122 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, January 19, 2022

  1. I’m reading the latest Mercy Thompson – it’s been out a while, but the queue at the library took forever.

    It’s a fun distraction from the rest of the nonsense in my life.

    1. I noticed on Smart Bitches and other sites a lot of vitriol for this series in the comments lately. It seems to have had quite a fall from grace. I find they are somewhat hit or miss for me, and the newer ones are mostly miss, but I’m quite fond of some of them.

      1. For Mercy Thompson? It’s funny because I like the new ones a lot more. I prefer the overall lighter tone and more of Adam and Mercy interacting, as opposed to the earlier ones, where it is mostly her alone. All well, each to their own.

        Have you read Asil’s short stories that have been coming out the last year or so in anthologies? I love those.

          1. Me too. The anthologies are so expensive. Luckily the big state library got them in ebook, so I could borrow. I really wish she would just publish them all together, like shifting shadows.

          2. Me too. I think it is likely she will publish them together at some point but probably not for a good while…

      2. Interesting. I wasn’t wild about the latest one (not bad, just didn’t live up to expectations), but I’d still read the next one.

        1. The last one was fairly fluffy, but I like to revisit the last few before that. I don’t reread the early parts of that series. Too dark for me, although I really like most of the Alpha and Omega books

      3. I got the latest one from the library, read the first chapter and thought, ‘Meh, I can’t be bothered.’ And I’ve been a big fan of the series up till then. I think I’m just a bit sick of drama at the moment.

      4. Over time for me it began to feel like a constant stream of sexual assault and theme of women being motivated by jealousy or by their responses to sexual assault.
        I enjoyed reading some of it but I’m beginning to get more and more wary of it.

  2. Well, I got Sarah Addison Allen’s “Other Birds” out of the library on a fluke — it was in a new section called ‘Recently Published’ — books that are very new, and therefore can’t be renewed by the borrower. I found myself lost by the plot and the many mysterious characters very quickly, so started reading it backwards, section by section. It has such good characters, but the plot is so difficult I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it.

    Add to this the fact that I opened my other library find — “Lessons in Chemistry” since I started at #451 on the hold list and had been waiting for a LONG time — and 85 pages later found it was midnight and I had to sleep, without a chance to get back to “Other Birds.”

    Suffice it to say that “Lessons in Chemistry” is a great story with a gripping plot. Very funny in places, touching in others, but always interesting. It took me back to my own early experiences with feminism, and has left me in the habit of saying ‘pass me the sodium chloride.’ I won’t get back to the first book until I’ve finished Bonnie Garmus’ masterpiece, even though I’ve never ‘erged’ and know very little chemistry. I can easily see why Oprah and GMA and all kinds of other sources have recommended it with five stars.

    1. I read Lessons in Chemistry this week and it was gripping. And, as you say, it took me back to my days of feminism, and also my days of trying to succeed in a male-dominated profession. I did succeed in the wider realm of ministry, serving as an officer in my Annual Conference, but in the parish nitty gritty, sexism reared its head over and over again. Men, and some women, just did not think a woman should be in such a position of responsibility. I enjoyed learning new things from this book. I knew nothing about rowing. I did know what an erg was.

    2. I read Lessons in Chemistry a few months ago (my library had it available) and it was lovely.

      1. Lessons in Chemistry was my favourite book last year. The first few chapters are dark, but if you continue reading, it really is funny and the daughter and dog are such wonderful characters.

        1. Oh, the dog! He’s wonderful at the very first with all the verbal and social IQ he keeps developing, but by the end? When he’s involved in crimefighting and TV stardom? Priceless!

          I finished the book last night, late, and it got better and better. I recommend it highly to anyone who isn’t bothered by a bunch of feminists thinking very revolutionary thoughts and then doing things.

          Oh, and my cardinal pal Mr. Stupid was attacking his nemesis this morning at the back window of my car. I had to hang a lace curtain over the window with rocks on the roof to hold it down, and it seemed to work, but then in just a couple of minutes he was back at pecking at my computer room window again. I tried putting sunflower seeds along the ledge, but he seemed to ignore them. I put a wooden duck on the corner of the ledge, focused on the window, and it seems to be doing the trick. My fingers are all crossed.

        2. I apparently abandoned it too early as I was repelled early on. I’ll have to try it again and power through the darkness.

          1. Were you around fifty-some years ago? If not, it might not have seemed as normal as much of it was. And the bad happenings don’t go unavenged. I think exertng that power will leave you pretty rewarded.

  3. Every single Tuesday, my mom brings things to my house. She knows that I don’t want more stuff but she truly seems unable to help herself. She’s gotten sneakier – yesterday morning I found that she had hidden a stack of photos under a notebook on my desk.

    But this week she also brought The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston, which I read last night and thoroughly enjoyed. I guess I can’t complain about anything that helps to pull me out of my reading slump!

      1. I almost wrote in my original comment that the ending was predictable – I felt like there was definitely going to be a HEA, and that was the only way to make it happen – but that didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book!

  4. I finished LJ Hayward’s Death and the Devil series – Australian M/M spy and assassin characters. The first four books/novellas were the best in my opinion, since that’s where they were working out their relationship. The last ones became bit too fight-fight spy-spy kill-kill.

    I also read Vampire with Benefits, light fun, and the Inner Game of Tennis from 1974 (homework for a course I’m taking) which it holds up well except for some of the casually irritating unfeminisms: “Joan, an attractive housewife…”

    I also reread Marina Vivanco’s Fresh Ice – a hockey and a/b/o ‘verse mash-up that works surprisingly well.

    1. And shout-out to Jen+B for getting me onto the Death and the Devil series – never would have tried it without her recommendation.

      1. My pleasure! I have been waiting to read the last one; I’m sad to hear it’s not that great. I agree that the best parts are when they are working out their relationship.

        1. It’s not as painful to read as the second last one though. And really, almost everything is worked out in their relationship, except for the how do we avoid getting killed so that we could actually be together part.

  5. On a rainy/snowy day I read The Pact by Max Monroe a duo writing team of romantic comedies. It is a story of a Canadien citizen, Daisy, who moved to Los Angeles for her career. While conveniently in Las Vegas she finds out that she forgot to renew her work visa and will be deported. While she is walking around talking to herself outside a casino she meets a man, Flynn, who is going for a ride on his bike. After listening to her babble he asks her to go for a ride with him. He had already seen her inside the casino at the slots and was intrigued. The went to a diner and worked out a pact where he would marry her for a short time until she can get her green card straightened out. And so on and so on. I have to say though that she is quite the talker, she talks so much either in her head or at anyone around her. I almost gave up until I realized her new husband doesn’t talk as much but rather just stands around and patiently listens.

  6. I read A Useful Woman by Darcie Wilde. It’s a Regency-era mystery and just my cup of tea. I was already reading three other novels, but I set them aside while I raced through this one. I had my daughter put the next one in the series on hold at the library. There were some historical inaccuracies (not that I’m an expert, but some things have been drummed into me over the years), but I seldom let those get in the way of enjoying a good story.

    I’m still reading Death Comes by Amphora (Ancient Greece), which I think I mentioned last week. It’s slow going, but I like the characters and I’m learning a lot of history, so I’ll finish it.

  7. I had such ambitious plans to read from my TBR tower in January. Read a whopping 2 books from that tower so far : Nero Wolfe of West 35th St – fun-ish musings on the characters and cases written by in 1969 – likely for fans only. And Ruby Fever/Ilona Andrews, which is so recent it may not count.

    Read Saga Vol 10., excellent. And SpyxFamily Vol. 8, also excellent. The first being a great sci-fi story, the second just fun manga.

    Then the weather turned so gloomy I delved into a re-read of Avon Gale’s ECHL hockey bros romances. 4 of them. So good.

    Onto the Christie re-read of the month: One, Two Buckle My Shoe

    1. I love those Avon Gale books so much. Have you read her novella, Next Season? Also one of my frequent re-reads.

  8. I am having another run of dnf bad luck. I am not sure if the most recent is me or the book, so I may try it again. Until then, I went back to Girls Weekend for comfort rereading while I clean.

    There is a new Ilona Andrews waiting on my kindle. It’s supposed to be a non-dire slice of life for Kate, Curran and Conlan and I am really looking forward to it. I have come to love slice of life. I can’t wait to revisit these characters without them being in serious life-threatening danger. I am just waiting to be in a better mood to start it.

    1. Magic Tides is a ‘slice of life’ for Kate, Curran and Conlan. Of course a slice of Kate’s life is far more interesting than a slice of almost everyone else’s.

      1. I was supposed to do some work. Instead I finished Magic Tides, … Oh well nevermind, it was worth it just for the phone conversation with Hugh.

    2. You’re creating death-related jackets with ominous Tik-Tok music – and yet you want non-dire book plots?

        1. Bad rap. But if you think death can be fun….I won’t even bother to deconstruct that one…why do you want non-dire plots??

          1. Halloween is my all-time favorite holiday. I am not saying that death is always fun, but it doesn’t always have to be dark and dire.

            In all seriousness, I think that we need some dialog about death in our culture as something natural, not just something awful that needs to be feared.

            My mother died young and my sister and I both had to make our peace with it pretty early in life. Regardless of belief system, I think that it helps to play with death a little, celebrate rather than mourn. The Korean tradition of building an alter, similar to Dia de los Muertos is rather lovely. Like a wake, celebrate the good, that your loved one lived, rather than the bad, that they are gone.

          2. I admire your attitude toward death and perhaps I need to develop my own which has not been a positive one. I’ve been to very few funerals that were “let’s celebrate this person’s long and great life”. I took theatre in university and all my gay male friends died in the 90’s by the time the new AZT cocktails came out, and there was nothing but anger and sorrow about those friends. Three suicides, including my best friend. A friend’s two year old who died of a heart issue. My friend in the summer who had an undiagnosed brain issue so choose medically assisted dying. I could go on. Anyway, I realize my view is tainted. And need to develop a new perspective at this point in my life.

          3. I’m so sorry. And of course death is awful. It hurts and it’s not fair.

            So I guess that I am saying that it is more of a thing to practice, otherwise it can eat you up. My dad went down a rabbit hole of protracted grief that he used to control our lives to a very unhealthy degree. He essentially weaponized my mother’s death (which I am still angry about if I think too hard). Anyway, much therapy later, I may swing to far the other way.

            I’m sorry if I in any way seemed to belittle you loss.

          4. Oh, good. It’s never my intent, but sometimes it’s hard to tell in written words. I struggle with my online voice.

          5. Something that comes to mind is my husband’s father’s funeral. Hubby didn’t want to go to the reception, which was ok with me, but I couldn’t leave his mom alone with his horrible brother. So he stayed as well and it was a really good experience, mostly because we worked the edges of the room instead of staying with the family. He got to hear all the stories from people he didn’t know and at one point we were laughing.

            And for me, someone once came up to me in a thrift store to tell me about my mom, years later. Sometimes these little pieces come back to you like gifts.

          6. My dad died aged 70, not so early really but it felt too early because he missed so much of my kids growing up and I miss his gentleness and the feeling of complete safety and unconditional support he gave me growing up.
            I have come to terms with his death though seeing how badly off my mum is at 85. I have always had difficulties getting on with her but now it is painful seeing her getting extinguished little by little like a candle flickering at the end.

          7. Death is really hard. But on the positive side, once someone’s dead, you can have all the conversations with them that you never managed to have in life. I still talk to my mother and father, and on the premise that they now know my deepest darkest secrets, we get on better than we ever did.

      1. And I guess I never answered your original question. I don’t like sad or dire plots because they have a tendency to live with me a lot longer than just reading the book.

        So I guess my attitude towards death is carefully filtered and curated. When I get low, I have a hard time getting out of it.

        1. I’m with you for the most part. I just read a draft of a novel by a friend who wanted feedback and it was a first person narrator WHOM HE KILLED OFF part way through the book. I was incensed. I loved the book (to that point) and loved the narrator and so I told the friend I WANTED HIM BACK. It was seriously upsetting. He’s going to rewrite the book, thank god. These things stay with me too.

          1. I hate so much when a writer does something like that. I was mentoring a new writer a while back, and really enjoying her m/s, when the hero KILLED HIS HORSE. Oh no. No no no no no. ‘No one will ever forgive you if you do this,’ I told her. She argued pretty hard for it, and I’ve no idea if she ended up taking it out. But it still bothers me.

    3. Lupe, on a completely separate note, I meant to tell you that I reread Beau and the Beast by Kay Simone, and I think you would like it. Contemporary, setting, monsters, fairytale premise, two, very interesting MCs, and lots of feels.

          1. Oy. I would find too many…oppressive. I like to get things done. I hate long lists of anything.

  9. Besides Lessons in Chemistry, I read Legends and Lattes, by Travis Baldree, and I see why so many of you love it. The characters are engaging and they triumph over disaster and other problems in very practical and interesting ways. I will re-read it sometime. I re-read Nettle and Bone, by T. Kingfisher, and noticed some things that I had not paid much attention to in the first read, but which made things come together for me better. I love this fantasy world, and the creatures in it. I love the ending, especially, as it was entirely unexpected, to me on the first read. I was on a reading streak, which meant other things did not get done, but the weather has been so lousy, I didn’t care!

  10. I meant to add this to my post. This quote came up on my FaceBook feed soon after the discussion on reading goals. “Think not of the books you’ve bought as a ‘to be read’ pile. Instead, think of your bookcase as a wine cellar. You collect books to the be read at the right time, the right place, and the right mood. Luc van Donkersgoed

    I like that.

    1. That really is true. My best friend sent me Lois McMaster Bujold’s first in the Vorkosigan series, and I looked at the cover and said, I don’t think so. But then I had foot surgery and needed something and—that series helped me through the whole recovery. There are books you save (I read all of Agatha Christie in high school, but still haven’t read Curtain), books you’re not in the mood for, books you need a push for. And then there are the books you return to, for comfort, for reassurance, for nostalgia. Plus there are the books you’re going to read someday, when you want to be the person you imagined when you bought them. And the books you read thirty years ago in grad school but, seriously, will you ever read again? Some are just trophies.

  11. I read Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Tea and Sympathetic Magic. The serial Variation on a Theme continues to be serialized, so I continue to read it. I listened to It Had to be You by SEP.

    I watched episodes of Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash, The Good Witch, and Gilmore Girls on Netflix. I watched Jurassic World Dominion on Amazon Prime. It was nice seeing the original cast again.

    Official Weight 257.6 pounds. OWID #92. The diet continues. (Except I was stress-eating last week and so gained four pounds.)

    The born-again indoor farmer started lettuce plants. There might be a February Farm Report.

  12. I read Ilona Andrews new Kate Daniel’s not so short story, Magic Tides. It was fun.

    Also a couple of paranormal romance books, The King’s Captive and The King’s Shadow by K.M. Shea. Chloe is bullied by the other supernaturals because her only ability is to be able to turn into a small black cat. She is rescued from one such gang by a mysterious and powerful figure that unfortunately decides to adopt a black cat, but she has learned some of his secrets that might just get her killed if he finds out she’s not really just a cat.

  13. I finished “Winter, White and Wicked” by Shannon Dittemore which is about a female trucker who has a mysterious connection to Winter – the spirit of the season – on a fantasy island. It was good until the final third where I felt it went off the rails a bit. The heroine’s conflict resolution felt pretty rushed, like the author couldn’t figure out how to get her heroine into the correct frame of mind through story so just changed it from one sentence to the next. Well, it did take a few more sentences, but it didn’t seem organic.

    I also finished “Illuminations” from T. Kingfisher which is about a young daughter in a family of magical painters. Like “The Magicians of Caprona” by the incomparable Diana Wynne Jones, the story is set in a Italian-like city full of magical artisans, although in “Illuminations”, there is no real family fuels, other than the normal rivalry felt between competitive families. I liked it and there is a raven who is a real hoot. It’s a story about friendships and how they can change, but friends can be friends for life, still.

    I’m currently reading “The Early Conundrums: A Spade/Paladin Collection” by Kristine Katherine Rusch which is a collection of short stories about mysteries solved by Spade and Paladin. Spade is a rich man who loves SFF fandom and is a SMOF. Paladin is a female detective who dragoons Spade into helping her solve mysteries which require subtlety since she tends to be bulldozer in her approach. Think Nero Wolfe and a female Archie Goodwin, except neither are foodies. Unfortunately.

    1. I am so happy to hear someone refer to Diana Wynne Jones as ‘incomparable’. That is exactly the way I feel about her.

  14. I finished Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock, mostly by skimming through the last few chapters; he keeps repeating himself and I got bored by that. I finally got back to The Shuddering City by Sharon Shinn; I had started it a couple of months ago but got sidetracked and am just now getting back on track with it. On my TBR pile: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (library book, has to be read soon), The Demon’s Lexicon by Sara Rees Brennan (also a library book), Network Effect by Martha Wells, and Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews.
    I have no excuse to be bored on this snowy, turning to freezing rain, turning to rain, otherwise known as an icky weather day!

    1. How is the Sharon Shinn? I love most of her books, but not universally all of them, so I’ve been a bit hesitant to get that one.

      1. Emily, I like it so far; I’m about half way through it. I’m at the point where I’m waiting for the shoe to fall, it’s bound to happen at any time now!

        Like you, I love many, but not all, of her books.

      2. I did not love that one. It started well but…four separate romances and none of them were romantic.

  15. I read Ilona Andrews’ new Kate Daniels book, Magic Tides. SO very good, so nice to revisit those characters.

    Now I have to flail around and try to figure out what to read next.

  16. I started The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry, but paused to start other things, I may go back to it, it was a good listen. I listened to A Bachelor Establishment by Jodi Taylor, some Murderbot, and read Our Missing Hearts, by Celeste Ng for my book club. Also re-reading No Wind of Blame, one of my favorite Heyer mysteries.

    I’ve also started Andor, a Star Wars series about a character from Rogue One, and Wednesday, based on the Addams Family’s daughter going to a private boarding school for monstrous outcasts. I watched The Glass Onion: a Knives Out Mystery (Netflix), and really enjoyed it. It’s also a fun re-watch, since you can see more layers on a re-watch.

    1. We enjoyed Wednesday and Andor, although I don’t think the writers really knew what to do with him. He is always the least interesting person in the room. But if you hang on and get to Andy Circus, he is fantastic. A lot of the supporting characters and subplots are really good. Unlike Kenobi. Which was terrible. Also the new tv show version of Willow, written by the same person. Terrible. How do these people keep getting hired to ruin the things that I love?

  17. Only rereads this week, because I maxed out my Hoopla borrows as I plow through all of the Agatha Christies narrated by Hugh Fraser. Gotta get the new Kate Daniels story, which I’d read the teaser for and loved, and am glad to hear from others here that the rest of the story is good!

  18. I borrowed the audio book It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. I kept seeing this book at the top of books bought. It’s a book about a young woman who grew up in an abusive home and is angry with her mom for not leaving her father. But then she falls in love with a man who starts to abuse her. The writing felt more 1980s than now. But what really left me angry was the fact that this book was supposed to be a romance. The publishers have put a book about domestic abuse in the romance category and no where in the blurb does it tell you what the book is really about.

    I also read The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik. It was a book of two halves for me. I found myself skimming the first half but when El meets Orion’s parents the story began for me and I really enjoyed it. Not as good as the first book in the trilogy but it wasn’t bad.

    1. I have never liked Colleen Hoover. But then, I think that dark and sad is kind of her thing. It makes me sad to see her getting so much attention over other books who deal with similar topics though. She kind of capitalizes on it in a way that makes me feel weird.

      1. It was the first time I have read anything by her. I won’t be reading any more of her books. But I was more mad with the publishers who have her books shelved in romance’ and have to know the blurb is misleading.

      2. I feel that way about Jodi Picoult, although at least she’s not branded as romance/a feel good read. My mom loves those “real life” books and I can not deal with them (even though I do love a few pretty grim mystery series). She doesn’t understand my love of fantasy/horror/romance/escapist fiction. She grumbles that it’s not realistic. I tell her if I want tragedy and strife, I’ll watch the news.

  19. I read Wicked Beauty by Katee Robert, which I quite enjoyed, but Electric Idol is still my favourite in that series.

    I’m just feeling relieved to be in the middle of a couple of books I’m enjoying enough to want to keep reading, after going through a bit of a dry spell.

    1. I liked Wicked Beauty more than I thought I would, mostly because I was uninterested in Helen from the other books. And Electric Idol is my favorite, too. Eros is just so sweet under all the bad.

      1. I love Eros and Psyche as a couple, and I love (trying not to give spoilers) the way the central conflict is dealt with.

  20. Dee Ernst’s Lucy Checks In was not as good as I expected from the other book I read by this author. The novel was faintly boring, and I contemplated abandoning it, but in the end, I finished the story.
    Ilona Andrews’s Magic Tides was the newest novella in the Kate Daniels series. For the fans of the series, it would probably be a fun read. For me, it was meh. Lots of blood and gore and not much of a plot. A typical Kate Daniels. Why did I even buy it? I never liked the series. At least, it was short.
    Also, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been re-reading A.J. Lancaster’s Stariel series. I’m on the last book now, A Rake of his Own. I have to say, these novels read even better the second time around. A real treat. I have them all on kindle but I’m contemplating getting them all in paper format. Maybe for my birthday in February.

  21. I’ve been reading my way through Catherine Aird. Her plots are interesting—her characters are pretty formulaic.

    I was interested to note that she released her last book in 2019 when she must have been 88 and another is coming out in June when she will be 92. That should give us all hope.

  22. I seem to be quite incapable of reading anything challenging at the moment. So I’m working my way through Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver detective novels. In the first couple, Miss Silver is very much a background figure – immensely competent and reassuring, but kind of a backup to the main characters who are also the romantic leads.

    1. I bought the first six of the Miss Silver series on a whim from a local charity shop a couple of weeks ago (they were £2.99 each or three for £10, I’d have been silly not to buy them). I’m looking forward to reading them.

  23. For the Agatha Christie fans here, I am currently mostly through the new biography of her written by British historian Lucy Worsley. It’s very well written and very interesting, putting the author’s work in context of the time when she was writing. I am really enjoying it.

      1. I really liked the show with Lucy Worsley. I learned a lot. As an aside, I was very taken with Worsley’s great dresses and bright lipstick and thought “I need to get out of these sweatpants!”

        1. She always makes me think of the Startrite Kids (sensible shoe brand in the sixties), but it’s a strong style! She’s usually got good information, though her addiction to dressing-up gets a bit silly.

  24. Off topic, but I just heard that Jacinda Ardern has resigned as NZ prime minister, and I’m so sad about it, but at the same time happy for her. She has a very young family and has worked insanely hard for her whole time in office, including the pandemic, a mass shooting, and oh, as a side note, giving birth and raising a newborn in her spare time. Just an ideal modern leader, and one I wish we could take for our model in my own unenlightened country.

    1. In the photos she looked very tired lately. I’m sad she’s stepping down but applaud her decision to make her own life and her family a priority.

    2. Yes, I’m sad she’s stepping down, too, but really respect the fact that she knows when it’s time to go. She has been an amazing leader – and I gather has come in for the same sort of misogynistic crap that Julia Gillard faced when she was PM. So as well as dealing with pandemic, terrorism, natural disaster etc, she’s had the trolls attacking her. She has dealt with it all with such grace – I am a huge admirer.

    3. I’m really sorry to see her go, no politician is perfect but she’s an amazing communicator with a pitch perfect sense for what needs to be said and when, couple that with the ability to take new information from experts on board very quickly and you get amazing crisis management.

      I’m really going to miss her.

  25. My recommendable read this week: ‘I Was Better Last Night,’ a memoir by Harvey Fierstein, a.k.a. national treasure.

    New: ‘Foxed,’ M/M romance by Jay Hogan. If you’ve read Hogan you’ll know what to expect in pace and tone. It’s distinguished by MCs who are 55 and 53. The younger is out, the elder is long-closeted bisexual with a cordially divorced wife, two adult kids, & a grandchild. The conflict in the book is mostly about whether he will come out, and if so when & how. Of course his boundary-disrespecting family barges in and Discovers All, precipitating Black Moment. There was a job-related subplot for the younger man that could have been further developed. Not a bad book at all, I just wanted a bit more from it.

    Then I read an entry in the ‘True North’ Vino & Veritas sub-series because it centers on a letterpress printing business and I like some craftsmanship. But it served the Big Cities & Ambition Bad, Small Towns & The Old Ways Good thing that I loathe. One of the MCs is disrespected & insulted by pretty much everyone else, including his alleged true love, who has the emotional maturity of a four-year-old. GRRR. I cannot.

    And then there was a review read for QRI that I had to throw back in the pond because there was no way I could give it a positive review. I get that a lot of readers are content with a surface-only story with a few sex scenes, and that’s fine, but that ain’t me. The book needed a very strong editorial hand, nearly closed it the first time the MCs took the Golden Gate Bridge to get from San Francisco to Oakland. (Hint: wrong direction.)

    Finally, if anyone is looking for interesting local color + grim plot + a conflicted private detective: ‘Sleep With Strangers’ by Dolores Hitchins. It’s kind of like if ‘Andor’ were a 1955 noir set in Long Beach, CA.

  26. Finally reading The Thursday Murder Club. And savoring it. Always so many great recommendations here.

  27. Over the past weeks I started Naomi Novik’s Tremeraire series. I’m late to the game on this one since it won a bunch of awards a few years ago. Not romance–it’s an alternate history fantasy: Napoleonic war with dragons. I’m waiting for the third book in the series to become available from my library. The books follow the main characters–Capt. Will Laurence and his dragon Tremaraire–and their friendship. I’m hoping the series holds up. (As a side note, I haven’t read the Golden Enclaves yet.)

    1. I love that series, and yes, it sags a bit in the middle, but I actually think it ends strong as a series.

      1. This is good to know. I think I’ll pause after the third one and slow down rather than scarfing them all down. 🙂

  28. I really wish I could have “unseen” season 5 of The Crown. Two things stand out though. An opening scene of almost one hundred years ago, although grim and Jonny Lee Miller as John Major.

    This may or may not post, I had to prove I was not a robot.

  29. Got into reading the CU hockey series by Finley/James.
    Book 1’s protags didn’t do it for me so dnf but got hooked on book 2 about the two alpha captain-candidates. Sparks! Quite unlike what I usually like (e.g. less alphas, jocks, smut). Still I *really* liked them.
    Book 3 started out great, funny, with the two MCs only texting and building a friendship. Both want to figure out their “labels” (I don’t care for labels). One thinks he’s ace and demi but after they meet irl they go at it like mad so why does he still call himself ace? BS. Also, the hockey one calls himself dumb too often and his bf doesn’t stop him even though from the first half it’s obvious he isn’t (maybe not as accademically inclined as the other one but imo intelligence does mean more than grades).
    Book 4 I skipped appr. 60% to which I might or might not come back to later. I was promised a rebel/tutor story but the tutoring is VERY superficial and over very very fast plus is a lead in to smut.
    Might dip into book 5 but not sure.
    Would have liked more variety to how they love when it’s labels that get explored (sort of).
    The hockey theme reminds me if the Bowen series that I loved and might reread soon. There it felt great to have all sorts of love stories centred around hockey and only one featured a mm couple. Which felt less like fantasy and their problems more real.

    1. The first one was my favourite although I also liked the second one and both of them I’ve reread. But yes, the rest of the series starts to falter.

  30. Hi Jenny, there is a duplicate of good book Thursday 12th January 2022 that appeared today when I clicked on your blog.

  31. I’m still in my reread of Penric and Desdemona. Everything new I’m reading is either dnf or I feel as though I’m being thumped on the head with a teaspoon by the writing but the characterization and plotting is good enough to keep me slogging.

  32. I haven’t read anything that memorable over the past week, although my alphabet challenge continues apace and I’ve sent two books to the charity shop as a result. I’m not sure how much of my mediocre reading is due to the books and how much is due to me. Mum’s funeral was on Wednesday and I’ve been reading pretty much constantly ever since as a fairly effective distracting technique.

    The exception to my mediocre reads is The Last Reunion by Kayte Nunn – I’m a sucker for dual timeline stories, and the timeline further in the past deals with World War Two in Burma, which also interests me. I raced through the book in a flash, and loved the five women who end up running an army mobile canteen in Burma.

    I’m now reading Book Lovers by Emily Henry and enjoying that so far.

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