed and clunky. I don’t want to spoil the ending for others so I won’t go into detail about it. Looking forward to the next Hall book out this fall which is a sequel of sorts to Rosaline Palmer.

        1. That’s how I read too but I actually quite liked the ending. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say what it made me feel …

          1. I loved the ending; but he’s also planning a sequel – it’s a trilogy. Not that I knew that when I read Husband Material, and the ending did leave me wanting more – but goid endings do that, and usually I make up ‘more’ for myself.

          2. It’s not that I had a problem with the outcome as a general proposition. I’m fine with it. I just felt like it was abruptly arrived at here and didn’t necessarily fit the story and characters to date. If that makes sense?

        2. I’m in agreement with everyone, and also, I just didn’t care? It was funny and warm and honest and ott, and I won’t rave about it, but I certainly enjoyed it. There’s a lot to be said for ‘it made me happy ‘ these days.

          1. About book 3 of London Calling: i’ve read somewhere (probably Alexis’ newsletter) that it will focus on another couple of Luc and Ollie’s group of friends. Can’t remember which one though.

    2. I, conversely, enjoyed Husband Material more than Boyfriend Material. It definitely has a ‘throw things at the wall and see what sticks’ kind of energy and is more focused on Luc. Although I didn’t get a real sense of Oliver from either book. I think that is part of his character, that he is so hard to read. But I guess that scattered energy fed into the theme of the book for me and how I thought Luc was feeling in his head, a little frantic, a little at a loss as to how to keep his relationship in such a good place, and pressured by all the people around him getting married and leveling up, so to speak.

      The first book as a fairly typical plot, but not a lot of people try to pick up the baton after emotional stability has been more or less reached, so there is that challenge. But again, I read that as the point of the story. Our hero overcomes a lot of damage and gets everything that he wants out of life and then… what? What is he supposed to do after the HEA? It’s maybe a more subtle story where on the surface of it, seems like everything should be great but both our heroes are struggling and don’t know why…And the pressure builds and builds. Anyway, that was how I read it.

      1. I read Husband Material as “what happens after the happily ever after”, as in, at some point a couple experiences a stress, a shift, something changes the equilibrium and they have to decide where to go from there, grow closer or the stress splits them. For instance, the death of a child is the kind of event that brings a couple closer together or they divorce. (Nothing so terrible happens in Husband Material!) Luc and Oliver left off in love and committed but they both had a lot of issues to work through at the end of the first book and having that come up with friends getting married was pretty logical. Anyway, yes, totally different plot from Boyfriend Material, but I thought it navigated some pretty deep waters in a sensitive way and without being traumatic to read.

      2. I agree, Lupe. To me there was a clear connection from the finding-himself arc of Boyfriend Material to the finding-themselves arc of Husband Material. First they had to recognize what they wanted and allow themselves to have it. When you have coping mechanisms that involve denial, negative self-talk, and conforming behavior (Luc’s every bit as much a conformist as Oliver; it’s just that the community he conforms to is considered transgressive by the community Oliver conforms to) you tend to not know how to be honest with yourself. Both of them needed a boatload of therapy, so I was glad that Oliver at least goes to get some.

        In Husband Material, what I saw was the conformity struggle again. Alexis Hall has written on his blog about personal experiences with peer pressure. In HM it’s most blatant with Bridget, whose Fairy Tale Wedding HEA script nearly wrecks Luc & Oliver. But it’s easy for me to remember the years when everyone around me was getting married; one does tend to think ‘shouldn’t I want that? should we do that?’ and self-doubt readily becomes relationship doubt.

        When AH teased/announced ‘Father Material’ as the third and final book about Luc & Oliver, I first thought he might go toward these two messes + child. But I would be pleased and impressed if instead he dealt, once and for all, with the toxic trash fire that is Luc’s dad and by so doing finally resolve a serious case of daddy issues (for both men).

        1. Yes! I thought there would be more of his father in this one, so that is definitely pending.

      3. I thought they were two very different books. Boyfriend Material was about the romance and Husband Material was about the relationship. Not an apples to apples comparison.

        1. What a lovely, concise way of putting it. That’s what I would say if I could have figured out how to say it.

    3. I understood from his audio blog post, answering readers’ questions, that he was caught out by publishers suddenly wanting most of his proposals instead of rejecting them, so that he’s now scrabbling to write everything he’s contracted for. (He wasn’t complaining, just explaining that he’s ended up in a marathon, slightly by mistake.)

      1. Thanks Jane. That makes sense! It’s probably due to the enormous success of Boyfriend material I suppose.

  17. Anne Gracie’s latest The Rake’s Daughter was an OK regency. I expected more. Usually, I love Anne Gracie’s novels. She is one of my ‘auto-buy’ authors. I own most of her books and occasionally re-read many of them. But this book disappointed.
    Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree was a DNF. I never thought it could happen with any of this author’s novels. I’ve read many of them over the years. I’m not a super fan, but I’ve always enjoyed them. Until this one. I abandoned this book on p. 86. By that point, the author introduced the protagonist and two secondary characters. All three were unpleasant, to say the least. Or more precisely, the two secondary characters seemed repulsive, ready to perpetrate any crime for an inheritance. The protagonist, on the other hand, appeared stupid and unprincipled. None of them displayed any morals. No charm nor any other redeeming qualities. Just plain selfishness and blind, crude greed. I couldn’t invest in any of them to continue with their adventures. Maybe, later in the novel some mitigating circumstances would arise for the protagonist, but so far, I disliked all three immensely and didn’t want to be anywhere near them. Hence DNF.
    Mary Stewart’s My Brother Michael, on the other hand, was a wonderful book. Published over 60 years ago, it still reads fresh. Only the mentioning of the WWII and its connection to the events in the novel pinpointed the book’s time period. It could’ve been a historical novel written a year ago. The writing wasn’t dated at all, except one irritating fact. Everyone in the book smoked. Cigarettes are mentioned multiple times in every chapter, and it drove me crazy. (I don’t smoke myself.)

    1. I’ve been re-reading a lot of Mary Stewart over the last couple of years. Great stories. I think my favorite is Airs Above the Ground.

        1. My Brother Michael is definitely my favorite.

          Yes, everyone smoked. In the movies, too. My father smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day.

          When I first heard that restaurants might ban smoking, it was as if Peace and Goodness were about to be legislated for all. I couldn’t believe it. Does anyone remember the smoking sections on airplanes? The whole plane reeked.

          The disappearance of cigarette smoking in public has been one of the joys of my adult life.

          1. I remember the pleasure of spending a couple of months travelling round California and the Southwest in 1991, and the disappointment of being back in Britain, where hardly anyone seemed to have heard of no smoking areas in restaurants. We have caught up now, thank goodness.

          2. Smoking was banned here in Bavaria (different regulations elsewhwre in Germany) Jan 1st 2008 which I remember so well because I was pregnant at that time and got smoked like a salmon only a couple of days before when we had to share a table. Horrible horrible feeling.

            Smokers tried to fight the ban soon enough but by people’s vote it stayed: the smokers couldn’t be bothered to turn up at the election booth while we non-smokers sure did. A smoking mum complained about it at the playground to no avail.
            Plus: all those cigarette stumps are small but highly poisonous bombs for nature as well as sny living creature. And smokers just throw them anywhere. Grrr.

          3. Was a waitress and it was hideous, one evening shift and your hair smelled of cigarette smoke. Did happy dance when it was banned.

    2. Olga, I just reread Nine Coaches Waiting. Well, I think it was a reread – I’m sure I read all of Mary Stewart’s books as a teenager. But I couldn’t remember it at all. It holds up so well – a wonderful book!

    3. My Brother Michael is my all time favorite Mary Stewart and favorite romance novel ever. I love it so much I have it in all formats and can almost never resist buying old copies if I see them in used bookstores. And Simon Lester is the hero that I measure all other heroes by.

  18. I also downloaded Ruby Fever and Soul Taken on Tuesday, and picked Ruby Fever to start with, also fearing the probable darkness of Soul Taken. And Ruby Fever did not disappoint. I think I liked the Nevada books better than the Catalina books, but Ruby Fever was a satisfying conclusion to her story arc.

    1. I think that Nevada is just more likable than Catalina. Rogan too. They are fully fledged adults pretty much in control of their lives. Calalina and Alessandro are more coming of age, with a side helping of anxiety and definitely not in control of some powerful influences around them. Definitely a different rhythm to their story. But I still like them.

      I am hopeful for more about Arabella. That youngest child energy and Uber confidence would be fun to see in action.

  19. It is the Week of Excellent Books! Jim Hines’ Terminal Peace, Ilona Andrews’ Ruby Fever and Patricia Briggs Soul Taken all came out on Tuesday wheeeee. I read Terminal Peace first because Mops and crew are the best and there’s a MacGuffin and the best plot twists I never saw coming (except one which I totally did predict at the beginning of the book). Now onto Ruby Fever. I’m not tearing through them too fast since it’s also fall planting time and I have to stop and unbox new plants, give them a drink, dig them a hole, etc.

  20. I ordered Murder with Peacocks and Boyfriend Material used, and while I waited for them to arrive by snail mail, I re-read some of my favorite Mrs. Pollifax books by Dorothy Gilman. The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax is the first book, and just full of twists and turns and danger. Then Mrs. Pollifax on Safari is the one where she meets her husband-to-be and reunites with someone from book one. It’s a bit dated, being from apartheid era, but still excellent. Mrs. Pollifax on the China Station has fascinating descriptions of places in China, suspense, and characters who turn out to have hidden facets. This author is one I read over and over again, just like Jenny. But I had recently re-read most of the Crusie books.

  21. I just finished reading Walking to the end of the World by Beth Jusino. It’s a memoir of her and her husband’s trip through France and Spain along the Camino de Santiago. Since I will be hiking a portion of that trail later this year, I was particularly interested in reading this.

  22. “chase all over England to get Bridget a nice garden to get married in” I am too literal, if you want a nice garden to hold a reception in, in the UK, in the right area you could probably throw a rock and hit one. To get married in, you need a licensed venue with an outdoors area

  23. Patricia Briggs is an autobuy for me. I enjoyed Soul Taken thoroughly. One of the things that I like in the Patty’s work is how the plot of each books follows the consequences of previous books (not necessarily the immediate previous book either) if that makes any sense. I didn’t think it was as dark as it could have been. And the first chapter was a lot of fun.

  24. I did several re-reads this week, including three of my own books and the first Lords of Bucknall Club book (it came up in a discussion on KJ Charles’ FB group; I remembered not liking it much but thought my state of mind at the time of reading might have prejudiced me; so I read it again and confirmed I don’t like it).

    Two marginal F/M historicals. The jackass chauvinist as romantic hero does not work for me (‘Destiny’s Embrace’ by Beverly Jenkins). The passive conformist likewise (‘The Jack of All Trades’ by M.A. Nichols).

    One loads-of-triggers M/M historical – ‘Tramps and Vagabonds’ by Aster Glenn Gray. I really appreciate the research that goes into her books but must confess the unhappiness level of this one was a bit much for me. Writing a love story set on the road during the Great Depression is ambitious, to say the least. The book did have a happy and hopeful ending.

    One solid procedural featuring a gay FBI agent, ‘The Next One Will Kill You,’ by Neil S. Plakcy. I like the main character a lot but will have to look at sequel descriptions to see if he ever gets to a happy relationship place, because I need that for characters I plan to stay with.

    Read Brenda Margriet’s ‘Secrets Under the Covers’ and liked it. I’m the kind of person who crawls into a cave and growls at people when I’m scared / unwell, so I could relate to the female MC. I thought both MCs did a decent job adapting to and negotiating rapid change. The male MC chose stability / personal happiness over the uncertainty / upheaval of a new job; being 56 myself, I approved of that for this 55-yr-old character. 🙂

    1. I like the Lords of Bucknall books but not surprised they’re not to your taste. And Lisa Henry in general can be quite brutal. The Lord of Bucknall series is on the gentler end of her spectrum.

      1. The elevator pitch is great: Late Georgian / Regency England where same-sex marriage is legal. Love that idea. The fact that the three main characters are a) miserable b) mean to each other for 80% of the book, not so great.

        1. Yes I didn’t love that part either. The series is uneven – the last three were great and each very different from the others.

          1. Also, since you’re looking for sweetness and since I am terminally unable to tempt Lupe to read this book, you might try Cat Sebastian’s Peter Cabot Gets Lost. Adorbs. And then finally I can have someone to dish with about it.

    2. I also read Secrets under the Covers. I found parts of it anxiety producing (like waiting for a cancer diagnosis) but also appreciated a romance with older MCs and the friends-to-lovers story. I like the way they understood and respected each other based on many years of friendship.

  25. I got Gunkle ebook finally from the library, I Loved It!! In fact I reread it again before I returned it, waiting list, I also read Nora’s Nightwork and enjoyed that one as well, Mrs Pollifax on the China Station was also good, I like to mix old favourites (if the library has them)
    Some months ago I read the Forgotten Authors book, I am pretty sure he also wrote the one about Forgotten Mystery authors, if that’s a help.
    Now back to a reread of Dorothy Dunnett’s Dolly and the Doctor Bird, one of my favourites.

  26. Reading Witchcraft by Jayne Ann Krentz. She wrote it in 1985 & it shows – but – JAK can never go to far wrong so I am enjoying it.
    Read Murder With Peacocks by Donna Andrews and loved it. Read the next 2 in the series. By the end of #3 meh.
    Reread Until Lily by Aurora Rose Reynolds. So many good things.
    Sometimes if I am a little blue I can cheer myself up by reading the last chapter & the epilogue (I know, dirty word) of Susan Elizabeth Phillips books. This week I did it with This Heart Of Mine & it worked it’s usual magic.

  27. Have been reading Charles de Lint urban fantasy books. Enjoying the ones centered on Tamson House in Ottawa. Moonheart and Spiritwalk. Tamson House is akin to a friendly hippie commune. The magic system is based on a combination of druidism and wicca and First Nations traditions. The inhabitants of the house embrace their powers more or less reluctantly and do battle against the forces of evil, both spiritual and secular.

    1. I loved Charles de Lint back in the day. My favourite was the one with the Fantasy author and her (lovely) fan. Can’t remember the title of the book. I’ll have to see if it is available as a ebook these days.

  28. Read Death in Daylesford by Kerry Greenwood felt it was missing the spark, but that may be because I like reading the food and clothes descriptions and they were little lacking in this book.

  29. I have been rereading the Scholomance books by Naomi Novak to prepare for the third one.I can hardly wait.

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