This is a Good Book Thursday, December 22, 2022

Sorry this is late, I am not good at multi-tasking and Thursday snuck up on me. The only things I read this week were recipes for Ina Garten’s lasagna and some website’s overnight oats because both are going into the new book, and the first act of the new book, which I am starting to feel very positive about.

What did you read this week?

131 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 22, 2022

  1. Cold medicine containers, the lying bastards. They have not helped my symptoms. Except for the Buckley’s daytime mucus control which told a half truth. The mucus is under control, everything else it is was supposed to help with not so much.

    1. *does second COVID test*

      Oh, that’s why I’m not getting any better. I’m as vaccinated as it’s possible to be and this is kicking my ass from here to Sunday.

      1. I understand your irritation. I was double-vaxed, triple-boosted, and came down with COVID two days before Thanksgiving. Sore throat, cough, runny nose and a low fever. The fever only lasted two days, thank goodness. Got Plaxovid prescribed and was starting to improve but on day 8, fever came back. The home test no longer showed improvement, and the doctor’s office told me I got the rebound COVID. I was fortunate; my symptoms overall were on the mild side (fever again gone after second day) but it was three weeks from the day of my first diagnosis before I finally tested negative. Even taking medicine for the symptoms only helped a little.

  2. Two Dick Francis books; High Stakes and Risk. Three Mick Herron books; Slow Horses, Dead Lions and Slough House. All set for the holidays.

    Cousins have confirmed flight to Calgary tonight, bypassing Vancouver. They will be home for Christmas. Was prepared to have them spend Christmas with us. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all. Cheers!

  3. I read Nona the Ninth, which I really enjoyed and was a lot easier to understand than the last one. As in, I didn’t have to read the Wikipedia plot summary to figure on what was going on.

    And I read Emily Henry’s Beach Read, which I enjoyed but not as much. I just seem to be in an SFF mood this month.

  4. I have been alternating between Con Riley and Keira Andrews, as Hoople as multiple titles by both in audiobook. Oddly enough, I read two with wreck/ stranded on a island themes. I didn’t read the blurbs, it was just serendipity. Both were good, and the Con Riley had an extension of the Christmas story I read, so that was a nice surprise. And my reading book is KJ Charles’ short Christmas story. So far so good.

    On a less fun note, another big scam happened at work, to a really lovely person who didn’t deserve it, who I wouldn’t have thought was a good candidate for it. Please talk to your loved ones and open a line of communication. There is no urgency to winning money, paying off the US Marshals, etc. If they tell you not to tell the bank, or lie to the bank of the purpose, then it’s not real.

        1. So much. I think that people don’t believe that it can happen to them, because the scenarios are so ridiculous. I just feel so bad.

          So I try to tell my family regularly. Always double verify phone numbers and email addresses from a neutral source. Don’t click or call blindly.

          1. I had a call from one recently. So I wandered off and emptied the dishwasher, occasionally asking – in a stressed voice – if he was still on the line.

            Eventually he complained that it was serious, and asked what I was doing –

            “My civic duty. If I’ve got you on the phone, you aren’t scamming anyone else.”


          2. Thank you to /anne for her civic virtues, on behalf of probably dozens of us who are rescued by people like you. It’s a real boon!

    1. Before I retired I worked for a credit union and we frequently had people come in who thought they had won a sweepstakes or something similar. Big red flags include not telling anyone about the “windfall” coming, purchasing gift cards to “help offset fees”, receiving a check for a few thousands then being instructed that the check was for too much and to send an official bank check for the overage. We tried very hard to keep our members from being scammed but sometimes they wouldn’t listen to us and fell for the scams anyway.

      1. My friend worked for the Department of Fair Trading and she tried to tell people there was a scam list. Like any other sales marketing, they hook you with the small stuff usually, put you on the gullible list and keep coming back to milk you of bigger sums. Yet people still persisted in believing they won a lottery they never entered, when a simple google search would bring up all warnings they need

        1. Exactly, and this was someone I would never have thought would fall for it. It’s scary. This is the second major loss at our bank this month.

          The other received a call from the “US Marshals” that a car registered to her husband was found at the border with blood and drugs, possibly used for human trafficking.

          It boggles the mind, but this works repeatedly.

          1. Mainly cause they go for quantity over quality, they just keep chipping away at lots of people till they find the gaps. The grandparent scam is the worst, though due to lock down, they had to switch tactics cause no one was travelling.

          2. Some are quite sophisticated – we’ve had people pay invoices that looked absolutely legit – correct logo, address, contact details, type of supply. Just wrong bank account details. Sometimes even an email address that looks correct (although I find that’s the best red flag, but many people have default email settings that only show the name and not the address.) I’ve seen it happen to community treasurers, business CFOs etc.

            Or sometime those absurd scenarios fit someone’s life – 99% of people won’t have a grandchild who’s traveling and might need money but send it to enough people and you’ll get one who does. I know there were times I was inundated with bills, tired and stressed, and if I received one that looked like the rest I probably would have paid it.

            Much worse is when my mother, who is in the early stages of dementia, gets scam calls or texts. Thankfully she tells them to talk to her daughter as I took over her finances years ago but she’s often anxious for a day or two afterwards and calls me to make sure I’ve paid the (bogus) bill.

          3. Something like that could so easily knock a person into a state of panic where they weren’t making good decisions. I think that’s what they rely on.

  5. I had a long tiring car journey to Paris thanks to the rail strikes but I still managed to squeeze in some reading.

    I read the new innkeeper by Ilona Andrews which made me want to reread my favourite in that series, the one where Maud grabs her HEA with both hands. I do like a kickass heroine with commitment issues and a steadfast quietly supportive hero.

    Now, thanks to Lian’s recommendation last week, I am reading MCA Hogarth’s Prince’s Game. The first book was pretty harrowing but compelling and I am now on book 2 which I am liking a lot.

    1. Harrowing but compelling is a great description of the first book. I’ve read the first three now, and it’s going in quite unexpected directions as far as Jafir is concerned.

          1. Sorry. I am still thinking about that one. I really liked her dreamhealer series which is what I would call « cosy SF ». The two main characters from that series turn up in book 2 of the Prince’s game and taken in a completely new direction and I still like them very much. I do like the main character also but he is put through such a wringer in book 1 that I find it difficult to say more. The violence is not graphically described but it is not glossed over either.
            I think the psychology is fascinating in both series.

          2. The Dreamhealer series is definitely cozy. This series definitely isn’t. In the first book, the main character, Lisinthir, is put through so much by the dragons to whom he is ambassador that he barely survives. (All previous ambassadors have returned either dead or broken.) That is certainly the most harrowing of the first three books. But he maintains his moral code and his spirit – just – and manages to create change. Harrowing, but not gratuitous.

          3. Thank you. I’m trying to figure out whether to invest time in it since it’s such a long series.

          4. You need a high tolerance for rape and sado-masochistic scenes to be able to read that series. I couldn’t.
            There is a sort of synopsis available, for those who aren’t sure they want to read it and don’t mind spoilers, or for those who know they don’t, but still want to know what happens and how it changes the world.

            I liked the Dreamhealers series, but I hated how this dragon-series changed a central character, and their interactions with people. Though he survived, and has learned to live with the changes in himself caused by the events in that series, it did feel to me like they broke him. I really wish I’d stopped after the Dreamhealers quartet, Her instruments trilogy, and Girl on fire, and the Claws and Starships short story collection.

    2. I read the new Inkeeper this week too! So fun. Also read two Rebecca Roanhorse books – her Sixth World Series. Wish there were more of them.

    3. I read the new Innkeeper, too. Then I started The Widow of Rose House by Diana Biller (which someone here recommended) and it was good but I still wanted to be at Gertrude Hunt, so I started back at the beginning of the series.

    4. I adore Maud. And little Helen. I apparently like a little bloodshed in my romance sometimes. (Sends happy holiday wishes to Bob!)

  6. I’ve been too busy packing to start anything new. I’m still rereading Variation on a Theme Book 3 and keeping up with new chapters of Book 4 as they are serialized. Other than that? Packing. More packing. Doing the Marie Kondo thing as I pack.

    The Kondo thing gets weird. I have a stack of rewritable CD/DVDs. I also have a portable DVD drive, because none of my laptops have one. The All-in-1 has one, but it doesn’t seem to work, which I did not find out before the warranty expired. No, I switched from DVDs and CDs to thumb drives and SanDisk cards and readers. It has been years since I burned anything to a disk. The blank DVDs do not give me joy anymore. But that’s computer tech… trash, dammit. Gone.

    If the Moody Blues and Doobie Brothers are burned to the hard drive, do I need those CDs? No joy. Trash, or at least the Goodwill box.

    Laptop computers. Yeah, no, joy or no joy, they stay. Besides, they’re in handy briefcase totes with the portable DVD drive and portable hard drives. They’re already packed and ready to go.

    Moving is hard.

    1. Back up your music though, my friend saved all her CDs as files and gave them away. Then her computer died and she lost everything

      1. I have mine on hard drives, thumb drives, and SanDisk cards. Some are in the cloud. If a computer dies, I have others. If a card dies, I have others. I’ve been there and done that and have a t-shirt collection.

      2. My computer once crashed and I was able to pull the (thousands of) songs off my iPod, but it was touch and go for a while. I pay $25 a year to iTunes for match which backs up my music.

        Good luck with your move!

    2. I get the keys to a (hopefully) longer-term rental house on January 3rd.

      Moving twice in five months should be one of the worst circles of hell, but as it was that or live in my car…

      I’m going to miss the stunning view, but the new place is walking distance from several cafes (for anyone in Melbourne, I’m moving from The Patch to Olinda), so that will be fun.

      At least now, when I see fabric or yarn, I know _exactly_ how much I already have!

      Best of luck in your move!

        1. I’m moving from The Patch – which is a glorious tiny hidden valley full of deciduous trees and lush English gardens. The garden in Olinda isn’t as nice – it’s been savagely cut back recently, and is missing the flowers and ground cover plants – but it’s flat, and it’s only 600 metres to all of Olinda’s cafes and cute shops. I haven’t lived on a flat block for over 16 years, so I’m going to have a bit of fun with the garden. I’m also hoping we get some snow in winter, as I’m moving from 300 to 600 metres above sea level.

          It will be painful – I own an enormous quantity of books, fabric, yarn, fleeces… I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as it was in September, and this time it’s for at least a year!

    3. My mother always said that after 20…30…40 years in the same house, if she ever had to move she was burning everything and starting over.

    4. Moving *is* hard, even while staying in place. We hugely pared down to move out while the house was redone, then moved back in. A year later, though much has been accomplished, we’re still paring down. My outlook for the coming year is to finally be all the way done.

      1. We moved twice while redoing the house and there are still many things to be gotten rid of. It doesn’t help that my DH is a pack rat. I wouldn’t say he was a hoarder but our definitions of junk are me—haven’t used it since the year before the pandemic (we have a lot of party supplies or it would be in the last year or two) and him—might be useful for a spare part one day even though it’s broken .


  7. I’m listening to Pratchett’s Watch books, started with Guards! Guards! I couldn’t find Men at Arms for some reason, so it’s on to Feet of Clay. I just needed the grounding of old friends. Also The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant, enjoyable, and available on Hoopla!
    I listened to a wonderful podcast , Everything Happens, by Kate Bowler. Her guest was Elizabeth Gilbert, and the title was: Why Your Creativity Matters. It gave me heart.
    I ordered myself a Kindle to see if it helps me to read text better. The cataract surgery last year has made it harder to read a book for long, as I used to be able to do. The iPad doesn’t work well for a long read.

      1. What was it like to start reading Pratchett in the middle of the Ankh-Morpork saga? I envy you the experience of getting to the one that starts with Vimes in a gutter, in the rain, watching the reflectionsof a blinking neon sign in the waters guttering past him.

    1. Hope the Kindle will work for you. I find it much easier on my eyes than an iPad, and of course it’s really helpful that you can make the text darker (bolder) and/or bigger.

  8. I read the Con Riley Last Christmas in London on Chacha1’s recommendation and enjoyed it quite a bit.

    I also read CS Poe’s first two in her Momento Mori series, about a police forensic artist and a detective teaming up to solve serial murders – nothing too graphic. The detective has HSAM (High Superior Autobiographical Memory) which is helpful in his work but causes him wretched life and personal problems. They are an interesting pairing and I will definitely keep up with this series. Still, I wish they were Charlie Adhara books…

      1. Since reading the Charlie Adhara books, I’ve definitely gone down a rabbit hole of M/M detective/action partners, with or without shifter wolves. Not saying I’ve mined the complete vein yet, but certainly haven’t found anything better. The next best books in the genre that I’ve read were TA Moore’s two Digging Up the Bones books. Will continue to explore.

        1. The person who recommended Adhara also recommends TJ Klune. Looks like a m/m crime action series? I haven’t tried it yet. Hoopla had another story on audiobook, but the narrator was bad.

          1. Is that the one that starts with Wolfsong? I didn’t love the House on the Cerulean Sea – found it a bit twee. And these books are expensive. So I need someone else to read it and tell me what they think…

          2. Tammy, I agree about House on the Cerulean Sea. Everyone else seems to love it – to me, he was trying too hard to strike certain notes, and it made the whole story too cute and too sentimental. But his Wolfsong books are a lot better. Occasional bits of gratuitous cuteness, but generally not. Very sexually explicit though, if that’s an issue for you.

          3. It’s an issue for me if it’s not sexually explicit. Bahaha. Okay I will try it, thank you for the commentary.

    1. So many of your recommended His Last Christmas in London that I put it on my wish list, and will order it when I finish the TBRs in my stack. Thanks for your comments!

  9. This morning I made meatballs, not my usual walnut shaped but Mama Mia meatballs. Then I baked Snickerdoodles and added grated nutmeg to the cinnamon topping. After all it is a CT cookie as CT is the nutmeg state. Now I can get back into hopefully the last of Christmas books. This last is another Kayley Loring story A Very Bossy Christmas. Chock filled with Catholic guilt for the H, Declan, by his Irish mother. Maddie his assistant is going to be talked into going home with him because he lied to his mother about their relationship. And that’s as far as I’ve gotten because by now, I know I need a nap.

      1. Sure, walnuts in the shell, for years I used a half-sized ice cream scoop because of quantity appx 26 meatballs. And plucked what I needed out of the freezer for the sauce. This time around I used a regular sized scoop and made a baker’s dozen.

  10. I’m reading another Christmas book (if I don’t read them by the end of December, I’m not in the mood, so I tend to do a few in a row at this time of year if my favorite authors happen to have new books out). This one is by Amy E. Reichert, whose books I love. It’s called Once Upon a December and it is romance with a fantastical element (the male love interest lives in a place called the Julemarked, a holiday market where it is always December, and which attaches to markets in different cities. Very intriguing concept well done so far, although I’m only a few chapters in.

  11. Reading Only a Kiss by Mary Balogh – stayed up way too late reading and didn’t finish, so I predict another late night to push through. I’ve been liking the characters and the situation. I just need to find out why the heroine decided she would only play-act at life, instead of living it, after the death of her husband.

    Happy holidays!

    1. Okay, the reason was a little darker than I had thought, but it was a valid reason for shutting herself from society – and the MC was able to get her to realize that her current life was not what her husband would have wanted for her.

  12. My hold on Everina Maxwell’s “Ocean’s Echo” finally came in, and I am enjoying the complicated first-meet part of the protagonists’ story. It appears that they are going to have a tough time, with many opponents and problems, but I like them both and have faith that Maxwell will bring them forth to an HEA. Or at least a VHNow.

      1. I just started Ocean’s Echo. Didn’t like the first character at all, at first, but he’s growing on me as it becomes a little clearer why he is such a waste of space.

        1. I know — I had the same impression initially. Self-indulgent attention addict etc. But he really improves, things about his position are cleared up, new mysteries unfold, and his drawbacks turn out to be assets in other settings. I’m about halfway now, and really liking it — rooting for both MCs.

          1. Yes, I ended up loving it too. Very satisfying! And loved how his capacity for creating chaos turned out to be really useful in certain circumstances.

    1. I like that trilogy and reread it when I’m in the right mood. For rereads, those parts that recount the legends in her trilogies get old, so I skip them.

  13. I started reading the Innkeeper series by Ilona Andrews a couple of weeks ago and am now reading all of their books in order. I’m very excited to have so many new books to read!

    1. I really like Ilona Andrews, but the Edge Chronicles get too dark for me after the first one. I reread that one, but usually skip the rest. Bonus though, you get to meet the arbitrator, George, as a child.

  14. I’ve just about finished the Scholomance trilogy, so went back and read everyone’s comments. I agree that the first two books are the best ones – and having finished the second one and being 10th on the wait list at the library, I bought the third rather than wait.
    It’s more disjointed than the first two, but I’m so engaged with the characters that I’m still enjoying it. The big reveal about Orion made a lot of stuff make sense, and like everyone else, I loathe his mother with a fiery loathing. I didn’t at all mind El sleeping with someone else – it’s very much comfort sex in dreadful situations, and she’s 17 or 18, which somehow makes it okay with me. I think one of the main things I love throughout the books is the growth of the friendships, and how strong they become.
    The trilogy is definitely a reread for me.

    1. I just reread it for the third time. The third book gets better and better. It makes a much more nuanced story once you pick up on how unreliable El is as a narrator. I love El.

  15. Several Amanda Quick re-reads were as good as ever – a comfort read for a very cold week.
    A new story for me this week was Jayne Davis’s Captain Kempton’s Christmas. This novella was a nice Christmas second chance romance. The setup reminded me of Persuasion by Jane Austen, but the resolution was too pat, too easy in comparison with Austen. Despite the simplified quality of the story and the characters, it was a pleasant and easy read.

  16. I’ve read To catch a fallen leaf and really liked it.
    Then I tried the first 20 % of the follow-up To take a quiet breath and was intrigued. Dished out another 5 euro but 78 % in and I’m LOVING it. Fearne Hill has swiftly become one of my favourite authors. I’ve hardly ever encountered MCs with severe illnesses portrayed in this way, just competently coping.
    Apart from that reading time was cut short by me bingewatching “Smiley” on Netflix, a really sweet series set in Barcelona. Great community building, loveable characters with flaws.

  17. Okay. No wild strawberries, ergo no joy. No amber mason jars in service anymore, Katemcy is retired. I pruned the plants in Lucy. There are tomatoes in Phredd and Sheba and some are slo-o-o-owly changing color. There are sweet peppers in Seble, but how close to ripe I can’t guess.

    I’m running to my FNFL for brown and wild rice to stuff my parrots with. Also tape for the boxen. And milk for the grandkinder.

      1. When do you guys move into the new place officially? You seem kind of like a pioneer packing things into the covered wagon, making plans to sow seeds as soon as the new ground thaws a bit.

        I say you should scout out the thrift stores close to the new spot in advance, because the new setting will likely find you missing things during the first week or two, and why spend too much during the honeymoon period?

        1. Below I said, “The new home is 5.5 miles from here. Far enough away that I’ll be using a different Food Lion, but it’s one I occasionally use now. What will be new is the town that collects my taxes. (Hopewell vs Prince George.) In general, stores will be the same. Hopewell has a community center with a pool and gym that the dotter wants me to pay dues to. I will humor her.”

          I know where the local thrift stores are. Things I’ll need right away are groceries, a bigger heater, and lumber to make new walls. The basement is wide open, mostly.

  18. I finished Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series. Enjoyed them all, though the last one – The Fifteenth Minute – not as much as the rest. She does botch her endings by slowing everything down, I think. This one was pretty slow all round, really. I’m rereading Hot Toy as a palate-cleanser.

  19. I’ve fallen out of reading recently. It makes me sad.

    But I reread Hogwatch this week and enjoyed it thoroughly — partly because I skip all the Teatime stuff.

    I worked hard on writing a piece to read at last night’s Solstice party but didn’t read it because it was completely out of sync with the other contributions. I’m glad I didn’t present mine. I’m curious about when I’ll fall back into my place with the others. There are realignments going on. All this is all right, just a change. Or a process of change.

  20. This week I read only three full-length books.

    1. ‘The Happiness Project’ by Suki Fleet, zir trademark new-adult angst-fest in which troubled people face dreadful obstacles but make it through to a hopeful conclusion. This book had a rather strange and to my mind unnecessary magical element which didn’t mesh with the bleak realism of the main story. Fleet writes beautifully but, for me, is best without magic.

    2. re-read ‘Any Old Diamonds’ by KJ Charles, which is a perfect goddamn book.

    3. ‘Act One’ by Moss Hart, a memoir by a theater legend. The book ends with the opening of his first play on Broadway (monster hit ‘Once in a Lifetime’) when he is barely 26 years old. Full of fascinating 1920s-to-1930 New York theater-world detail. Hart died at 57 and probably he meant to write a follow-up sometime, but odds are good it would have left out all the juicy stuff again (there is no juicy stuff in ‘Act One’) and I think I got what I needed from this one. That said, two biographies have gone on my wishlist in case I need more juice when I go to write my midcentury Broadway novel. 🙂

    Along with those, I read 6 novellas, including one of my own and a review read for QRI. Of those, if anyone is looking for one more holiday-themed short, I can recommend ‘Twas the Play Before Christmas’ by Kris T. Bethke, a low-angst story about new beginnings for old acquaintances.

    1. I’ve downloaded Twas the Play Before Christmas. Sigh. Which takes my total of “I’m only going to read one Christmas book” to – eleven. I blame you. Totally with you on Any Old Diamonds by the way, which I also reread recently. One of my top five KJ Charles books. Looking forward to reading your new novella when it’s ready.

  21. As part of my “must read something new between each re-read” policy I read Deanna Raybourn’s Killers of a Certain Age. It was oaky, and I stayed up late to finish it, but if it was part of a series (it isn’t, is it?), I probably wouldn’t pick up the next book. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with it–though I’m not a fan of the 1st person POV for the Billie backstory portions. I just didn’t feel like I got to know the characters in any kind of depth and occasionally I had to suspend disbelief almost to the breaking point. On the other hand, it was nice reading a story with competent older heroines, so there’s that.

    My only other reading comprised a hundred or so pages from the title company for the the house sale (finally completed) that has been in progress most of the year. There was an earthquake a few miles away from the now-not-my-problem-house the day after the new owners took possession. I’m hoping that’s not a bad omen.

    Now I’m off to read recipes for my annual holiday baking binge.

  22. Enjoyed Ruby Dixon’s “Ice Planet Barbarians” – my overwhelming impression was kindness. Basic premise is a bunch of women abducted from Earth & crashland on an alien planet – some plot gaps and I read the revised version so I think less violent but overall definitely worth reading.

    Also read “A Merry Little Meet Cute” by Sierra Simone & Julie Murphy. Humour didn’t qutie work for me, but liked the sex positive, size positive attitudes and a hero who loves and admires his bipolar mum. Plus an m/f romance w two engaging bi MCs, so I’ll give this pairing another go sometime.

    1. I liked Ice Planet Barbarians and agree with you about the overall feeling of kindness. Some of her later stuff, Bad Guy, etc, got too gory for me. But the big blue aliens are a pretty safe bet.

      And I think that I like Sierra Simone alone better than when she collaborates.

        1. Hey — and Lupe — is Bank Insanity finally over for the year? I mean the “give me PRETTY bills!” part of it? We want to know you’ve been given a reprieve!

          1. Thanks jinx,

            Yesterday was nuts. I have one more shift today. We are supposed to close at 12, though last year we didn’t get out until after an hour later… It’s quiet yet. Too quiet…

            But I have Monday off. Nothing but good times ahead.

          1. Well now I’m reading book number two in the series so I think I’m hooked on them. I shake my fist at the both of you. Bah, humbug.

  23. Brittany Cavallaro’s YA series about Charlotte Holmes (A Study in Charlotte, The Last of August, The Case for Jamie and – the one I’m reading now – A Question of Holmes). Yes, she’s the several times great granddaughter of Sherlock Holmes and Jamie Watson is her counterpart in the Watson family.

    Interesting character study as she is totally unlikeable and horrible in many cases, but is trying to recover some form of humanity from her extreme upbringing. Jamie Watson, her love? interest, appears to be ‘normal’, but takes way more abuse than a typical teenager would, in my opinion.

    Still, it’s managed to keep my interest and keep me reading through four books! 😉

  24. Yesterday I read two books, Ten Dead Comedians, which made me laugh and did surprise me. It’s And Then There Were None, but with comedians and modern, which I prefer because I can relaate and learn about show business at the same time.

    Then I read Dope, which was beautifully written and hardboiled/noir and still haunting me. I imagine it’s dark for Argh readers.

    Before that, I read a bunch of Jackie Lau, which makes me feel good. Strong Asian protagonists, funny grandmothers, tons of delicious food, loyal friends, and bold sex. Only one made me uncomfortable with a MRAsian character. I’d rather not have a love triangle at all than a weak one. But I must’ve read at least ten Jackie Lau books, and that’s my only complaint, which is an excellent batting average!

  25. I did not get this notification, but I was busy getting in the mood for a day-late celebration of Solstice and doing the preparation for a ritual. I’m still slogging through Husband Material. I reread The Cinderella Deal. I honestly think that is my very favorite Crusie book. I can so relate to the struggles of the characters. I think it’s a Christmas book, because that is when the two MCs finally break through the doubts and restraints and love each other. I love watching them grow and change, and the kindness they evidence for each other all along.

  26. Finally read Andy Weir’s Hail Mary Project, and I liked it better than his second book (forget the title of that one, but I thought it veered to far away from his strength, which is the scientific process, so I noped out of it fairly early on), but I could never suspend disbelief on the Hail Mary Project’s basic premise of the whole planet coming together to solve an existential problem. That was mostly in the flashbacks, so I liked the current timeline, just not the backstory. I think the book was likely written before the pandemic. given the timeline for publishing, but between the universally terrible response we’ve seen to the pandemic (which, as the first comment here demonstrates is far from over but is basically being ignored!) and similarly divided response to climate change, I just can’t buy that countries would work together, even to save the planet.

    And so as not to end on such a dreary note, I’ll say I haven’t kept up with the Innkeeper series, so the comments above have me looking forward to catching up, and I’m also looking forward to a Kate Daniels spin-off novella coming in January that looks like a lot of fun.

    1. Agree the “Earth” sections didn’t work, although for me it was more the might is right attitude, the absence of politics and the lone man savior rather than what would have been huge collaborative teams of scientists that bothered me. I liked that he was a deeply flawed character – not sure that Andy Weir intended him to come across that way.

      Mary Robinette Kowal’s Lady Astronaut trilogy handles similar themes in a much more believable way for me. Also focused on the space race aspect, its pretty clear that its Plan B, and we get a lot more of the interpersonal dynamics which help to ground the story.

  27. I finished the Elizabeth peters series about Amelia Peabody. The last one actually is tomb of the golden bird. After that river in the sky goes back to 10 years earlier, so I started Jenny Colgan‘s Christmas book shop, which is fun. I still miss Amelia and I’m tempted to go back and read river in the sky. But not till after Christmas I have so many Christmas books on my kindle, I wish you all joy of the season. Happy solstice, happy Hanukkah happy Christmas happy Kwanzaa peace on earth and good books to all.

        1. yw – it was silly i know but i had a great time writing it

          i am sympathetic with your move right now – Liz (daughter) and i just shifted the house around so my office can come out of my bedroom.


          i know you will be glad when you are in the new home & settled!

          1. Oh, even more so, now. The weather outside is frightful. In here is not delightful. So since I’ve a place to go. Let me go let me go let me go!
            Last night the temperature dropped to single digits (negative digits in degrees Canadian) and the mancave dipped down to 58 Farfegnugen. My heaters couldn’t keep up. I turned on the toaster oven and left the door down. It was too cold to pack. I don’t recall the last time I went to bed dressed in layers.

            Tonight, it’s in the teens (still negative degrees Canadian) but the room has recovered to 65F. I’m ready to move. but Thursday is Der Tag.

            The new home is 5.5 miles from here. Far enough away that I’ll be using a different Food Lion, but it’s one I occasionally use now. What will be new is the town that collects my taxes. (Hopewell vs Prince George.) In general, stores will be the same. Hopewell has a community center with a pool and gym that the dotter wants me to pay dues to. I will humor her.

            Sheba has died. I don’t care if it’s the electronic controls or the power supply – she isn’t giving me joy so we know what that means. First I will harvest any ripe tomatoes (I see two, but I’ve rigged a grow light and there may be more by Wednesday), and then Kondo take her.

  28. I have macular degeneration in my right eye and find reading paper books slow and tiring, but I manage to read 2 or 3 e-books a week on my kindle. Okay, it’s not the same, but the fact that I can enlarge the text to suit my eyes makes reading so much easier. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, Maine+Betty.

    I’m reading, Lessons in Chemistry, by Bonnie Garmus at the moment. Quirky. Different. And funny.

  29. Jenny, have you gotten Bob a book for Christmas? This one looks right up his alley:

    “Captain Mesner has been assigned the toughest mission of his career. He and his crack team of black-ops soldiers are being sent to the North Pole. Their mission: assassinate one Kristopher Kringle, stop an international bomb threat, and save Christmas. But to get to Santa, they’re going to need to fight their way through an army of elves, scores of deadly traps, and a herd of blood-crazed reindeer. Can twelve soldiers take on three million elves backed by the most advanced biochemical complex on planet Earth?
    “It’s going to take a Christmas miracle.”

  30. I have been sleeping not reading because Covid. DD suggested that DS and I get her partner science fiction since he likes it but hasn’t read much. This was right up our alley so he is getting NK Jemison, Thief of Time, Dark lord of Derkholm, Left Hand of Darkness, Memory (Bujold) and a Kowal.

    I have no idea if he will like any of them but DS and I had a great time picking them out and if he likes even half he will have books for years.

      1. I recommend The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which is the first book of her Inheritance Trilogy.

        Most people seem to prefer her Dreamblood Duology or The Broken Earth series (major award winning, lauded by lots of people/authors whom I respect)

      2. The two Dreamblood books are great. And the Broken Earth series is brilliant but fair warning – nothing ever goes very well in those books…

      1. Plus it gives us something to talk to him about. He’s a great guy but he is an ethnomusicologist who leads a klezmer / Eastern European music band. DS is a grad student in plasma fusion. I’m a child policy advocate. The more common ground we can find the better.

  31. Happiness is my husband’s Christmas presents to me: a pair of boots I’ve been lusting after for years and an AeroGarden that I read about on this very Arggh blog – Gary and the gang talking about home gardening. So thank you all and Merry Christmas!

  32. December 25, and it’s colder than ice cubes outside! Stay warm, everyone! (Except those from the Southern hemisphere, to whom I’d like to send some ice cubes….)

  33. Ina Garden’s make ahead vegetable lasagne is superb! I’m reading G.JBellamy’s Lady Holme which has mouthing to do with Sherlock. An impecunious vicar’s daughter opens a typing and domestic servants agency. She gets involved with the special branch and a spying they do go. Lovely characters.

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