118 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 16, 2023

  1. Started reading the Crone Wars by Lydia Hawke.

    I’m not too far into the first one: Becoming Crone.

    I read the sample. Bought the book and read some more. Hopefully I will get through it and not DNF.

    OT I’m so frustrated with myself because I have completely lost a scene that I loved from the novel I am working on right now. ARGH!

    1. That is frustrating, Judy. I once had a friend lose her entire novel on an USB key that she had not backed up.

  2. I’m still reading the Variation on a Theme Book 4 serial. I also doubled back to reread Book 1. In the Kindle I have The Alexander Inheritance (Kindle Location 4021). by Flint/Huff/Goodlett. I finished the Clean Fake Marriage collection, all five books.

    Other than that, I’m having trouble sleeping. Nightmares like wacky 1950s black and white comedies. Very annoying. OTOH, I’m taking six hour naps. Weird.

      1. The time stamp on my post was 6:30 AM Thursday. I’d been up since 2:30. I lay down at 8:00 AM intending to nap for two to three hours. Woke up, I think, at 9PM, very tired. Attended the bathroom and lay down again. Up again at 2:30. I’m ready to go back to bed, as soon as I finish a glass of decaf tea. There have been ups and downs mixed in there that I didn’t track for bathroom breaks.

  3. Re-reading the second in the Tinker series “Wolf Who Rules” by Wen Spencer – so so good. The first book is fun but this is where it gets good as as Tinker and Wolf cement their relationship amidst elves, wargs, oni, tengu, and dragons. As the elves remark, Tinker is surprisingly destructive – in the most wonderful way.

    I also finished the Snow & Winter m/m mystery series by CS Poe and I grew to like Calvin & Sebastian quite a bit.

    And I read T Kingfisher’s novella “What Moves the Dead” which is a gorgeously creepy and genderqueer take on “The Fall of the House of Usher”. I don’t usually like horror but Kingfisher manages to stay on the right side of the line for me.

    1. Every other year or so, I re-read Tinker and Wolf who Rules. It is so richly developed. I’ve read the rest, but it is these two I keep returning to. The audiobooks are good too.

      1. Definitely the best two! I also love Pittsburgh Backyard & Garden from the Project Elfhome collection.

  4. I read Virginia Kantra’s MEG AND JO. I enjoyed it a lot. I’d put it off because I’m such a LITTLE WOMEN purist that I was afraid I’d be resentful, but I wasn’t. Now I’m anxious (and a little worried) to read BETH AND AMY.

  5. Jenny, I hate that you have the blahs. Maybe watch the Tom Holland Umbrella video again? Or watch the clip for this news story:


    Or listen to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? Or read “Life Among the Savages”, and “Raising Demons” by Shirley Jackson? Or all of the above? And some naps and brownies and walks in the sunshine?

    1. I loved that video! It really made me laugh. I am sending positive healing energy to Jenny. These last weeks of winter can be crushing.

    2. The Tom Holland umbrella video is scientifically* proven to cure 95% of all ailments.

      *scientifically proven by me, who is most definitely not a scientist… You get my drift.

  6. I read the fourth book in the Princes’ Game series – the best book of them so far! This series keeps getting better. And I like the way she describes it – “a mix of philosophy, intimacy and conflict”. She left out the sci fi context, multiple species, rape and torture parts but I quibble.

    And for hockey romance lovers – don’t read Iced Out by Ce Ricci. I tried hard to like it because hey new to me hockey writer but…zzzz….

    1. Tammy, thanks for the warning about the Ce Ricci book. The blurb didn’t intrigue me, in the reviews an overabundance of sex scenes were mentioned (not my cup of tea), also some of the five-star reviews feel like written by the same reviewer.
      But please expand why you didn’t like it.

      P.S.: I mentioned the next Rachel Reid recently: amazon has the title and approx. date (Time to Shine, to be out Sept. 26).

      1. Dodo – yes too many sex scenes – that were boring! Rachel Reid has lots of sex scenes and I eat up every one. Two M/C’s that weren’t well differentiated – always a pitfall of M/M romances, and an amateur writing style – overly flowery.

        Yes I’ve got Time to Shine all queued up for September 26! Also, the new Samantha Wayland just came out. Yea!

        1. Autsch. I’ve only read the excerpt of Heated Rivaley so far, but the two VERY different MCs are stuck VERY lively in my memory. I WILL read the whole series soon…

    2. Who is the author of the Princes’ Game series? I tried hunting it down last week and got two possible series.

      1. MCA Hogarth. Also, I should tell you before reading the second book she recommends you read one or two (I can’t remember) books in her Mindline series set in the same universe. Very different tone I would surmise. I didn’t do that and now I wish I had.

          1. Yes, I think anyone who tried the Mindline series first, and then read the Princes’ game series would be in for a bit of a shock. And also, yes, completely addictive!

  7. Escapism in reading this week included Midnight Valentine by J.T. Geissinger a story about a widow who moves from Arizona to Oregon to buy a Victorian house and turn it into a B&B. Trouble along the way is a contractor that happens to be mute and hates her. Communication is by email or text or his foreman. So it is more or less one-sided throughout. A bit of a Twilight Zone ending.

    The other book I read was Someone Else’s Shoes by JoJo Moyes. This is about a mix up at the gym where a harried woman takes the wrong gym bag and in it are a pair of Louboutin shoes. That’s because the owner of the shoes, Nisha, shoves Sam’s tacky bag to the floor. Sam goes to a meeting and pulls the shoes out of the bag, has to wear them and after an awkward start she wins three contracts for the company. Meanwhile Nisha discovers her gym bag is gone and picks up Sam’s then has to return to the hotel where her husband’s minion greets her at the door with divorce papers. Of course there is predictable ending and I can see a movie coming out of this. I know I would watch it.

    1. Aren’t they lucky they are the same size and she can actually walk in Louboutin heels. I’d have been barefoot all day (have inability to wear heels and most shoes)

  8. My hold on Winter’s Orbit finally came in and I finished it this morning. I enjoyed it and will probably read the second one someday, if the library ever gets it in audiobook. Really, I am just happy to have my reading slump broken. I am still wandering around aimlessly, but at least I tried something new.

      1. Thanks. I bought a black velvet mermaid tail at the thrift store on my lunch break and I am pretty excited about that. It’s got my brain working. Hopefully that will help.

          1. Well, I plan to support myself by foraging the ocean floor for flotsam and jetsam that I will weave into jewelry. Seems like a safe bet.

        1. I want your thrift store! My favorite thrift store of all time, where I found so many clothes I am still wearing twenty-five to thirty years later, is now six hundred miles away, and never had mermaid tails. Not much black velvet, either.

          1. Mine isn’t consistently great. I just go a lot.

            I may have to try to use it as a pattern and make more. Goth black velvet mermaid is a weird choice.

  9. I’m nearing the end of the latest Ilona Andrews Innkeeper book, Sweep of the Heart, and as always, I’m loving it.

    Also reading another magical realism by Heather Webber. I’m only a few chapters in to In the Middle of Hickory Lane, but so far it isn’t capturing me quite like the first two I read. I still like it, but it feels like she is re-using some of the magical aspects of the other two books, plus some of the same family dynamics, so it doesn’t read as fresh and interesting. Hopefully that will change as I get further in.

    In completely unrelated news, I did a Zoom tarot reading for one of our fellow Arghers yesterday, and it was SO nice to “meet” each other. I’m wondering if we want to attempt a Zoom chat some day, just for the heck of it, and to put some faces with familiar names.

    1. I would like that! I really like this group. Everyone just seems so kind and pleasant and interesting. 💜

      1. We might have to have a series of them to accommodate the different time zones, but I would love to meet you guys via Zoom!

    2. That was me who had the tarot reading – first time! So as Deborah says, I am no longer a tarot card virgin! And it was awesome – Deborah and her cards were insightful and compassionate – gave me a new direction for something I’m working through in my life. Highly recommend. Two thumbs up. Five stars.

  10. I’ve read “To mend a broken wing” by Fearne Hill – it was a nice new installment to her Rossingley series. However, the MCs being very young and sweet, the book didn’t hold my interest as much as the MCs in the first 3 books who had at least a bit more grip to them. In any case, I do like her writing style.

    Now I’m back with Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series, reading book 4 about Bella, the “slut”. I rather liked her when re-reading The Understatement of the Year, so I’m looking forward to reading about her. The love interest this time is no hockey, but soccer player. My football/=soccer crazy family will be so thrilled that I expand my playing field to familiar territory. Yet, Bowen’s soccer player has far more defined abs than any of the ones in my surroundings 😉

    Before Bella, I’ve dnf one of Saxon James’s latest titles: Husband Hoax.
    The whole set up and how very, very fast the MCs fell for each other/got each other felt too unrealistic to enjoy.
    It felt more like a “how do I get the MCs to do each other as soon as possible” scenario. First get-together at 23 %.
    I really liked her collaboration with Eden Finley, of whom I’ve read at least one title in the past which I liked. I guess, it’s the Finley input that I prefer in the collaboration. Must try and test my theory by reading the Finley solo titles in the Puckboy/CU series soon…

    1. I’ve tried both Saxon and Finley separate and come to the conclusion that they’re better together.

      1. That’s my gut feeling too. But if read as solo acts, I don’t seem to be a James reader at all…

  11. I started a re-read of Breaking Dawn from the Twilight series, by Stephenie Meyer. The films added new material because they were making two films out of one book, and it was artificial, IMHO. I wanted to get that taste out of my mouth, but I may not take it up again. Bella’s Edward-worship gets really syrupy, after a while.

    I re-read The Goblin Emperor for its kindness. Maia is such an earnest and caring goblin, despite all the hate and maltreatment he has had to endure. He is such a good antidote to the revenge politics we are living through in the US, now. What to read next? Maybe Grace Burrowes True Gentlemen series.

    1. Did you see that Meyer is writing two new installments to the series? I didn’t get into them and I wonder how the new ones will be received. Her reader base has aged, so maybe as a nostalgia factor?

      1. Lupe, no, I did not see that. I was introduced to the series by my DIL, who was teaching High School at the time. It’s YA, but did not seem watered-down by that, to me. She may pick up new readers. Even in the beginning she put online some novellas and short stories about certain characters to fill out their background. So this isn’t really “new”.

        1. I read all those Twilight books some years ago, but I got mad at the author after the main characters got married.
          The whole deal with the first books was to amp up the sexual tension and frustration to supernatural levels, and then she cheated us out of the wedding night. Kiss and cut to shredded pillows and feathers everywhere in the morning.
          Having suffered with the characters through the courtship, I felt like we deserved a great sex scene. On looking up the author’s background, however, I figured it out.

          1. What disturbs me about the books is all the lap-sitting that goes on. I don’t know if that’s a Mormon thing (author is Mormon) or just her take on male-female relationships, but that is just not something to encourage young girls to do, in my opinion.

    2. What I remember mostly from the Twilight books way before the films happened is how passive Bella was. Forever waiting to be rescued by Edward. Not my kind of heroine at all!
      Also, I was team Jacob all the way. I could never warm to frigidly cold 100 years old Edward.

        1. I pretty much put down a book as soon as I realise there’s going to be a love triangle. They just irritate me. And it got to the stage with YA a while ago that EVERY book had to have a love triangle.

          1. The worst for me was in a movie: Something’s Gotta Give. Diane Keaton picks Jack Nicholson over Keanu Reeves. Really??? That’s insane!!!

      1. Ooh no – guys are always way too warm for me. Ends up with me trying to wriggle out of cuddles. Edward’s temperature was one of the most attractive things about him 🙂

        I always thought Bella had a huge amount of agency – even if she does it unobtrusively, she always gets her way in the end. SPOILERS *She’s the one that decides to move to Forks, she decides she’d rather cook and eat healthily rather than going to the diner, she pursues Edward and gets his secrets and a relationship even though he thinks its a bad idea. She (tstl) escapes her protective detail to go rescue her Mum. When he leaves, she actually copes better than he does, despite being depressed for three months – she begins to rebuild her life – he’s ready to commit suicide when he thinks she’s dead – she has to rescue him. When Edward is being protective, she gets around him and visits Jacob. She’s the one who wants to become a vampire and to have sex as a human beforehand, neither of which Edward wants to do, and it takes Edward ages to persuade her to marry him and they actually negotiate it. She wants to keep the baby and risks her life to do so, and once again she gets around Edward by getting his family onside.*

        Rant aside, I think she’s reckless and I wouldn’t make the same choices but passivity isn’t one of Bella’s flaws. One thing I liked about the movies is that she says that her desire to be a vampire isn’t all about Edward – she gets this amazing hidden world and to feel, finally, like she fits. It makes her a more rounded person than the book Bella.

  12. I read Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell. The idea of the alien tech is interesting and the plot twists and turns are very satisfying. The love story is more front and center in Winter’s Orbit so I was disappointed not to get more of a love story in this. Although I don’t know if I would have had the same reaction if I’d read Ocean’s Echo as a stand-alone.

    A also read A Restless Truth by Freya Marske, another book where the sequel is a very different book from the first book. It’s set on an ocean liner and opens with a murder. You watch the main character create a team to solve the mystery.

    1. Absolutely agree about “Ocean’s Echo” being less romantic – I think it could have worked equally well with Tennal and Yeni as friends. That said, I think they were both excellent characters and I loved the world-building.

      I had a bunch of unanswered questions about Orshan society including how the sync link usually works, and what was the final straw eight months previously that sent Tennal off the deep end. I wonder if Ms Maxwell is going to connect up these worlds at any point.

  13. I’ve been enjoying Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase – so much so that I’ve stayed up too late several nights, messing with my beauty sleep!

    1. I started that last night on recommendations from arghers. So far it’s pretty fun, the hero and heroine are on a dahabeeyah heading up the Nile.

      1. You will probably beat me to the end. I’ve become a somewhat slower reader than I was in my youth.

  14. I recently read Lavender House by Lev A.C. Rosen. It was billed to me as a gay Knives Out set in post-WWII northern California, and I was delightfully surprised by the accuracy of that description considering how many often that movie is evoked in book blurbs for murder mysteries.

    The story is less about the murder mystery (the murderer is fairly easy to figure out half way through the book) and more about found family. Rosen does a great job capturing the time period and fleshing out characters that in lesser hands could easily be caricatures.

    If you enjoy Rosen’s writing, I’d also recommend his YA book, Camp, a sweet story of figuring out how much can you change yourself for someone else but still be true to who you are.

  15. So this week, I have spent way too much time reading Taylor Fitzpatrick’s ao3 ever expanding works following recommendations here. I really liked Impaired judgment and follow the North stars but I also fell down the rabbit hole of the outtakes. The Alternate universe scenes were pretty funny, especially the omegaverse one and the regencies. It was nice also to see Dan and Marc’s children in action and Marc’s author’s note for his biography was suitably pompous.

    I have also read and enormously enjoyed the first two Tuyo books by Rachel Neumeier. In the Amazon reviews, someone compared her to Lois McMaster Bujold and I can sort of see why. Very nice worldbuilding and deeply honourable characters.

    I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

    1. Oh LN – you have no idea of the rabbit holes you can go down with Taylor Fitzpatrick! You should also try It’s a Setup which morphs into It’s a Commitment (it’s a lengthy series), and Giving Into the Influence (short) – both fun. And then if you tackle the more serious ones….well after that, she’s also on Patreon AND she’s done Kickstarter outtakes. It’s endless – and yet never enough, as Jen+B and I can attest to. I even got desperate enough to read all the fanfic with her characters. She’s a one-woman cult.

        1. The first book in the series is called Tuyo but the series itself is also called Tuyo. If you put that and Rachel Neumeier into amazon you’ll find them easy.

      1. What I don’t understand is why she has so much stuff on ao3 but so few published books?
        She doesn’t get any money out of those ao3 stories does she?
        They would need a lot of editing I imagine but they are good.

          1. She starts all her books on a03 and then pulls them off to publish them. If she does. Some of her stories kind of peter out and go nowhere and she feels no obligation to finish them up. So it’s kind of a testing ground. She does incredibly well on Patreon also in terms of revenue, and I think some of those outtakes make their way onto a03 eventually. She’s just really prolific and one of those writers that I actually think writes for the sheer joy of it sometimes. And she’s in love with her characters so can’t resist writing about them.

  16. I continued listening to the Elizabeth Peter’s Amelia Peabody Emerson series, next is “On Seeing a Large Cat.”
    I interrupted that to listen to “A Useful Woman” by Darcie Wilde, set in Regency London, about a young gentlewoman who must earn a living after her father deserts the family, leaving them destitute and scandalous. It’s an interesting take on the world made familiar in Georgette Heyer’s novels. I’ll always love Heyer, but I’m enjoying another viewpoint, which includes Bow Street runners and actors and social upstarts scheming how to make their way up the social ladder.
    It would be fun to dress up, go to balls, etc., but after the first month it sounds like I’d prefer to retire to my country estate and have dogs and horses and a garden. If it’s fantasy, you might as well be wealthy in it!

    1. You left out embroidering and writing letters, but I, too would get bored with that life pretty quickly. A country estate would be so lovely!

      1. One of the things I like about Mary Balogh is that she shows how women really spent their days. Not exactly how I would want to, but more than just shopping and partying .

  17. My alphabet challenge continues apace, and I’ve nearly finished my second cycle through the alphabet (reading one library, owned and Kindle book for each letter of the alphabet, based on author’s surname and skipping letters where I have no books on my shelves).

    I read and enjoyed The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi, Theroux The Keyhole by Louis Theroux, Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, and Summer Half by Angela Thirkell.

    I’ve nearly finished Katheryn Howard by Alison Weir and am finding Katheryn half maddening, half heartbreaking.

  18. After a couple recommendations on this forum, I read Heather Webber’s Midnight at the Blackbird Cafe. It was a charming magic realism novel, although a bit more mushy than I’d like and extremely slow. I enjoyed it, but in moderation. It was easy to stop reading in the middle of the page, when I needed to do something more important, but just as easy to resume the next day, after my chores were done.
    Lyssa Kay Adams’s A Very Merry Bromance was a lovely novel. Christmas, romance, a family from hell, and friends to die for. I have been reading this series from its first book, and I enjoyed each one. For those who follow the series, this one was, finally, Colton’s story.

  19. I’ve been floating in the sea of the Terry Pratchett biography, and both enjoying it and mourning his loss. Near the beginning, I realized there were photos, and I was astounded and loving the way he looked as a 2-year-old and a young man — somehow he felt like a relative, which makes sense given that he’s a British/Irish mix. Looked like someone out of my family, at least the non-Swedish side. The first half of the book is all history as learned by Rob, the writer of the bio, as he became part of the household, and the second part, which I’ve just begun, more or less begins with the first of Discworld.

    It was amazing how he would just start typing with very few advance notes — often just a paragraph or so about how each book was going to end up, and churn out words with almost no corrections or changes. How can a person DO that? I’ve just gotten to some wonderful stuff, including Neil Gaiman’s reaction when Terry phoned him to say “I’ve read your idea about an Apocalypse book, and I know how it ends. If you don’t plan to finish it, I’ll write it, or we could collaborate or something…” — and Gaiman told Rob afterwards “It was like getting a phone call from Michelangelo to ask if you felt like working on a ceiling.”

    Loving it.

    1. That moment with Neil Gaiman really struck me, too. The Michelangelo comment. It’s such a fascinating book, reading about how he wrote – his process was extraordinary. There are a couple of comments from people calling him a genius, and I think they’re right.

      1. Yes indeed, Lian — Last night I got to the point when he gave up typing, and decided to put off the last 100 pages or so until the morning. Picked up the book again when I woke up, and started the day crying.

        So many things I hadn’t realized about Pratchett. His grumpiness. Staying in touch with his workmates from the nuclear power plant. Making a sword out of iron ore he dug from his own land, plus some meteorite bits. Singing pop songs with a visitor when he couldn’t speak, which unlocked his ability to do so afterwards. Raising a flock of tortoises. Dying in bed with family around and cat curled up at his feet. Having six monitors at his office desk. Refusing raises. Having his assistant bulldoze all his unfinished manuscript disks after his death, because they weren’t done and and wouldn’t be. He was a genius, and such an interesting human being.

        1. It’s a really wonderful biography, isn’t it. I didn’t know any of those things about him either. I knew when he was diagnosed, and how he championed assisted dying, and then that final heartbreaking tweet from Rhianna and Rob. But reading all the stuff in between was an eyeopener.

          I loved the bit where Neil Gaiman wrote about TP’s anger as the creative force driving him, and Lyn read it and said, ‘Yes, I suppose he is a bit grumpy now and then.’

  20. I’m just started listening to Iona Iverson’s Rules for Commuting and I continue to love Clare Pooley’s found family setup.

    Almost finished with the latest of Lynn Messina’s Beatrice Hyde-Claire Regency cozies. I seem to be slowing my reading as they aren’t very long and I enjoy hanging out with Beatrice and Kesgrave.

  21. I’m reading Rainbow Rowell’s YA romance short story collection and enjoying it so far. More later.

  22. After finishing Rachel Neumeier’s Tuvo series, I am now apparently on a Rachel Neumeier marathon, starting with The Black Dog series.

    The Black Dog series is set on a world where vampires used to rule until the black dogs aka werewolves decided to go to war against them. Most of the honorable black dogs were killed along with nearly all of the vampires. Without the steadying influence of the evil vampires and the honorable black dogs, things in the world are very chaotic. It’s like a more evil version of Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Universe. Currently, there are only two species in this universe which contain possible good people – humans and black dogs.

    I’m currently on the last published book and am awaiting “The Silver Circle” which is TBD. While waiting for that book, I just bought the “The Death Lady” series by this same author.

  23. After the recommendations here for The King’s Captive by K M Shea a few weeks ago I went looking for it and found that her first Magiford series was on sale for $0.99. So naturally I bought that instead, despite mostly disliking vampire books after too much Anita Blake as a teenager, and was very pleasantly surprised. I read straight through the first trilogy (Hall of Blood and Mercy) and onto the next, then the next, then to the King’s Captive books. So thank you to everyone who recommended them, they really broke through my F/M reading slump.

  24. Read Stephanie Burgis’ Good Neighbors, then Dangerous Flames, and now Scale and Sensibility because fun. Also reading books on permaculture design, hence my brain needs Regency rom with dragons and the hot necromancer next door to break things up.

  25. I also read
    “Terry Pratchett : a life with footnotes”, with a great deal of interest mixed with grief.

    There was a bit were Rob Wilkins was talking about conventions and Terry attracting fire alarms at the convention hotels and I can testify that at a Glasgow Worldcon, there was a fire alarm in the middle of the night at the hotel Terry was staying at. Three in the morning and he was standing there signing someone’s book.

  26. I’ve re-read some more Dick Francis and Ngaio Marsh this week.

    In M/M romance, three shorts, plus:
    ‘Something Human’ by A.J. Demas which I liked a lot, plus:
    ‘Unwritten Rules’ by KD Casey, which … damn, y’all, that’s a lot of baseball. And for the amount of preceding misery, a much too abbreviated happy ending.

    Most notably this week, I finally finished ‘Rival Queens: Actresses, Performance, and the Eighteenth-Century British Theater,’ by Felicity Nussbaum. OMG that was a tome. Loaded with information I’m happy to now have in my brain, but … damn, y’all, I worked for it!!

  27. For those of you who are fond of Victoria Goddard’s Greenwing and Dart series, as I am, she just published a new short story that follows the most recent book, Plum Duff. It’s called the Saint in the Bookstore.

  28. I finished the Terry Pratchett biog. It’s such a fascinating read – he comes across as an often-difficult person, totally committed to his craft, eccentric, often kind and generous as well, and very much loved by the people who knew him. And you will need copious hankies for the last few chapters, which are heartbreaking. Alzheimer’s is a bastard disease. But what an extraordinary story about an extraordinary man.

    I also read Alexandra Rowland’s A Taste of Gold and Iron, mm romance about a very anxious prince and one of his guards. Enjoyed it a lot.

    Now I’m in the middle of Sarina Bowen’s The Year We Hid Away, which I’m also enjoying.

    1. Wait, Lian — aren’t you a Kiwi also? Are you from the North or the South island? And did you get disrupted by the cyclone?

        1. Ah! WAY south, then. That’s good. Every time I hear about the Syria/Turkey earthquake zone, I feel a general sense of concern for everyone there, but the idea of Argh people bereft of computers, books, Kindle charging stations and so on, makes me feel quite specifically worried. And on top of Jenny feeling crummy, it’s like a weight that I can’t shift.

          1. And thanks for your concern, Jinx, I really appreciate it. The thought of being deprived of all that comfort stuff is awful. Though I do have a substantial apocalypse library!

          2. New Zealand is actually one of the few places I can imagine living, if for some reason I couldn’t live here in Tas. NZ is such a beautiful place, and the people are, overall, lovely. It’s a kinder society than Australia, in my experience.

          1. I’ve never been to Tasmania, but in my imagination it’s closer in feeling to New Zealand than other parts of Australia are – probably because it’s an island.

  29. I’m still picking my way slowly through Natasha Pulley’s The Half Life of Valery K, which I’m loving, but it is so full of dread and tension that I need frequent breaks. All the breaks are re-reads, including my slow re-read of Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy, now in the third book, and enjoying it even more than I remembered from the first, very enjoyable, read. Also These Old Shades. Also Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance. All good antidotes to Stalinist and post-Stalinist Russia. It’s not quite our world, but the oppression seems identical.

  30. Nonfiction reading Happy Healthy Brain and 12 Weeks to a Sharper You, all in lieu of my brother’s diagnosis and watching the progression of the disease. I’m eldest of second family, same mother, different father. So being proactive.

  31. Just FYI for Sarina Bowen fans, she’s got a Bookbub deal today on Hard Hitter. Also Lilith Saintcrow’s She Wolf and Cub is on sale. In case you like me are flailing around going whatever shall I read while waiting for Jenny’s next book…

  32. I’m in a terrible slump. I tried to read A Psalm for the Wild-Built, which I think I would normally love, and I DNF’ed it. I tried to read The Spare Man, which sounds like it would work for me, and DNF’ed it. I read half of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy and was enjoying it, and then Hart didn’t tell Mercy who he was and I felt a Big Misunderstanding coming along and I couldn’t deal with it, so I DNF’ed it. Then I tried to re-read an old Jill Shalvis book which should have been a candy floss comfort read and I DNF’ed it. Then I tried to read M.L.N. Hanover’s Unclean Spirits and I DNF’ed it. Ugh! Maybe I should go back to Tinker, commented on up-thread.

      1. Kelly, This sounds inane, but I hope your psyche is pulling strength from your ability to reject things. Saying “No” might be helping your mind rebuild.

        I know that sounds like whooey.

        Take care. Argh is backing you.

        (I know I sound like an English major. But, no, my undergrad degree is in Medieval Studies. Arcane is I.)

        1. I hadn’t thought of it this way, Elizabeth, but I wouldn’t discount it. I am 8 months post-Covid and find that I still have lots of weird pockets of things that aren’t working right, or aren’t working at all. I think my brain and body are trying to heal and I need to be patient. Thank you, and JaneB, too!

          1. I purchased The Spare Man. Was hoping it would be a winner. I am rereading Miles in Love. So far good.

          2. Hi Kelly, sorry to hear that you are dealing with long Covid symptoms. A family member has been dealing with appears to be long Covid related issues which some medical personnel only wanting to deal with symptoms not causation. Following a random encounter we became aware of success some people were having with high level probiotics (similar to those used in neonatal nurseries) + selenium & vitamin D. It hasn’t magically cured all his issues but he is sleeping & breathing better, his energy levels are improving & he has much better concentration & short term recall & his mood/depression really has improved a lot in the 6 weeks he has been trying this protocol. I am not a medical practitioner but just wanted to put it out there in case it is of interest. Best wishes

  33. Hi Elly, we had heard this about probiotics and are taking them now. We are definitely doing better in general, and my energy is picking up. The probiotics certainly don’t hurt, although I can’t clearly separate out correlation and causation. My mood is better too so maybe it is helping with that. I have found that sleep is critical (lots of it) and also a big dose of self-compassion and not expecting too much. Thanks for the kind words and suggestions.

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