This is a Good Book Thursday, November 10, 2022

Well, I totally ballsed up Working Wednesday, distracted by the election on Tuesday, and moving my usual phone call with Mollie to Wednesday, and trying to figure out cuts to Lavender and how we were going to organize the new book this time through with Bob, and I just forgot it was Wednesday at all, until the sun started to go down (so early) and I thought, “Better check the comments to make sure nobody did anything horrible” and it turned out somebody did: Me. I forgot Working Wednesday.

So here’s Good Book Thursday, right on time! I haven’t read anything recently because it’s been nuts here except for a YA fantasy that was good but not re-readable so I won’t mention it. And now I have to go cut Lavender and revise the start we made on Rocky Start (prophetic) because Bob wants to finish the book by Thanksgiving. And you wonder why I’m scatter brained.

So what did you read this week? (Aside from the election results if you’re American. I’d say it’s tense being an American right now, but then there’s Ukraine. At least our parties aren’t bombing each other. Yet.)

215 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 10, 2022

  1. I have read or reread:

    1637: The Transylvanian Decision by Flint and Waters. If I’m not mistaken, this may be the last book by the late Eric Flint. There are other stories in the Ring of Fire Universe already in the pipeline, but nobody seems to know where they go from here.

    Grey Wolf’s Variation on a Theme Book 4 serialization continues. I continue reading it.

    I finished Bob’s Phoebe and the Traitor. It’s marred by poor preefrooding, but otherwise an okay story. I did not like the ending. I have Bob’s Bodyguard of Lies: The Cellar: Policing of the World of Covert Operations open, and I’m very annoyed at the pacing and plotting.

    Next week I’m going to dig out some old favorite for comfort.

    Official Weigh-In Day #82. Less than OWID#81, so yay for that.

  2. The indoor farmer is now dealing with Feed Me Seymour Thursday. I’m just happy that the fever broke and I got at least eight hours sleep, interrupted. Happy GooBooThu everyone!

  3. I’m reading Phoebe and the Traitor in between Nanowrimo writing. Enjoying it so far. You definitely have to read it realizing – it’s not Jenny & Bob 0 it’s Bob. There is a fairly high body count so far and I’m not sure where things are going for Carpenter or for Lisa Livia.
    Otherwise I am reading things about poetry structure as my wip protag writes sonnets. And some stuff about disc golf because her love interest plays. And window treatments because that is what she does for a living. And Maine because the haunted house with the kid at risk is in Maine. (contemporary gothic romance)
    Giving it a couple of days before I pursue the election results. Majorly disappointed because my fellow Floridians kept De stupidis in office. Funny that Trump is warning him not to run for president, though.

    Arghers, I’m looking for a quote or book passage I read years ago where whoever describes their mother as the rock they beat themselves against to become stronger.


    1. Don’t stop with asking here. Take it to Smart Bitches and “Help a bitch out.” I don’t know if it’s a wider audience and it probably overlaps, but it’s another audience.

    2. I just googled strong mom quotes and scrolled over 100 quotes and could not find it. Doesn’t mean it is not there. Or maybe I rolled past it. Each one was my favorite until coming to the next.

    3. I’m not sure if I want to read a former Jenny-and-Bob book in a series without Jenny, honestly. They both have their strengths but if Jenny’s level of snark isn’t in there, it sounds less fun.

      I still look forward to Liz and Vince though!

  4. Rereading this week: Sarina Bowen’s The Accidentals and Helen Hoang’s The Kiss Quotient and The Bride Test: all great. But I gave HH’s The Heart Principle another go, and even skimming most of the second half, still couldn’t make it work. So have marked it not to read again. It’s such a pity: Quan’s a great character, and I was looking forward to his story.

    1. Heart Principle got way too dark for me and I am still upset about the lack of trigger warning. Not the author’s fault, but that was some extremely heavy content.

        1. The romance definitely doesn’t work. It feels very tacked on. I know that it is a very self-biographical work and probably something she needed to write, but I think that the framework of romance is wrong for it and she got pigeonholed because of her previous successes.

  5. Just read this in the NYT:
    “The average number of books that Americans read in 2021, based on a Gallup poll, was 13.”

    Those of you who are Americans are clearly well above average. But then, we knew that. No idea what the numbers are for other countries, but we knew all of you were above average, too.

    I mean, really? A book a month?

    1. Check out history for my library has an amount of 1223 since 2012 that included dvds. I’m not going to delete it for it gives me a reference of what I’ve read. My phone keeps a tally also my account with Amazon which I add or delete from somewhere around 400 since retiring. Doesn’t mean I’ve read them all some are in a holding pattern.

    2. Well, I know a lot of people who don’t read books at all. (Including super smart, highly educated, and literate people who are just very busy with other things). So a book a month actually sounds decent. I feel like this group is completely ruining the curve. Hee hee.

      1. Yep, I know those people too. My BFF reads a book a year I think? He’s a voracious reader but not of books.

        1. I have previously observed that my old workplace, my old coworkers, would be considered functionally illiterate were it not for Field and Stream or Guns & Ammo or the Tractor Supply Catalog. (Or other similar titles. And lest I forget, the Bass Pro Catalog.)

    3. Australians used to be the biggest buyers of books in the world. This statistic is from over 20 years ago – I’ve no idea if it’s still true.

      Having just moved house after renting the same place for 14 years – and having to move again by the end of January because I could only find a temporary place – I seriously doubt that most people have anywhere near as many books as I do (lots of fiction, dwarfed by books on knitting, sewing, spinning, weaving, embroidery…). Lockdown certainly contributed!

    4. Yes, I just read that article too. I don’t know how the score is in Germany but it makes you wonder whether you should even bother to churn out another book … but then again, I’d be so sad if I gave up writing.

      1. Please don’t be discouraged! It is important to keep in mind that while there are many people who don’t read at all and many that read only a little, there are also those of us that read 200-300 books a year and a lot of people in between.

    5. Did they count ebooks, or audiobooks, my DGD only reads books 📚 when she visits me (I have a lot she likes)
      Lots of older people don’t read because of eye 👁 problems.

    6. By police statistics, most domestic crimes happen in homes with no books. If there are one or two bookshelves in a house, domestic crimes are extremely rare in such a place. Think about the rate of domestic crimes in America. Jenny’s reading stats ‘sort-of’ explains it.

    7. Counting audiobooks, and I do, I’m up to 48 this year. I don’t have last year’s list with me, but it was long.

      Still, 13 is at least one a month which isn’t shabby considering all the things people have to juggle just to keep going.

      On the subject of books, I have a hold on the new Miss Marple anthology. My library had 5 e copies and when I put my name down last month I was- wait for it- 204th in line! You read that right. I don’t know what’s going on with that. But when I checked my status yesterday I discovered that they had since purchased 24 more copies! So I might get to read it this year. There are now 261 people waiting for this book. I need to call my library and get the scoop on this.

    8. When you consider that I average 500 books per year (about 180 new, the rest rereads) that scares me. Where do they get these numbers? Do audiobooks count? I’m going to go look that up…

      1. My mother in law didn’t read books at all. I don’t think she read newspapers. Then my father in law insisted they move to florida and to my great surprise she read a book, I assume out of boredom. It was Barbara Cartland.

        She was an Italian American woman who maybe didn’t even graduate high school. She worked but her life was her family — 2 sons mom and 8 siblings. She got all her information from TV news (not Fox). She was smart and caring but she had a very limited circle of interests.

        1. I went through a Barbara Cartland phase around age 13-14. Fond memories. Anyone else feel nostalgic about a reading phase? Like when you discovered, oh, Victoria Holt for the first time? Or the Anne of Green Gables series? Sigh. You can’t get that back because you’ve grown as a reader. You need new reading adventures, but the memory of the delicious excitement of discovering a new author remains.

          1. Anne of Green Gables, Laura Wilder Ingalls, finding out there was more then one Katy Did book and reading the series. Georgette Heyer, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, Loads of Romance novels in the library before I got more discriminating and cherry picking the really good authors from M&B and Silhouette… who all went on to have great careers, Nora Roberts, Jayne Ann Krentz, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jennifer Crusie

  6. Enjoyed “Storm Echo” by Nalini Singh – I like pretty much everything of hers and this was a strong couple. I also really like Ena Mercant who held her family together under Silence and would love it if she got her own romance at some point.

    “The Care & Feeding of Waspish Widows” by Olivia Waite was a good historical f/f romance and I really enjoyed the details of the arts of beekeeping, engraving and protest. There was something about the resolution with the antagonist that didn’t quite work for me nonetheless I enjoyed the book overall.

    Bujold’s “Assassins of Thasalon” was simply delightful.

    Ginn Hale’s collection “The Long Past & Other Stories” was very satisfying. Ginn Hale’s work can be a bit dark, but these three novellas all ended with happy queer couples. A fascinating world where floods and dinosaurs poured into the 19th century through magical misadventure and people are working out how to live in a vastly altered environment.

    1. I really enjoyed Olivia Waite’s A Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics, so it’s good to hear her other titles also hold up. I hadn’t heard of Ginn Hale’s work, but that description means I have a new book to track down asap. Thanks 🙂

    2. I just did a full Psy-Changeling world read, but I skipped Kiss of Snow because I loathe that book. I thought Storm Echo was good, but the angst was a little over the top, even for Nalini. I did, however, like Last Guard even more on this read!

      Do you read Guild Hunter as well?

      1. Yes I really liked Last Guard as well and loved Ena Mercant in that. The series really satisfies my desire for angst, but I think you have to be in the mood for it and then they’re very satisfying. There are a couple I find weaker than the others but I don’t think there are any I loathe! did a piece recently on how the succession of couples allow there to be a community that is actively and continuously saving their world and I like that.

        I like the ever-increasingly erroneously named Guild Hunter series too. I love Elena and Rapheal and the world-building.

  7. I finished the Charlie Adhara Big Bad Wolf series, and I agree this series favourably compares to KJ Charles’ Will Darling series – two partners working together to solve mysterious events with as the long and complex arc of their relationship develops. Yes, one is a shifter wolf but honestly it’s not at all silly (as many paranormal books are) and the world-building including the conflict between the species is deeply satisfying. Solid writing, great characters, nuanced romance and just enough sex to steam it up.

    I also finished K.L. Noone’s Character Bleed series – gentle, sweet – a three book series where the two leads mirror the historical relationship they portray in a film. Was lovely to compare this to Alexandra Caluen’s The Ghost of Carlos Gardel, also set against the making of a film. Character Bleed was perhaps a little more leisurely than I like – but on the other hand, half of the final book was actually bonus stories which were almost my favourite part.

    I read Wear It Like a Crown – but I much preferred Lilah Pace’s Royal duology for a prince/commoner pairing. Nothing wrong with the romance itself, but Pace peered more closely into the thorny issues inherent a gay prince coming out, and frankly into the life of a royal. The prince in Wear It didn’t appear to have any royal duties or protocol, lived on his own in a low security flat (!) and his bodyguard made only rare appearances. Really? When Meghan Markle was filming Suits in Toronto she lived a block away from my house and we always knew when Harry was in town because the paps were in the alley and two burly guys sat in a large SUV in front of her house (in my somewhat granola hood one of our neighbours tapped on the car window to helpfully inform said guys that idling the engine was not good for the environment) so the versimilitude of the fictional prince’s situation seemed off.

    1. Glad you liked Charlie Adhara. I agree with your recommendation. Plus I find myself thinking about the early stories, so I think that they merit a spot in the coveted reread pile.

        1. Oh, just the first two, really. I love the tension before a couple really commits to being together. I will probably go back and reread now that I know how it ends, see what I missed.

          1. I caved and bought the first one on audible. I am out of Hoopla borrows for the month already. So sad. I may have to own them all.

          2. Well I was just thinking that how much I still enjoyed their relationship even after they committed. Because they were still Working Various Things Out. So there was always a unique flavour to each book not simply “oh now we’re in love and being all gooey together and having great sex”.

    2. I enjoyed the Adhara series as well. Thanks to whoever recommended it first. It seemed like a pretty thoughtful exploration of a working/romantic relationship in general, with the added complication that one of the parties is a werewolf.

        1. I found it on bookstagram. Karou’s library has some good reccs. Sometimes she goes too dark and/or fringe for me, but I tend to agree on her assessment of what we both have read.

          1. It’s just a popular hashtag, for bookish people who like to talk about books on social media. Karou’s library is an account. She takes pretty pictures of books she recommends with her dogs and makes specialty candles based on her favorite books. Mostly she does m/m, but she likes the dark and twisty. I hesitate there. But she just finished Kiera Andrews new fantasy, so there is some cross over.

          2. You could use a gravatar, like those of us with our own logos. It was easy – I did it years ago, because I liked the feeling of connection I had with people here who had them, like Deb and MJ. Was then a but disconcerted to find my photo popping up when I posted a query on an Adobe forum.

          3. I need a new one. The one I have is over twelve years old. There’ve been some changes. If I ever put on make up again, I’ll take another.

          4. Tammy, Gravatar is a site where you can upload a picture, and it will display that picture for you on any WordPress sites, and a lot of other sites across the internet when you are logged in to comment.

            You link the picture to your email address on your free gravatar account, so anywhere you log in with that email address can show that picture as your little thumbnail on your comments.

            You can also upload a few different pictures and specify which you want to use where, though I’ve not figured out how to do so myself.

          5. If you login with a different email address it doesn’t show the picture, so I really should update my Gravatar account with my new email address if I want you all to see the picture of my old cat instead of the automatically generated green face icon.

          6. And there she is, my old cat Pippin, a very floofy rescue Persian in grey and white and cream patches.
            She looked like a little scared lion-rat when I got her from the shelter, with everything except her head and a tuft at the end of her tail shaved because her hair had been tangled and matted too bad to comb.
            She turned out to be very fluffy and even after years still a bit timid, but so happy to have her own safe home and be companionable on her own chair beside me.

          7. Right? I associate people with their avatars here, at least the colors. And I have come to think of my bandaid mouth and blue hexagon fondly.

    3. Agreement on ‘Wear it Like a Crown.’ I enjoyed it for what it was, but of the royal M/M I’ve read I’m positive the one(s) I’ll go back to are the ‘His Royal’ duology. It just took the whole situation seriously, in a way that was respectful to everybody.

    4. I also read the Charlie Adhara Big Bad Wolf and the Monster Hunt series. I loved them! Thanks to all here who recommended them.

  8. I am trying to get into the mood to make Christmas ornaments for my upcoming show, so I listened to Kiera Andrews 4 book bundle of Christmas/ holiday m/m romance. Christmas is not my thing, but these were lovely. Sweet and emotional and cozy.

    I also dnfed a lot of books on my Kindle, but that was good because some of them have been sitting there for years.

    And as far as election results go, I am pretty happy as a Pennsylvanian. Both senate and governor race went blue. I got up yesterday morning on a breath of relief. Go gen Z! Apparently the younger generation really showed up. It’s impressive, as one of the coworkers of my generation still doesn’t know what a primary is…

      1. Right? I am thrilled. Fetterman isn’t perfect, but I like him. And his ads and social media are so funny.

    1. And now I’ve downloaded that Christmas book although I never really feel obliged to get into a Christmas-y mood with my reading but what the heck.

  9. Congratulations on the blue. I’m in Allentown next week – is there anywhere good to eat there??

    1. What day? That’s about an hour from me, but I don’t think that I have ever been there. They do have a Dick Blick though…

      1. Wednesday/Thursday – in and out, intense the whole time except for dinner with the team. Dick Blick? that’s a chain?

        1. Lol. Another time then. I can’t recommend any restaurants there. And yes, Dick Blick doesn’t sound particularly arts, but I used to drool over their glossy catalogs. Wistful sigh.

  10. I read #4 of the Survivor’s Club – Only Enchanting. I thought it was much more engaging than the low stakes of #3. There was tension, there was drama and then in short order the MCs get their act together and make things work. It felt like things sewed up neatly pretty quickly but maybe that was because I stayed up too late trying to finish the book. I had not thought I would like Flavian, based on his characterization in the previous books, but he turned out to be a winner of a character.

    1. Number 4 was my favorite of that series. The heroine was very believable, tiptoeing gently among the gentry and staying practical. And I finally understood what was the war injury background for Flavian, who in earlier books just seemed a little cheeky to me.

  11. It was a mystery reading week for me. I very much enjoyed the holiday hijinks in Dashing Through the Snowbirds by Donna Andrews. Meg and her family are so warm and inviting that it’s pure pleasure to spend a few hours with them. I also read A Certain Darkness by Anna Lee Huber, a post WWI mystery in which Verity and her husband investigate something that makes them rethink their allegiances. It was worth reading but gloomy and I’m getting impatient for the big bad of the series to get his comeuppance. As a palate cleanser, I read Mrs Claus and the Evil Elves by Liz Ireland, a cozy murder mystery set in the North Pole. I’m bored with cozies in general but this still held my interest, what with elves getting murdered, reindeer going on strike, snowmen whizzing around on hoverboards, and the like. Now I’m starting on Peril at the Exposition by Nev March, a mystery that features a young, but strong, Parsee Indian woman going in search of her missing PI husband at the Chicago World’s Fair. So far, it’s very good.

  12. Jenny — A publishing question — Do you and Bob plan to do book tours to promote your trilogy? Are book tours solely for books published by a publishing house?

    Of course, I’m wondering whether you’ll ever come to Massachusetts.

    1. Elizabeth, I can tell you as an author (although not one of Jenny’s stature) that book tours are a rare thing. Self-pubbed authors mostly don’t do them because they’re expensive, and hard to set up, and the publishers only do them for the biggest authors with the biggest books.

      Which doesn’t mean they wouldn’t for Jenny and a comeback book, but it would be a couple of years from now at best, because publishing works slowly.

      1. Lois McMaster Bujold, in her claimed “semi-retirement,” doesn’t do book tours. However, she lives in Minneapolis, home of Uncle Hugo’s, a famous science fiction bookstore that was burned down in the wake of the George Floyd riots (why burn a bookstore?!?) and since rebuilt. She signs books there.

        1. Very glad to hear of the resurrection of Uncle Hugo’s. I’ve never been there, and unless my arthritis miraculously disappears and I can travel in comfort, I never will, but such a…signpost of the future? Not sure what I mean.

      2. 1. Stop with the stature thing. Anybody who can write a book is amazing.
        2. It’ll be a cold day in hell when I do another book tour. They’re exhausting and stressful and not worth it.

        I had a thought the other day. If Bob and I hadn’t done so much touring, we might have kept writing together. We’re not good with real life, but if we can stay a couple of states away from each other, we do just fine. But touring . . . dear god that was awful. I remember Bob picking my bag up off an airport baggage claim, looking at my face which was probably ready to drop off my skull, and hearing him say, “We’re living the dream.” Nightmare. NIGHTMARE.

        No more book tours.

        1. How about a book/writer’s conference? Could we coax you into going to one of those? I still have this dream about all of us meeting up there….

          1. We could always pick a place and time and have lunch. A private book club. I know a fire hall that rents for cheap.

        2. I like Lupe’s idea of an Argh lunch. Yes, It would be frustrating to not meet our online pals from different time zones and continents, but the chance to meet some of the people we’ve laughed with and bitched to for years sounds wonderful. And if we are less compatible IRL that we have been here, we can always blame it on the indignities of modern travel.

        3. My friend Tamora Pierce was nearly killed doing a book tour her publishers set up that went across the country in a short amount of time. (Literally, she ended up collapsing and in hospital, and eventually had to go home in the middle. The schedule they’d set up was ridiculous, especially for a woman of a certain age with some health issues.) She’ll never do another one either.

          1. I had one that got so bad that I had hysterics on the phone with my editor. Very poorly planned. She offered to bring me home, but I kept going. God, that was an awful tour.

            I’ve never done that before or since, but it was just too much.

        1. Har. Llewellyn doesn’t pay people to do book tours. At least not me. And I didn’t mean anything negative by comparing my stature (or lack thereof) as an author to Jenny. It’s an indisputable fact that I am a solidly mid-list author who has never been on the best-seller list. This has nothing to do with my level of talent (which I like to delude myself is fairly high, at least compared to people who aren’t Jennifer Crusie). It has to do with the way the business of publishing works. No judgment. Just reality.

          1. I don’t think anybody pays authors to do book tours. They just pay for everything.
            Since I don’t drink, I was a cheap date, but I used to do serious damage to minibars just for the chocolate.

    2. I have a signed copy of Maybe This Time. I went to Louisville, KY to hear Jenny speak at a lovely bookstore.
      Same with Susan Elizabeth Phillips @ a bookstore on Memphis TN.
      The Memphis bookstore is now closed. I think the closing of bookstores like that are part of why there are fewer book signing tours.

      1. Also Covid, the changes in the industry, the fact that they’re really expensive, and the bigger fact that they’re really hard on writers.

    3. No.


      I’m working backward through the comments, so farther down I wrote more, but I hate book tours, and they’re expensive, and publishers aren’t doing many any more. So the books would have to be huge successes to get a publisher to want us to tour, and then I would say, “No.” I never again want to wake up in strange bedroom and not know what state I’m in.

        1. I live in the middle of freaking nowhere. Also I don’t know if we still have a bookstore. Covid took out a lot of local businesses. I should probably check on that.

          1. We need to support the indies that are left. Last week I bought 2 calendars because 1) It has been really hard to find anything with any personality in the format I like and 2) Although Unabridged is celebrating their 40th Anniversary, they also had to cut back their floor space and inventory to survive the pandemic. I’ll stick to my budget tomorrow.

  13. I’ve been flailing around trying to get into something this week but I found The Princess and the Player via bookbub and it was one of those read the excerpt and want to keep reading experiences so I’m reading that now. Also read Eros by Night while waiting for Seconds/Four Kings to come out, a fun short story. And recommended by local gardeners, I have the Storey Guide to chickens and the ABC and YXZ of bees to browse intermittently. Love the “fowl language” section in the chicken book.

    1. I was so impressed with Eros by Night. I was so emotionally committed to the characters in such a short amount of time. Also lots of smutty fun, but the emotions! I was not expecting that.

    2. I really enjoyed the found family aspect of that book. A lot. I thought it was beautifully done, and the characters were pretty fully fleshed out. She is improving as a writer in leaps and bounds.

      1. Same, I picked up Beauty and the Baller as soon as I finished because found family is my jam.

  14. I think it’s funny that you forgot Working Wednesday because you’ve been working so hard!

  15. I’m re-reading Ilona Andrew’s INNKEEPER series. Such a unique, fun, romantic (though that’s drawn out over a few books) read. The next comes out in December and I have pre-ordered it.

    1. I didn’t like the latest of the INNKEEPER books. I read it free in installments on their website. I own all the other books in paper format and love them, but I’m not going to buy this one. There is no protagonist in there. Dina and Sean are just walking around, welcoming guests and building exotic quarters, but nothing happens to them.

      1. I haven’t read it yet. I don’t like the weekly format, and they tighten up the story after it’s finished. But honestly that sounds right up my alley. Sometimes with long running series I really want to visit a calmer period with the characters. I feel like they deserve a rest. I don’t know if I can read JD Robb anymore, now that I know all these things happen to them one right after the other. It’s stressful and I feel bad for the mcs.

  16. I’m reading Isn’t It Bromantic, by Lyssa Kay Adams. Fun romances with an unusual twist–the protagonists (this is the fourth book in the series) are all guys who belong to a book club that uses romance books to fix their relationships. The fifth one just dropped this week. They’re funny and sweet.

    I’m also beta reading the second book in a trilogy by these two writers whose names I can’t remember. It’s damned good, and so far I can’t find much to criticize.

  17. The 13 books a year estimate is depressing on so many fronts, but as a writer, struggling to get noticed, it is almost soul-crushing. So very many titles are published every single day, and then once you’re done subdividing the reading public into those who want your genre, the number of potential readers/buyers is small, with the plethora of choices available to them immense. Makes me want to crawl into bed with a good Jennie Crusie book and forget about everything. Or go back to the ARC of Darynda Jones’s latest book which makes me laugh even while listening to what’s going on in Arizona.

    1. Don’t despair. I reopened my Goodreads account partway through the year and made it passed 100 books without even trying. Most of them are audio, but it counts. I’m not sure who they polled, but book people are still out there.

    2. This is reason #3 why, any time I get feedback indicating someone has actually read one of my books, I’m on cloud 9 for a while. 🙂

  18. I’ve been listening to The Two Towers, the middle book of the Lord of the Rings. I’d downloaded other books, but my phone was not downloading them in Audible or Hoopla or on the Kindle app (or reliably calling out or receiving incoming calls). One new phone later (1/2 off! phew) I’ve been able to download new books, so I’ve got The Bank of Goodliness by David Luddington, and The Bodyguard, by Katherine Center, which was recommended here.

    So happily next week I’ll have more to talk about than Frodo and Sam staggering towards Mt. Doom. Which is pretty good, of course.

  19. I read Miranda Liasson’s Coming Home to Seashell Harbor romance, and liked the characters (and the ocean!) enough to start the second in the series, Seaglass Summer.

    Also read Jean Meltzer’s Mr. Perfect on Paper. Bonus with that is getting a refresher on the High Holy Days and lots on customs of Orthodox Jews, especially of course regarding courtship and marriage.

    Election demands fun reading. Ohio is a stupid state; I’m not happy with our newest senator, but am thrilled for PA.

  20. I didn’t have much time for fiction as I did quite some reading up on the medical stuff. Also did some proofreading for ds’s school paper (final year, first scientific work), and spent a considerable amount of time torturing him with queries for verfication of what he wrote (once a historian always a historian…). He’d forgotten to include those when writing the text. Which wouldn’t do, so he had to collect all the references – i.e. read eveything again and again.
    He was very compliant and at some point was almost buried below books.

    I didn’t have the brain space to read a lot.
    I’ve finished “Milo” and “Oz” by Lily Morton, but am a bit tired of her formula.

    But Jane’s mentioning/recommending Eli Easton’s novella “Unwrapping Hank” made me try that novella. I really like Eli Easton, it’s not all about the sweaty part of love, more about the meeting/falling for each other. Sometimes it’s a miss, but for me it’s always worth trying out her stories.
    Unwrapping Hank, I had tried a long time ago, but because big, muscly hunks are so totally not my thing, especially if their political leanings are towards the colour red, I hadn’t continued.
    Now I did.
    The author made the romance work, Schwarzeneggeresque type (bodytypewise a no no no) notwithstanding. Her hunk Hank is very gentle and kind.

    Also, it’s a christmas story and I could do with getting into a bit of xmas mood: our supermarkets are stacking all sorts of xmassy stuff since September. Day time temps have been up to 19 degree Celsius last week… which is not helping.
    The city’s christmas tree has been set up last weekend. And the first xmas market is about to open this weekend with the majority following around the last weekend in November.

    I’ve downloaded the follow-up Midwinter Night’s Dream to read up about Hank’s hippy brother. Eli Eston has some pictures (mood board or similar) on her site and the ones for Micah and Leo work for me far better than the ones for Hank.
    In spite of this I’m not as drawn into the story which has to do that I’m back in the office and swamped with work.

    There’re a couple of must-sees on Netflix etc, too (Young Royals, Enola Holmes, My Policeman, maybe the Crown only I want to stay away from too depressing topics).

    Plus there are some “real” books, not e-books, that are piling up and waiting to be read.

    Plus there’s the one book on Roman military medicine and the one about “archeology of hospitals in the Middle Ages”. And the paper on doctors in medieval cities…
    No shortage of reading material. Only a severe shortage of time.

    BTW: goodreads tells me, I’ve read 56 books so far. I hadn’t entered the non-fiction books nor have I set a date for all of the stories in 2022. But at least I’m above average countrywise 😉

          1. Unfortunately, Jane is right. I haven’t come across general overviews on medical history in English larely thougv I’m sure there are since I searched for my home town in Southern Bavaria. In some conference publications on e.g. the history of hospitals there are contributions by English, French, Italian etc historians on the situation in their countries but even they might be difficult to get hold of as most are by German publishers.
            The sources are – as Jane has said – in a version of German that is between Middle and modetn High German and pretty difficult to understand.
            If I het far enough in my readings I might follow the idea a colleague of mine has planted in my mind to write a Wikipedia article on the situation at least in my city, but I don’t geel I’ve found out enough information yet.

  21. So far this year I’ve read 363 books.

    This week it’s been several re-reads, several shorts, and ‘The Rock Star’s Guide to Getting Your Man’ by Ashlyn Kane; M/M featuring a the titular 30yo rock star and a 32yo forest ranger who was the other guy’s BFF (and secret crush) growing up. They reconnect when rock star takes an impromptu getaway near the town where he used to live and surprise! Ranger is not all that straight! 🙂 As with the other Kane books I’ve read, the entertainment-industry details are a) realistic and b) well mixed into the progress of the romance. My only complaint was that a proposal was teased but not delivered. It’s definitely a HEA for the two main characters, and the rock star’s professional problems (many) are also resolved in satisfying ways.

    One of the re-reads that might not even be a re-read: ‘Sometimes a Rogue’ by Mary Jo Putney. It was very predictable without being at all familiar, if that makes sense. Obviously the disowned Honourable Bow Street Runner was going to end up with the title. Obviously the fake betrothal would become real. Obviously the Irish nationalist kidnappers would show up at the end for a violent climax. Obviously the heroine’s rich noble connections would help the new heir get a grip on his encumbered estate, and the hostile grandmother would become an ally. I was pleased with the heroine – smart, resourceful, brave, and competent. Set 1812-13 and if you didn’t know that was smack in the middle of the Napoleonic Wars you wouldn’t learn it from this book. Enjoyed it as the book equivalent of a TV rom-com. 🙂

    1. So if we’ve already read a book but read it again does that count as one or two books? Asking for Sesame Streets “The Count”.

          1. Two…two…two readings. One…one…one book, but the second reading was even better, so two…two…two it is!

      1. I count every book, even if I read the same book three times in a year!

        re: so fast – I literally don’t do anything besides work, write, and read. Well, I occasionally go outside and pull weeds.

  22. Back to rereading snippets of books; older Balogh and Cruise books. Don’t know how many books Canadians read a year. Many friends read more than thirteen a year.

    Woke up Wednesday morning to the election results. Huge sigh of relief, particularly Fetterman’s win.

    1. Apparently we read the same number of books per year as Americans – but here’s an interesting sub-factoid: Canadian women read an average of 15.7 books in 2021, while men read only 9.5. Don’t know if that’s the same in America or not.

  23. I read Robert Crais’ new Elvis Cole mystery, Racing the Light. Pretty good.

    P.C. Hodgell’s latest Kencyrath, Deathless Gods. You just can’t send Jame anywhere.

    And I read Peril in Paris, Rhys Bowen’s latest Her Royal Spyness mystery. Okay, but not her best.

  24. I’m a fan of Carlene O’Connor’s “Irish Village” murder mystery series, especially as an Audible reader and the narrator for the series is wonderful to listen to. She just released a new mystery away from that series, also set in a small Irish town, “No Strangers Here,” and I am enjoying it as well. But referencing a discussion a few days ago here, I am not as taken with the reader on this book, though she hasn’t detracted me from the story. But I believe I will be purchasing this one in paperback as well.

  25. I got home last night, after a 10 day visit to Spain where I walked part of the Camino de Santiago, from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela and then spent a few days exploring Santiago before returning. I did have time to read in the airports and on the planes and fished both The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell and Moira’s Pen by Megan Whalen Turner.

      1. It was great! Some of the albergues were closed but most were open. Ditto restaurant/cafes along the route. The weather wasn’t too bad, only a couple of rainy days, and the temps in the 60’s during the daytime. I only needed my down vest in the AM or early evening. I walked from Sarria to Santiago de Compostela, a distance of 115k. I think starting in St Jean Pied de Port might be iffy at this time of year because the Pyrenees can be dangerous if it snows. I am glad I went, even though my walking companions to be were unable to go.

  26. This week, I have actually read some physical books, which is very unusual for me.

    I have read nearly every novel ever published by Sharon Shinn but there are a few young adult novels which are not on Kindle.

    I don’t like to buy used books when the author is alive as I want to give them my money but in this case, I caved in and got some of them used as it was the only way to get my hands on two out of the three I was after.

    So, I finally got to read The Safe-Keeper’s Secret, The Truth-Tellers Tale and The Dream-Maker’s Magic. They were an enjoyable read and were set in an interesting world. As always, Sharon Shinn thinks up interesting customs and original magical systems. The books can be read independently but work well as a set as there are little nods or appearances by previous protagonists. The last one is probably my favourite of the three.

    As far as her YA stuff is concerned though, I still prefer General Winston’s daughter. That one is a lovely coming of age book with a nice extremely chaste romance.

    1. I think of buying used books as making sure they go to a loving home. And I often buy duplicates to give away. Plus I usually buy them from the library book sale who use the money to buy new books… It’s the circle of life…

      And of course I am usually buying physical copies of ebooks I have bought from the author. I love the thrill of finding them in the wild…

    2. I like most Sharon Shinn’s books, including her YA The Safe-Keeper’s Secret and the other two. What I didn’t like was their covers. So I decided to make my own mock covers for all three books. You could see them here: I didn’t put the author’s name on the covers because it was my own project, and nobody asked me to do it.
      On the other hand, her latest trilogy about echos didn’t work for me. I could only finish one of them. I tried and DNFed the other two. Really sad to be disappointed in one of my favorite authors.

      1. I agree, I didn’t enjoy the Uncommon Echo books much and the last one was particularly unpleasant. In that case, I think the whole concept of the Echoes just didn’t work for me.
        A shame as she usually comes with such great concepts like the Elemental Blessings for instance or the magic in the Twelve houses series. Those two series are probably my favourite.

        1. Honestly, I tried to reread Troubled Waters, one that I loved before, and it didn’t work for me this time. I didn’t like how everyone reacted to Zoe calling Corrine’s mother on her crap. I’m not much of a one for violence, but ‘don’t rock the boat’ doesn’t work for me anymore. Must be the political climate here the last few years changing my outlook. And the last one, something about earth, didn’t work for me at all, so I have been scared to try her new stuff.

        2. I found the Echoes an intriguing concept and I liked the politics. The last one was very unpleasant, I read it as extreme body dysmorphia, but I liked Amelista and found it an interesting if not wholly successful story.

          Twelve Houses remains my favorite of her series, followed by the Shifting Circle books which are sad but beautiful too.

          1. Oh I like those also but as you say, very sad. Again, she does something original with a common trope.

            And Lupe, I like the Samaria books too but I think these days I am more sensitive to and less tolerant of the racial stereotyping of the villains. Her descriptions of them make me wince now.

          2. Oh, I didn’t think of that. I read them a long time ago. Ugh. Now I am worried about rereading them. Maybe it’s time to donate…

          3. No, they are still worth a read, I think. They are good stories and the musical aspect is just amazing really.

        3. I agree about the uncommon echo books; they did not work for me. My favorites remain the Elemental Blessings with Troubled Waters being my favorite of those.

  27. Most of my reading in the last week was re-reads: the entire Murderbot series. I tried and failed to finish several books. Only one worked: A.J Lancaster’s A Rake of His Own. It was a darn good yarn, an m/m fantasy romance coupled with a murder mystery. The only thing that spoiled it for me was too much smut. It is #5 in the series, and the other 4 books of the series didn’t prepare me for the sheer number of pages dedicated to sexual intercourse in this book. The other novels were pretty clean in comparison, besides being one continuous love story between a man (technically a fae) and a woman.

  28. Kindle + Overdrive tell me I’ve read roughly 120 new books this year. And I’ve reread a bunch. And that’s on top of a full-time job, a house and garden, art classes, and actually spending time with people. It’s a good thing I don’t watch TV or I’d never have time to sleep.

  29. I finished listening to Bill Bryson’s A Walk In The Woods, which I have read before. Still enjoyable as an audiobook, and it meant that I giggled every time Jenny mentioned the AT.

    I also read a new to me fantasy novel called The Witch Collector, by Charissa Weaks. It turned out to be part of a duology, but the immediate conflict was solved and the heroine’s primary goal achieved so I wasn’t annoyed to find out that the story wasn’t finished. (No cliffhangers!) The romance also reached a satisfying point by the end of the book. I will definitely be reading the second book, City of Ruin. A great fantasy world, interesting characters with real problems, and a satisfying conclusion.

  30. I think I must have heard of this book here on this blog — did anyone recently recommend “The Bookseller’s Boyfriend” by Heidi Cullinan?

    Anyway, mirabile dictu, I found it in my local library and just finished reading it. The first two-thirds I really really liked. It’s an m/m romance set in a small town; one MC is a reserved, sometimes shy gay man who is staggered to find that the author of his very favorite book is moving to the town as a guest professor at the local college. The other MC, that guest professor gentleman, is trying to live down a series of wild social media-drenched hard-partying scandals that happened during a long writing hiatus that has his big-city editor at her wit’s end.

    There’s a lot of really interesting in-depth discussion of the act of writing and writer’s block. I would recommend it just for that — the MC is teaching a writing class, talking with the bookshop guy, discovering new authors and revisiting old favorites, and there’s discussion on all those bases. There’s also an ongoing kind of tug-of-war based on each MC’s shy avoidance of triggering the other — I found it nicely done, and as a result events moved slowly enough for the relationship to progress with more depth than in many books.

    But the ending… there was a sort of whirlwind resolution of both the writing issues and the local threat to the couple’s happiness, and a wedding sort of wrap-up that made me as sad as the couple’s joyful escape from the “Husband Material” wedding made me happy.

    I’d love to know who recommended this book and what they thought about these points. But overall, I’m happy I read it.

    1. I looked at this, but realized I’d got another book by her, which I’d forgotten (‘Love Lessons’), and reread that instead – and decided she wasn’t my cup of tea. It started well, and she’s a competent writer, but it left a bad taste, and I decided I didn’t like her values.

    2. I had a similar experience. I don’t remember the title. It was about two collage students. One was an artist and struggling with his art, the other was a rich boy from good family who turns out to be asexual. I really enjoyed it until the end. I don’t remember anything specific, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

      I tried another of hers with an autistic mc, same thing. Well constructed, but she can’t stick the endings. So I gave up on her.

    3. Jinx, probably my reccommendation – sorry the ending didn’t work for you 😔.
      I found it really sweet and satisfying, whereas although I loved most of Husband Material that ending didn’t work for me, so I guess just personal taste. Cullinan is one of my comfort reads partially because she has big sappy, occasionally fantastically implausible endings.

      1. Each to her own! Isn’t it interesting how we all respond to/need different things? I think also shows how we co-create stories as we read them,

        1. Yep. The reader’s impact on the book is a collaboration, and the parts have to match up.
          For example, if people were wanting zombies . . .

      2. Well, thank you for recommending it, Yuri! The romance part was slow and sweet, and I loved the parts around writing. I’m totally glad that I read it, and I was happy that it was eventually resolved in a positive way (I kind of expected it all from the title and the first chapter, so not much of a spoiler here). At the end of the book, I just felt kind of gobsmacked at how fast and furiously that resolution was accomplished, leaving all the issues that I would have expected to take time to process on (or under) the relationship table, topped with a wedding cake.

        It was also interesting that I discovered all kinds of scandal and craziness when I looked up the publisher, Dreamspinner Press. (Read this article by an LGBTQ+ author:

        Maybe this is why I found that this volume was supposed to be Vol. 1 in a series about the gay fellowship group that was set up so carefully in this book, but no sign of later volumes. The world is way fuller of scandals and hidden issues than I ever realize.

        Which is my very own fault for being a clueless scandal-sheet avoiding old fogey. 🙂

        1. Good to know. Sometimes particularly with ebooks the end surprises me a bit, but when I re-read it works better.

          Pity about the rest of the series. There are so many issues with publishers going out of business or not giving authors rights back or not paying royalties etc – makes me super glad people persist to give us wonderful books. And I always make sure I have local copies of all my ebooks on my computer in multiple formats. I know some horror stories where people kept them in the cloud and the service where they kept their libraries closed down unexpectedly.

  31. Been struggling to concentrate, Gary recommended them and there’s a new film out etc so read 3 Enola Holmes books that the library had (3-5) then since 1 & 2 aren’t available bought those for the wkd. They’re nice easy reads with a few long words sprinkled in that I had to look up “pulchritude” anyone?

    1. Not sure but I think I learnt pulchritude means beauty from Heyer. Or possibly the Cambridge Latin course!

      1. It can also refer to an ample bustline, which is why I like to refer to chicken breasts as poultry pulchritude.

    2. I do! I recommend them. I forgot to mention re-reading book 2 (Left-Handed Girl) in this week’s post, and I’m re-reading book 3 (Bouquets) right now (because I finished Bob’s Bodyguard of Lies and needed a palette cleanser.) I still haven’t seen the movie(s).

      1. Okay. Okay. I just signed up for Netfix and watched both Enola Holmes movies (They were great. Not the same as the books, but still great.) and episode 1 season 1 of Gilmore Girls. With earphones on. My ears are too tired to watch another minute. 🙂

    3. I think I learned pulchritude from Robert Heinlein in the ’60s. Somewhere in my LiveJournal blog are a lot of posts about new vocabulary and which author inflic I mean taught the new words. Words like uxorial or shivaree or spathic.

  32. I read Secret Lives by Mark de Castrique. Very good mystery with a 70 year old female retired FBI agent solving the case.

  33. I’m reading the Tuyo series by Rachel Neumeier and really enjoying it, though particularly the first book. High fantasy, with an interesting world, lots of exploration of different cultures and people I really like spending time with.

  34. So I finally came to read the comments and THERE ARE SIX PAGES OF THEM. Six and a half actually. All wonderful and nobody needing moderation. (That’s happened twice in the fifteen (?) years I’ve been writing this blog.)

    So thank you all, you are good people.

    ETA: I meant that I’ve only had to moderate twice.

    1. Oh, that makes much more sense! I was very surprised that we needed moderation almost every time, but assumed it must have been spambots or something.

      1. I try really hard to keep this place conflict-free, and you do have to stay on top of a blog if you want that since anybody can post here. And does.

        1. I think I can speak for the many when I say we very much appreciate it! So nice to have a conflict free place to talk about fun things like books.

          1. Especially in an election year! After being subjected to political ads, I appreciate the lack of antagonism more than ever.

  35. I read Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble which I liked for the funny moments, the loving acceptance of different ways of being who you are, and the baking but, man, Paris’s anxiety really stressed me out. And his totally crap parents made me sad.

    I also read Moonflower Murders, the sequel to Magpie Murders and everyone was so low grade nasty to each other it spoiled my enjoyment. I know it’s a murder mystery and you want more than one plausible suspect but I just didn’t like any of them.

  36. I just finished Rob Wilkins biography of Sir Terry Pratchett. My eyes are sore and my nose is stuffy from crying, and my face and stomach are sore from laughing. I’ve been holding on to The Shepherd’s Crown since it was published, but I think I’m ready to read it. I’m going to do an immersive Discworld read (in order, by series) and finish with Tiffany Aching.

    I also read Eight Perfect Hours, which I loved.

    1. Well, I spent my reading week divided between election predictions/ results and the hilarious catastrophe that is Twitter.

      I thought of Jenny “ Kill your darlings” when I read this first sentence in a NYT article that then went on to talk about how there really wasn’t a red wave. “Democrats tried to outrun history — and the lead weight of a wounded president who made his final political appearance of the campaign in deep-blue Maryland, in a county he won two years ago by an overwhelming margin.”
      Pretty sure he wrote it Tuesday night and couldn’t bear to take it out.

      I was happy when Lauren Boebert was losing; she has pulled ahead but may still lose.

      And Twitter … well, you may know that Elon Musk decided to charge for the blue check that verifies you really are who you say you are. Without apparently also verifying who you are. Many many people decided to show what a bad and dangerous policy it is by buying a blue check and then creating hysterical parodies of major brands.

      1. Wow, that sentence is confusing to me, but I think(?) it’s implying Biden was “hiding” in a safe district because Tuesday would be a dem bloodbath. But it’s totally off-base because it doesn’t matter how blue that county is, because House districts are not drawn on county lines. Biden was in a red congressional district that dems had a chance of flipping blue, which is actually a smart midterm strategy.

        I am happy about the election results, but as you can tell, I’m curmudgeonly about media coverage of it, which is why I mostly avoided it this year.

        1. You’re reading the wrong media. Everything I’m reading is basically saying, “The Republicans got clobbered and they’re turning on Donald Trump.” It was such a relief that there was no red wave, but the fact that everybody’s blaming Trump is the icing on the not even pink cake. I read the NYT, Washington Post, and MSNBC blog, so I’m picking my writers carefully although there are a few reds mixed in there.

      2. I am enjoying the Twitter meltdown as evidence of Musk’s idiocy in firing half the employees. He spent 44 billion on something and then ruined it.

        And REALLY enjoying the lack of a red wave.

        1. It really was idiocy to fire them (reportedly he then realized he needed some and tried to hire them back. Good luck with that.)
          But the blue check /whoops we need some verification so we will create a grey official label /whoops it’s been out for 45 minutes and we decided the official label was a mistake so we pulled it / whoops we should have kept it so we put it back out / whoops the blue check sale was a mistake so we will pause it… was a completely different mistake.

          And then he decided to do something that sone high up Twitter person decided was a violation of a court consent degree so that person quit and warned all the engineers in a memo he made public on the way out so the engineers would at least know if they were asked to do something illegal, and then the FTC put out a public notice that they were watching and would enforce the order—which I’ve never seen happen befor and was a third completely separate mistake.

          In one week !

          There are a lot of communities that will be really hurt when Twitter goes down but they sure are entertaining on the way.

        2. And apparently Musk is now saying that Twitter might declare bankruptcy. I think that is some kind of record for tanking a company. I’d applaud, but I kind of liked Twitter. Sigh.

          1. And now Musk’s personal lawyer sent a memo to Twitter employees that they can’t go to jail for following an order. Which….is not the case and … he isn’t their lawyer or even twitter’s and… is a violation of legal ethics.

            They are going to teach this in business schools and law schools and engineering schools for decades

          2. If it goes bust he will be eligible for a very big tax break or maybe he just wanted Twitter’s component parts (their subscribers contact info) to market his other products from his other companies.

  37. I’m starting the holiday season by reading Christmas novellas. The first is Mary Jo Putney’s the Best Husband Money Can Buy. Impoverished orphaned governess from a well-connected family inherits a fortune and marries second cousin of same family. He almost loses family estate due to his father’s wasteful spending. You already know the outcome, but to me it is all about the HEA. Though, just the thought of cousins even second or once removed, marrying, how many times can this occur in a family — there I go thinking deep again and off on another tangent.

  38. Off-topic I’m afraid, but I was just reading on about Red Tower “a New Adult commercial-fiction imprint focused on romantic fantasy and science fiction genres.”
    Would that be a good home for your demon book, Jenny?
    I hope this doesn’t come across as trying to teach you and your agent how to suck eggs – I know nothing about publishing – but like everyone else I would love to read a new Crusie!

  39. I read Phoebe and the Traitor and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I have no problem with a large body count… then again I’d read about Pirate Zombies and enjoy that too. I’m weird that way.

    I liked that it kept me guessing as to how the allegiances were going to end up. Just when I thought a character was going to align a certain way or a link between characters was established, there would be a twist.

    At any rate, a job well done for Bob!

  40. I have been happy reading about the lack of a red wave and living in Florida I needed reassurance because Destupidest got reelected. I find it endlessly amusing, though that Trump is warning him not to run fir president.

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