This is a Good Book Thursday, September 22, 2022

My computer cord went on the fritz, so I had to stop writing and read something on the iPad. Call Me Maybe, by Cara Bastone was a lot of fun, and made me think of a texting romance that is somewhere on my Kindle except I can’t remember the title. I think there were goats? Rabbits? No, goats. Anyway, the whole phone call/texting thing is a great deal of fun, and it also takes out all that annoying he/she/they-were-really-hot stuff that has to be in there when people see each other. (I must have typed “great ass” about a million times across three books this year.).

So what did you read this week? And great asses?

132 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, September 22, 2022

  1. Reading Truth of Valor by Tanya Huff. My first new novel in months. It’s fourth in a series set against military at war. Not something I’d usually read but stories by Tanya Huff are. Maybe it’s me being sick, this one seems yet grimmer. It’s the last before the characters, the ones that survive, move into the peacekeeper series. I really want to follow them into happy not just relieved to have survived. Might need to go back to re-reading fluff, until I feel better. Covid, probably, testing is not encouraged here. The ones we brought with are with himself away. It’s light, I have the symptoms but only just, like fever but only a degree or two. In need of comforting but not medical attention. I miss the comforting.

    On the plus side we have signed rental agreements. Considering the struggle to find and apply for it signing was absurdly easy. With him away and me avoiding contact with others I am grateful that it was two clicks online. Plus reading the contract.

    1. Is that the Tanya Huff sci fi series with the tough as nails female sergeant fighting against the large lizard-like alien series? If so, I loved that series but I didn’t track that there were four of them!

      1. There are Five! Though the Silsviss are only central in one. I’ve been re-reading as it’s been so many years since I read the first few. Someone gave me the second series with Torin – Peacekeeper series, three more books.
        Good stories but not light hearted. The connection and care between the characters keeps luring me on. I’m hoping the Peacekeeper ones are a bit lighter, I’m looking forward to reading them but only when either the story or I am in a happier space. Sick aloooone is more Five Children and It for me.

  2. Jenny – did you mean AND great asses or ANY great asses?

    Olga Godim thanks for the rec of Eloisa James memoir Paris In Love. I did enjoy it much more than her fiction. It’s also a good book to read if you know you will be interrupted a lot. It is written from her tweets when she was there. Put together well and definitely tells the story.

    Sweetwater and the Witch came out Tuesday. Jayne Castle (aka Jayne Anne Krentz) Harmony Novel Book 16. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed it a lot.

    It’s a while until the next new book I am looking forward to: Phoebe and the Traitor (The Organization Book 2) by Bob Mayer comes out 11/8/2022.

    Haven’t decided on next reread material.

    1. I am currently reading A Gift of Ghosts, by Sarah Wynde, thanks to your recommendation, and really enjoying it! I have already ordered the next one 😊. Thanks!

      1. I love all Sarah Wynde’s books and I ordered them in paperback too so I could give them away. And her last book I went back and read all of them so I could catch up with the characters before we all went to Disney world together.

  3. I am reading Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder. It reminds me of the Scholomance series by Naomi Novik, but I’m not quite finished so perhaps I can’t recommend it yet. What if it ends badly? So far I like the world and the protagonist and there are enough mysteries happenings to keep me interested. So we’ll see…

    Has anyone else read it?

    1. I read it and did enjoy it was convoluted, I thought, but good. There is another one M R and the Deadly Rose, also enjoyable.

  4. I had a near miss this week: Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki. It was recommended here and came up on my holds queue so I started it without reading a blurb or anything. It’s a transgender teen who taught herself to play violin and runs away from an abusive household. She finds a teacher and encounters demons and aliens. It sounds bonkers, but it really isn’t. These are just people in this world, doing what they do. And it touches on a lot of deep and serious issues, which it does with grace. I really appreciate the focus on good food, and memory and craft. There is a really lovely message in there.

    But the end just sort of… fizzled out for me. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I wanted to happen, nor what I thought was foreshadowed to happen.

    The real win for me this week has been Extraordinary Attorney Woo. It is sweet and feel-good, but also keeps surprising me.

    1. I can’t find the Extraordinary Attorney Woo on Amazon – where is it located? Wait – is this a library thing??

      1. It’s a K-drama, so subtitles. I think that it is on Netflix? Idk. One of those too, as it is all we have.

          1. You’re going to become an honourary Canadian if you apologize that much. It was me misreading your post, not you.

  5. I stayed up way too late reading A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay. I always enjoy his writing, and apparently I was swept up again. I just had to finish the horse race and it’s aftermath before I put it down for the night. The setting has a feel for Renaissance Italy or the Balkans – a series of city states, with a large Byzantium-ish city off in the distance being beset by armies serving a different god. The novel is wide-ranging, with plenty of characters – some of which are short lived, others of which keep turning up. So far I’m enjoying it.

  6. I read the first two Girls Weekend books by CM Nascosta about three female elves and their relationship hijinks in the multi-species Cambric Creek where she sets all (most of?) her books. Totally enjoyed them although not as much as the first three I read, but still was dismayed to learn there’s a third one not out yet especially since the second one ended on a bit of a cliff hanger. I’m grateful for Lupe getting me onto this author.

    And Chacha1 had me reading His Royal Secret and His Royal Favourite (you’re really committing to read both) about the Prince of Wales’ relationship with a journalist. Not a rom-com like Red, White and Royal Blue or Playing the Palace (but hey, is this a sub genre??) – more a novelized examination of what it would look like for a future king to come out of his rarefied closet. Author Lilah Pace has clearly gone through the thinking of how this event would impact the constitution, the church, the royal family and the media. Thoroughly engrossing.

      1. Hmmmm…not sad/dark but not sweet either. In the middle, serious. I suspect you would like the tinge of competence porn in the second book and the examination of what it would really look like to come out of a royal closet. I don’t know if it would make my highly recommended for Lupe list though.

      2. I liked the ‘His Royal’ duology *better* than RWRB or PTP in part due to my bias against rom-com tropes. Also even after re-reading RWRB and PTP I couldn’t tell you if those princes were actually heirs to the throne or if they were second sons (I think the latter, which takes a lot of the seriousness out of it, but ??); pretty sure one of them at least was a second son. In any case, RWRB was as much about the politics as the relationship, and the friend group had important roles to play for these very young MCs. PTP was mostly comedy but the prince being 1) so impulsive 2) such a poor communicator wasn’t well developed or resolved considering those two characteristics drove most of the internal conflict.

        When something’s set in the real world, I prefer the characters (all of them) to behave in realistic ways and face realistic obstacles that are externalities vs ‘we didn’t talk’ or ‘he ghosted me.’ There would be enormous real consequences to crowning an openly gay king in the British system. The internal conflict in ‘His Royal’ all has to do with neither of the MCs ever having had a serious, open, committed relationship before. There are skills you have to learn. 🙂 They don’t do anything impulsive after their first encounter.

        Definitely a higher angst factor here, and definitely some darker subject matter (mental illness and anti-Semitism as well as homophobia), but as someone who likes to see people work on solving their problems, I found the books very satisfying and believed in the happy ending. That said, I’m very familiar with needing light entertainment and ‘His Royal’ might not qualify. <3

          1. Very good. It’s on my list, but maybe second half of the middle…

            I don’t mind heavier stuff as long as I can manage my expectations. It’s the surprise darkness that gets me down.

          2. I can’t believe you categorize your TBR list to the exactitude of second half of the middle. Actually, I can believe it.

          3. I like to organize things, but my reading list is more like spitballing at a roulette wheel. Plus my holds from the library popping up at random like whack-a-moles.

          4. Joke is on you. My final project as a freshman in art school was to build a functional mini golf hole with moving component. Mine was under the sea and I rigged a fan motor to an umbrella and painted it like an octopus. You had to get the ball through the top an then it spat out at random through tubes at the bottom.

  7. Popping back in with info…
    The first book in Karen Hawkins the Talisman Ring series is on sale 1.99 to buy today: An Affair To Remember.

    I haven’t read it so no opinion one way or the other. Just passing along info.

  8. Me again.
    Bob Mayer’s book Equinox from his Time Patrol series is also on sale today on Amazon. 99cents to buy.
    One of the events that happen on this day in 1862 is Abraham Lincoln issues the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation.
    That appears to be part of the subject for the book.
    Again, I haven’t read it yet – just book sale info.

  9. Very erratic reading this week, mostly excerpts. One book that I started and after about 20 % skipped to the end. I don’t have the feeling that I missed something in between apart from boinking and some major over-thinking by both MCs in the line of “should we stay together or am I too young/not worthy/whatever. Will not mention name nor title as it was probably cranky-old-me who didnt’t get sucked in a story that might enchant someone else.
    Will however continue to read about aDNA (ancient DNA) and what its traces in very old bones can tell us. Still fascinates me. As do old theories about the causes of illnesses.

  10. I am stalled on the fourth Donna Andrews book, the Buzzard/Loon one. The feckless brother is not a favorite character type for me, and the whole situation is very unreal. Why is her dad in the little town? Maybe this is because I’m not a tech nerd. I may just go on to number five. I enjoyed the Flamingos mayhem and the Puffins weirdness. I am back to writing my own book, now, which is encouraging. I reread Hot Toy, and Strange Bedpersons, by Jenny, last week, and they were just as fun as the first read.

    1. The Buzzard/Loon one is a favorite of mine – but I do a lot of tech and worked in a cube farm for a while, so it resonates. And Rhode Island Rico wears a RISD t-shirt which always gets a laugh from my Mom (she went there). I also love We’ll Always Have Parrots which many others don’t care for, so I guess it must have a lot to do with the setting. Nothing beats the first one Murder With Peacocks, though.

  11. Like Clancy, I enjoy the Torin Kerr mil sf series (there are two separate series) from Tanya Huff. Agree with Clancy, the later Peacekeepers series with Torin Kerr is more relaxing than the earlier Confederation series. I’ve just started Huff’s new book Into the Broken Lands (it’s not with Torin Kerr). The opening scenes are very different from Huff’s other work and so far I am not sure what to make of it. More later.

    1. I read Into the Broken Lands this week and it’s an interesting set of characters on a quest story. So nothing like any of the other Tanya Huff I have read. A little dark, but very good.

    2. Huff also wrote an urban fantasy with a very different feel “Summon the Keeper” – there’s a cat & an inn with hell in the basement and while its ages since I read I remember it being sweet & very funny. … really must go through all my boxes and find it again.

    3. So, when I try to search for Into the Broken Lands in my library I get (among other misses) Taming the Wind by Tracie Peterson???? Wha????? Is the catalog having a bad day?

      1. If the search feature acts like the one in my library, it starts also pulling up other titles in the same category — according to whatever system it considers most appropriate. Might entail more than one keyword, which sometimes brings up odd things not very much like the thing I was looking for. The same system gives me ‘suggestions of other books I might like’ which often aren’t.

        1. I had it set to Title. The only words they have in common are “the” and there were even some results without “the.” Then I searched for Tanya Huff by Author and they don’t have it, but they have a few of hers I haven’t come across yet. (The Louisville library holdings are still feeling the effects of the Flood of 2007.)

          1. Then it sounds like a catalog Imp had it in for you. Or an electronic cockroach? Maybe two searches crossed in the night and somebody else got Tanya and you got her thing? Anyway, sympathies.

  12. I finished The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson (British author, but available through my library system). Really sweet book, with a bittersweet but satisfying ending. Not your typical romance, although it was one. (Trigger warnings for dementia. But it is handled really well.) I loved her first book, The Last Chance Library, and this one was just as good.

    Now I’m reading Sarah Addison Allen’s new one, Other Birds. It’s really good, although I’m finding it slightly less charming than her older books. A lot of hopping back and forth between different character viewpoints, which isn’t one of my favorite things. Still liking it, though.

  13. This is a great day to stay in and read. It’s gone dark and gloomy with bursts of rain a bit of thunder and lightning. We need the rain. I let Amazon pick a book for me. They like to go over my head and send messages about books I may be interested in. So today I took them up on their threat and picked up a billionaire romance The Stop Over by T.L. Swan. I’ll see how it goes.

    In the meantime, I spent yesterday doing housework swifting and vacuuming along with four loads of laundry. Gonna hafto block out some time for a bit of ironing. Also made 22 meatballs for the freezer, split them up into packages. Chocolate chip cookies I made over the weekend are mostly in the freezer and that was a half recipe. Last week it was the pecan shortbread cookies, so simple, they didn’t make it to the freezer.

    I miss the granddog, she went back to her home, the grandkids said they missed her. I’m sure she will be back because they have school and after school jobs. They’re just not home enough to give her the attention she craves. Plus, she likes to play the in and out game with me. Stand by the door and look mournfully at me to let her out only to come back in a moment later. She plays the same game with my husband. She is just not going to get the same love from the cat.

    Well, it is back to the rocker for me and reading. I love the rocker even though it is hard on the old keister after a while. Talk about numbing. That’s my only reference to butts.

    1. OMG your granddog is a canine twin to my cat in terms of the ‘Outside? Maybe. Actually No’ game, although Mr. Fluffypants follows that with ‘I’m SO hungry… but no, not that food. Maybe belly rub… or outside?’ which is one or two sighs more frustrating on my part.

    2. I may just skip read the rest of this novel, fiction though it is. A creepy stalker CEO of a boss who has a camera over his employees and can zero in on what they’re working on. Reeks of sexual harassment. It’s not like I have another 466 books on my kindle to choose from. There’s sexual tension between the both of them but as the reader creeps me out.

        1. Yeah nothing more romantic then meeting someone who seems to be able to read your mind, without you saying a word. Cause he’s listening to your phone conversations, watching you at work and reading your work screen over your shoulder. Anyone else terrified. That isn’t a hero, if you’re lucky the Big Brothering is because someone’s working undercover (i.e. has actual reason to do so for legal purposes) If you’re unlucky, they’re doing this for fun and fleeing the country won’t save you.

  14. Read and enjoyed Lyn Gala’s new Regi’s Human and immediately went to her backlist and read through it….heard about these books for years and really was put off by the non-humanoid alien/human romance themes. Well check my bias! These were delightful, sweet and at times hot stories that really showed how to love based on kindness and communication, not optics alone.

    Met DH at the end of his conference in MD. Excellent booktourism in Hagerstown, Frederick, Rockville MD and Leesburg VA. For those of you who live in that part of the world congrats on a ridiculous amount of used bookstore goodness. Found several HG books, especially in Rockville’s huge Friends of the library store. a ton of Rex Stout, Ellery Queen, and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines for the Dad. Thx everyone for your prior recs for him – he’s hooked.

    Like others…lots of starts and stops in reading this week…maybe change of season restlessness…

    Starting today on Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and the great Christie Re-Read…Appointment with Death is up.

    1. Yes indeed to the Rockville Library Friends store. Although they share recent donations with another library store not that far away, and I find more of my target book wants there.

        1. The Wheaton Library Friends of the Library Store. The library is co-located with a Rec Center, and the FOL store is next to a basketball court, which is kind of weird. It’s relatively newer, and smaller, than the FOL store in Rockville, but the latter has a big donation sorting facility, which stocks the former, so it has a tendency to get new books more frequently. The older store, as most used book stores, tends to leave the books that no one seems to want to buy on their shelves forever and forever. Especially, I find, in Romance & SciFi sections.

    2. Thank you so much for telling me about Lyn Gala’s newest! I completely missed that and have now downloaded. I love her stuff and yes, so much better than they appear.

      1. I’m halfway through the first one and so far I think this is totally going to be a book you’ll enjoy. No smut or tentacles yet though.

    3. Tentacle smut for the win! As a genre I usually find it comforting. I will have to look into the new Lyn Gala as well.

      1. I’m halfway through the first one and so far I think this is totally going to be a book you’ll enjoy. No smut or tentacles yet though.

  15. I read the new Mercy Thompson book by Patty Briggs. Thanks to those of you who said it wasn’t as grim as the last two. I enjoyed this; I love Mercy and Adam so much. I then switched to fluffy – I read Rock Chick Rescue by Kristen Ashley. I find the Rock Chick books vary considerably, and some I find un-re-readable (I declare this to be a word), but a few would qualify as comfort reads. I like the Chavez brothers. I am now mid-way through the new book in the Case Files of Henri Davenforth; this is number 8 which came out this week I think. Super fluffy but fun.

    1. I like the Chavez boys too. Especially Eddie and Jet, but then I really like Jet. And I know it isn’t politically correct, but I enjoyed his strategy of making her indebted to him so that she couldn’t fade him out of her life. He was so honest and straightforward about it and that is exactly what she would do, for well-meaning but wrong reasons. I revisit them from time to time as well. And yeah, some of the Rock Chick books are definitely better than others.

      1. One of the funniest parts of the Eddie / Jet story is when she tries to convince him she’s boring then 5 minutes later she ends up in a cat fight with her sister (the Queen of the Corvette calendar) in the coffeeshop. Kristen Ashley is always entertaining.

  16. Read Jennifer Estep’s Only Bad Options and it’s exactly what you’d expect from mashing up space opera and Regency romance. Vorkosigan fans, take note! Space battles and true love, all the good stuff. Ends on a cliffhanger but book 2 is coming. Read it, loved it, might go back and re-read again because there was just so much fun stuff in there.

    1. Lisa, that’s so cool! I”ve forwarded this to some colleagues. One Professor of ours is teaching Conscious Business and random acts of kondness are one pillar of his introductory lecture. It’d be great to try one week of raok at our business school and maybe also my dh’s grammar school…

  17. I read Beautiful Player, one of the early Christina Lauren books. It was fun, fast, and smutty, but mostly it was fun to see how an author I like has changed and grown over time.

  18. Jonas Jonasson’s The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden was a new read for me this week. Hard to tell what this book was about. The list would include apartheid, racism, capitalism, communism, fascism, anarchism, monarchy, democracy, Sweden, South Africa, twins, family, stupidity, genius, revolutionaries, Israeli Mossad agents, Chinese art forgers. Did I miss anything? Oh, yes – and an atomic bomb. Stolen and unaccounted for.
    The author mocked them all in this black satire. The story is full of absurdity and inspires occasional gloomy laughter. The book didn’t touch my emotions, but it did spur my thinking wheels. I’m not sure I liked this novel, but I’m sure I’m glad I’ve read it. It is definitely a book worth reading. Now I have only one book of this author I haven’t read and I’m going to order it from my library.
    On the re-reading front, for fun, just finished Patricia Briggs’s Cry Wolf, the second in her Alpha & Omega series. As good as I remembered.
    Now, in a couple days, I’m leaving home for 3 weeks. I’m going traveling, visiting my mom in Israel. She is 89, folks. I haven’t seen her in a few years. The only reading materials I’ll have with me will be my kindle. Lots of books there I haven’t read – so new stories await. I keep buying kindle books, but I prefer reading paper books from my library, so the kindle kept amassing my TBR. It is time to start wading through it.

    1. I liked the The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden, but his book The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is my favourite. In order to avoid his birthday celebration at the nursing home, the old man climbs out the window and ends up at the coach station. A young man asks him to look after his suitcase whilst he goes to the bathroom. But whilst the young man is in the bathroom, the old man’s bus arrives, so he just takes the suitcase with him. But the suitcase is full of stolen money and the young man wants it back.

  19. Eternal by Lisa Scottoline is about three tennagers navigating love and friendship whilst growing up in Mussolini’s Italy. Even though the storyline is harrowing and upsetting, this book is beautifully written and I loved the three main characters.
    Ghost of Harvard by Francesca Serritella. Candence Archer’s brother committed suicide whilst attending Harvard University. He’d been recently diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, but she believes there’s more to the story. The following year Candence accepts a place at Harvard – much to the distress of her mother – to find out if her brother did take his own life or was he murdered. But Candence is not long at Harvard, when she starts to hear voices and begins to question her own mental health. This story explores how grieve affects people in different ways and the guilt those left behind feel. It also tells the guilt of Harvard’s past with slavery and the actions of some of its alumni. It’s not as depressing as it sounds and the mystery is well crafted.
    The Island by Adrian McKinty. Heather has recently married a man much older than her, and he has two children. While visiting Melbourne on a working holiday, the children complain about being bored and wanting to see some kangaroos and koalas. Tom, the dad, books a trip to a private island where the kids are guaranteed to see such animals. But whilst on the Island, Tom knocks down and kills and young woman. The O’Neill family – who own the Island – wants vengeance. As the O’Neill family also run the ferry, there’s no way off the Island. The book’s ludicrous in parts, but it was a fast read and I did enjoy it.
    Falling by T J Newman was another fast read – with questionable science and an absurd chase scene – but again I did enjoy it. A pilot receives a message from his wife’s phone telling him that she and their child have been taken hostage. To save his family, the pilot has to poison the passengers and crash the plane. The kidnappers want retribution not money. There’s an accomplice on board the plane to ensure the pilot does what his told. Will the pilot kill his crew, passengers and himself to save his family?

  20. Ah! The internet is back up. I missed it all night and all morning. It seems like it’s been a long week. I’ve read (or listened to) a lot of books.

    Grey Wolf’s Variations on a Theme Book 3 is complete at 141 chapters. He’s started serializing Book 4 already – I’m two chapter in.

    Susannah Nix. Remedial Rocket Science: An Opposites Attract Second Chance Romance (Chemistry Lessons Book 1). I’m not done yet. Kindle says “16%.”

    Bujold’s Penric’s Labors is partially complete. It contains MASQUERADE IN LODI and THE ORPHANS OF RASPAY so far. I’ll get to THE PHYSICIANS OF VILNOC next month.

    I got as far in my Wearing the Cape series reread as Young Sentinels last week. I finished it, moved on to Small Town Heroes and I’m five chapers deep in Ronin Games.

    I opened The Book of Firsts – A Very Secret Garden by Karan K Anders on my littlest Kindle as my bathroom book. That means I read a few pages at a time while sitting around.

    I listened to Wild Ride online from audible. There were pirates possessed by demon minions… sort of like zombies.

    And I watched Jumanji The Next Level last night after midnight. This morning, I mean. I never noticed that Grampa Eddie gave Nora a look of smoldering intensity before.

    Official Weigh-In Day officially sucks, but I’ll get over (under) it.

    I have gardening to do.

    1. Thanks for that link. Much of it was hilarious, but also very helpful. It clarifies very well the reason for a sex scene and what it should accomplish.

  21. I read In service to the Crown which for some reason I thought was going to be a mystery and wasn’t. It’s about the royal governess Marion Crawford. I had read her book on the little princesses back in the 50s.
    I honestly would not recommend this book although it was somewhat interesting to be reading it during the mourning for the queen.
    Sweetwater and the Witch came on my birthday. And I am reading that and loving it.

  22. I read Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout–YA sci-fi. I enjoyed it, but if he was able to travel at the speed of light, why did it take him 20 minutes to get to her when she was in trouble?

  23. I read The Stranger by Kathryn Hore. Post-apocalyptic feminist western. Gripping, horrifying in parts, and ultimately deeply satisfying, it’s the story of 16 yo Chelsea, who’s the only one asking questions in a misogynistic, violent town on the brink of collapse. Then a stranger rides into town. A woman.

    Great writing, wonderful characterisation. I pretty much read it in one sitting, because I couldn’t put it down.

      1. We are going to get Disney+ and Hulu this fall, because they are making a sequel to Willow and I simply must watch that.

    1. Well when you break it down, he decided to marry the daughter of his family’s worst enemy after mooning over another girl. I don’t blame Juliet at all, at that age first love is very intense. I still love the Baz Luhrman version. The Rosaline trailer does look fun.

        1. If you the mean version by the Royal Ballet that starred Margot Fonteyn and Rudolph Nureyev, the music was by Sergei Prokofiev (sp)

  24. As part of my ‘His Royal’ appreciation I re-read ‘Red, White & Royal Blue’ by Casey McQuiston and ‘Playing the Palace’ by Paul Rudnick; both enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the film version of RWRB.

    Then I read ‘Mr. Impossible’ by Loretta Chase, which was a five-star riot; so glad I bought in to all the recommendations. Felt like a sincere & affectionate homage to Amelia Peabody but I liked it even better because the hero has all of Emerson’s good qualities and none of his bad ones. 🙂 Defenestrating the bad guy = LOL.

    After that I started reading another F/M about a lady archaeologist (‘The Smoke Hunter’ by Jacquelyn Benson) but DNFd at 7%. Nothing was happening except ruminating about feminism; the heroine didn’t appeal, and if you want me to read a late-Victorian adventure don’t start with a long-ass prologue about a 17th-century Spanish missionary merrily spreading smallpox all over Central America while having a mystical encounter with a native priestess. After running away from that, I started yet another F/M about a lady archaeologist, this one contemporary (‘Undiscovered’ by Anna Hackett – these both came up in an adventure rec thread on SBTB) and DNFd that one at 5% when the heroine had been beaten up and all her artifacts stolen from Egyptian dig and the next thing that happened wasn’t meeting the hero. If you want me to read an action-adventure romance, don’t wander off on a villain POV tangent right when the heroine could use a hero. Next!

    I could rant all day about the next thing I read, ‘Falling From Horses’ by Molly Gloss. Some lyrical descriptive writing – you could smell, hear, and see the settings – but a flat narrative voice (the POV character, telling us about the late-1930s year he spent being a movie cowboy in Hollywood) and NOTHING HAPPENED except falling from horses. Since I generally rate rather than review and since the thing was actually well-written (I just thought it needed a reason for having been written. Such a promising scenario, but no energy, no character arc, ARGH), I rounded up to 4 stars. If you like a book that reads as if you’re sitting on a porch listening to some old coot tell you about his youth, have at it. The most disappointing part was that this guy, after a severe injury that ends his brief movie career, eventually becomes a fairly celebrated artist. I would have *loved* a ‘looking back’ book in which the POV character connects his traumatic youth to his late-blooming creativity. Instead I got a brief passage indicating the direction his life takes later. Grrr.

    Anyway, after all that, I fled back to M/M romance for E.J. Russell’s new contemporary ‘Camera Shy,’ in which one of the MCs needs approximately all the redemption (and puts in an acceptable amount of work for it), then L.A. Witt’s new ‘Underdog,’ in which the first 40% is repetitive rumination but then things start happening. The last 40% was actively good and emotionally satisfying.

    And I finished up the reading week with my own novella ‘Come to Me’ because it just got a very nice review and I felt like some positive reinforcement was allowed.

    1. One of Elizabeth Peter’s contemporaries also is about Egyptian archaeology. I think it’s Laughter of Dead Kings.

      1. Vicky Bliss, her heroine, is said to be an historian at the Nationalmuseum in Munich, a museum that actually exists and is wonderful but less well known ghan e.g. the Deutsches Museum 😉
        She’s not exactly an archeologist, but who cares, she’s just great at everything! And I love the Munich Elizabeth Peters describes, which is very dated but makes me long for those days… (it’s my home town)

          1. The hot chocolate with Sahne can still be found everywhere, chachal LOL, but nowadays with all kinds of more “worldly” stuff on the menu as well (me = not complaining).

  25. I read the rest of Victoria Goddard’s Greenwing & Dart series, all 6 of them. I read the first a while ago and wasn’t that enthused, so didn’t read the rest at that point. This week, I really wanted the sequel to the Hands of the Emperor but it’s still a couple of months away, so I thought I’d make do with these instead. Very glad I did. By the end of book 2 I was loving the people and their developing friendships. The series ended by setting up enough plot for another 6 of them, so I’m hopeful. I guess after The Hands of the Emperor I should’ve expected her characters to pull me in.

    1. If you haven’t come accross them, The Return of Fitzroy Angursell and The Redoubtable Pali Avramapul are a different series but do follow on directly from the Hands of the Emperor. I don’t like them anywhere near as much but the second one does provide an external viewpoint on Kip which I thought was very funny and made that book worth the read for me at least.

      1. Yes, I didn’t like them as much either, though I might’ve if I hadn’t read them straight after the HotE. They jarred, which was rather a shame.

  26. Beth O’Leary’s “The No-Show.” Enjoyable read but absolutely not a rom-com (despite the publisher’s cover blurb). And I don’t think she plays fair with the reader; can’t say more without spoiling. Smart Bitches has a good review.

    1. Wow. Apparently I DNFd it so quickly I didn’t even put it in my book list, but when I checked it out and opened it it opened at the epilogue. I can’t remember a thing except that all the characters bored me to death. I liked the Flatshare a lot and absolutely loved The Switch, but bogged down in the middle of The Road Trip.

  27. CL Polk’s “Midnight Bargain” was a surprise for me; I liked her Witchmark series but not as much as other people, whereas this I thoroughly enjoyed. Its a magical version of the regency, where women have to choose between children & magic and there are some dark moments but I really appreciated the FMC’s strength & her refusal to accept the system in which she’s living. And a very satisfying end.

    Also read Harper Fox’s “Brother of the Wild North Sea”; techinically an m/m viking romance but its really more about the monks on remote Fara Island, the transition of Christianity from personal faith to state religion, and what it takes to be kind, to be in community. It wasn’t entirely successful but I ended up really appreciating the slow almost meditative pace, the characters, the history and the setting.

    And then wrapped up Cherise Sinclair’s Sons of the Survivalist quartet which were lovely comfort reading, even if they can’t quite decide if it wants to be suspense. Makes me want to move to Alaska 😊

  28. Just finished Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn about four 60-yr-old female career assassins for a secret, non-governmental international agency who have been targeted for elimination by parties unknown for reasons unknown. The women, elite killers who were looking forward to a quiet retirement, are understandably outraged and determined to work together to discover and eliminate the enemy/enemies first. Think the Bruce Willis movie Red but with all women. Also in the league with The Whole Nine Yards. Same kind of humor and a whole lot of female power. Fast-paced and twisty.

    1. I love RED. Will have to look this up.

      And, twenty four hours later, I loved the book. Thanks for the rec!

      1. You’re very welcome. Have you heard of Finlay Donovan Is Killin It? That’s about a divorced romantic suspense writer down on her luck and trying to keep custody of her two children who is mistaken for a contract killer. Somewhat in the vein of Stephanie Plum books with mishaps and misadventures.

  29. I’ve almost finished all the Bruno books by Martin Walker. The way Bruno falls for strong women bugged me at first, but I’m amused by the fact that he gets the expected results. (Being purposefully vague here.) Walker’s use of history is prescient.

    I need to discover a new book in the next couple of days, but I’m approaching choosing a book the wrong way: I have a list of what I don’t want instead of looking for what I do want.

    This has been going on for awhile. At least I can go back to old faves.

  30. Have just finished You & Me by Tal Bauer and am undecided. The teenageer-dad stuff felt quite real, many aspects had me bobbing my head.
    I liked the story but it made me realise the cultural differences in every day aspects of life between Texas and e.g. Germany. Above all the emotional exuberance – big love, big shows of emotion, big speeches, tears.
    It fits with the story and how the MCs tick. However, big emotions are not my thing. And everything develops so fast! The two dads meet, two weeks later they are bff. It works here, but I’m too jaded and have been let down too many times by bff made in record time – as fast as they became bff they disappeared from my life.
    So the things I disliked are not the author’s fault. E.g. football – I know nothing about the game and stayed completely clueless throughout the book. It seems to be a very complicated game.
    My cluelessness never bothered me while reading tje ice hockey books. Here it made me realize how much I like and prefer European football (soccer). I prefer that *my* football asks for speed, endurance and technique and far less for a huge physique (ds plays it, no protein shakes!).
    In short: nice book, but too larger than life to become a favourite of mine

    1. It was just a bad power cord. Because it’s Apple, a replacement cord was $45, but it’s working just fine now. Thank you for asking.

  31. Food and Farming. I start out talking about indoor gardening and somehow that turns to food. Well of course it does, if everything grows right. I don’t do flowers unless they turn into vegetables.

    Some of my most recent blog posts are…
    A September Farm Report (Sep 14, updated Sep 15)
    Addendum to a September Farm Report (with updates) (Sep 18, Sep 19, Sep 20)
    Addendum to the Addendum to a September Farm Report (Sep 21)
    Appendix to a September Farm Report (Sep 22)
    Errata to the Appendix to… Well, There I Go Again (Sep 24)

    … in which I describe in too much detail my gardens and what grows in them.

    But the most important details left out are that I made a salad this afternoon from home-grown lettuce and tomatoes and other stuff, and last week I made entirely home-grown salsa from my own hot peppers and tomatoes and green onions. I may have to see if I can grow cilantro. What does a cilantro look like?

    I have two red fire pepper bushes that are producing buckets (well, cups) of insanely hot peppers. I can see a dozen ready for harvest right now, and several dozen getting there.

    I’m making chili later. Insanely hot chili. Because I can. 🙂

  32. A while ago an Argher recommended a home reno tv programme that was lovely and watchable. It might have been focused on kitchen renos? Can anyone remind me what it was? I’m up for something gently mind numbing.

    1. The recent recc I clocked was about doing up houses (or maybe blocks?) in Detroit, making them into homes for people, I think. It sounded great, but wasn’t on UK Netflix or Freeview, which is all I have.

    2. There used to be a 3 day kitchen reno show on HGTV called, if I recall, correctly, Kitchen Crashers. It’s not currently on tv but is probably available on Discovery +. The show Jane was referring to is called Bargain Block, if I recall correctly. It’s on HGTV but the new season just finished airing, so you could wait for reruns or check out Discovery + for that show too. It’s not focused on kitchens, though. I’m watching the new season of the British Baking show myself; it’s very low stakes and soothing.

    3. Bargain Blocks.
      Small houses in Detroit, odten in a desolate state, get reoaired and renovated into great little gems by two lovely blokes.
      Houses get sold for very reasonable prices in order for the neighbourhood to be attractive to normal people and not be gentrified.

  33. Today’s happy is a rendezvous with our landlords / BFFs. We are picking up takeout from Lobster&Beer for an outdoor late-lunch at their place.

    I have also spoken to my sister, my mother, and another friend this weekend. Being a phone-averse introvert, this was exhausting; makes me happy anyway. 🙂

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