This is a Good Book Thursday, September 29, 2022

The Golden Enclaves landed on my Kindle Monday, and I haven’t been able to get to it because I was working on the trilogy. However, if I get my act together, I should be handing over the hard copy edits to Bob this weekend, which means I can even start with the first two books and then go on to the finale. So that’s my plan. I did manage to start working my way through the Watch books again because I’ve read those so many times I can read four or five pages as a break and then put it down and go back to work. I’m up to Jingo, and enjoying it a lot. Well, it’s Pratchett. Of course I’m enjoying it.

What did you enjoy reading this week?.

112 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, September 29, 2022

  1. I read Naomi Novik’s conclusion to her Scholmance trilogy, The Golden Enclaves. No spoilers – I’ll just say it’s hugely enjoyable and not as good as the first book . But come on – how could it be? A Deadly Education at heart was about a nerdy, book-loving unpopular girl (a good many of us on this site lived that life) who turns out to have unique skills, starts makes friends over time AND wins the boy (pure wish fulfillment). The second and the third books simply can’t be that plot. The third book isn’t as funny but El’s snarls and passion and moral compass are still there, and Novik’s writing at its worst is what other writers aspire to and at its best still an intense pile-up of words that were shot out of a well-organized writing cannon. I loved every bit of it.

    I read The Peach Keeper – Lupe, it wasn’t all that dark and although I grimaced when I realized it was magical realism, a genre I don’t usually love, I admit you were right, it was a compelling read. Plus I like two romances for the price of one. And I read The Bodyguard, which I think both you and Chacha1 recommended? So much fun.

    And speaking of…I read an early copy of Alexandra Caluen’s holiday season M/M romance novella, My Holiday Star, an honour which I adored – starts dark and brightens up the whole way through. Some lovely renovation competence porn also.

    And I read Lyn Gala’s duology (not sure if there’s a third?), Regi’s Huuman and Regi’s Goddess – although positioned as M/M alien romance, it’s more sci fi and relationship with only the barest whiff of romance. Gobbled them up.

    1. Tammy, I have some concerns about you. Spoilers below:

      If you don’t find a tale about rape and (justified) murder and years of secrets isn’t dark, then I don’t want to see what your version of dark is…

      1. But that was back story and not graphically described! Game of Thrones, now that’s dark. Anna Butler’s Taking Shield series – dark. Lev Grossman’s The Magician series and Dark Materials series – dark! I actually found Glitterland dark because one MC was so cruel to the other in public. Found that much harder to read. So there’s my version.

        1. That is fair. Peach Keeper just hit me hard, I guess. Especially the part where the mother watches her son for evidence that he is monster like his father… So much sadness for so long.

          1. Katherine Center. She’s known for Things You Lose in a Fire or something like that – haven’t read it.

  2. I’m up and on my computer early today, so…Argh Ink! On Tuesday, I finished my re-read of “Boyfriend Material” because I’m finally as close as #16 in line for “Husband Material” and I couldn’t quite recall how the prequel concluded. It was every bit as cheery and delighting as the first time to read it, knowing this time that things would work out well in the end, and just enjoying the funny dialogue and neat characters. I’m really looking forward to the Husband thoughts.

    I also finished a first novel by Holly James called “Nothing but the Truth,” which was pretty enjoyable. There’s a truthtelling gimmick in it that I never quite accepted, but the whole theme was about truthful realness versus pretense — a topic that preoccupied my whole feminist awakening fifty years ago, so I was all about liking that. There’s a creepy boss and a nice one, helpful folks in the gopher brigade, and a rebellion against high heels, tight underwear, and pencil skirts. There’s a hot bartender, two nice clients, and people telling off other people, so the fact that it was set in a SoCal publicity firm turned out to be tolerable after all. And also, the full-pastel outline-less cover that I’m so curious about. Two good reads in a row! Yay.

    1. When I read your review of “Nothing But the Truth” I thought, OMG, now the new books not only have the same covers, but the same plot as well! Then I went back through my library records and discovered that I had read this book after seeing it mentioned here.

      I also loved the dress code rebellion, but I wish there had been more about the hot bartender. What were his thoughts about her before the Day of All Truth? His devotion during the attempts to reverse the “spell” spoke well for their chances of a HEA, but I wanted a little more to help me imagine what that would look like.

      1. Yes! I’ve had exactly the same experience of suddenly realizing that a twin book was actually the same book I’d read months or years before. I think re-reading is the remedy for that, but I only re-read books I love, rather than ones I just like, so those “liked” books are the ones that depart my memory cells in a flash.

        I could see the hot bartender maybe being an item she added to the plot later — it felt a bit like the original plan was to have been the smarmy rival publicist who saw his evil ways in the middle of the basketball interviews. The part that bugged me was seeing her parents show up at a downtown rooftop birthday bash. Whose parents come to an event thrown downtown for office mates and clients and close adult pals? Who would they talk to? It just felt weird.

  3. I’ve been reading It’s Been a Long, Long Time , Janet Raye Stevens’ new release. Beryl Blue is a time cop, charged with going back in time and dragging back time tourists who have overstayed their visas. She’s sent to 1946, where she runs into Tom “Sully” Sullivan during a fracas outside a seaside tavern while trying to apprehend the rogue tourist.

    She met and fell in love with Sully on a previous mission. The problem with this bit of auld lang syne is that she’s been warned that Sully will die trying to save her, so as much as she’d like to spend time with him, every moment they are together puts his life in danger.

    The plot is a lot of fun, but it’s the writer’s voice that made this one for me. Sample: “Of all the brawls in all the seaside villages in all the world, he had to bust into mine.”

    Highly recommend!

  4. I finished Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder and then read Marion Lane and the Dealy Rose. What to say about them.

    They were Okay?

    My big problem was the about of one person explaining to another person what actually happened at the end of the book. It happened both times and I felt it was totally unnecessary. I really didn’t care about all that back story. and the “You helped us solve this problem so you deserve to know” was just so transparent.

    Plus the second book had a bunch of angsty stuff that bored me.

    Overall I really enjoyed the first three-quarters of the first one and the resolution was okay – the second book not so much.


    The girl ends up with the wrong boy!!! Oh my god. How could she not see that?

    1. Grrr. I hate when she ends up with the wrong guy. It’s part of the reason I stopped reading Stephanie Plum, aside from the ghostwriter. I mean, she kept going back to Morelli even though the relationship with Ranger seemed much more functional and healthier. Because…Reasons? Drove me nuts.

      1. It is just part of the conflict, Stephanie Plum Bounty Hunter is who she became despite her family. She was supposed to find a nice boring job and marry someone from the Burg (Morelli after he settled down maybe) Instead she becomes a Bounty Hunter and hangs out with Ranger who is the opposite of what her family want for her. However her roots run deep, so she is always in conflict between what she wants and how she was raised.

        1. Yes, but the triangle lasted way too long and I started to really not like her. She was stepping over the line into actual cheating too much for me and it felt like it was to sell books and perpetuate an otherwise finished story. Again, I blame the ghostwriter. I quit when she got engaged.

      2. See, I liked Morelli better. I thought Ranger had commitment issues. And he was too other worldly perfect. She was never going to be able to pee in the same bathroom when he was in it.

        1. See, I like Morelli. I think that he is a good guy. I just don’t like how they work together. Too much the same. Also, I would take Batman over Captain America any day.

          1. I just hate romantic triangles. They’ve been so overdone and ones like this that go on forever are just annoying. But I didn’t know there was a ghostwriter. Does Evanovich not write them any more?

          2. Ah the Classic case of the guy who would die protecting her and the guy who would burn the world to protect her. Also Batman is totally cool, I just can’t deal with Bruce Wayne

          3. I knew she was collaborating on another series with a writer – I read one and it was just plain awful so I have to believe she didn’t write a word of it herself – but I didn’t realize she was also having the Plum series ghost written?

          4. Don’t misunderstand, it’s not a good movie. But poor vampire boy does a very good moody/broken Bruce who is very different from his driven Batman. It had potential, but then the plot went off the rails and never found its way home.

          5. It was pretty dark, but at least they had a decent Catwoman in this version. Anne Hathaway was totally miscast in the Christian Bale one. Though Christopher Nolan doesn’t seem to do well with the actresses in the Trilogy at all. He had Maggie Gyllenhaal, one of the best independent actresses and she could do nothing with the role she was given. Poor Katie Holmes did her best, but was practically wallpaper with that dialogue and Marion Cotillard, her role had so much potential and in the end the best bit was the flashback to her childhood

  5. The mail man brought a great book today – a non-fiction about the medieval grovernment in my home town and I’m really excited about it. I had found it in our State Library but it’s something else altogether when it’s available on amazon in pristine condition for less than the usual paperback. Very good reading times ahead!

    Apart from that I’m in the final stretch of “Deal Maker” by Lily Morton, book 2 in her Mixed Messages series – available on KU as one title. A pleasant enough read.
    But I seem to be stuck in a grumpy mode when it comes to romances lately.
    I prefer them with emotions not so over-the-top and the the overabundant number of sex scenes get boring (I’d really prefer less and of less passion but more meaning in the story).
    Also, my rational mind steps in: if the one MC is financially in dire straits but could earn big bucks by modelling, why does he hardly do any jobs? (The other MC is supposed to be a famous actor about to star in a series but doesn’t seem to have anything to prepare nor work to do).
    The 5-year old kid of one MC is the cuteness factor and of course he’s always cute and never in a bad mood (far from throwing tantrums). I remember the time when my kids were that age differently even though they were (and are) great. I certainly wasn’t my sunny best all the time with them nor dh.
    And to top this off the main MC finds and of course rescues a tiny pup from a trash bin. Of course, puppies of too young an age (6 weeks) do not require any time nor work.
    Too much loveliness, too much cuteness, too much passion for me right now.

    So, back to my history book as soon as the day job is done and the sick daughter is cared for.

    1. Nice review! I am left wondering, Dodo — what is your hometown? As an American with no medieval history (at least, none that I know about), I always love to hear about the places that have such a thing. 🙂

      1. It’s Munich, capital of Bavaria 🙂
        First mentioned in a legal document by Frederic Barbarossa in 1158, very likely much older (the neighbouring villages definitely are).

          1. Love Munich, especially at Christmas. Apparently we have a German ancestor who married into the family when many were exiled or killed or left England during the time of Cromwell. I think. So says the family lore. Just bought The Royal Affair about King George III and his many siblings.

  6. I am on a Cambric Creek kick. That is the ongoing setting for CM Nascosta and my comfort setting of choice at present. Moon Blood Breeding Clinic wasn’t my favorite, although it was still good. I just didn’t relate much to either MC. Lowell reminds me of my younger sister, I think, and it was an interesting window into her possible view points…
    I do really appreciate how she writes difficult characters who are still likable. The entire Hemming family is problematic, but in a real and understandable way.

    And I listened to Getting Rid of Bradley since I scored the audiobook for $1.99 not too long ago. I had forgotten a lot and it was very fun.

    1. Exactly. I like that her MC’s are imperfect – in a real world way, not a fictional version of imperfection. So Lowell is needy and overly chatty.

      1. And I especially liked how his persecution complex is at the same time not completely invalid, but not exactly accurate. It feels pretty accurate between family members.

        1. Totally! My brothers are convinced I’m my dad’s favourite. Doesn’t help that he keeps telling them I am. But honestly, they think he means it and go on and on about it. They completely ignore that as the eldest and the only girl I got all the strict rules.

          1. Right!? Also, as the eldest and geographically closest, I usually do all the dirty work. I don’t think that I am the favorite, per say, just the one most likely to answer the phone.

          2. Related but not,

            I called my sister last night and she wants be to bring my dad down to Philadelphia for Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family and I don’t want to. Does this make me a bad sister?

            It’s a 3+ hour trip one way and it’s not my fault that she chose to live far away. Stamps feet and pouts.

          3. That made me laugh so apparently if you are a bad sister I am a bad person.

            In other family related news – I’m having to hire a family mediator (no kidding) for my two brothers to sort out their issues which are mostly political arguments about the pandemic, the war in the Ukraine, the Luminati, traditional medicine, the environment, you name it. Well, at least they’ve agreed to mediation so it’s a step forward from them not talking to each other for the past five years.

          4. Yes it is although honestly I think this could all be resolved in two sentences: “Don’t talk about those things. Talk about something else instead.”

          5. Well, there is that. I have never understood some people’s need to endlessly aggravate themselves.

          6. Yeah. Like resolving differences about the Illuminati are going to build a better sibling relationship.

  7. I started out the week rereading sex scenes in preparation for writing one: the one where Davy finds out Tilda is bent in Faking It by Jenny Crusie; Tyler and Claire under the magical apple tree in Garden Spells by Sarah Addison-Allen; the scene where Akira seduces Zane with science in A Gift of Ghosts by Sarah Wynde.
    Then Ian started acting the fool and stressed me out so I decided to comfort reread Jayne Castle Rainshadow series. I started with the wrong book. I started with The Lost Night which is really good but it’s actually book number two so now I’m going back to Canyons of the Night. Next up is Deception Cove. Then I had to evacuate due to Ian so I did my calm-myself down-reread of last chapter / epilogues by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This time I reread from Fancy Pants and Glitter Baby. So no first reads for me to report sorry.

  8. I did read The Paris Library, which did not impress me except for the good book recommendations. For example, just finished reading Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. What a powerful, lyrical writer. Can’t believe I had never hear of her.

    When Black Lives Matter started up I realized that I was probably pretty ignorant actually. I started to read quite a bit, but two stand-out books in particular, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou – an education in itself – and Michelle Obama’s excellent memoir. Each taught me a lot. I will read Michelle’s again.

    Zora moved my awareness in yet another direction. She was born in 1891. (The electronic copy I bought online was very poorly scanned, so look inside before you buy.) In this book the grandmother was a slave. The absent mother was half and half black and white. The main character is the granddaughter. I will definitely reread this one. The story is dramatic and harrowing at times and at the end transcendent. But it is the writing that will draw me back to read again. I am deeply thankful for powerful writers.

    1. I loved Their Eyes Were Watching God. Fun fact, Zora was also an early videographer. She took silent black and white video of living conditions in the South post Civil War. I remember one of railroad workers. It was powerful.

    2. An amazing thing about that book is this. Zora went to Haiti to study voodoo and got on the bad side of a man who was known for creating zombies. She had to hide from him for a couple of days waiting for a ship home.
      While she was hiding she wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God.
      One thing I loved about that book was – the first paragraphs of every chapter were enchanting to me.
      Alice Walker has written a lot about Zora Neale Hurston.

    3. Michelle Obama’s book is next on the biography pile. (Huge teetering pile of books). When I was 12 or 13, I read Mandingo by Kyle Onstatt, 1957. For an empathetic and impressionable teen, I will never forget that book. Many scenes are still vivid to me. Talking to my adult kids about education and not taught the truth about our history, very white washed history, I need to educate myself. They said they were taught much more.

  9. Hello all! I finished Roan Parrish’s The Rivals of Casper Road, autumn M/M romance with a cinnamon roll/tightly wound soft on the inside MC pairing. Quick read and lovely.

    Also finished An Appointment with Death in the Great Christie Re-Read. Slightly disappointed with this one, the murder plot was structurally very good, the delve into the psychology of poor family dynamics, also good. The actual reveal of the murderer and who it was…meh. Onto Murder is Easy for October.

    Listened to the podcast Fated Mates most recent episode. I’m a big fan of this podcast but this one had an especially interesting premise to me…how first lines of books are written and do they grab you enough to keep reading. I usually read 50-100 pages before I DNF or keep going. Would not occur to me to read the first few lines and if “meh” or “Ugh” then stop. Different Strokes and all, but do any of you fall on either side or somewhere in between?

    1. Generally, when I start something, I like to finish it, especially if I paid for it! But lately, if I start getting bored, I start skimming. How ferociously I skim depends on how bad it is. I will usually at least check out the ending to see how the story turns out. If I don’t even check out the ending, then you know I really hated the book.

      1. I read somewhere once that if you read one book a week, then you could read 1 percent of all the books published in your lifetime. Since then I have been fairly brutal about dnfing if I am not enjoying a book. So much to read, so little time…

    2. I generally read the blurb for thecmain theme. Sometimes the cover illustration works as a hook, too (a sometimes quite powerful hook, but the story still has to deliver).
      With ebooks I usually download the excerpt if the blurb gets me interested. I give most books a real chance to suck me in.
      I hardly ever decide after only a few lines. Only when I’m in a bookshop with real books I’m impatient enough to only read 1-1,5 pages.
      Sometimes I stop reading before the end of the excerpt. Then it’s not the time yet for this story, sometimes it never will be.
      With very intriguing excerpts it depends on the price – with real books I know it’ll be more expensive, but there are soo many advantages to real ones (just the sensual pleasure of holding the material book is one).
      Yet, ebooks are easier to carry around and to read.
      And use up less space of which I don’t gave enough.

      In short: I tend to give ebooks mire of a chance. Actual books I try to get a feeling of before buying. And if I bought one, I very much intend to read it.
      If it turns out meh, I at least try to skip ahead so that I sort of finish…
      If I decided

    3. If I’m not going to finish a book, I generally know within the first 10%. For the longest time I felt like I was obligated to finish a book I started reading; the sunk-cost fallacy, perhaps (having spent the money, even if only a dollar or two, I shouldn’t ‘waste’ it but should consume the paid-for entertainment). I am over that now. 🙂

  10. This week, I read Paris in Love by Eloisa James which was recommended here last week. I always approach this type of book with a certain amount of trepidation since I know they will inevitably contain a few annoying clichés about French women.
    I may not have been a proper parisienne for over a quarter of a century but I often do not recognize my sisters and friends sartorial habits or attitudes at all. No, I am sorry, they don’t have a tailor who customises clothes and lingerie for them and my mother or grand mothers didn’t either 🙂
    Apart from that, I enjoyed the book very much. Partly because James mentions my favourite small museum in Paris twice, the Nissim de Camondo museum which is worth a visit both for its collections and the poignant history of the family, but mostly for the tender and funny portrayal of her family. Her Italian husband in particular comes across as a lovely man.
    I also liked the format, bitesized chapters, which made it easy to dip in and out of it as I am very busy with work at the moment.

  11. I do not have the new Naomi Novik and need to fix that! I’ve been reading Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series this week. First book 2, now book 1 because why go in order. Book 2 is a road-trip fake runaway marriage featuring adventure and geology, fun stuff. Book 1 has a castle and a sheep so that’s neat.

  12. Susannah Nix, Remedial Rocket Science: An Opposites Attract Second Chance Romance (Chemistry Lessons Book 1). I’m at page 185, according to the Kindle app. Alles en ordnung. It’s a comfortable book, mostly. No surprises.

    Still re-reading Marion G. Harmon’s Ronin Games in his “Wearing the Cape” series. Talking about favorites in the series is like Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition sketch. “My favorite WtC book is Ronin Games and Recursion… my two favorite WtC books are Ronin Games and Recursion and Young Sentinelsthree! Among my favorite… never mind. I will come again.”

    The Book of Firsts (A Very Secret Garden #1) by Karan K. Anders went from being my bathroom book to an obsession, so I finished it last night. I simply carried it (and the littlest Kindle) out of the bathroom and didn’t put it down except to cook.

    I’m still reading the serialized Variation on a Theme by Grey Wolf on Tomorrow we’ll be up to chapter 6 of Book 4. Of all the genres that might describe this series, and several do, Tor and Diane Callahan may have nailed it as Curio Fiction. I’m still hooked.

  13. I’ve been reading all of Pratchett in publication order to my wife, who hadn’t read him. We’re up to Night Watch now. She loves it. We’ve read all of yours and can’t wait for more.

  14. Finally got to the 2 most recent Louise Penny books in my TBR pile – All the Devils are Here and “The Madness of Crowds. Sadly, neither of them really worked for me and I doubt they’ll ever be re-read, as opposed to the first 10 books in the series, which I have re-read many times.

    The Madness felt like it could have used a good editor and some story tightening. There were characters/elements included that just seemed like plot devices and/or for shock value. It’s probably not a good sign that, a day after I finished the book, I had to think who the murderer was.

    Also, one peeve that I have for her books is the inconsistency of details from book to book. Reminds me of the rhyme:

    “Roses are red,
    And John’s eyes are blue,
    But you said they were hazel,
    back on page 52.”

    Next up is A Beautiful Blue Death by Charles Finch. Not sure who recommended it to me, since it’s been in the TBR pile for a long time, but I’m hoping it’s a winner.

  15. I finished Into the Broken Lands by Tanya Huff. I was confused by the first few chapters, but because it was Huff whose writing I usually enjoy greatly, I kept going. I’m glad I did because the story finally started making sense. It was worth reading but I’m not sure it’ll be a reread favorite like most of Huff’s other books.

    1. I forgot to mention that I also, finally, read Dragons Under the Earth by Judith Tarr. It is a fantasy set in modern day Arizona about a woman caring for a band of … ummm… horses and saving the world from an existential threat. The ending left room for the possibility of additional books, so I hope Tarr revisits this setting again. Meanwhile, I am impatiently awaiting my mail delivery of the new Novik. Where issssss it????

      1. Drat, that should have been Dragons in the Earth, not Dragons Under the Earth. Sigh. Time to go back to bed, I guess…

  16. Reading ‘Sweetwater and the Witch’. I always enjoy Amanda Quick’s books. Next up ‘The Golden Enclaves’. As far as book delivery, it depends. UPS is pretty fast but if it’s handed of the the post office, forget about it.

  17. I discovered that Paul Austin Ardoin had written two new Fenway Stevenson (The Reluctant Coroner) stories. The first being a novella, The Clandestine Coroner, that is billed as taking place between books 7 and 8, book 8 being The Offside Coroner. Book 7 finished up the first overall story arc but of course there is still fallout. I quite enjoyed the mystery of The Clandestine Coroner but the resolution was a bit unsatisfying, to Fenway as well as myself. I haven’t finished The Offside Coroner yet but it’s decent so far, and I suspect I’m going to be reading The Golden Enclaves first before finishing it.

    I also read Ann Cleeland’s latest Doyle & Acton mystery, Murder in All Fury. A solid entry in a series that has grown surprisingly long but I haven’t really gotten tired of yet.

    I read This is Not a F*cking Romance by Evie Snow. I was intrigued by the title and read the sample, which had some interesting characters and an intriguing premise, but I realized it was the second book in a series. So I downloaded the sample of the first books and read that, but I really didn’t like the main characters. So I skipped it and just read book two, which I enjoyed and the appearances of book one’s main character made me think skipping book one was the right decision for me. The main character of book two is an extremely prickly punk/goth girl, nearing 30, who owns a bar that is patronized by some of the weirdest characters in town. The younger brother of the guy who tormented her relentlessly in high school hires her bar for a private birthday party, paid for by his older brother, and so they meet again. He’s actually mortified by how badly he treated her in high school but she’s not interested in listening to him long enough for him to apologize.

    I also read The Bodyguard by Katherine Center, after it was recommended here, and it was pretty good. Parts of it I wasn’t so fond of but overall it was good.

  18. I reread A Suitable Consort for the King and His Husband, and loved it just as much as my first read. Has anyone read any of R Cooper’s other books? Any recommendations?

    1. I haven’t read much from R. Cooper, but can recommend three shorts:

      A Wealth of Unsaid Words
      A Heaven to Reach For
      Checking Out Love

        1. Hahahaha well it’s so SPECIFIC. I mean, yes of course I read it. It’s really dug into the dance-studio thing as well as the remote coastal California small town thing; those things are not everybody’s jam. I remember liking it, without recalling … specifics.

    2. I’ve read almost all of hers. She has a line of contemporary ones and a line of magical beings. None of them are as good as A Suitable Consort for the King and His Husband, but I’d say my faves are: How (Not) to Train a Firecat, Dancing Lessons and Some Kind of Magic.

    3. I agree with Tammy, that A Suitable Consort is the best, but I did enjoy A Little Familiar, which happens to be a Halloween novella (yay spooky season). I started Dancing Lessons, which I think was probably good, but the narrator didn’t work for me.

  19. I stalled at about 3/4 the way through “Marion Lane and the Midnight Murder”. The mystery is not enough to keep me going through my boredom with the viewpoint character. She seems like the stereotypical would-be detective heroine, gathering clues with the speed of a racing slug. Bah! Of course, it didn’t help that I had just finished my re-read of the first 2 novels in The Scholomance series by Novik in preparation for “The Golden Enclaves”.

    I’m also reading – albeit, very slowly, the e-Arc of “Deathless Gods” which is the latest novel from P.C. Hodgell. This is going to be published in November, but Baen allows people to buy the e-Arcs early. Unfortunately, I think this version needed either a better editor or, at least, another pass-through. There are some confusing scenes. In one such scene, a male healer is attempting to heal another male, and there were too many “he” thought this and “he” thought that and it was hard to tell which male thought what.

    I did read the previous tome in the Chronicles of the Kencyrath saga (“By Demons Possessed”) from P.C. Hodgell and it seemed better than I remembered. Of course, it could be that I also read the-Arc for that novel previously and this time I read the actual published work.

    I just finished “Subtle Bodies” by Jordan Castillo Price, the latest in her PsyCops M/M series. I really like Victor’s relationship with Jacob. And, it’s interesting to find out new details in how psychic powers work in this universe.

  20. My favourite bit of text this week was the ‘Carsington Connection’ on the side of local buses in the Peak District. (For Loretta Chase fans.)

      1. I’m sure it is. There was also somewhere called Hargatewall, with a Hargate Hall. And of course she set the first book in the area, as well as the family seat.

        1. Its funny how authors get place names. Georgette Heyer used a lot of village names in the South of England. I used to commute to work on the London to Penzance and one of the stops in Cornwall is St Erth! Hearing it always made me think of her.

          1. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before- I realized in my teens that all her character names were UK place names. It’s brilliant: they all work, therefore, and are neither contrived nor over-familiar (like Smith or Jones). This is in her Regencies; don’t think it applies to the detective stories.

          2. Exactly my thought! By using villages, she has interesting authentic sounding names not linked to the real aristocracy. It’s genius really!
            So many so called regency novels have terrible names.

  21. Read Roan Parrish’s new one, ‘The Rivals of Casper Road;’ Charlie Novak’s new one, ‘Couture Crush;’ one of Novak’s older titles, ‘Extra Time;’ Kay Simone’s trio of smutty short stories ‘Hard Stop’ (would happily read a whole novel about these characters; the shorts were well conceived as slices of life but there is a dormant volcano of mostly-unacknowledged conflict and you know how I like to see people solve their shit); and a play called ‘Sullivan & Gilbert’ by Ken Ludwig which I intended to give away but have returned to my hoard because Gilbert & Sullivan, come on.

    Re-read ‘He Shall Thunder in the Sky’ by Elizabeth Peters. Midway through the Amelia Peabody series, Peters decided to let the historical setting play a serious part in her plots. Thus this book’s action take place at the beginning of WWI, Amelia’s son is working undercover for military intelligence, there is Mortal Peril aplenty, and the second-generation romance finally gets sorted. One of my favorites in the series.

    Read ‘Thale’s Folly’ by Dorothy Gilman, which is about a young writer with post-plane-crash PTSD whose hard-charging NYC executive father sends him off to the country to look at a house formerly inhabited by an eccentric aunt and see if it’s sellable. The young man finds the house now inhabited by four other eccentrics; topping it off, there’s mysterious doings in the area, and his mother (long divorced from the executive) lives right across the lake. It’s a sweet story full of healing & redemption, with barely a whiff of romance.

    And now for my book rant of the week. There’s a long list of books I feel like I *should* read, so when they turn up on BookBub I tend to buy them, and then once in a while I actually do read them. ‘Time & Again’ by Jack Finney is the culprit this time. A beloved classic of speculative fiction. And it was … okay? Nothing much happens. There is one Very Active Chapter, in which our time-traveling 1970 hero and his 1882 crush get themselves caught in a burning building (based on a real event). Otherwise there is a bit too much rumination on the pros & cons of time travel itself, and of taking any action at all (no matter how slight) to influence events in the past. At the end, the hero has to decide whether he’s going to take on an assignment in the past. He lies and says he will, then goes back and deliberately interferes with the first meeting of the ancestors of the man who came up with the time travel procedure in the first place, so that man won’t be born and the program won’t exist.

    What I really did love about the book is that time travel here doesn’t happen because of some advanced machine; it happens through scrupulous recreation of a past-congruent physical environment plus deep, visceral imagination of the historical scene. The traveler must be able to see, hear, smell, taste, and feel the long-ago setting into which ze must walk. Anyone who’s spent years studying history has to think AW YEAH, right?

    What I really didn’t love about the book is, aside from the spec-fic wrapper, it’s a romance. And it’s a very old-school romance, in which hero tells a raft of lies about himself; falls in insta-love with a girl in 1882 despite the girl he left behind in 1970; determines that he’s going to interfere with her imminent betrothal to a man he knows to be 90% of a villain; does in fact so interfere, in the process getting her in a WHOLE lot of trouble; brings her to 1970 as a means of escaping that trouble, but then lets her go back while he does shady-unacknowledged-government-program BS; returns to the past to do his ‘I’ll stop it all before it starts’ stunt and then, one presumes, pick things up with the girl and solve the very real trouble off the bloody page because it certainly isn’t ON the page.

    Reading this book felt like work, and I’m not at all disposed to read the sequel even though I assume it answers some of the unanswered questions. The hero is meant to be an observer, and for about 60% of the book that’s all he does. Which is boring. We see very little about him – his history, ambitions, passions – on the page.

    Also, I think Finney uses even more comma splices than I did in that book I mentioned yesterday, which I didn’t think was possible.

    1. Yes, I desperately want there to be at least a fourth story after Hard Stop, if not an entire novel. I might write her and beg.

    2. Is that the book where the characters are somehow involved with the actual arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty somewhere in Central Park? For some reason, it was erected so people could climb up and imagine the eventual erection of it atop the final statue. That stayed with me when the rest of the book apparently didn’t.

  22. Read an unusual book for me, all about Buttons, what materials they are made from, what country had what kind of buttons, I found it very interesting. Then I read Editor by Steven Rowley, I didn’t enjoy it as much as Gunkle by interesting.
    I find I don’t comment much but if I agree with someone I click on the heart instead of commenting.

      1. I used to have my great aunt’s button tin, my daughter claimed it a few years ago. We used to enjoy looking though it. Happy memories!

  23. Since I can only read non-fiction when I’m writing my series, I listened to Kelly Ripa’s audiobook called Live Wire. It was fun and conversational so a really easy listen. I shared some of my thoughts about it on my Insta page if anyone’s curious to hear more about the stories:

    Like your rereading of previous books, it’s the kind of thing that can be read in small breaks:)

  24. Late last night I finished Alexandra Rowland’s A taste of gold and iron. It was as good as everybody I’ve heard about it from said. (I read it in less than twenty-four hours. Whoever is next on the reserve list should be pleased.) Now I want more in that universe, not necessarily about any of the main characters, just more of the world. The sea serpents, for instance. I want to know more about them. I want to know why ten percent of the people in Arist (sp) can taste metal but people in other lands cannot. So many intriguing paths to follow.

  25. I’m reading the third Thursday Murder Club. I’m became so attached to the characters that I couldn’t wait for a better price.

    And I’m listening to the latest Jeffrey Archer installment of the William Warwick series. I admire that he’s still publishing at 82 and I do think he writes his own books.

  26. I read Nora Ephron’s Heartburn because of recommendations here. Thanks! She’s so funny and her tone makes you feel like a friend is telling you the story even though you’re a reader who never met her.

    My favorite small museum in Paris is Marmottan but I haven’t been to Nissim de Camondo. I love Hemingway’s memoir about 1920s Paris, A Moveable Feast, and am so glad he wrote it.

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