115 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, October 27, 2022

  1. Happy Official Weigh-In Day #80. I posted my weight on my blog, along with a link to FAT by “Weird Al” Yankovic.

    I reread Repercussions (Wearing the Cape, #8) by Marion G. Harmon. One more to go in the series so far.

    I am Rereading the Enola Holmes Mysteries.

    The Variation on a Theme Book 4 serialization continues. I continue reading it. He activated the comment section. I read that, too.

    My only new read is When We Were Friends by Nancy Yeager. I’m in chapter 8. Excellent book so far.

    Gardening: Still. Too. Much. Lettuce! And now the flashing red lights tell me it is once again time to feed my plants. “Feeeed Me, Seymour!”

    Food: I continue to commit salad! Today’s breakfast was a salad of “Salad Greens” lettuce from two pods, plus sweet onion, plus three hard boiled eggs, plus mozarella cheese, plus carrot slivers, plus my own dressing (oil & vinegar & spices). No bacon or croutons. Watching my weight, y’see.

  2. Reading A Rip In Time by Kelley Armstrong, and re-reading High Jinx also by Kelley Armstrong.

  3. I read The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, deemed a space opera, reads like a well paced light space opera, and really it’s good, but it’s also impossible to read without seeing the parallels to the current lack of real climate change action in our real life world. Fun times.

    Then I read a book I’m not going to name that is 95% romance novel, until it isn’t because (and I’d like to yell here), the hero dies a decade after the he(a). Dies. After an illness. And I know people for, but wtf.

    Anyway, I’m up for feel good recommendations please, especially great women with agency getting what they want. Actually, I’m off to reread a Crusie.

    1. Wtf indeed. I hate that. It happened in a short story I was reading, FOR NO REASON. I was so mad. I was enjoying it and it was such a “gotcha”. Grrr.

      I hardly ever read contemporary M/F anymore, because it seems to go bad on me so often. I do like Lucy Parker. Her ending dramatic arcs aren’t perfect, but I like the characters and relationships enough that I overlook that.

      Do you mind if the characters aren’t exactly human? CM Nascosta is my current comfort go to. It’s basically M/F contempory, but with elves and orcs. Very calm pace, kind, reasonable people trying to live decent lives in a creative, multicultural community. They get smutty, so as always ymmv. I revisit Girls Weekend quite a bit now that it is on audiobook.

      1. To be fair, this was for reasons. It was a realistic continuation of an essential plot element. And the author clearly wanted to tell a story about the effects of multiple concussions on professional athletes and I’m here for that (I live in a rugby playing country after all), but it was billed as romance – and it was, but I feel cheated of my feelgoods. Don’t cheat your romance reader. I should have judged it by the cover (I never really look at covers)

        1. Exactly. Either don’t write it as a romance, or don’t do it to the lead. I could handle it in a side character a lot better, I think. Or a first love half way through the book and then she falls in love with a doctor or physical therapist or something and then we still get to end on a high note.

          Bleh. A bad ending ruins the whole experience.

        2. We’ve been watching the women’s rugby 🏉 it was fun to watch the NZ team do the Huiku (sp?) not as “scary” as the men though.

          1. Margaret, it’s the haka. There’s a wonderful translation of the words here: https://www.experienceallblacks.com/insider-information/haka/haka-words-and-translation/

            Ko Uhia Mai (English)

            Let it be known
            Who are these women
            It’s the Black Ferns rumble
            From Hineahuone, Hinetitama and Hinenui te po we came
            To transfer from the heavens to the world of enlightenment
            Life force from above
            Life force from below (earth)
            The gathering clouds
            The mountains that pierce the sky
            Let us proceed
            To the seas
            From the corners of the island
            To the neighbouring islands
            And around the world
            You stand tall and proud.
            Women of strength.
            Who will bear the future.
            The Black Ferns of New Zealand.
            Rise and press on.
            When the challenge arrives.
            We will gather and unite together.
            Strength together. It will be done.

          2. Aren’t they fabulous?! (Although while we’re on the topic, also susceptible to concussion).

            You may enjoy watching and listening to a kapa haka performance? Here is an excellent intro to the art form and culture, outside rugby. https://youtu.be/KMby1MQhJJ4

          3. Quite a change from the days when the government tried to stamp out the Maori language, isn’t it? Ah, the influence of a dominant national sports team!

        3. Oh this must have been Taylor Fitzpatrick. In fairness, she does say it’s not a romance although it is a relationship.

          1. I love Taylor Fitzpatrick and someday I will read that book because I have loved everything of hers I’ve read so far. BUT I don’t know when the world and life will chill out enough for me to be able to do it.

          2. Cristie, someone here gave me the advice a long time ago to read that book with a box of Kleenex handy and I pass that advice on to you. I love that book though and reread it all the time.

        4. Allanah, I read the same book a few months ago and felt similarly cheated. Those two earned a happy ending, and although it was clear by the end that they weren’t really going to get one it was still utterly heartbreaking. I have refused to read anything else by that same author since.

      2. That sounds like my kind of reading. So is Girls weekend by Nascosta? Just making sure, in case this is a title we all should know, by someone else.

        1. Yes. It’s the first in a trilogy, so ends HFN, but everyone is a good place. The second (Parties) is out, maybe not as good because it is very much a transition book in the arc. I still like it, but it needs the last one to round it out. The first one is almost a stand-alone.

          And again, fairly smutty, but it’s fun, self-aware smut. Not quite character building but not empty either, if that makes sense.

      3. Sure is Aunt Snack. It became an official language in 1985, and today Te reo language classes are oversubscribed. It is also mainstreamed in our news media, although obviously we have our share of ‘i live in New Zealand not Aotearoa’ racist blowhards.

    2. Collapsing Empire was very good. I think its the best thing Scalzi’s written and I’m so glad someone else enjoyed it.

  4. One of my Forever Holds actually came in, gbtg, and I loved it. “Husband Material” for my money, was even better than “Boyfriend ditto” — the external friendship & relative clans appeared, the MCs had been together, happily, for two whole years, and it was a glorious reunion, I thought. I loved Oliver’s speech in the middle of the book. I loved Luc’s mom’s newest craze. I loved the upper class pillock wedding. And I loved the language.

    And the language, as always, was light and fun and often funny, and a joy to read. My very favorite sentence was one of Bridget’s: “He’s there and he’s lonely and for whatever silly reason he feels like he can’t reach out; his coeur is all cri-ing and he needs you, Luc, he NEEDS you!”

    The relationship lessons the MCs had been learning over that two years were spot on — they had both gotten so much better about understanding one another, and about recognizing the traps that had gotten in the way of their being together. Also, even though I kind of resented the framing based on “Four Weddings and a whatever”, I thought the ending was perfect, again leaving the couple in a lovely place.

    Plus, like icing on a cake, there was a short informative chat after the THE END part where the author answered questions about upcoming book/s — just great icing.

    1. p.s. I FINALLY looked up the meaning of “mon caneton” — the term the mother always uses when speaking to Luc. It means “my duckling.” Squee!!

      1. How lovely, Jinx!!!

        BTW: Alexis Hall has a duckling plush toy that often features on his instagram account 🙂

      2. I love ducks. I have one of those Watches that don’t tell time, with ducks instead of hands. I also bought extra ones to hold the photos and quotes to my fridge.

        1. There is a Twitter handle called @shouldhaveaduck which is all videos of adorable ducks and ducklings. I recommend it highly. At least until Friday or whenever Musk allows Trump back on Twitter at which point I’m gone .

      3. We ( The French) always like to give pet names to our kids.
        I call my three: mon trésor (my treasure), mon lapin (my rabbit) and mon ange (my angel).
        A friend of mine calls her daughter, ma puce (my flea) which is pretty common.
        I call kids not my own: mon coco or my cocotte (my chicken) or my choupette (a variation of my little cabbage).
        My brothers and sisters get various variations of their first names, most times starting with mon/ma in front.
        I can’t help it, it’s a national tradition 🙂

        1. My dd is “Maus” or “Mauserl” (little mouse), my ds “Spatz” (sparrow) or “Großer” (he’s the tallest of us).
          I was called Mauserl by my mom since when I can remember, too.
          I love it to have a pet name like that and was quite okay with being called flower or pet while at uni in the north of England (it was obvious thag it was used as kind of endearment).

          1. Like the rule in Bet Me that a guy was serious when he nicknamed a woman; then Cal called Min “Minnie.”

            We call our daughter “the Pooh,” my husband calls either of the kids or me “Wootz,” and he calls me “ezb.”

    2. So glad you liked it. I preferred it to Boyfriend as well, and wasn’t the ending great? Happy dance.

      1. Yes!! And so many little things that were so rewarding. Like the encounter with the brother, which was taxing for Oliver & the bro, but processed YEARS of frustration and brought them someplace that was a new start. The rainbow balloon arch debates. Priya’s oneupsmanship of GFs. And the restaurant dinner with the lemon posset? So. Very. Cute.

  5. Couple of disappointing reads this week, so I’ve fallen back on Jayne Ann Krentz stories from the 1990s – just started Grand Passion, which is an old favourite. TV’s been much better, since I’ve been watching Extraordinary Attorney Woo on Netflix, and got to the finale last night. Funny and romantic with great characters – and a glimpse into South Korea, a country about which I knew almost nothing.

    1. I adored that series. I have a granddaughter on the autism spectrum that and for me this was fairly perfect. My sister just recommended one called the green glove gang on Netflix

    2. Woo was so fun, and I really liked how everyone around her helped her, but also expected her to be able to cope. No one treated her as incapable. Like when her friends took her to sing sad karaoke, an activity that she would obviously hate. They didn’t coddle her or exclude her because of that. I wonder how a show with a similar theme would be handled in the US. I think that it would be different.

    3. Its been a long time since I read “Grand Passion” but I remember enjoying it a lot. Time for a re-read I think!

  6. I read Snowed in With Benefits – took me a while to warm up to it, no that wasn’t a pun, but then I was a fan, thank you Chacha1.

    I’ve been reading two similar series, rotating back and forth. Both are M/M partners in detective/espionage work, with long arc relationships over the course of the series. One is the Charlie Adhara’s Big Bad Wolf series – one of the MC’s is a werewolf – and the other is the Death and the Devil series by LJ Hayward – slightly sci fi with one of the MC’s having a neural implant (if you read this series, watch out, there are three novellas after the first novel that have to be read in order to follow the plot). I credit and curse Lupe and Jen B for getting me into these two series – I am now obsessed with both – they are smart, sexy and romantic with relationship snags that need to be teased out carefully.

    1. Ooh. Will have to try Death and the Devil. I think that detective/espionage long arcs might be my new thing. I love a slow burn.

      1. I think you’d like it – although it doesn’t have as many feels as you like. It’s a little harder around the edges, especially at first.

      2. PS – I reread Run Rabbit Run by Nascosta. I think that’s my favourite of her books so far. So much hate-sexy fun.

        1. That’s the one I haven’t read yet. Mostly because I read an early version on her Patreon and I haven’t been in the mood for the smutty. Good to know that it is a win. I really love how self aware she is with her topics.

  7. I’m still in my Lily Morton reading flow though not with any time to really concentrate on them. Which is fine because they are light reads and potentially easily forgotten.

    Another “reading material” was was far more exciting: the leper ordenance of 1316 for the Gasteig-Spital (then outside the city). Strictly speaking, it’s my son’s reading material as it’s him researching the topic for an important school paper. The head archivist whom I had contacted beforehand had warned us, however, that the script would likely be hard to decipher without knowledge which I happen to have as I had studied paleography when doing history degree.

    So I tagged along 🙂 Happily so.

    It was both our first trip to our local archive and I was thrilled to experience how easy access turned out to be.

    We had ordered both the ordenance for the Gasteig-Spital from 1316 (manuscript from 1440) and 1570. The former was available only on microfiche – i.e. on negative film (we were able to print copies in positive). It’s visibly not in too good a shape, and I’m happy that the film version provided a way to read it without risk to the original.

    The manuscript from 1570 is very brittle and we were both in awe. Also the script is beautiful but very difficult to decipher. It would take me several days which is not what a school paper would be about.
    The 1440 manuscript, in contrast, is wirtten in a script that my son, with some help, can transcribe himself. Not all was legible, but we managed to transcribe most of it.
    Now my son has to make sense of the text, too, which will be a challenge as it’s in medieval German (at least not the High Medieval German the big epic works are written in which is another kettle). As I’m fascinated, I might help 😉

    Speaking of medieval topics: after thoroughly enjoying Caterhing called Birdy I watched Rosaline – a reworking of Romeo and Juliet.
    I quite liked it though the Historian in me liked Catherine more. The modernisation within a sound knowledge of the history was top notch.
    Here, some details like the modern furniture (more 18th/19th than 15th century) catapulted me out of the story too easily. The American accents accelerated the catapulting. I know it’s not meant to be accurate and they played nicely with the concept, yet…
    The costumes on the other hand were fabulous and I very much loved the idea that Rosaline and Dario fell in love via the adventure (i.e. had the chance to get to know the each other). Poor Romeo and poor Juliet 😉

    1. I thought Rosaline was fun and fine. You are right about the costumes, gorgeous. It wasn’t as… something… as I thought it would be, but still made for a nice light watch. I did like the part where Dario said, “take my knife,” and she said , “I already have it.”

    2. Watched Rosaline with the friends one night when Paul was at football and we were all too tired to think. I could identify with her because I, too, have man-sized feet and am afraid of fish.

      1. I never thought it would e that easy to have access to those manuscripts, too. I’m really excited 🙂

  8. I am struggling this week. Forthright’s newest is out and I opened it, but couldn’t focus. Same for the unread CM Nascosta on my kindle. It’s me, not the books. I know that I will greatly enjoy both of them if I could just get going…

    My hold on the Ruby Fever audiobook came in, so I am most of the way through it and its still fun. My hold for Nora Goes Off Script is up next. Then, when the month changes and I have Hoopla borrows again I will finish off Charlie Adhara’s series and listen to Nalini Singh’s newest. So much to look forward to.

  9. Like Jane B I am rereading Jayne Ann Krentz. I am rereading her Arcane Society series which has books from her 3 main pseudonyms. I finished book 1 Second Sight by Amanda Quick. Now I’m on book 2 White Lies by JAK. Next up is Sizzle and Burn by JAK.
    There are at least 10 books in this series and I’m going read them all with enthusiasm.

    Bob Mayer moved the publishing date for Phoebe and the Traitor. Mon 10/31. YAY!

  10. I finished We’ll Always Have Parrots, by Donna Andrews. Her books are so busy! I loved the parrots, especially at the end, where one saves Meg. There are some pretty funny lines in the book, and the animals add hilarity, as well. I was fooled until the end.

    I may have to get Husband Material, now. Last time it came up, several of you did not like it. I just put away Boyfriend Material in the Re-read bin.

    Jenny, I would read any snippet of Nita that you post! I was enthralled by the first chapter you posted a while back, once I got the premise. I’m glad you are working on it, again.

    1. There are definitely two camps for Husband Material. It has a pretty different structure and feel from Boyfriend Material, which I think was jarring for some people. It worked for me, but that in part was probably because BM wasn’t one of my favorites of Hall’s.

      1. Three camps then. I didn’t dislike the first one, just prefer the rhythm of the second better.

    2. I liked them both, just wasn’t sure that the ending of HM was …. earned, for lack of a better word.

  11. I finally read White Trash Warlock by David Slayton. Really great start to a trilogy. Young man with minor powers leaves the trailer park to go help his estranged family and a mystery ensues…along with an insta-like a lot AND a lost elfin love…and a possible love triangle…and lots of family dynamics and magic.

    That sounds like a lot but the MC’s voice was so well done and the world building and style reminded me a lot of Ilona Andrews whom I like to read quite a bit. Immediate bought the sequel.

    Finished Murder is Easy in the Great Christie Re-Read. A bit over the top, this one. Retired policeman happens upon a village with 5 murders and no end in site. I then went to watch the BBC version with a young Cumberbatch as the policeman and Marple shoved in there for no good reason. The book, even barmy though it is, works better than the tv version.

    Finished the week with Cogman’s Invisible Library and Ahara’s new Pack of Lie. Both excellent!

  12. Last week I read Thank You for Listening by Julia Whelan about a romance between a man and a woman who both narrate audiobooks. It had lots of funny asides about the world of romance novels. Then I read Katherine Center’s The Bodyguard which was laugh out loud funny. It was lighter than other books I’ve read of hers.

    Now I’m rereading The Golden Enclaves with everyone’s comments in mind. I am still processing. But just as John Scalzi’s Collapsing Empire is really about here and now so is The Golden Enclaves with the wealthy of the world hanging on to what they have to protect their own children. Grim.

      1. It’s the only new book I’m reading right now, and I’m liking it, but not wildly enthusiastic. But I’m not quite halfway in. It might grow on me.

        1. Jane, I’m #10 on 3 copies at one library, #217 of 19 copies and #54 of 9 at others. At $14.99 you are right it is an insanity for an e-book. I can wait.

    1. Thank You For Listening struck me as just another romance set in a world I find unfamiliar until I read an interview with Julia Whelan on Goodreads. Now random pieces keep popping up in my mind from time and I am revising my opinion upward.

  13. I half read, half listened to Julia Whelan’s Thank You for Listening. She is an outstanding voice performer and a decent writer. I enjoyed the glimpse behind the scenes into the world of narration, though parts of the plot were a smidge weak. Overall, worth the investment in both time and money.

    I’m now re-listening to Leslie Jordan’s How Y’all Doing. It is as wonderfully funny and sweet as it was when I first listened last year and rendered more poignant with his recent passing. I had become enamored with his charm from his IG posts during lock down.

    “Hello, fellow hunker-downers, Leslie Allen Jordan reporting for duty.”

  14. It’s been a minute since I’ve read a sports romance. This week with all the guessing as to who was going to be the QB in Monday night’s game I read Decker by Kayley Loring and Connor Crais. It’s a slight nod to SEP’s Chicago Stars what with a daughter (Hannah) inheriting a football team, the Boston Tomcats nicknamed The Tommys and a smart mouthed QB, Decker. I loved the banter between all participants, the texting, the skyping, the crying coach, even every once in a while a blurb from a sports journalist named Eddie Murphy. I could have done without all the sexcapades but that seems to be the new thing, throw in as many activities to stretch out the story and Hannah’s flubbing words at the start (she’s smarter than that). And a lot of football plays that I don’t understand. I liked it so much I KU’d the next book, Dash, and started it already. Dash is about an obnoxious player whose college coach sends him to take ballet lessons to learn a little humility or he will be benched for the season. He and his ballet instructor (Charlie) meet up several years later after he becomes a player for the Tomcats. This book has ballet terms that are easier to picture in my head. So far so good.

  15. Currently reading The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen. It’s a secondary world fantasy romance take on The Little Shop Around the Corner or You Got Mail centering on a family-run funeral business. It’s a lot of fun. 🙂

  16. Michelle Diener’s Dark Matters was an OK sci-fi romance, intense and fast paced. What I didn’t like about this novel was that the bad guys always stayed one step ahead of the protagonists. The villains perpetually have more puppets, more intelligence, and better equipment, while the good guys always play catch-up. Their consistent bad luck began grating on my nerves half-way through the story, and it never let up until the very end. I prefer my protagonists more proactive.
    Mary Balogh’s latest, Remember Love, was controversial too. The first part is a boring info dump. The second part is the author’s discourse on truth and lies. It concentrates on the moral dilemma of the protagonist. Do you always have to tell the truth? Are sometimes lies more beneficial?
    The author thinks the truth is mandatory, whatever the consequences, regardless how many people suffer. I disagree. While the author pictures her hero as a man of great integrity, unbending no matter what, I see him as a heartless fanatic who perceives the world in black and white. He always acts as if a moral principle is more important that people’s happiness. For him, it is. I hate people like him. His righteousness caused lots of harm. He doesn’t deserve his happy ending.
    Another Michelle Diener, Peace Maker, was a strange novel, falling in-between science fiction and fantasy. It felt ‘semi-professional’, with 2-dimentional characters and world building without depth. Lots of problems with its writing, but despite them all, I enjoyed reading it. It has the elusive charm that kept me reading the story. I wanted to know how it ended for the heroes. I simply liked what I read.
    Becky Chambers’s A Prayer for the Crown-Shy was disappointing. There are many good reviews on GoodReads for this book, but I didn’t like it. Content-wise, two persons, the monk Dex and the robot Mosscap, travel together through the countryside of their planet (moon) while searching for the meaning of life. They can’t find it, and no wonder. Their lives have no meaning, because they have no responsibilities. They don’t have children to take care of. They don’t try to raise crops, or build the best bike ever, or create the most beautiful mosaic from sea shells. They don’t rescue mistreated cats. They don’t even have a pet. Nobody needs them, and they like it that way. Free and useless like tumbleweed, they roam aimlessly through the realm and only take care of themselves. Of course, they can’t find any purpose to their lives. There isn’t any. Why did I read about them?

  17. I finished Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen which was lovely.

    I also read the new Time Police book, About Time. It’s Team Weird, stuff happens.

  18. I am also on a rereading kick. I am rereading the Elizabeth peters Amelia Peabody books. Right now I’m on deeds of the disturber. I also started when we were friends and can’t wait to get back to it. And I can’t wait to read Nita. Also the Jennifer/Bob collaboration books.

  19. I’m reading the latest in a cozy series featuring dogs and cats, A Good Dog’s Guide to Murder by Krista Davis. Not her best, but fine for a week when I am a bear of very little brain.

    Also doing a beta read of a book I can’t put down. Kept me up way past my bedtime last night. Can’t wait until y’all can read it too.

  20. I have been rereading Donna Andrews mysteries – the characters always make me happy.

    I read Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Resurrection – I enjoyed it, but it felt a little formulaic for me, I think the character’s age and what they had learned were necessary for their story, but it lacked a certain passion (emotionally) that I look for in a romance.

    I read The Last Aeither series by Tessa Hale – frothy, but I probably won’t go back to them.

    1. Susanna,

      I struggled with Archangel’s Resurrection. It wasn’t until the “Last Ending,” chapter 31 that I began to connect to the characters. If the message is how long eternity can be, this book was a text book case of how to experience eternity.

  21. I listened to the new Time Police. I just got the new Donna Andrews Christmas-time book, so that’s chance to visit old friends.

    I listened to a novel called the Wizard’s Butler, which I cannot recommend unless you have the patience of someone with nothing better to do, it goes it such detail about loading coffee and cream and sugar on to silver trays, and how to set up a your wi-fi router so it doesn’t disturb the pixies and fairies who take care of the great big house. I kept listening waiting for something of a larger scale to happen, but replacing the Bentley with a newer Mercedes (it drove great, our protagonist really liked it) was as much plot as we got. Yet I kept listening. I was doing yard work. Apparently it’s the first in a series to be written.

    1. Butler… wait till he gets to the polishing silver and decanting the port. In Butler training school, I think the most excitement you get is going up to wake the Master or Mistresses and on discovering them with someone who isn’t their spouse, they’re trained to show no reaction whatsoever and are supposed to just enquire about their breakfast wants

    2. Maybe it’s the audio version that’s the problem. I read The Wizard’s Butler and enjoyed it a lot, and I believe several other Argher’s did as well.

      1. I read it and also found it engrossing. I bought it and have re-read it several times. Somehow I found it be a comfort read. I have been looking forward to the Wizard’s Cat but the author has been having some health issues which has affected his writing schedule.

        1. Well, I did keep listening. It was kind of comforting, especially if you’ve worked on the other side the of the events or moments usually described from the protagonists’ view. He DID polish silver, which I am contemplating as part of getting ready for the holidays.

          1. When I was in cooking school there was a class called Stewarding where we started each morning by rubbing the water spots off of the silverware after it came out of the dishwasher. I could see doing this in the table service classes for the public restaurants, but this was for the school cafeteria and an incredible waste of time. When I started my second year and discovered that it was no longer part of the daily routine, I couldn’t decide whether to be appreciative or jealous The whole class could have been shrunk down into a single lecture in the planning and management class.

      2. Well, I did keep listening. It was kind of comforting, especially if you’ve worked on the other side the of the events or moments usually described from the protagonists’ view. He DID polish silver, which I am contemplating as part of getting ready for the holidays.

  22. I am currently reading Robinette Kowal’s the Spare Man, a homage to 1930s mysteries set in space.
    My problem with this type of mystery novel is that the deceased is often little more than a cipher and that’s very much the case here.
    I am tagging along enjoying the vista but I am not feeling very invested in knowing who did it.

    1. I also read The Spare Man on the plane ride back from Croatia. It’s Mary Robinette Kowal’s homage to The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett, which I finally read just a month or so ago, and enjoyed. I think I mentally kept comparing the two, which may not have helped my enjoyment, because the characters were quite different, in addition to taking place on a spaceship passenger liner instead of 1930’s New York. The Spare Man did have some interesting twists and turns and I’d give it a solid B, but I’ve enjoyed some of her other stuff more.

  23. This reading week started with ‘Amongst Our Weapons’ by Ben Aaronovitch, which I liked a lot for many reasons. If anyone else has read, did you also feel this book is setting up a spinoff featuring Nightingale? Or is that just me *wishing* for a spinoff? If he’s retiring from the Folly and he’s getting younger, surely he’ll be having adventures and I am so there for that. Though I do hope the getting younger part has a limit.

    Re-read Jennifer Crusie’s ‘Maybe This Time’ which I think I liked even better than I did the first time I read it.

    Then there were six variously-long M/M romance things, one of which was really quite bad, the others quite good, none set off fireworks.

    In ‘not romance:’ ‘Siren Queen’ by Nghi Vo, featuring a Chinese-American actress in a world where Hollywood is a hellscape of violent enchantments. I got quite invested, but possibly not in the character the author aimed me at. Then ‘The Hidden Palace’ by Helene Wecker, a sequel to ‘The Golem and the Jinni,’ which is just amazingly packed full of history, myth, and folklore. The two central characters go through bad and good changes, ending in a pretty strong & satisfying position. Finally, ‘We Were Dreamers’ by Simu Liu – memoir by the star of Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ which happens to be my favorite Marvel movie to date. Engaging voice, absorbing story.

    1. Thank you for the reminder about The Golem and the Jinni, Chachal – I read it a while ago, and I think I’d like to reread it then read The Hidden Palace.

    2. I need to reread the Weapons book again. It felt a little all-over-the-place to me, but I often don’t get a Rivers book until I’ve read it a couple of times, they’re so dense with detail and action. One of my favorite series.

    3. Wait… Is Nightingale really growing younger? Which book indicates this? [I’m behind in the series, waiting for holds]. And can somebody tell me if Nightingale actually knew about the river gods/esses of London before Peter and his abilities arrived on scene? I am so out of connection with this series because I’m waiting for my molassesesque library system to catch up with things, which… well, being a physical book purist is probably a handicap….

      1. Nightingale fought in WWII and he now looks like he’s in his forties? fifties? So yes, he continues to look younger. He’s not sure why.
        Nightingale definitely knew about the Rivers before Peter showed up; he sends Peter to Mama Thames to negotiate and he and Father Thames go way back. I think Nightingale knows about damn near everything.
        I think the reason he took Peter to train is because he wants to retire. What he’d do in retirement could be pretty interesting. Peter is practically Nightingale now, father of two kids, mentoring Abigail, running the Folly. That’s satisfying but not as much fun as Peter as a young cop, discovering magic, meeting Bev, dealing with all kinds of supernatural surprises. He’s almost to the point where nothing surprises him anymore, although given his history with the Folly, that’s not that odd. He’s seen a lot.

  24. Terry Pratchett’s “Going Postal” made me laugh delightedly but was also a little nostalgic.

    For romance I loved “Bookseller’s Boyfriend” by Heidi Cullinan, which was lovely, compassionat and kind. Author as character isn’t my favourite trope but I loved Rasul and his struggle with the book of his soul and his Brazilian-Syrian heritage. And I loved cardigan-wearing Jacob whose hyper-aware of the dangerrs of meeting his favorite author. Plus a lovely community.

    1. Going Postal may be my favorite Pratchett, which is saying something because I love Pratchett.

  25. I read a couple of Alexis Hall books–A Lady for a Duke, which I loved, and Something Fabulous which was hilarious. The obliviousness of the protagonist in Something Fabulous was so beautifully done and so completely over the top, and I loved every minute of it, which was kind of odd because the obliviousness of the protagonist in Ali Hazelwood’s Love on the Brain really got on my nerves after a while.

    Also A Rogue’s Company by Allison Montclair – I love this series. And an exquisite children’s novel set during the Second World War, The Swallows’ Flight by Hilary McKay.

    Now I’m rereading Lois Bujold’s Sharing Knife series.

    1. I also liked A Lady for a Duke which I read.

      To Something Fabulous I listened and didn’t like it at all – which I now attribute to me not liking how it was narrated. The MCs felt so ridiculous to me.
      Same with Hall’s BDSM book: I reacted badly to the narrators one of whome I absolutely didn’t like. And the second one seemed okay but got on my nerves rather quickly (seemed whiny).
      I might have reacted totally different to both books by reading it myself. I might give them another try when I have the time…

      In a similar vein:
      Last week I listened to KJ Charles’ new title which I got on audible in spite of the horrendous price of almost 10 Euro for 2,5 hours. One of the narrators is one of my all-time-favourites and he delivered perfectly as usual. Only by direct contrast did I notice just how good he ist because there was a second narrator and he was just not in the same league.
      Needless to say that just because of that fact the listening pleasure fell bit short. It’s a nice story though but for me not in the same league as some of her other novellas. But then I’ve read them instead of listening…

      the brilliant narrator (imho) is Joe Jameson/James Johnson (and I’m sure I’ve found him under a third name) – he doesn’t simply “read” the books. For me he makes them come alive.

      Rant over – I guess I’m just overly picky.

      1. It’s really amazing what power the narrator has, isn’t it? I used to rip through books, when I could read at the public service desk of my day job, but as I get older I get slower and slower through reading books. It’s still my preference for something I know I will love, or want to love. Nothing beats the experience.

        But most of my reading is through audiobook anymore. I can listen as I drive or clean or cook. And yes, the actor makes or breaks the experience even for a story that I already love.

          1. I cannot listen to audio books (or podcasts) while I drive or clean or cook or even eat, because I can’t understand enough through the background noise. (Apparently I chew really loudly, or else it’s because my jaw is really close to my ears.Other people do not seem to have this problem.) I listen to my podcasts at work at lunch (I have an hour and I only eat for ten minutes) while my eyes and hands are busy playing word games. Also when I go for walks, which doesn’t happen much any more as my bad foot gets worse.

          2. Absolutely agree.
            That’s why I am so thrilled by narrators that get it just right.
            Very often, it’s a miss for me with novels.
            It’s not only the livelyness but often also the accent, the timbre etc. If done right it can be magic.
            And a relieve for when my hands have to be busy but my brain longs for input.

  26. I’m reading Tell Me Lies again, could be the 4th or 5th time. I forgot how brilliant that book is. It might be my favourite Crusie, and the competition is tough. It used to be Bet Me, then Welcome To Temptation, and now it’s Tell Me Lies.

  27. I’ve been listening to the Corinna Chapman series as audiobooks, and they are as comforting in that format as they are printed.

    I also read more Megan Derr, and particularly enjoyed Tournament of Losers. It’s another M/M fantasy with an interesting social premise. Once a generation the poor of this particular kingdom have an opportunity to compete for the chance to marry into the aristocracy, preventing inbreeding and bringing new perspectives to government. The hero enters because he needs the living allowance that the competitors receive to cover his father’s latest debts. Light and fun.

  28. Reread Golden Enclaves and liked it even more the second time around. Left a new comment on the spoiler thread instead of here so as not to ruin anyone’s fun. Am in the middle of Hate Machine by Stephen Blackmoore. Engaging, so far. Just finished The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict. It’s about a group of relatives playing a game that will result in one of them inheriting the manor. As the title implies, murder ensues. This book strongly reminds me of the Inheritance Games series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. I enjoyed that series and I enjoyed this book too.

    1. Just finished Hate Machine. It was good as far as it went but it ended on a big cliffhanger. Not only that but what I read was more like the first half or two-thirds of a book than a complete, standalone book. I was not expecting that at all. Hmm.

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