This is a Good Book Thursday, November 3, 2022

I started The Thursday Murder Club and I love it so far. I’d been avoiding it because I was afraid it would be full of quirky-cute geriatrics, but instead it’s full of quirky savage geriatrics, which is definitely my demographic, so it’s just hitting the spot.

What did you read this week that hit the spot?

114 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 3, 2022

  1. Ugh! I’m in the book doldrums. I can’t find anything new to read and I’ve re-read everything else to death. Hoping this post will be full of great suggestions to kick me into gear.

    1. If you are looking to get out of a slump, I recommend any or all of the following. They are all (in my opinion) satisfying page-turners.
      “On Second Thought” by Kristin Higgins;
      “The Truth About Forever” by Sarah Dessen (YA);
      “Nora Goes Off Script” by Annabel Monaghan;
      “Size 12 is Not Fat” by Meg Cabot;
      “Cici and the Curator” by S J Wynde (SF/F);
      “A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking” by T Kingsolver (Fantasy);
      “Bellwether” by Connie Willis

      1. I just started listening to Nora Goes Off Script and am totally engaged. What excellent dry delivery by Hillary Huber.

      2. Anything by Connie Willis! Love the time travel series.

        Jenny and Bob books are great reading—I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reread them.

        Any good romance or mystery writing with a dog in the story—after 47 years of poodles our current Standard has enough quirks to fill a book. Alex Kava ‘Creed’ series, Margaret Mizushima books, Lauren Berenson, and more!

        Getting Rid of Bradley—the first Jenny book I read!

      3. I just got T. Kingsolver’s Nettle and Bone, which was excellent. From there, I re-read her Clocktaur Wars duology. I’d recommend all of them. Before those, FYI, I re-read Agnes and the Hitman, just because every so often I need another hit of Agnes and Shane.

        Now scanning through this list and looking for more reads! Thank you all for sharing.

    1. I read a book by Emily Henry this week, too, called Beach Read. Just lovely.

      And in a fun twist, the French version of the audiobook of Beach Read (called Comme un Roman d’Été) is narrated by the same woman who narrates my Lora Weaver mystery series!

      I’ve got Book Lovers on my TBR pile now:)

      1. Everything by Emily Henry is “place a hold” at my library, and I have a lot of holds already. But I will get some more of her eventually.

  2. It keeps saying “Duplicate comment detected.” But the comment hasn’t posted. Let’s see what happens now.

  3. Here’s the original: I finally got hold of Emily Henry’s Book Lovers, and laughed myself sick.

  4. I read AJ Lancaster’s A Rake of His Own, which is Stariel Book 5, this time focussed on a murder-mystery requiring human/fae collaboration between Marius and Rakken to solve. I actually think it’s her best book yet – crisper than the others, with some unexpected humour, and I love, love, LOVE the relationship between the awkward scholar and the cynical yet smitten prince. Favourite scene: trip to the Goblin Market.

    I also read Eden Finley and Saxon James’ Shameless Puckboy, third in their new hockey series – readable and I still think their first series was better.

    And for something light, I read two of MM Farmer’s Bangers & Mash books, set in an omegaverse. Total fluff, only suitable for reading in hospital wait rooms.

      1. The Stariel series? Yes, read in order. The first four are one arc and focussed on the relationship between Hetta and Wyn. The 5th one, A Rake of His Own, is more of a stand-alone but there’s so much background context that I don’t think it would read well if you hadn’t read the others. I regret saying that, since it was my favourite but there you have it.

        1. That’s ok. They are on my list. It’s just that this one specifically sounds like my kind of premise.

          1. It totally is. Which is why I was regretful about saying you’d probably need to read the first four – that’s a big investment for one book.

          2. I read the first one some time ago, and liked the story but wasn’t mad on the writing, so I never read the second. But I too like the sound of the new one, so I might try again.

          3. None of them are on my re-read list, although I enjoyed them and yes, as LN says, great world-building. I think she needed an editor to tighten it up, and she does gain some momentum in the later books. That’s always the problem with world-building – easy to get entranced with doing that versus forwarding the characters and the plot. Maybe because this is distinct book, it’s not an issue; characters and plot definitely the focus and the world continues discreetly in the background.

  5. I read “Sacre Bleu” by Christopher Moore. It is a weird little fantasy set (mostly) in the world of art, specifically the impressionists in Paris. There is the embodiment of the artistic muse, and how it comes to each artist differently. Paying attention to the chapter headings guides you through, since the narrative jumps through time quite often. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming. I enjoyed it, but I’m pretty sure I missed some things, so it is in the stack to reread after I’ve had time to digest it.

  6. Love love love The Thursday Murder Club and slightly envious that you are only reading it now because that means you still have the two sequels to look forward to.

    Recent reads I’ve loved include About Time, the latest Jodi Taylor, and Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series which I am gradually working my way through. I’m also rereading, in no particular order, LRK’s Mary Russell books because she does such lovely word pictures and leaves me feeling that I have actually visited the settings.

    Ps There’s a new book out by Bob Mayer so I get to revisit Two Rivers now.

  7. I cheered myself up after a rather dud story with Eli Easton’s Unwrapping Hank, which is a favourite. Not all her stories are keepers for me, but this one’s fun. And then I read Alexis Hall’s latest, Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble, which I enjoyed much more than the first book in the series (Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake).

    1. Jen+B said the same thing about the new Alexis Hall book so I’m feeling confident about reading it now without reading the first one.

      1. The first one wasn’t his best. Not terrible, but worth skipping. And now I have high hopes for Paris!

    2. Thank you, Jane! I’ve been waiting for a review of Paris Daillencourt before purchasing.

      I also just saw Husband Material on sale on Kindle for $1.99 for anyone wanting.

    3. I thought Paris Daillencourt was good but I also found it stressful to read. Which makes sense because constant anxiety is stressful.

      1. I see Alexis Hall also has a new book coming, July 11, 2023, Mortal Follies. Locking forward as always.

    4. That’s something to look forward to, then, as I’d downloaded it as soon as it got out.
      Sadly, cannot start it right now as I’m still deep into a mountain of books on medieval medical care and the management of my home town.
      Plus I managed to make sense of what we were able to decipher of the leper ordinance I mentioned last week.
      But Paris sounded just fun from what I’d read as an excerpt and got as a taster on audiobook (the narrator sounded fine)…

      1. Normally, I’m all about the novels (which is why I’m here, obviously), but I have to admit that as soon as I saw “medieval medical care,” my brain screeched to a stop and said, “Ooh! Tell me more!” (Apparently, I’m coming in late here.)

        1. Yes. Medieval medical care pulls me right in. Why can I never find time to research what is available to me? Obviously, Kentucky does not have city archives from several hundred years ago, but I probably couldn’t decipher them if we did. I just want scholarly research in a readable format.

          1. Dear Mary Anne and JF,

            the topic is indeed fascinating and somewhat frustrating because it’s like sampling mosaic stones – I haven’t come across many books on the subject as a whole and the ones I found are in German so I guess I cannot really recommend them to you.
            Having the chance to work in the local archive with centuries old manuscripts is indeed thrilling – not to be able to decipher all of the text (either due to the state of preservation or the very difficult script or both) is also frustrating. The difficulty to understand the text in the old variety of my own tongue is also frustrating, but sometimes I’m being like a dog with a bone, not willing to unclench my teeth/try to get to the meaning.

            I hope to find the time to sample my findings sometime soon and translate them into English, maybe write an article on it in Wikipedia. If I come around to do so, I’ll let you know for sure 🙂

      2. My knowledge of medieval medical care stretches only as far as those marvelous tile roofs on the hospices. Some contemporary medical care buildings still sport them.

    5. Thank you! Now I have used up my last hold on this. I am number seven on one copy.

  8. I have read or reread:

    1636: The Barbie Consortium by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett and 1636: The Viennese Waltz by Eric Flint, Paula Goodlett & Gorg Huff. These are essentially companion volumes, overlapping characters and some scenes.

    Penric’s Labors by Lois McMaster Bujold. It came out Tuesday and contains three of the Penric and Desdemona novellettes.

    The Variation on a Theme Book 4 serialization continues. I continue reading it. He may be switching to just two days per week “to build up his buffer.” He’s only twenty chapters ahead right now.

    I finished rereading the White Magic Five and Dime trilogy.

    Phoebe and the Traitor is open in the Kindle App.

    Official Weigh-In Day #80. Less than OWID#79, so yay for that. I just harvested lettuce [GARDENING] and ate a salad for breakfast [FOOD]. There were hard-cooked eggs [COOKING] and shallots and carrots and tomatoes in it. There. That covers everything. 🙂

    1. It was my monthly weigh-in today, too, and I seem to have lost another couple of pounds, which is good. (I’m not on a diet, just trying not to over-eat.)

  9. I finished The White Magic Five and Dime, which took me a long time to get into, but then it was worth it. Read Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs, which seemed to spend more time than usual stopping the action to explain the ins and outs of werewolf/vampires/Fey (Fay?) rules of conduct. But I enjoyed a lot of it. Right now I’m re-reading Envy of Angels, about a team of chefs who are asked to serve up an angel to a demon banquet. It’s a dilemma. I’m listening to the Lord of the Rings, almost at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring, at the sad part, so I’ve been avoiding it. I’m kind of a wuss about that.

  10. The only cute thing at Cooper’s Chase is Allen and he’s not there yet. Cooper’s Chase is where all the savage geriatrics live and Allen (Alan/Allan) is a dog.

    I’m reading Phoebe and the Traitor, the last Alcatraz vs. The Evil Librarians book which is Bastille vs. TEL by Brian Sanderson and Janci Patterson, and Small Town, Big Magic by Hazel Beck.

  11. This week, I received in the post Penric’s Labors. I don’t buy many paper books these days as I find my kindle so much more convenient but this one is definitely for my Apocalypse library. Also, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote not just an introduction but also what she called an « outroduction » at the end, which are well worth reading.

    The outroduction where she explains the genesis of the Physicians of Vilnoc contains this gem, which I can’t resist quoting to you all:

    She used to work as a drug administration technician in a big hospital for a while during her twenties and she explains: « Looking back from long after, I can see that a bookish, introverted, vaguely dissociative person who lived mainly up inside her own head was not especially well-matched with the job, and by the end of the decade I couldn’t wait to be out of there. I haven’t had nightmares about it for a while now, but it still surfaces now and then.
    I was unconscious at the time of just how very much human observation of all sorts I was putting under my belt, to the great benefit of the writer I eventually became. Scaling it up to Penric’s typical creative move that writers do all the time, small experiences. »

    I can definitely relate to being a bookish, introverted, vaguely dissociative person who lives mainly inside her own head 🙂

    1. I’ve read all three Thursday Murder Club books and loved each one. Such great characters and sly humor. If you’re looking for something uplifting and thoroughly enchanting about a ‘found family,’ I recommend The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna. I also devoured and thoroughly enjoyed Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood, her follow-up to The Love Hypothesis, both about brilliant women in STEM fields.

      1. Second the recommendation for The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna

    2. I fell in love with Bujold’s works back in the 90s, when I found a part of The Vor Game published in (I think?) an old issue of Analog I picked up at someone’s garage sale in Ohio. After that, I went on a determined hunt to find them all and I’ve been tracking ever since. Miles is great (and I adored Aral) but if I had a literary wish, it would be to sit down and have a cup of coffee with Cordelia. Just once. I might not survive the Betan head examination, but that’s fine, too!

      One of the best things about the Vorkosigan saga in particular is that Bujold manages that rare balance of having a main character in serial fiction who continues to gain materially, but loses enough in other ways that they never become a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu.) The only other writer I can think of immediately who does as well with that is Charlaine Harris.

      I’m loving the Penric books, though, too. Thank you for providing that quote! I keep hoping she’ll continue the series.

  12. Zut! the end of the quote is a bit mangled: it should read:

    « Scaling it up to Penric’s much much more responsible and difficult medical duties is a typical creative move that writers do all the time, small experiences writ large. »

    1. To many writers, all experience is fodder for writing. David Sedaris talks about how he consciously lives his life looking for the writable moments with a few exceptions: “I mean I have sex and I go to the bathroom but I try to make it quick.”

          1. So true! I can’t imagine that David Sedaris’ partner is with him for his sexual prowess though.

          2. Would be probably short-lived it he were.
            Whose partnership is based solely on that aspect anyway 🙂

      1. Yes, I loved that. Wasn’t it Mamzelle in Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers series who used to say it? Or maybe it was Elinor M. Brent-Dyer’s Chalet School. It’s great to see it’s actually real French!

  13. I am reluctant to start Phoebe and the Traitor because I know I will want to do it in one sitting and I can’t yet.
    So – I am still rereading Jayne Ann Krentz Arcane Society series. I have read them more than once and can more easily put them down.
    Currently rereading the Third Circle in the series.
    Between nanowrimo and anxieties about the upcoming election…

  14. I had a good reading week. I started with Nora Goes off Script and was really impressed. It’s sort of a grown up version of all the romance tropes. Well written and the voice caught me right away. There is a Big Misunderstanding, but it was well done. M/F contemporaries aren’t my thing anymore, but I would try this author again. And it is more chick lit than romance, in my opinion.

    Next, my hold on The Last Unicorn audiobook came in. Well read, and beautiful and stark and sad as always.

    I did dnf a m/m murder mystery. It was a collaboration between two authors and the relationship didn’t quite gel for me. But I am still happy with myself for trying something new on a whim.

    And after that I needed comfort, so I am listening to the last of Charlie Adhara’s backlog. Fittingly, it takes place on Halloween. One of the leads just did a silly for an experienced field agent to do, but I will forgive it because I enjoy the relationship stuff so much.

    1. Is Nora Goes off Script worth $17?? That’s the Kindle price and it’s awfully high for chick lit. Canadian dollars yes but that’s how I’m paid. I’m also on the last Charlie Adara book – have eked them out – will be so sorry when it’s over. Sad!

      1. Definitely not worth $17. I am happy to have read it and enjoyed it, but will not probably ever revisit it. Maybe the library? That is where I borrowed it from.

        1. Same here. My newspaper costs more, so I snatched it up, too.
          I do remember though that it cost
          far more when it was recommended here first and I read the sample. Too pricey back then.

      2. I personally didn’t really enjoy it. I thought the male character was not that appealing and I hate a big misunderstanding. Honestly, talk to each other people.

        1. That is fair. I would say that it is a fail as a romance, but works as chick lit. The male lead definitely has very little on-page time and we really don’t get to know him. One of the pitfalls of first person, in my opinion.

          But I read it more as a story of Nora’s growth as a person. Her marriage failed, and I think that her biggest failure was allowing it to continue as long is it did. She internalized a pretty negative image of herself and her work and took on a fairly fatalistic view of life. And so the Big Misunderstanding is also part of the growth. She needed to learn to fight for what she wanted. I can forgive that. But I doubt I will read it again.

          1. I think I’ll give it a miss. I’m not a big chick lit fan to begin with. And I can’t seem to locate my newly acquired eLibrary card…

  15. I read Husband Material this week. For most of the time it was engaging. But the last part where he has cold feet and Oliver has cold feet lost me. And the ending, despite the fact they run laughing into the sunset, felt unresolved. I found it extremely unsatisfactory. So now I am reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s Hollowed Hunt – again.

    1. I found it very satisfying because both Oliver and Luc were quite uneasy about the idea to begin with, and each had been influenced to say “yes” because they thought the other would or did want to marry. I think in the gay community it is not necessarily the sign of a traditionally happy ending — the thinking gay men I know all either have mixed feelings about the idea of the marriage ceremony or have avoided it entirely. So I took that ending as the result of both of them getting to a joyfully accepting and deeper understanding of the other person, without such a need to act out their boyfriend roles in a heterosexual framework.

      1. For me the ending worked because I had misgivings about my own wedding. I have issues with marriage, not the person I was marrying. And I was proud of Not being married so… The anxiety and then the decision to not get married felt pretty freeing and joyful to me.

        1. My husband when we were dating was always dead set against marriage, as an integral element of the heteronormative patriarchy. So I think he would enjoyed the ending also. If he read anything other than HP Lovecraft.

        1. My anti-legal marriage stance began in college in the 70s when, after studying Mary Wollstonecraft, I poked around in current marriage law and discovered the U.S. laws change from state to state, so that simply by moving across a state line your marriage’s legal obligations can change without your consent. Arrgh!–skipping remainder of rant.

        2. Me, too.
          This is interesting. Liz and Vince decide not to get married in the trilogy we just finished. Bob and I both liked that and it fit who they were. I assumed it wouldn’t be a problem, but who knows? They’re still not getting married.

    2. I had the same experience. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t get married, that was fine, but that it seemed to come out of nowhere. I needed more of Oliver’s perspective and maybe an extra couple of beats for it to be a satisfying resolution. I still really enjoyed the book.

      1. Our best friends lived together for 35 years and did everything through partnership agreements. Then he had a heart attack while cross country skiing (one of these tall, skinny guys with a cholesterol level of 200!) and had to have a triple bi-pass. At which point they realized since there was no reason not to get married but they never had, even with power-of-attorney in place, if he could not communicate, there might be some serious qualms by the medical community of letting her make life-and-death decisions if his only living relative, his sister, objected. Also she was thinking of taking early retirement and if they had been married for a year, he could get coverage under her retirement health package. They got married. And two years later, he developed a subdural hematoma and she had to make all the medical decisions and it was not a problem. (He came out of it just fine. Except the whole body MRI revealed two serious aneurysms that had to be corrected when he recovered enough from the hematoma surgery).

        We have several gay friends who got married once they legally could because of these kinds of concerns.

        Knowing these people, I just looked at the ending and thought that it was weird that none of the real issues of a marriage commitment came up in all the angst. Who is the person you want legally to be there for you; who knows best what you would want.

        1. I’ve heard too many heartbreaking stories of gay couples who couldn’t get married (pre-legality), and who were kept away from their dying partner by partner’s family or medical staff. However much one disapproves of the institution of marriage, there are times when it becomes legally very important.

  16. Love all the recommendations on this site! And I’ve ordered the new Alexis Hall, Barbara Kingsolver, and several other suggested titles
    I took several books with me to Mexico; they came in very handy when I came down with COVID – 19 and had to quarantine.
    Raced through the Thursday Murder Club, loved them! Enjoyed the new Jayne Castle book “Sweetwater and the Witch”; yes she has somewhat of a formula, but when I am in the mood for light romance/escape reading, I enjoy her books thoroughly. Enjoyed Keeper of Enchanted Rooms by Charlie Holmberg (believe it was a free Kindle Prime choice), and Alice Hoffman’s Bookstore Sisters (also Kindle Prime free choice, short story). Reread Becky Chambers’ “The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet” for my book club (the lone male in our book club suggested it, very happy he spoke up and recommended a different genre), I loved it all over again on the re-read. Chambers fills her books with interesting characters, and focuses on relationships and culture clashes. Currently I am reading “What Moves the Dead” by T. Kingfisher, I don’t normally read horror, but I am enjoying this book.

    I’m home again, over COVID-19 but not at my usual energy level, I plan to enjoy weeks of light reading! And food has started to taste good again, so I am trying new recipes.

  17. Read Stoneskin, the prequel to the Deep Witches trilogy and it was so good I rolled right into The Blackwing War, book 1 of said trilogy. “summon an actually of pedants” is one of those lines I’m jealous I didn’t write.

    I’m also reading Braiding Sweetgrass, which is great for Thanksgiving month since it’s all about living with an attitude of thankfulness, and using our individual gifts to benefit ourselves and everybody else, plus it has such a wonderful appreciation for plants, which I love.

  18. I’m deep into the weeds with grad school and grading so I broke the glass on my “read in case of emergency pile” and started the Penric novellas. I own them all but had to save them.

    The first three flew by and I started Mira’s Last Dance last night. Wheeee!

  19. Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds was a disappointment. If it wasn’t the author whose writing I’ve admired for years, I would’ve abandoned this book after the first chapter. The story seemed to explore different variations on the sole aspect of family dynamics: what does the lack of mother’s love in childhood does to a person? Of course, it damages the poor schmucks, and afterwords, they all have to deal with the resulting problems. Not my favorite theme at all. Besides, unlike all the other books by this writer, this one totally lacked the sweetness and the magic that had attracted me to her stories in the first place.
    Jessie Mihalik’s Honor and Shadows, a prequel to her Hunt the Stars novel, was a short sci-fi novelette, quick and fun. It just came out this week.
    Patricia Briggs’s Soul Taken was a typical Mercy books. I have already read 12 of them, so nothing new. Mysterious deaths. A bad-ass villain. Lots of fighting and pain and injuries to our intrepid mechanic Mercy. Plus a a magical artifact and of course, gallons of blood. You all know the score. The tension was high. The pacing was furious. The character development was nil, but the writing was terse and clean. It was an absorbing read and it went very fast.
    Then I started a women’s fiction book, but it didn’t hold my interest. Fortunately, I remembered I had a new download on my kindle – A.J. Lancaster’s A Rake of His Own – and started reading it. So far, I’m loving this novel. As much as I loved the previous books of the series.

  20. I might have mentioned the Kim M. Watt “Beaufort Scales” novels before. They let some very interesting women of a Yorkshire W.I. meet some just as interesting dragons (while people thought they were extinct or never existed). They have amusing titles such as “Game of Scones” or the Christmas novel “Yule be sorry” (including some cookie recipes). The latest book is called “Beast-laid Plans” and it didn’t disappoint.

    And while I liked the Thursday Murder Club books a lot (I think there’s a fourth one announced), I would still prefer the SJ Bennett novels in which the Queen herself investigates. The only problem is that there seems to be a mix-up with the order of publication within the series. But I do recommend them while wondering whether the Queen’s death might have ended the series or would even support its continuation.

  21. From all the comments about the Thursday Murder Club (and an off-line friend who loved it), I should try it again, but this time in ebook. I did audio before, and I got lost in all the characters. Retention is better when looking at words, so maybe I’d love it in that format. (I do love audio when done well, and for the right story, but I’m thinking maybe TMC isn’t the right story for it.)

    I thought I’d found a new-to-me fantasy series, but instead I just confirmed that I really don’t like epic fantasy. The writing was compelling in terms of imagery and individual sentences, and the characters were interesting, but the pace …. well, let’s just say that each scene — occasionally each paragraph! — was an example of the “meeting that should have been a one-sentence email.” I kept waiting for something to happen, like for the protagonist(s) to realize they were the protagonists, but it was all just backstory, and not particularly interesting backstory, very standard tropes. Disappointing, because I had high hopes for listening to the substantial backlist, with a good narrator.

    1. I had the same experience with Thursday Murder Club. I tried it in audio and couldn’t get into it. I am also thinking I need to read it.

      1. And I had the same experience reading the written word version. I think personally I am missing the introduction by an author into the inner life of the people involved. As in real life, I find that if I only see strangers in some kind of public interaction with one another, it can give me about as much pleasure as watching a new television series starting in the middle. No introductions, no thoughts expressed to show much emotion or personal memories, and so on. I can easily forget those people by the next day. I gave up on this book in the middle of Chapter two, and only felt a little sad that I hadn’t been able to like a book that so many other Aarghers had loved.

        1. I gave up early on, too – I think you might have nailed my problem with it, also. Basically, I didn’t like/care about the characters.

        2. That’s funny. I’ve just rejected a couple of BookBub offerings because they started with back story instead of story.
          Readers: There’s millions of us and we’re all different.

    2. I struggle with epic fantasy as well. It’s mostly event/plot driven rather than character driven. I do better with urban fantasy, usually written by women. It’s more prone to thoughts and feelings as well as action and magic.

  22. I’m having a terrific time with Mrs. Pollifax. I just finished the third in the series. I should order more now.

    Thank you again and again for suggesting her.

    1. I love all those books except the Whirling Dervish one. I think maybe it was the last in the series? See what you think, if you get that far.

  23. Not much reading this week, but recently read Sourdough by Robin Sloan. I liked it more than Mr Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, but mostly I think because I knew what to expect with her writing style.

    I enjoyed Husband Material particularly that Luc got his rainbow.

    I just this second finished Mrs Rodd and the Case of the Wandering Scholar, which I found in my audible app. No idea when I bought it. It was a mystery, but had a big too much background religion for me. I liked the main character, but would have preferred some healthy skepticism on that front. It’s set in 1851, so perhaps that was too much to ask.

  24. I read Rose Nicholson, by Andrew Grieg. Not a romance, though there’s an unrequited love for the titular character. It’s narrated by Will Fowler, a student in Scotland in the 1570s, and is about the politics of the time as much as anything. Doesn’t sound at all appealing, does it, but it was beautifully written and gripping, and I loved it.

    Now I’m reading Georgette Heyer’s Frederica for a bit of light relief.

  25. I’m getting ready to visit my daughter in England by deciding what books to buy.
    I already have the new Sarah Addison Allen and the new Patricia Briggs and Ocean’s Echo. But for a 10 day trip with two long flights I want more because I hope to break out of my long reading slump of only rereading. So I am reading lots of samples I downloaded and either buying or deleting them. (I can’t buy new books on my nook overseas.)

    1. Oh, that’s a bummer. I loved being able to buy more books on my Kindle when I was overseas. Not only no need to carry physical books, but as many others as I fancied at my fingertips.

  26. I’m here a day late because yesterday was my birthday and I was only online long enough to find the post office in the best location to drop off my ballot during the course of my other errands, which included getting my flu shot + bivalent booster, stopping by the garden center (decided that even though we have a fairly short timeline in this house, I wanted another Mexican honeysuckle), and swinging by Whole Foods for a supplement to the low-energy-input dinner plan.

    Anyway, as always very interesting to see what everyone is reading! I have ‘Paris Daillencourt’ on my wishlist but will wait for a sale or for the week when I haven’t already spent my budget (I try to keep book spending under $10/wk).

    New release that I had on pre-order: ‘Sass’ by Jay Hogan. This is in her Style series but, rather than featuring a model, it concerns the manager of a rising designer’s boutique and the tattoo artist next door. Content alerts for death of a twin, sexual abuse of a minor, family rejection. Liked it a lot.

    A M/M royal romance that I bought based on a rave review from a person whose opinions I naturally value because he likes my books: ‘Wear it Like a Crown’ by Zarah Detard. If you take ‘Red White & Royal Blue’ and the ‘His Royal’ duology and put them in a blender, you get something like this book. It’s a credible treatment of the premise (2nd-in-line-to-crown 25yo prince + 27yo crisis management specialist with a dark past). Character development a bit uneven and I didn’t come away with any strong feelings, but I liked the thoroughness of the treatment and the strong friend group that develops.

    A Halloween-themed duology by Daryl Banner, ‘My Ghost Roommate’ and ‘My Pumpkin Prince,’ which *did* deliver some strong feelings in the second book but also suffered from uneven character development. Some very funny stuff, though, with consistent ghost lore and an earned HEA.

    My rec of the week is not a romance. ‘Let Not the Waves of the Sea’ by Simon Stephenson (author of ‘Set My Heart to Five’ which I see is in development as a movie but which has evidently been misunderstood as a story about a robot. The POV character is explicitly *not* a robot. Anyway, moving on) which is his memoir and meditation about several years following the deaths of his much-loved older brother and the brother’s fiancee in the Indian Ocean tsunami. It’s beautifully written and made me cry multiple times. The last line of the book is ‘I will miss my brother forever’ and the whole thing is basically him telling anyone who thinks he should be over it to fuck right off. There is no real suspense in reading a memoir and yet I stayed up till 1:10 a.m. to finish this because I needed the resolution.

    1. Nothing says happy birthday like a bivalent shot! And – happy birthday. I’ve downloaded Wear It Like a Crown. I escaped this week’s Arggh without a new book but I should have waited until your post before declaring that. 🙄

    2. Yes, happy birthday, happy booster, happy ballot deposit, happy garden center visit. Alas, I saw no mention of a cake. For me, cake is non-negotiable.

  27. I read another British Library Crime Classic, set in rural Devon towards the end of WW2. It included a fascinating paragraph about local attitudes to evacuees, which sound very similar to modern day attitudes to refugees – “war doesn’t affect us, not our problem” .

    Have I mentioned my favourite so far of these books? Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert. Himself a POW, he wrote this novel set in an Italian POW camp towards the end of WW2 and including the prisoners’ flight to the Mediterranean when they feared being shot by the retreating Nazis and fascists. Bob may enjoy it too.

    1. I love Michael Gilbert. His stuff is always excellent, deep characterization and dynamics and solid plotting. Smallbone Deceased is so good. The Long Journey Home. Anything for the Quiet Life. His Calder and Behrens books. So good.

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