This is a Good Book Thursday, September 15 2022

I’m reading Lavender’s Blue. And Rest in Pink. Bob has One in Vermillion. We’re both sick, not of the books, but actually ill. The idea is to finish all three by the end of the month and then take October off because we’ve read these books so many times that the words just blur together now. Bob has decided our next book is going to be called Zombie Pirates on an Iceberg. I’m so tired I’m considering it. And then there was the magic door he came up with:

Enough about my problem (Hi, Bob). What did you read this week?

106 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, September 15 2022

  1. Four highly anticipated books from favorite series came available and fortunately none of them disappointed:

    The Secret of Bow Lane by Jennifer Ashley is the latest in the continuing saga of Kat Holloway, a mystery-solving cook in Victorian London. This time the mystery involves her dead husband, who had “married” her bigamously. His widow shows up to ask Kat for help.

    Soul Taken, by Patricia Briggs, is the latest Mercy Thompson book. There’s a cryptic mystery for Mercy and Adam to solve, and it’s nice to see them working together along with many of their local allies.

    Storm Echo, the latest Psy/Changeling/Trinity book by Nalini Singh. Despite echoes of plots from previous books in this series, I liked the two MCs and I’m a sucker for scenes with cubs.

    Ruby Fever, by Ilona Andrews, is the conclusion of Catalina Baylor’s 3-book arc and the 6th book in the Hidden Legacy series overall. I’m left hoping that youngest sister Arabella will get her own book(s), despite the high body count of this series.

    I also tried Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler, a F/F YA about two high school girls, one a cheerleader and the other the newly-transferred-in football quarterback. The previous quarterback — highly popular — died and most at the school are not thrilled that his replacement is A) a girl, B) obviously gay, and C) a better player than the guy who died. The cheerleader half of the couple is reluctant to outwardly support the quarterback, because she thinks cheerleading is her ticket to college and apparently popularity is the key to becoming head cheerleader. I got through about 65% and then just found it too stressful. It was well written though, so maybe I’ll get it from the library again some day.

    For those of you into historical fiction, I’d like to recommend Katherine Parr by Alison Weir, about the 6th wife of Henry VIII. Katherine was very likable, though some of her choices after Henry’s death weren’t the best. The tension between different religious factions due to Henry’s split from Catholicism was well done. And though I’m no expert, the history seemed to be accurate.

    I also did a complete re-read of Nathan Lowell’s 9-book Ishmael Horatio Wang series, which starts with Quarter Share. Full of competency porn, this series follows Ishmael from age 18 when he joins a ship in a merchant fleet due to lack of other options and finds his calling. He grows and changes throughout, but always makes the right choices in the end. Oh, did I mention it’s set in space in the far distant future?

    Finally, I listened to an audiobook of Suzanne Brockmann’s SEAL Camp. I liked the narrators a lot and it was a pretty good story. Lawyer Ashley signs up for SEAL Camp (kind of like a baseball fantasy camp) to learn to be more assertive. Instructor Jim is facing the end of his SEAL career due to injury. They learn a lot from each other and of course fall in love.

    1. I’m in awe of how much you read. I used to be a fast reader, but no longer, since I generally save reading as my “in bed ready to sleep” routine for winding down the day.

      1. Same here. I don’t get through nearly as many books as I used to and sometimes I am too tired to focus before bed.

  2. I finished up Balogh’s “The Arrangement” from the Survivor’s Club series. It was interesting, but maybe a little on the light side since there was no real conflict, or rather that conflict was resolved by the titular Arrangement, which then loomed over both of them for the rest of the book, until they decided that neither of them wanted it. I still enjoyed it.

    1. I’ve been reading “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison Allen, which is a book that just draws you in like a fish. Allen has been mentioned a lot here, including the fact that lots of people were waiting for her eagerly-anticipated new book, but my inner resistance to books set in the American South just kicked in like most prejudices do, and reading the descriptions of her books and their setting made me say ‘no’ without cause.

      I’m loving the three main female characters, liking the views of their inner lives and thoughts, which is a perspective that I always love in books, and loving the garden setting and theme. And there are more books by Allen to look forward to reading!

      1. She really is good. I am not a huge fan of the South in general either, but she writes it as a real place, rather than a caricature of country and nostalgia. I think that helps.

        1. I am so resisting reading anything by this author because I need a new author like a hole in the head. But I may succumb to the relentless marketing from all of you who seem to enjoy her so much. I’d like to hold out for at least another week, in order to respect myself.

          1. She has 7 (?) books and puts new ones out very infrequently. It’s not such a commitment. Wheedle wheedle.

          2. That person who called you an Evil Liberal Cupcake was being too kind.

            FINE. Which one of her stupid books should I start with??

          3. Obviously she didn’t know me well. I mean cupcake? No. Way to bite sized and manageable. I am more of a pumpkin brownie cheesecake that goes straight to your thighs. Mwahahaha.

            My top three are Sugar Queen, Garden Spells and Lost Lake. Peach Keeper gets pretty dark. The Girl who chased the moon does too. And First Frost is a continuation of Garden Spells. must be read in order.

          4. I’m going with The Peach Keeper and a little darkness. The others sounded like they might be too syrupy for me. Will try to defer judgement until I’ve at least tried the first one.

          5. Maybe Lost Lake? Less romance-y, more green fried tomatoes/ladies supporting each other but with out some of the trigger stuff of Peach Keeper. I don’t know how it’s billed anymore, but there is some serious past trauma in that one. Of course you have a stronger constitution for that than I do. You have been warned.

      2. LUPE – SAA has put books out infrequently recently because she was battling a major health issue. She has a new book out – Other Birds. It’s a different tone than Garden Spells but still has her wonderful storytelling ability and ultimately took me to a good place.

        1. Thanks Judy, I am in the middle of Other Birds now. Her publishing schedule wasn’t a complaint. Good things take time. I was just teasing Tammy, because some of the authors she recommended have serious backlogs 🙂

  3. I read book 4 in The Hitman’s guide series by Alice Winters. It was pretty good with solid characters. I finished book 1 in Vampire related crimes. It was ok… maybe because the big bad is in the background so far.
    Im reading Dangerous by Amanda Quick and it’s pretty great. The female lead investigates ghosts and the male lead investigates murders while planning revenge plots to amuse himself.
    I reread Cabin fever from the Wimpy kid series & Tall, dark & hungry by Lynsay Sands. Both are fun, quirky comfort reads.

  4. I read David Sedaris’ Happy Go Lucky. This time he applies his inimitable brand of humour which is equal parts disturbing (explores his father’s inappropriate behaviour while growing up) to equal parts snort-stuff-out-your-nose, a guilty experience I find, to a series of essays about death, family, the pandemic and wealth – none quite that directly. More time with his also famous sister Amy who appears to share the same sense of humour. Every appearance she makes is a favourite.

    I also read Con Riley’s Charles – and I’d like to read the sequel Heppel Ever After – do I have to read the three books in between with other characters to really enjoy the sequel. Those of you who know, please advise.

    I read another Kay Simone, Steam, short stories, not her best. Which reminds me, Chacha1, since you’re exploring M/M/M, you could try her book Hard Stop – it’s hard core but not BDSM and it was a smutty delight.

    Tried a VC Lockey book, Kaleidescope Sunsets, because …hockey….but really not great. She’s much better with RJ Scott, her writing partner.

    1. I do not think you’d need to read the other ‘learning to love’ books, you could move directly to Heppel Ever After. Crossover characters definitely appear, but not in a way that confuses the primary plot. 🙂

      1. I can confirm that you don’t have to read the other books in this series to enjoy the story. The crossovers are nice – Con Riley obviously likes to interconnect the stories set in Cornwall so if you’ve read some of her older stories you meet other protagonists again, a kind of understated reader’s happiness.

        But if you are mainly interested in Charles’ story, plough along and enjoy 🙂

  5. I know this is a non-sequitur, but I would like to commend the London and Boston Marathon organizers for allowing runners who identify as Nonbinary to compete next year. The news was on my NPR feed this morning. This is a category I have learned about by being in a Pagan Unitarian Universalist Community the last three years. I never knew there was so much diversity in sexual identity! I knew about Gay, Lesbian, Trans, and Bi-sexual beings, but there’s a full spectrum out there that is ever-expanding as people learn about themselves and find their cohorts. It takes great courage to own the expression of these identities. Great courage. I admire that courage, and stand in awe of it.

    I hope the two of you recover, and find time to recoup your energies, after this truly miraculous marathon of writing.

    I got the Bivalent vaccine yesterday and woke up with a headache and other aches. So far, no lemon-sized lumps have shown up under that arm. I’m taking it easy today. Maybe this will pass quickly.

    1. Just wanted to say ‘Yay Unitarian Universalists!’ — I worked for several years for our local UU affordable housing loan fund, and found them to be really exceptional people. My only problem with them was that they were so invested in so many worthy projects that housing sometimes fell by the wayside, but I’m sure each other project felt the same way. But if they all focused on the same target project and used the resulting Big Lever, I’m sure they could move mountains to assist it.

      1. Some of my friends are UU. Go UU! (It gets kind of hectic celebrating ALL the holidays that fall in December, but it means they don’t mind my missing their Christmas celebration because I always work.)

  6. All of my holds are coming in at once and it is a little overwhelming after the great book drop Tuesday back in August when everyone and their brother had a book come out. I haven’t had so much to read at once with a deadline in forever.

    I mostly started a bunch of things with the expectation of finishing them. I just haven’t done it yet. My only finish was a re-listen of Battle Royal by Lucy Parker. It held up, with the humor elements being reasonable and the romance is solid. But what I come back for is the craft and creative cakes and drinks. People fictionally practicing a craft is catnip for me.

    1. one of the things I particularly enjoyed about Battle Royal is that, while the MCs quickly realized that on a personal level they were good for each other, they never felt obligated to like the other’s creative style but continued snarking about it forever. 🙂

      1. Yes! I struggle with modern M/F romcoms anymore, but Lucy Parker usually works for me. And this one is my favorite because she avoids the Big Misunderstanding that feature in her other books. I usually just power through those because I like her characters so much. I especially liked the one with the grumpy producer and the young actress with the Marilynn Monroe voice. He is so darned embarrassed for being such a cliché, but he really likes her so much… She writes such decent people.

          1. Take the kisses. Fair warning, I can be quite the potty mouth. I usually curb it around here, but cussing comes next.

  7. It’s early for me, but I couldn’t sleep any longer. I hope the grandkinder don’t feel a need to ask for carbonated beverages, the number one reason for knocking on the garage door. Before ten AM, they are more likely to get grumps than gramps. I’ve got my curmudge on.

    I finished reading the Enola Holmes Collection and enjoyed the first six books. I can’t decide if I want any more books in the series. It ended perfectly for what it was. The collection was more six episodes of one book. Now I have to log into the dotter’s Netflix account and watch the movies.

    I watched Mulan, because I could. The live-action version.

    I re-read/listened to Villains, Inc, Omega Night, and Young Sentinels of the “Wearing the Cape” series. I also re-listened to (in progress) Princess Holy Aura by Ryk Spoor. Chapter 50 is playing in the background.

    While shopping I picked up a budget DVD of the Men in Black series from the budget bin. That’s for later.

      1. Much has been written about the differences between the live action movie and the animated movie. The video you linked was made by a very creative You Tuber and does not appear in the movie. I think the only music repeated from the cartoon was in the closing credits, but I might be mistaken.

        I liked the original cartoon (but not its sequel). I like the live action more, knowing that they share only character names.

    1. It isn’t obvious, but I started my post at 06:30 (up early) and didn’t hit Post Comment until 10:01. There was only JulieR’s comment before me when I started typing. Then I went back to bed until 13:30. My mood is much improved – or was until I officially weighed in.

  8. I read a fun mystery (maybe a cozy?) called Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry. It’s the first in a new series and I can’t wait for the second one to come out.

    Now I’m reading Katherine Center’s new book, The Bodyguard. I love her writing, but she usually does very serious WF. This one is a romcom and it is wonderful. (The bodyguard is the woman protagonist, BTW.) Highly recommend.

    Hope you and Bob feel better soon. Maybe try going through that door?

    1. I read and enjoyed the Berry book too. She has not one but two books in that series coming out in the next year. I also like her other series as well where the protag debunks paranormal scams.

    2. I’m glad you enjoyed it. Your post inspired me to reread Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child. It was so delightful that it briefly made me forget the cold/allergies that have plagued me all day.
      I will never give up picture books.

  9. I read Legends and Lattes, mentioned here a while ago I think. It was fun watching the coffee shop come together. I’ve been listening to Alias Emma, a spy novel set in London where the main character is a young woman spy who has to convince someone to go into protective custody since the Russian’s want to kill him. Lots of exciting chase scenes.

      1. From Bob. I understand he is very fond of apostrophes – and burning rivers in Ohio and zombies. Has he ever actually written a book about zombies?

          1. They keep this up and I’m going to end up writing Flash fiction involving Zombies … They just keep drawing us in with cool titles for things they’re not/maybe/could in a parallel universe write, so tantalising

    1. Regarding Bob Mayer & zombies – I don’t think he has books about them BUT HE DOES HAVE A SERIES ABOUT ALIENS.

      Area 51 Series (kindle unlimited)
      Over 2 million copies sold. Screenplay written by creator of Alien. It resumes now with AREA 51: Redemption, which starts from the end of The Truth and incorporates Nosferatu and Legend, pulling it all together and moving forward.

      First book in series is simply titled “Area 51”

  10. I actually managed to squeeze in a listen to a fiction book between my writing days. It’s a light read called Nora Goes off Script about a writer of TV romances who sells a script to be made into a feature film. It’s pure aspirational fiction and was fun.

  11. Not much to report. I am coming to the end of my cheap KU membership so I have been reading many forgettable things this week including one book which I just couldn’t finish. I really can’t read about Hollywood actors anymore. In fact, I struggle with contemporary romance a lot these days and I know I am not the only one here.

    1. No, you’re not the only one. For me, reading about people living either in an imagined historical place and period, or on another imagined planet, or a world with imagined magical or urban fantasy components is like reading about people inside the mind of the author. And also like putting myself into a theoretical place, but with rules.

      Contemporary fiction is a little too full of contemporary people I’d probably avoid if I met them in contemporary real life, or who would probably avoid me. If I like their setting, and don’t mind their foibles, I can get into a book, but too often I can’t help judging them by my own personal People Meter — as people I’d like, maybe, but way more often ones I probably wouldn’t, and that gets in the way of my enjoyment.

    2. I second what Jinx said,

      but I think that there are a lot of odd tropes that have somehow become cannon in contemporary romance. The ones that bother me the most are the inordinately slapstick/embarrassing thing that happens to the female main character, the “my parents had a bad marriage, so I will never marry”, and the classic Big Misunderstanding.

      I guess in other genres you don’t need these to create drama and conflict? But I don’t like them.

  12. Finished two new books last week. Jessie Mihalik’s recent release, Eclipse the Moon, was #2 in the author’s latest sci-fi series. Unlike all her other books I’ve read (and I’ve read almost everything she has written so far), I didn’t like this one. I didn’t like the protagonist, and my dislike for the entire novel stemmed from that. I expected a futuristic adventure with a romantic flavor, but what I’ve got was too much love-sick angst for a 30-year-old former soldier, currently computer hacker extraordinaire. I own most of Mihalik’s books, but I’m not going to buy this one. I do plan to read the next book in the series, when it comes out next summer.
    Katherine Center’s The Bodyguard, while not a formula romance, was a delightful romantic comedy. A true romance usually has two POV characters, as they struggle to find love together. This one was told exclusively from the female protagonist’s POV, but all the same, love triumphed in the end. I was charmed.
    Now, I’m in the middle of Katherine Addison’s The Grief of Stones. Judging from what was said here, I hoped I would enjoy it, but so far, not much. Although I have to point out that I usually DNF books I really dislike, and I have no wish to DNF this one. It will probably be OK. Fingers crossed.
    A strange fact about this novel. Most reviewers on GoodReads who like this book didn’t enjoy Addison’s Sherlock Holmes pastiche, The Angel of the Crows. On the other hand, I liked that one. So maybe it is logical I wouldn’t be so hot for The Grief of Stones.

    1. Well, I loved Grief of Stones and also Angel of the Crows, so this equation may not be valid.

  13. Well, this certainly holds true for me. I didn’t care for The Angel of the Crows and liked The Grief of Stones. It does start slow, but picks up.

    Did you read Witness for the Dead? It comes first and sets up a lot of the world. I think that for best reading experience they should be read in order. Relationships are built on from the first book into the next.

    1. Yes, I read Witness for the Dead. It was OK but I wasn’t in love with the story or the protagonist. I think my problem with both of these books is that I don’t like Thara Celehar. He is too devoted to duty. There is no give in the guy, no gray areas, only Yes and No. Guilty or Not Guilty.

  14. I read the new Walt Longmire book by Craig Johnson, Hell and Back. If you enjoyed the more mystical parts of the earlier books then you’ll like this one.

    I also read The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. Witches in England have to remain separate so they don’t get noticed, and burned at the stake (so to speak), by the mundanes. When someone contacts a young witch about tutoring three young sisters in controlling their magic things become awkward. It’s very good. My wife stumbled across it and she loved it too.

  15. I half read/half listened to The Thursday Murder Club as recommended by several readers here. And Steven Spielberg is making a movie of it.

    Loved it.

    The audio version is excellently narrated by Lesley Manville and includes a brilliant, 30-ish minute interview/chat between the author and Marian Keyes. Full of spoilers which is ok since it comes after the book completes. They discuss craft and character and plot and future Murder Club books. Just delicious.

    Now I am finishing Tell Me Lies which I haven’t read in years. As we all know, Jenny’s characterization of children is spot on and utterly engaging. Thank you again.

  16. My friend mentioned hard boiled PI’s so I started listening to Philip Marlowe Books, the Toby Stephens version. I’m enjoying them, I think I like Toby Stephens more in these then his acting

  17. Stephen King’s new Fairy Tale came out and I’d had it pre-ordered and have been reading it since. It is SO good. If you liked his previous fairy tale work in Eye of the Dragon or similar alternate world Lisey’s Story, this is in that vein and has a Very Good Dog, the best dog.

  18. Haven’t managed to read much this week as on the evening before school started again we’ve been to the Ed Sheeran concert. It was fantastic but for the whole week I couldn’t shake off being too tired. I’m just not used to getting up with the kids so horribly early again.
    Plus my stash of non-fiction books on all aspects around medieval and Roman hospitals has grown to a mountain and I`m slowly making my way into it (I’m not keen on mountains irl too).
    Yet I was hooked by Tallowwood by N.R. Walker about a cop working on cold cases (especially a series of murders made to look like suicides). It is a gripping tale, so gripping in fact that I skipped ahead and read the end early on because the tension grew too much for me. However, some minor details prevented me from loving the book. Maybe it’s that I didn’t by the grumpy exterior of the cop – his sunny side was lingering just below the surface. I loved that the other protag was an Aboriginal police officer and this was a bit of a topic but very well handled. Only I don’t like the bossy types too much (I might be too bossy myself…) in my love stories. Well, with M/M at least there’s not the gender inequality thingy. I liked that if anyone had to be bossy as by the author’s wish it should be the “underdog”.

  19. Hope you and Bob are feeling better! I just saw that today is Agatha Christie’s birthday. She was born on 9/15/1890.

  20. My reading week started with ‘Incense and Sensibility’ by Sonali Dev, which I really tried to like, but the FMC drove me nuts with her savior complex, and the MMC was one of those self-denying manipulated-by-family men that I just can’t stand. Way too much of this book was about people other than the MCs and I was tired of all of them long before the last page. Though it’s worth noting that I did finish the thing and it’s well-written. /rant

    On to the M/M. ‘Wildfire’ by Garrett Leigh, with nods to her characters from ‘Heartscape’ and ‘Misfits,’ this story involves a former mountain-rescue guy with PTSD and a chef with Tourette’s. Next, ‘His Leading Man’ by Ashlyn Kane, much lighter in tone; fast-paced Hollywood on-the-set romance. Then ‘If You Want Me Close’ by Skye Kilaen, which deserves a much better cover. It’s an angsty workplace friends-to-lovers romance about a clinically-depressed project manager and his company’s IT guy.

    Rec of the week: ‘His Royal Secret’ and ‘His Royal Favorite’ by Lilah Pace. This duology concerns a closeted gay Prince of Wales and the journalist he meets while outside the UK. Much more serious than the other royal romances I’ve read, dealing in detail with the legal as well as sociopolitical ramifications, right of succession, threat of forced abdication, etc. The prince comes out of his own free will, fully expecting the journalist to run for the hills, but they choose to stay together and work through the many & difficult challenges. A couple small editing fails but I got very involved, stayed up way too late, etc. All the doubt, fear, conflict, anxiety, love, & hope are on the page. (Am now proceeding to re-read ‘Playing the Palace’ and ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ for lighter looks at this scenario.)

    Another rec of the week: I read ‘Heartstopper’ vols 1-4 because I wanted to see the series but wasn’t willing to get Netflix for it, decided to give the money to the actual author. LOVED it. They’re fat books but read fast because graphic. 🙂

  21. I’ve downloaded His Royal Secret. I’m never going to get close to even the middle of my reading ‘pile’. More grumbling.

        1. PS – I didn’t like Incense and Sensibility either and DNF’d it a while ago despite my vow to read All Things Austen.
          PPS – have you ever watched the movie Tango? Argentinian, 1998 – one of my favourite dance movies.

          1. I think I’ve watched ALL the tango movies. 🙂 Now that I’ve liberated all our DVDs from the nonfunctional jukebox prison, we may go on a re-watch binge.

  22. I read “Other Birds” by Sarah Addison Allen. I loved it. It’s different in tone than her others but it still took me somewhere good!

    On the recommendation of many people here and elsewhere – I tried an Eloisa James book: Much Ado About You. It was not a DNF but it fell into another category for me – the Page Skipper. I skipped a lot.

    I enjoyed the characters sort-of. The women were longing for marriage or resigned to the necessity of marriage. The men were all dodging marriage like bullets. Annoying.

    It sort of informed why I like Amanda Quick historicals as opposed to other writers. Her mc women are all dodging marriage as not giving them the freedom to do as they please. It resonates so much stronger with me. Even though they end up married and HEA – they marry men who have learned to appreciate them just as they are and don’t begrudge them freedom.

    I also tried Heartburn by Nora Ephron. I see why it is well liked even though it was a DNF for me. Way. Too. Chaotic. I repeat – for me. You may feel different.

    This week I read my own (as yet unpublished) contemporary gothic novel, Hungry Ghosts. I am preparing to launch it out into the great blue Amazon self-publishing land. It’s actually better than I remembered.

    Next up – reread of Lady Chatterly’s Lover after years. I remember liking it. Want to know if I still do and why. (Don’t tell anyone but I am responding to a challenge from a clever-writing, sexy man in my writers group. We Zoom. He’s an ocean away. But those eyes and that spell-casting voice.)

    1. I tried Eloisa James’s romances a couple of times, but they never worked for me. Then I stumbled upon her memoirs about living in Paris, called Paris in Love, and it was absolutely lovely. An amazing book. I swallowed it. I’d recommend it to anyone.

    2. I enjoyed a few of Eloisa James’s stories early on – fifteen or so years ago – although the fact that she couldn’t use the pluperfect while boasting about being an English lecturer bothered me. But they went downhill rapidly, and the ones I’ve tried since I haven’t managed to read. She was tantalizing – a near miss.

  23. I’m reading MM hockey romance ‘You could make a life’. A bit more than halfway through, and liking this book so much. The two main characters get together fairly early, and the rest of the book seems to be the obstacles that lie in the way of them staying together.

    But it’s made me wonder. MM hockey romance is obviously a big thing. Is MM baseball romance also a thing? MM basketball romance? MM figure skating romance?

    1. This is one of my biggest complaints about publishing. When one title in a genre sells unexpectedly well, that becomes all they will publish. And soon they will all run together.

    2. I’ve seen a couple of figure skating M/M titles that couldn’t hook me. Not like the Ice Hockey ones. Or Football ones. Maybe because Hockey/Football is such a “masculine” and team sport (nice conflict from the get go).
      Far fewer European football titles, then the guys are usually retired which sounds far more realistic to me. “Soccer”/my football is rather non-accepting of queerness even in the male youngsters leagues (ds LOVES football) while the women playing get stuck eith the label lesbuan too easily.
      No basketball nor baseball titles found yet.
      As aunt snack pointed out, once a zitle is really successful, the publishers shower us with same old (no rant).

    3. A lot of those hockey romances seem to be self-published, so I don’t think it’s publisher demand – more self-published authors seeing a hook that seems to work for a lot of readers and deciding to try their hand. Also, at least in the US, hockey players don’t get near the media exposure that sportsball players do, so it may seem like a more credible milieu for M/M. More of a sense of possibility?

      I have dipped into the subgenre where executed by authors I already know & like, but hockey qua hockey is of no interest to me, so … . I’d love more figure-skating romances. 🙂 That competitive circuit is so antithetical to having a functional relationship with *anyone.*

    4. MM baseball and football and figuring skating and even lacrosse romances definitely do exist. But none of them seem to hit the mark the way the hockey ones do. I’m not sure why. I can put it down to being Canadian and being loyal to our national sport but I honestly don’t think that’s it. Is it because it is the fastest paced sport? or has the genre simply spawned other writers as suggested above? The one you’re reading by the way, Taylor Fitzpatrick, is at the top of the heap and she has many imitators – Catherine Cloud for example – but no one comes close to her. I don’t know many writers, hockey or romance or anything really – who are so able to relentlessly write from one character’s viewpoint and only from that viewpoint.

      1. Being Tasmanian, I have absolutely no loyalty to your Canadian national sport – when people talked about hockey, for ages I thought they meant the version that I played (very badly) at school. I had no idea it was on ice. But it really does work, and although I’m the least sporty person imaginable, I even like the hockey sequences.

        1. Right?? Me too. Have spent a lot of time calling my brother to ask questions about hockey – he has no idea what’s happening after my childhood indifference to the sport.

        2. Not being Canadian, for me Hockey also needs an explanation as we understand the grass variety as Hockey and Ice Hockey as the stuff for M/M yummy books 🙂
          I’m also not quite sporty myself but I usually love sport sequences (most yet not all), not just the hockey ones.

  24. The only books I finished this week (DNFd several, am slowly re-reading several more) were the only three my library has by this author (who shall remain nameless), from three separate series. I liked them, mildly, enough to read more if the library acquires more, BUT. After I finished the third one I realized that not only do all the main characters have serious self-esteem issues, but every single secondary character does, too! The nameless walk-ons don’t appear to, but in this universe (these universes) they probably do. This “I am not worthy” trope is worse than hockey!

  25. I read both Tessa Dare’s When a Scot ties the knot, and Kristan Higgins The best man, because of a post about gentle romances.
    At the moment I prefer the Kristan Higgins, where though there is sex it is more off screen. I get bored when the book gets too physical, too much about the sex. “When a Scot” is more explicit, though not bad (the writing is a bit more lively than the Higgins, I think); so though I’ve got a few more of Tessa Dare’s books in my TBR pile I went and got the rest of this Blue Heron series by Kristan Higgins and continued with that instead.
    I prefer more family dynamics instead of more explicit sex, and apparently a livelier writing style does not tip the balance the other way for me, at least for now.

    1. I should add though that I still like plenty of contemporary stuff though but certain tropes don’t do it for me. Oddly enough, I still love a small town setting but it must avoid at all costs the ditzy heroine who makes dumb moves and the big misunderstanding. I can’t do billionnaires (unless they are super nerdy) and athletes (unless they are hockey players, not sure why, never seen a hockey match in my life, or a soccer player, especially a female one, but not many of those in romance novels). I don’t like a second chance romance (unless they parted amicably). I do like baking and bookselling because who doesn’t. A grumpy widower is fine. I would quite like a grumpy widow for a change though. Babies are fine provided they don’t appear magically at the end, especially when there are fertility problems.
      I could go on but basically, I still like contemporaries provided they are funny and intelligent on a Crusie level.

        1. It’s on my list actually but it’s not available on Kindle in the UK, which is weird because it is in the US.

        2. Oh no, Mick definitely doesn’t qualify as a hero. He is The Love Interest, but Nora is the heroine/protagonist/main character, and a fabulously atypical one at that.

  26. I finally got the latest in the Mercy Thompson series by Patty Briggs, and I thought it was just okay. Not sure if it was the book itself — there were a lot of references to past books that felt like fillers, rather than moving the really thin plot forward — or if it was because the new library app that kept reminding me how slowly I was reading it (just a few pages at a time due to some issues with my eyes), and that I only had 5 … 4 …. 3 … 2 days to finish it before it disappeared from my phone. I’m sure there’s a way to turn that off, but I haven’t found it yet, and it made the reading feel like a chore, rather than fun. I mean, seriously, do I need to know it took me 4.7 hours to read it (or whatever the number was) and hurrah for finishing! really made it feel like homework, rather than something I do for relaxation.

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