123 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 15, 2022

  1. Was a limp reading week – I DNF’d a lot of stuff including one where the M/C was completely gorgeous and all young men and women hit on him, he was everyone’s best friend and people would meet him and immediately invite him to Thanksgiving to meet their families, he helped everyone solve their problems, and his boss declared that he was leaving him all his money. WTF? I did not understand the point of all this and it certainly had nothing to do with the actual plot which that he was the key witness in a gang murder and having a romance with the police detective. Worse – I realized it’s a seven book series. No way I could spend seven books with this amount of (undeserved) perfection.

    I did enjoy A Little Blessing, R Cooper’s latest in the Familiar Spirits series, TA Moore’s Dead Man Stalking and a couple more of Misha Horne’s.

      1. Oh no I haven’t seen them! I want the bright pink ones in both of those! I just bought two new pairs of boots though so no joy for me this time. And shoes…I wear them nowhere anymore. I’m editing my shoe closet these days, very sad.

          1. Work closed after all. I am surprised, but glad. Sleet gave way into snow. Now to start the clean up. Ugh.

      2. Those are so gorgeous! Thank you. I could not wear them comfortably even just to look at so the prices caused me no pain.

  2. It is not so much what I have read, but it is what I have altered. I have hollowed out a large reference book that I rescued from the trash and decorated it with odds & ends, scrapbook pictures, jewelry bits and clay molded dragonflies. Fun stuff.

  3. I seem to be stuck in some version or other of the 1800s. First I listened to Sorcery and Cecilia, which was delightful as always, then I listened to Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall which was fun. I would call it more of an homage to historical romance rather than an actual historical, but it was very funny.

    And now I am listening to A Christmas Carol, which I love. I haven’t been in the spirit for the last couple years but this year I feel better. I don’t know why, but I am grateful.

    And I started Ilona Andrews newest Innkeeper. Early days yet, so I don’t have an opinion.

    Oh! And I saw Andrea Host’s practice blurb for The Four Kings on her Facebook page. It looks good. I had a moment of terror when it occurred to me that I might not like it as much as the first, but that seems unlikely. I remain hopeful.

      1. Andrea K Host is also Karan Anders, of the Book of Firsts fame. I really love that one, and am excited for the sequel. But it is… Racy?

        Her fantasy under the Host name is very clean as far as sexy bits go. And she reminded me of Sherwood Smith, who I also love. So far I have read Champion of the Rose, Bones of the Fair and Pyramids of London. I have enjoyed them all.

      2. I am a huge fan of especially the Touchstone series (starts with Stray). I reread it frequently.
        I am not sure why since I am poles apart from the protagonist but I really like this series. I am a huge fan of book 5 which is about her mum but I just really like all of them. So whenever I reread one of them I always end up rereading all of them!

      3. The Touchstone series is Andrea K. Höst’s most read work, and it is my favorite too. It starts with Stray. It is one continuous story in 3 volumes (Stray, Lab rat one, Caszandra), in the form of a diary – Cass’ voice is what pulls most readers in first.
        After the big adventure ends in book 3, there’s a 4th Gratuitous Epilogue, how everybody is doing setyling into normal life in the year after, then a book 5, In Arcadia, in which Cass’ mother is the protagonist/narrator.
        If you prefer a lot of action you might not be interested in no.4 & 5, but if you read for the characters they are a delightful continuation, and I’ve reared all of them several times – during Covid it became a comfort read for me.
        I really would advise anyone to start with Stray.

        If you prefer a standalone to start with, And all the stars is very good too, but it has more of an SF theme. My advice there is not to read the end first; like Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief, it has a surprise twist that is worth building up to.

        She wrote “The book of firsts” under the pen-name Karan K. Anders because of all the sex scenes. A lot of people who like romances have talked about it here, and everyone (including I) liked it a lot and felt that getting to know the characters and their growing friendship was the most important thing about the book. But if you don’t like sex scenes you might not like it, especially in the beginning – later on the talking and developing friendship becomes much more important.

    1. Lupe, would you be able to post the blurb for Four Kings? I’m not on Facebook anymore, and I don’t see it on Host’s webpage. Just curious so no worries if you can’t.

  4. As one might expect, a lot of my reading this week has been contracts and loan papers and inspection reports. Deadly dry and designed to induce glazed eyes that miss the codicil about turning over one’s first-born male child.

    I continue rereading Variation on a Theme and compiling a character list. Grey Wolf continues serializing Book 4. I continue reading. I think Book 4 will be where I end following this series. I foresee shark jumping.

    Watching Supergirl, Flash, Arrow, The Good Witch, the second Enola Holmes movie… is there a song called “Video Killed the Literature Star”? There should be.

    Official Weigh-in Day #87 finds me still struggling to get back to my lower weight from this time last year. But I’ve been for my semi-annual checkup. Blood test included 104 mg/dL glucose, 6.1 A1c (up a bit – now “pre-diabetic” again.) Otherwise all good. I even got a flu shot. (My arm still hurts.)

    I’m forced to buy lettuce at the grocery store. All mine has been harvested and eaten. In anticipation of the move to new quarters, no new crops are being planted. The Mid-December Farm Report planned for tomorrow will reflect that. It may be late a day or three.

    1. Think you missed the “every drop of your blood” clause in addition to the first born male child.

        1. You know, Gary, buying a house is a lot like having a baby. Back when you became a parent, you came out of it with a great story and a baby. When you conclude buying your house, you’ll have a dramatic tale to tell and a new home.

          1. So… I’ll be up all night, worrying and hoping the house will stop making noises, walking the floor, changing diapers? I should kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye?

      1. Silly, usually that stuff is masquerading as dust motes on the bottom of the contract, use the microscope. In the words of Robert Aspirin “If you think you got a good deal, first count your fingers, then your limbs, then your relatives.” Check the council tax and insurance premiums, my friend’s flat turned out to astronomical, which is why the previous owners evaded the question. Also ask about flooding, in the house and the garden

        1. Yes, the flooding thing is so important. There’s a house near where I live that is resold every few years, because clearly the previous owners never tell buyers that the yard is underwater for about 3 months of the year.

          1. We had a torrential downpour. Our agent, Jess B., went through the house and found a little water under an old pipe, and noted it in the revised contract for replacement by a competent plumber. No other leaks noted. Any and all safety hazards on the inspection were duly addressed.

            I love my Agent. 🙂

        2. Those clauses are written in Swahili on the back of a microdot, easily mistaken for a period at the end of a sentence. The late wife’s name still appears on my checks. They wanted a letter from her granting permission to use the checking account. She died August 1, 1997, of sepsis, a complication of stomach bypass surgery years before.

          I have tried to have her name removed. It has clung tenaciously through three bank mergers.

          1. This is why you need to consult a lawyer before adding your daughter’s name to the mortgage. Banks and credit card companies like to keep as many people to come after on their accounts. After my SIL was divorced, she could not cancel the credit card account and the ex kept charging and she was responsible to help pay it. She finally had to declare bankruptcy to get the cards cancelled and to protect her house.

          2. Ah bureaucracy, my friend’s mum had shares left from her mother, the process was so painful to cash them in, her children were still dealing with it after she died. Finally her husband went through the whole seven circles to cash in a pitiful amount just because he refused to back down

          3. yes, what Jessie said is right, your SIL has an unpaid mortgage and he might have inadvertently trashed your daughter’s credit rating. So take care and make sure they can’t come after your assets

  5. It’s a book and dvd bonanza for me courtesy of the library this week. Dvd’s include Annika, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris, Amsterdam, Recipes for Love & Murder, and Mystery Road Origin. For books the latest Ian Rankin for my husband and then Smoke and Steel by Kristen Ashley for me. Smoke and Steel is an e-book from the library, and I do own my fair share of her books so I had to go back to my kindle account and remind myself that I had read the first in this new series. And then found others that I hadn’t. This week I finished the Brodie Brothers series by Kayley Loring. The best thing about that series is the texting between all the characters. The brothers are so snarky to each other along with mom’s drunken but funny texts with Pop taking the phone away from her before she gets too carried away. At times its better than the story line.

    Now on to more serious stuff am I the only one that can’t get to Jenny’s blog from her amazon website? I’ve had to plug it in to get here. I really dislike when someone messes with a good thing. The same thing happened to the library website, but I knew that was going to happen. It’s just that I have to learn new navigation in order to get to my account. It’s funny that I think that its Christmas bonus time again when changes are made. Rant over.

    1. I put this site on my favorites that come up as soon as I go to Safari. It has saved me a lot of wrangling. Now I am getting notifications again, to I haven’t had to use that. Good luck.

      1. I don’t quite understand the issue of getting notifications about this blog. Am I impossibly fuddyish or maybe a complete duddy? I just keep the overall site on my browser favorites list, which defaults the first 10 or so links to my task bar, so I always see the link, and can click on it when I want to see what’s new. Is it that you guys are reacing on iphones, so you need a ping to know when something’s up?

        1. I am reading on my computer, but sometimes I don’t get an email about the newest blog, so I have to log in to see what’s going on. Otherwise, there’s nothing prompting me to check. I didn’t see the fun music one till several days later, because it came on a non-standard blog day. Does that make sense?

          1. That’s exactly what happens to me. The regular postings show up on time, but any other stuff I get a day later.

        2. I’ve got this blog bookmarked, but I mostly check it on Thursday, because I get so many good recommendations! Trouble is, I’m having trouble keeping up with my reading.

      2. I click in the browser address bar and type ar and arghink comes up. I don’t follow thaaaat many websites so I remember to look daily.

  6. I finished an Indian (India) culture romcom that I enjoyed for the most part…it was a bit sexy for me, with some of the sexy bits striking me as inappropriate for their situations. But what made me decide not to read the next one by this author was when the female protagonist slaps the male then kisses him. NOPE. NOPE. NOPE.

    Now I’m reading the new Donna Andrews, Dashing Through the Snowbirds, which I’m loving, and which is saving me from an otherwise not spectacular week.

  7. So I finished “The Cancer Code” by Dr. Jason Fung. It is very readable, although he is a bit repetitive. What I learned is that the view of cancer has changed over the years. The current best theory is that every multi-celled organism has the seeds of cancer within. Essentially, at some point a damaged cell doesn’t get offed by the body and starts looking out for itself, as if it were a single celled creature with it’s only goal being to reproduce, for which it needs glucose. So, I need to really get with the program, reduce my consumption and lose weight. He also had some interesting takes on various screenings – whether they were effective. Colonoscopy – yes. By all means, do that because the docs can remove growths while they’re still pre-cancerous. Others, not so much, in that the pain/suffering/trauma caused by false positives outweigh the benefits.

    As a palate cleanser, I’m going back to Balogh, for another Survivor Club story.

    1. every woman should get annual mamms starting as early as poss

      period end of story

      mamms are best way to detect early cancers that are not yet palpable

      and the cost/benfit bullshit re false positives just that-bullshit

      think of a false positive as belated good news-much better than true positive

      1. My understanding is that there’s not a lot of point doing mammograms on young women because young breasts are a lot denser and it’s hard to get an accurate result.

      2. I so agree. I have had two biopsy’s and they were both fine and I never felt like the mammogram or follow up were a waste —I just felt grateful.

    2. p53 The Gene That Cracked The Cancer Code by Sue Armstrong is good too. Thanks to everyone who recommended Thursday Murder Club here! I’m on the third.

  8. I finally finished Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn. It took me a while to get into it which I blame on my also rereading her elemental blessings at the same time I started this one. I had to put this one away for a couple of weeks because I needed a break from her writing style. Once I picked it back up, I read it fairly quickly. I also have her latest The Shuddering City but that’s going to wait until I read the library books that came in for me. My current to be reads are Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir and The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna.

    1. Ooh! You reminded me I preordered that. It’s in my library, just waiting.

      I read along when they serialized it, but that version didn’t resolve to bookended subplot.

      Time to find out if they rescue Wilmos!

  9. I read Book Lovers, by Emily Henry, and literally could not put it down. It was very well written, with two twisty endings, and I had to see how that was going to end, so I stayed up past my bedtime to finish it. Then I went back to my own book and started writing, again. I think it was cooking on a back burner, because a lot of unresolved issues found resolution. I also started Husband Material, which I’m not loving, but not hating, either. Hated the beginning. Two more Murderbots are coming, and Nora Goes Off Script is waiting on my book table. A few snowflakes are drifting down. To walk, or not to walk, that is the question.

  10. I’ve DNFed several rom coms, I’m slowly reading Trisha Ashley’s The Christmas Invitation. I forget about it then come back and read a few chapters. It’s pleasant but without urgency or much plot. But it has a large English house in the country at Christmas, there a some dogs, some baking, and some painting. Listened to Paladin of Souls (again) and now I’m back to Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, which I haven’t listened to in several years, so I’m enjoying it all over again.

    For my book group I read (some) of Deep by James Nestor about freediving and associated subjects. Interesting!

  11. I read the first two stories in Sarina Bowen’s Extra Credit (recommended here the other day), and then realized I wanted to reread the novel that the third one’s a sequel to. So I started with the first in the series, The Year We Fell Down, and since it turned out I’d only read that and the third one before, I’m now reading number 2, The Year We Hid Away, and enjoying it.

      1. The first one is the best but the others are worth reading. The other book by her that I love is the Accidentals. It’s not exactly a romance —it’s about a teen daughter building a relationship with her formerly absent dad when her mom dies. But it’s beautiful and it has young lovers

  12. I have been malingering too long in the Regency era, so I re-read Fast Women, which went down like a tart lemon sorbet cutting through the overly sweet period pieces.
    Also read Hot Toy for a seasonal flavour appetizer.

  13. I joined a bookclub a couple of months ago more because I want to meet people in my street (I only moved here a year and a bit ago) than because I want to read the kind of books most bookclubs read.

    The first book was terrible so I haven’t mentioned it here but the one we read this month, Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers, has a lovely romance in it and I really enjoyed the way the writer writes so I may try more of her books.

    Of course, the end had to be miserable otherwise, you know, it would actually be a romance, shock horror, but it is sufficiently open ended for me to hope that they do get their well deserved HEA.

    Incidentally, everybody liked the book this time :).

    1. I should say about the ending that I choose to interprete as open handed even though the way it is written doesn’t leave much wiggle room. Essentially, I refuse to accept the ending 😀

  14. I’m on the 4th of the Teacup Magic series by Tansy Rayner Roberts and enjoying them. They’re a series of cheerful lightweight fantasy novellas with fun characters and a nice sense of mayhem.

    And I read the last chapter of the newest Innkeeper and it’s very good. Don’t know that I’ll reread the whole book, but I did like the ending. And I read a KJ Charles unexpected Christmas novella, which was a great treat just because it was unexpected, and pretty good.

    KJ Charles blogged a list of books she loved and I read one of them, and didn’t love it. It felt like a heap of tired tropes and annoyed me so much that I skimmed to the end and then returned it to Amazon. Funny how different people appreciate such different stuff in books!

    Talking about which, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve reread At the Feet of the Sun, even though it’s 1300 pages and only just came out. I agree it could’ve been shortened but it’s basically a long process of Kip learning emotional honesty, and I love that.

  15. Mimi Matthews’s latest, The Belle of Belgrave Square was a nice, clean romance, set in Victorian England. I don’t think I’ll ever re-read this book, but reading it once was a pleasant diversion.

    S.J. Wynde’s Cici and the Curator was a re-read. It was the third time I’ve read this book, and it was as sweet now as the previous two times. On a cusp between science fiction and fantasy, the story was a zany delight, absurd, and funny. If you wish to escape the grim reality of modern life, read it.

    Another re-read – Diana Biller’s The Widow of Rose House. It is a marvelous novel, one of the best I’ve read in my life. It is set in 1875 in New York. It has romance. It has an angry ghost. And it has two fascinating protagonists. Well, not two, really. The woman, Alva, was OK, complex and struggling, but the man, Sam Moore, was a dream. At least, he was my dream: a genius scientist and a guy without insecurities. Kind, smart, compassionate, handsome, and large. I am not sure men like Sam exist in reality, but I’m absolutely in love with him. I want one of my own. And his dialog… I’m speechless at the things he said. It was so delicious, I was in raptures.

    1. Olga – I am not the audience for fantasy / sci fi but I still enjoyed Cici mostly because I am a fan of Sarah Wynde.

      I love her Tassamara series starting with Gift of Ghosts all the way through to the last one she wrote. Not sure if there will be more in that series.

      1. Yes, though I am mostly a F/SF reader, I liked both Cici and the Tassamara series too.

        I too just read At the feet of the Sun, and enjoyed it. It felt a lot closer in tone to The hands of the Emperor than the other shorter adventure stories in that series, and I enjoy the Wide Seas Islander worldview.

      2. I just finished the Widow of Rose House, searching it out on your recommendation here. I enjoyed it, very sweet. In overall theme it reminds me a bit of some early Barbara Michaels, with a ghost or two hassling the protagonists. Barbara Michaels/ Elizabeth Peters was a master of the genre, well worth scouring used paperback shelves for her older stuff if anyone hasn’t already found it.

    2. I follow Sarah Wynde on Instagram, and told her in her dms how much I enjoyed Cici and the Curator, and she said she’s working on a sequel!!!

  16. I read the newest Innkeeper book, Sweep of the Heart by Ilona Andrews, and enjoyed it a lot.

    A Posthumous Education by Drew Hayes, a new Fred the Vampire Accountant book. Fred gets drafted to serve as a temporary Professor at a paranormal university for a semester, catastrophe naturally follows.

  17. First and foremost, I would like to thank everyone here for their support and encouragement yesterday. I am happy to report that I am feeling much better today despite the fact that my C-Pap machine says I kept trying to wake myself up all night. I may not have slept well last night, but I feel less hopeless today.

    For one thing, my friend says that her much appreciated doctor’s practice now accepts regular Medicare instead of Medicare Advantage and is accepting new patients. If the office location is accessible enough without a car, that may solve several of my issues. I still need help getting off chocolate, but at least I maybe able to see someone who is willing to work with me instead of just shunting me off to another department.

    While I was fretting over that, I tried distracting myself with The Honeymoon Cottage by Lori Foster. This was a sweet diversion about seeing things for yourself and juggling conflicting needs. There isn’t a lot of conflict and the MCs actually discuss things. The sex is more acknowledged than shown. But it has an underlying sweetness that was refreshing.

    1. Good luck with your health concerns. You’re getting off chocolate?! Be still my heart! That takes fortitude!

    2. Aunt Snack – are you just starting with your cpap machine? I ask that because I used to work where I could hear the RT talking to people who were just starting. One thing they always suggested was – wear it sometimes when you are watching tv or reading. The theory is you will be distracted and get more comfortable using it.

      1. No,this is my second machine, I’ve used one for years. Just a day or 2 earlier,my score was less than one per hour, so I don’t think that was the problem. Last night I locked myself out of my apartment without either my cell phone, keys or jacket. It took the help of multiple neighbors to get in touch with the night repairman to come and let me in, but I was inside the building the whole time and one of my neighbors loaned me a fleece throw to wrap around my shoulders while I waited. She invited me in to wait in her apartment, but I was afraid I wouldn’t hear the guy when he arrived, so I stayed in the semi-heated hallway in my borrowed blanket. Then it took me a couple hours to unwind enough to sleep.

        1. Hm. When that happens to me it usually means the fit has slipped and I need to get a new nose cushion or adjust the head straps.

          1. I just changed the cushion, and when it slips it usually makes a whistling noise that lets me know I have to adjust it. This was 100 percent stress.

  18. A friend was disgusted by “goblin mode,” the Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. She announced that she was pushing messy modern mores aside and, instead, rereading a book from long ago, The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald.

    So I acquired The Princess and the Goblin and read it. Afterwards, I looked up its history: the story was serialized in a magazine before being published as a book in 1872. Later writers, including JRR Tolkein, CS Lewis, and GK Chesterton, were influenced by The Princess and the Goblin.

    I hadn’t heard of the book before, but perhaps you folks have. It’s a fairy tale in a medieval-ish culture in a fantasy world. The story is self consciously intended for children, so is replete with didacticisms.

    ** Spoilers** Two elements really interested me. First, the 8-year-old princess thinks, leads, and takes responsibility — attributes I didn’t expect in a man’s writing about a girl in the 1870s. Second, there’s a magically powerful woman who isn’t evil! She operates outside of the both the human (good guy) world and the goblin (humans degenerated into bad guys) world.

    Back to “goblin mode:” I’ve only looked at the headlines and have been amused.

    Personally, I first misread “goblin mode” for “Goblin Market,” a fantastic poem by Christina Rossetti. I prefer the poem over both the Oxford Dictionaries phrase and the MacDonald book.

    1. I just googled the definition of “goblin mode”. My computer came up with this:
      Oxford officially defines goblin mode as a slang term for “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” BBC Language says it’s characterized by “lazy, greedy, shameless behavior.”
      What did the poor goblins do to deserve such a trashy reputation?

        1. There’s also a good goblin in Unseen Academicals by Pratchett. I haven’t re-read that one in a long time and may need to now.

          1. Isn’t that good goblin actually an orc? Mr. Nutt — one of my favorite Pratchett characters.

            Do you remember the love sonnet he writes?

          2. Can’t replay to Elizabeth, so replying here — you’re right. It’s an orc. It really has been too long since I read it!

          3. The goblins are named and expanded on in his Snuff book, Stinky (first goblin PC) and Tears of the Mushroom (harp player) and turn up in Raising Steam

    2. I read The Princess and the Goblin in elementary school and loved it. I still have the used book store copy I got. Reading it as an adult is less satisfying, perhaps because it is so consciously aimed at (Victorian) children. I should dig it out and try it again, since I haven’t read it in over twenty years. (I remember where I was the last time.)

    3. As a dieter, I am more familiar with “gobblin’ mode,” where I stop counting the calories or carbs or sodium and just gobble everything in sight.

    4. I love Goblin Market. Amazing poem. Rosetti was the first place I heard “promises like pie crust” aka easily made, easily broken. Her work is so lovely.

  19. Jenny – what are “altered books” and what books are you reading on homemade shrines?

    I read Until Willow just out by Aurora Rose Reynolds. She has a series of Until books. I read and enjoy them BUT I skip sex scenes and tolerate alpha males. I enjoy her voice and I like the community she has evolved throughout the series.

    Trying to read The Beautiful and the Damned by F Scott Fitzgerald. Someone recommended it when they were critiquing my work although I, unfortunately, can’t remember why.

    Also reading W G Sebald on a recommendation because I joined Instagram and am loving it so much more than FB.

    My Instagram is jajennings1 if anyone wants to follow me. I already snagged Deborah Blake lol. Can’t wait to nab all the quilters.

    1. I don’t post quilts to IG regularly, but I do occasionally (along with cats and infrequently book-related stuff): https://www.instagram.com/ginjonesmysteries/ I’ll be working on purple and green baby quilts soon (separately, not the two colors together) and I haven’t decided if I’ll do #DailyFeb2023, but I have some quiltlets to finish, so maybe I’ll use that hashtag to motivate me.

    2. Altered Books are books that have been altered into art projects. Some of them have pages folded into new shapes, some of them have sections carved out of them to hold things, some of them are painted or collaged . . . basically anything you do to a book to make it an art project. https://taisiedesign.com/2011/12/27/edinburghs-phantom-sculptor/

      The Shrine Book which I haven’t looked at yet, so no idea if it’s good:

  20. One of this week’s reads was a review copy for QRI, a SF thriller with F/F romantic elements, which I was pleased to be able to give a thumbs-up (though the title ‘Reel to Real Love’ sounds like a Hollywood rom-com); by Elle E. Ire if anyone is in the market for that particular subgenre.

    Then there were several shorts, mostly holiday-themed; ‘The Shopping List’ by Megan Derr and ‘Naughty Neil’ by Louisa Masters were well-written and entertaining.

    Re-read ‘The Last Waltz’ by Mary Balogh which gets off to a slow start and features genuine & somewhat prolonged antagonism between the main characters, but once they start telling the truth things get very good very fast. Re-read one of my own books and one of my novelettes. Managed another chapter of the academic tome. This damn thing *should* be fascinating – it is chock full of interesting stories – but it is a slog.

    My rec of the week is nonfiction: ‘Shy,’ a memoir by Mary Rodgers (composer of ‘Once Upon A Mattress’ and author of ‘Freaky Friday’) as told to Jesse Green. Absolutely terrific.

  21. I reread Joanna Bourne’s two novellas ( in Mischief and Mistletoe and the Last Chance Christmas Ball). They are perfect of their kind. I’ve also been reading a couple of nonfiction books about Bletchley and WWII code breaking. I’m not sure why it fascinates me but it does.

    Leaving my job had apparently freed my brain to read nonfiction. I’m working through the New Yorker backlog and then on to the books stacked on my bedside table and underneath the coffeee table. We have some good stuff hanging around, including John Lewis’ three volume graphic novel on civil rights and Bon Dylan’s poetry. Also more coffee table cook books than I realized.

    Then tonight I read that Musk permanently banned a half dozen journalists from major papers. I’ve been preparing to get off Twitter by trying to sign up for the people I follow on other
    Media. I think it’s time to open a Mastodon account (apparently challenging), and finish following others.
    And maybe restart a blog I dropped years ago. The time is nigh….

    My husband works in corporate governance and says that Musk’s boards are not doing their job at all—they should be providing financial oversight and they are letting him run both Twitter and Tesla into the ground. I’m sure he has set a record for amount of money lost by an individual in a year

    1. Check out post.news too. I like the clean, simple format, and at least some of the banned journalists have migrated there, along with some other folks I follow.

      1. I am on the waitlist. And I’m following people on substack which I like for (slightly) longer pieces. Jose Andres is there and I will follow him anywhere.

  22. I’ve been building little 3d collages in boxes that hold Artist Trading Cards – they are a perfect place for all the tiny treasures I hoard! tell me if you need boxes made for shrines or other things, because I panic bought a laser cutter partway into the pandemic, and I am mad with power

  23. I tried and DNF a cozy mystery that I picked up from BookBub recently. The story had potential, but the author was so heavy-handed about the “main character has a deep-dark secret that may be uncovered at any minute” that I couldn’t take it. I didn’t get more than 25% of the way through the book before I deleted it from my eLibrary.

    My copy of Killers of a Certain Age that I had on hold at the library just came in, so I’m hoping reading that turns out more successfully. Otherwise, it’s back to Ngaio Marsh and Louise Penny.

  24. Talking about shrines brings me back to early years at parochial school. I don’t remember what grade, but the nun teaching handed out statuettes of the Virgin Mary and we were instructed to create a shrine. I probably glued her in a shoe box lined with white material and thought it was gorgeous.

    1. In a related description, along my way from work to the library in a very Catholic neighborhood, someone bought a house with an Our Lady of the Bathtub facing the street, and relocated Mary to a much lovelier spot in some shrubs by the side of the house. The bathtub now frames a Dalmatian in a fire helmet and makes me smile every time I pass.

  25. Reread bits of The Edge after finishing the book. Dick Francis. Seems to be the only new books I can finish. Looking at the few books I don’t have. Will buy one today. Also, I finished my short story today! Yeah, me. Now comes the rewrite, etc.

  26. I reread A Deadly Education while waiting for the second book to become available at the library. I love it all over again, it’s both intriguing and funny, and I’m so looking forward to the second one.

    Also Books 1 and 2 of MCA Hogarth’s Prince’s Game series, starting with Even the Wingless. It’s part of her pelted universe series, but very different from the previous ones. At times very disturbing, so I’m surprised at how much I’m enjoying it.

    A review on Tor.com helps explain it better than I can:

    Liz Bourke.
    M.C.A. Hogarth’s “Princes’ Game” series is peculiar and compelling (and peculiarly compelling) space opera. I read the first two books, Even the Wingless and Some Things Transcend some time ago, and recently caught up on the next three, Amulet Rampant, Only the Open, and In Extremis. I want to talk about it here briefly, because—somewhat to my surprise—I really like it, and because of its determination to make the reader productively uncomfortable.

    Now, let’s be clear. The “Princes’ Game” series contains quite a bit of sexual content, and a significant proportion of that sexual content is at best dubiously consensual, at worst outright rape. But one of Hogarth’s concerns in this series is, it seems to me, to examine the problems of power and culture, nature and society, and whether it is possible to change from a person who does evil acts and believes them natural and right to a person to whom those acts are abhorrent. (Which is to say that I found the rape and dubiously consensual sexual activity disturbing, but not necessarily gratuitous: the narrative never pretends that any of this is okay.) Hogarth is also interested in questions of consent, of trauma, and of recovery—as well as change, love, and personal growth.

    Lisinthir Nase Galare is a prince of the Eldritch (space elves) sent as ambassador to the Chatcaavan Empire (space dragons) by the authorities of the Alliance. The Eldritch are not technically part of the Alliance—the Eldritch are an isolationist and conservative culture that has largely turned its back on the wider universe—but all the Alliance’s previous ambassadors have returned home early or dead: Lisinthir is their last hope to prevent a war, or at least stave it off a little longer. But when Lisinthir and the Chatcaavan court meet, things get… complicated.

    The series is queer as hell. It’s pretty delightful in that way, and in the way that trauma is treated seriously, with respect for the sometimes-difficult process of recovery. Despite the at times disturbing acts depicted in the Princes’ Game series, I find these books, on the whole, remarkably comforting.

    1. I read quite a bit of Hogarth a while back, the ones with the two therapists, one is Eldritch, the other some other species. A complete bromance. They were delightful books. Are these connected?

      1. The two therapists are a major part of the second book, when Lisinthir comes back from the Chatcaavan empire. It was really nice running into them again, though they faced a few personal challenges in this book. I don’t know if they’re in later books, I haven’t got past the second one yet.

  27. This week I finished Ocean’s Echo, and immediately turned to the beginning to read it a second time. I did that with The Goblin Emperor and with Murderbot, so that puts Everina Maxwell in excellent company. Now I suppose I will go read Winter’s Orbit yet again.

    This week at work was supposed to be the slow week before things go completely mad from Christmas through New Year’s (boarding kennel/vet clinic–there will be emergency calls when we’re closed and pets get into chocolate and turkey fat) but if this is slow I’m going to be done for by January. So reading has been slow, too.

  28. I devoured Ocean’s Echo this week. The high point of last week was A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland. Wonderful character development, lots of action set in a lushly described fantasy setting, M/M romance with sex more implied than described. I’m way behind on my TBR pile because I keep finding more intriguing books here!

    I only recently noticed a reference to “competence porn” on this site. I haven’t checked for a definition, but it sounds like something I’m into – protagonists who know what they’re doing, or can find out. I love reading about their processes. The Wizard’s Butler comes to mind.

    1. So in my return to the New Yorker I read a profile of the author Mick Herron, and I guess I will try him. (All thoughts about his books would be very welcome.)
      Somewhere in the profile one of the people in it says in real life mystery writers are the nicest people. They leave all the blood in the books. Now romance writers ….
      And of course I thought of everyone here and particularly Jenny’s angry protagonists.

      1. I absolutely adore Mick Herron’s Slough House series. It’s based around a group of disgraced/failed spies in London – they’ve been basically farmed out to Slough House and given nothing to do in the hope they’ll resign. They’re eccentric as hell, and the books are wonderful.

          1. I bought two of his The Marylebone Drop novellas. Was going on a cruise with cousins, 2020. Sherry and I were going to have a mini book club. Sadly I lost my passport on the flight to Miami and could not board the ship. We will try again on cruise in 2023. My new passport is velcro-ed to my body. I now travel with new passport photos just in case. Canadian passport photos are an unusual size. Of course. 🤷🏻‍♀️

  29. I’ve listened to “I was born for this” by Alice Oseman. Definitely no romsnce. Also I’m not sure how I liked it. Definitely a book for discussions.
    The I got hooked by the 20 % excerpt at smashwords of “To catch a fallen leaf” by Fearne Hill. It’s 50% off but i do ‘t think that’s an option for overseas people. Nevertheless I dished out 5,50 Euro (because hooked) and don’t regret it. I really liked the story, the writing style, how the characters of book 1 in the series.

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