This is a Good Book Thursday, February 23, 2023

This week, I read a lot of Book Bub samples. Just the samples. Nothing tempted me onward. I think I’m just getting too picky in my old age. I did fall down the rabbit hole that is “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” on You Tube, and then I went on to “I’ll Make a Man Out of You,” “Kiss the Girl,” and Robin Williams being fabulous all over the place as the Genie. Turns out, Disney is musical Wellbutrin.

So what did you read this week?

138 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, February 23, 2023

    1. Fascinating how weird the lyrics got. It’d be great to look up the translations and how the text changed in detail.

      Wonderful music though. Wonderful to dance to.

  1. Am I still reading That Serial? Grey Wolf’s Variation on a Theme? Yes I am. Chapter 69 of Book 4 will be out tomorrow. I’m also re-reading the series, and that means I’m up to chapter 50 of Book 2.

    Last week I finished A Clean Fake Marriage Romance Collection of five books by V.E. Lieske. Technically, that may have been a re-read, as it was vaguely familiar. I tried to figure out on Amazon when I acquired it, but it doesn’t seem to be in my purchase history by any of several names or descriptions, nor by author. A mystery!

    I’m old. I forget stuff. Maybe I didn’t get it from Amazon. I have a couple of other collections about reluctant marriages or “just friends” that I acquired last spring, so it fits in there, somewhere. At least I know where I got the book(s) currently open in my Kindle. See, there’s this webcomic I read (one of a dozen) and sometimes the author makes recommendations, like this from

    To help fill up the rest of your time this week, (given the massive time investment difference between reading a 4 panel page and my usual 9-11 panel pages – you’re welcome) you can always check out the latest in one of my favorite novel series, The Vixen War Bride. Book 5 came out a few weeks ago. It’s titled Cupcake Girls. I know that sounds cutsie, but uh… Well, no spoilers. I really enjoy the xenoanthropology, and if you haven’t checked out the series, I obviously recommend it.
    I’ve asked for xenoanthropology recommendations in the past, and I’ve tried a few things you guys tossed out. The Pride of Chanur was one. It was okay… I think I’d read a few too many HFY stories, or isekai hero who single handedly causes a paradigm shift of some sort to really enjoy Chanur though. I kept expecting the human to do something exceptional and that’s just not the sort of story it is. It was like waiting for the neverdrop.

    It is science fiction. It is “married by mistake” fiction. I seem to have bought the whole series, and I finished book 1 and moved on to book 2. The Officer in Charge has only just been informed that he married the fox-like alien.

    I can’t wait to see where this goes.

    1. Reading Book 4 now. Forced to share a spoiler. The protagonist is a Ranger Captain, that’s US Army Rangers. His unexpected wife is a high priestess. Those are not the spoiler. A very amusing secondary character is Staff Sergeant Ramirez, as in “there’s one in every crowd.” Ramirez has been given permission to accompany natives. He is teaching one native human language, and doing a better job than the staff interpreter This is a sample:

      “I’ll remember you said that,” Burgers promised as they stepped into the temple. Most of the Va’Shen participants were already there, sitting in the oval or chatting amongst themselves. Alacea sat at the far end of the oval in her place of honor while Kasshas sat at the other, Yasuren just behind him as his advisor. Alzoria saw they had arrived and walked toward them, bowing at the two humans in respect.
      “Como estan, betches?” she asked. “Game time ina fuu mikes. You cahn pahk yur azzes hare.” She turned and started to lead them to the captain’s normal seat.
      “Remind me to hit Ramirez with something very heavy,” Warren whispered to Burgers as the found their seats and sat down.
      “I just don’t get how she picked it up so fast,” Burgers said in honest amazement. “I figured it would take months for Ramirez to corrupt these people.”
      “I guess he’s just really good at it,” Warren growled.

      Doscher, Thomas. Repatriation: Part 4 of The Vixen War Bride (pp. 201-202). Kindle Edition.

  2. Jenny, I hope you find something nice to read soon.

    As for me, I am still reading Taylor Fitzpatrick on ao3. I have now read mostly everything and I am now going through the outtakes. They are quite bewildering since you go from one series to another without rhyme or reason as far as I can see.
    I am glad I am reading them though as for instance, I got to read Adam Rousseau’s HEA (very understated like him but good).

    I also read for my bookclub Lucy Worsley’s biography of Agatha Christie. I enjoyed it a lot. Lots of interesting insights in there and lots also about Greenway which is my favourite National Trust property in Devon. I just love going there via the small passenger ferry from Dittisham, which is a lovely village too, with a great pub.

    It made me want to reread some Agatha Christie but I am not sure where to start. Any suggestions?

    1. I always liked They Came to Baghdad and The Murder of Roger Arkroyd. And anything with Poirot. He is my favorite of her detectives.

    2. If you want some semi-organized versions of some of Taylor’s stuff that Jen+B and I have been working in, let me know and I will send to you. Also her Kickstarter stuff. It never ends..

      1. Thanks Tammy but I think I have devoted enough of my life to T F for now! Time to read something else!

    3. LN, I am in the middle of the Great Christie Re-Read, Year 3. Been re-reading one a month. Best that have held up so far: Death on the Nile, Sad Cypress, Murder at the Vicarage, Peril at End House, and Why Didn’t They Ask Evans.

    4. I like the Miss Marple short stories, Tuesday Club murders, because I’m in the mood for “everyone underestimates old lady and she’s smarter every time.”

  3. I finished my reread of the Book of Firsts and moved on to the Four Kings. It is just such a nice world to visit.

    Patricia Briggs released her short story, Alpha and Omega on audiobook, and I spent more than I should on a two hour read, but it made me happy and I will revisit it fairly often.

    For something new I am listening to the Lord of Stariel. I think that my younger self would have really liked it, but my present self is struggling. I don’t really like Hetta thus far. Is it worth it to push through or should I move on to something else?

    1. I struggled with the first in the Stariel series too. Way too much set-up. But it gets better with every book and the last one is the best of all. The only reread for me.

        1. Not lost – but there’s a lot of context setting…that’s my ambivalent response. Coming from someone who skipped the author’s ‘read this first’ recommendation and lived to regret it – but still survived. And thrived.

          1. Thanks. I think that I am probably just going to abandon it as not for me. There are lots of other books in the sea.

      1. I read the first one and thought it was … okay. Not a reread at all. But then someone, probably Tammy, was talking about how good the last one was, so I went back and reread the first one, liked it better the second time round, ploughed through the next couple and got a bit bored with them. But the last one is delicious. I think I got really sick of how GOOD Wyn was. And the fairies in the last book aren’t the least bit good, which makes them much more fun to read.

    2. Strangely, The Lord of Stariel is my favorite of the entire series. But I like them all. So much so that I already re-read the whole series once on my kindle. Still enjoyed them, so I finally decided to have them all in paper format for my birthday. I wouldn’t skip the first book, Lupe. You would lose lots of context.

      1. I’m with Olga on this. I quite like Book 1 in that it has that quality of considering a place’s atmosphere and expectations from an outsider perspective, then showing the MC moving cautiously back into things, without expecting to be there long. And I agree with Tammy that each book afterwards gives you a bit more about that world. However, I can’t get any more than the first three volumes as library books, because my county of more than a million souls does not have them in its extensive library system, nor do the other counties in their lending universe. So I’m considering buying all five, because they are just so prime for re-reading.

    1. I read this to the end. I’d be embarrassed to recommend it to anyone I know. I immediately and permanently deleted from my library, as I will never reread. Although oddly compelling, it was way too much gross kink for me. And I don’t mind kink.

    2. Just googled this out of curiosity. The content warnings were just a list of every trauma imaginable so I can see why you’re not okay. Good lord…

  4. I finished Mr. Impossible by Loretta Chase. It was really fun, and the commenters here are correct – Rupert is a great character.

    Moving on to Penric this week.

  5. I read The Shameless Hour and liked it a lot. Bella is a nice girl, Rafe is great (his nonchalance towards Bellas history is … interesting, not sure if it’s completely believable though). Bella’s bad experience was handled well. Especially for that detail I would have recommended the book to dd if it wasn’t for the – imo – too many sex scenes. I’m pretty sure dd wouldn’t like the -imho- too many sex scenes. She’s 14 and she surely wouldn’t like have her would know that she’d read those scenes.

    Afterwards I tested my theory regarding liked Eden Finley and Saxon James – if I liked the former better as solo writer than the latter.
    Yes, I like EF better, but prefer the collab-books of both. — Tammy, you were absolutly spot on.
    I’d read Book 1 in Fake Boyfriends which was okay. Didn’t love it. The tow MCs felt too similar in tone.

    Still listening to See Jane Score but there’s not enough hockey for me and Luc is very alpha, sigh.

    Now three titles fight for reading time:
    The new NR Walker is out today and available on KU. The cover was so lovely that I downloaded it without really knowing what it’s about. Involving a baby might end in me not liking it, but it being on KU I’ll try it in any case.
    Then Heated Rivalry beckons – finally a fix for more hockey. Also: Rachel Reid is funny on insta.
    Thirdly: The Fifteenth Hour – last book in the Ivy Years series by Sarina Bown.
    I love the student community around the college hockey team. Love how Sarina Bowen manages to have the characters from former title pop up without bombing the individual stories.

    1. I’m not keen on the Fake Boyfriends series nor on Rachel Gibson nor Sarina Bowen. Rachel Reid is way more fun and hey, have you tried Avon Gale yet?

      1. After book 1 I’m hesitant to continue reading. Some characters with a very short cameo in the CU series have their own story here, yet I don’t want to spoil my CU/Puckboy-fun in case I don’t like those Fake-books. Though book 3 of the Puckboys was a bit of a disappointment.

        But what one reader loathes might be what another loves. Recommendations are a bit tricky even when reading tastes are similar. And I don’t want to offend anybody – I know how it hurt when I recommended some books I absolutely adored to a friend who shot them down mercilessly.

        So I wouldn’t shoot down the Rachel Gibson: See Jane Score is a nice book, recommended here by fellow arghers. I like the heroine, Jane. I just expected more hockey, so the little there is is too little hockey for my current mood 😉

        And the f/m-relationship would have appealed to me more in the past when I was more into alpha males like Luc.

        See, I like Sarina Bowen from way back when I first discovered her in 2015.
        I like her Ivy Years books a lot, they held up in the re-read. Her more recent work I like less (esp. the True North ones). But I’m looking forward to New Guy (out next week, again hockey themed). Also, if books are available in KU, it’s easy to give them a try. No financial disappointment there if I dnf.

        Avon Gale sounds very familiar. I might have read something in the past but cannot remember, so certainly no hockey book lately. Will give her a try soon – some titles are on KU 😉

        1. I once ended a friendship because of how vicious the review from the friend was. I had taken her to the bookstore, bought it new in front of her and highly recommend it. And then she proceeded to tell me how horrible it was.

          Really, it was about the disrespect rather than her not liking the book. By all means, rip it to shreds if you don’t like it, but don’t do it to me and… expect me to agree that I am an idiot? I don’t know. It was more of a last straw on the friendship anyway. But she could have just said it wasn’t for her and left it at that.

          I really appreciate how careful everyone here is of each other. It’s hard to hear something you loved disparaged. I try not to rant here as well. Or at least not name names when I rant.

          1. I agree completely Lupe. I don’t recommend anything to friends in real life anymore. Most of them think I have weird tastes anyway.
            The only people I recommend books to are one of brothers (who is very much into sf) and my kids. I brainwashed my kids by pushing my favourite books on to them from infancy. It worked 😀

          2. I actually try hard to understand what kinds of books people like before making a recommendation to them. Then I can say I think you will like this book but not like this one, etc. It’s a great exercise in empathy. Which I can always use more of.

          3. Technically I haven’t read Peter Cabot gets lost. I am too afraid that I won’t like it and then we can’t be friends anymore, Tammy.

          4. LN, I have exactly one in person friend who shares my taste in books. I am pretty sure that is the entire basis for our friendship. And yes, my taste keeps getting weirder and more specific.

            I have gotten several people into Murderbot, however. I just don’t bring up Morning Glory Milking Farm to most people…

          5. Oh Lupe I am completely clear that you have not read it yet…just saying that if you EVER do, I guess I have only myself to blame if you don’t like it and say vicious things about it. I will be quiet as a lamb if you do.

          6. No worries Tammy. I was kidding. And I would be the one ripping apart your beloved in this scenario. Which I would also never do.

          7. Lupe, having so many book friends here is so nice. I like many things and it’s great that whenever I mention a book, there is always someone (and often several people) who likes it as much as me!

          8. Lupe, that’s a horrible experience! I’d have ended the friendship too. And yes, disrespect and the the contrary of empathy.
            You could expect more sense from an adult.

            DD not long ago told me that a good friend of hers called her taste in music shitty (because her playlist strongly features one band and the solo work of its members – which we both love to bits). I wasn’t there so the tone might have been friendly or ironic or whatever. But I felt her hurt. Imho she has a great sense of music, but I am biased. It’s a very bonding experience when you realize your kids and yourself have the same or very similar taste in music. And that I am allowed to listen to her Spotify-playlists.
            In fact, in about two weeks time I am allowed to accompany my kid to the Lewis Capaldi concert. On a wednesday. With school and work the following day. Yuk. Have to catch up with his playlist for sure. And on understanding his lovely Scottish accent – made certainly more difficult b/c of microphone…

      2. I like Rachel Gibson. I would only recommend her to readers who can tolerate / enjoy- the alpha male thing, though- the hockey series anyway. And the level of hockey throughout the series is about the same as in See Jane Score so if you’re looking for hockey centered – those books aren’t it.

        One of the things I like about Rachel is the quirks she gives her characters. In Simply Irresistible the daughter makes clothing for her small statues of animals, for example.

  6. I’ve just finished the entire Penny Reid cinematic universe 🙂
    The entire Knitting in the City series, followed by the Winston Brothers, followed by the Solving for Pie series, followed by the Good Folk series and the Three kings series. All of these take place in the same “universe”, sometimes with recurring characters who feature prominently, sometimes with small cameos from characters from other books.
    I feel like I spent more time in Green Valley, Tennessee than I did in my actual home in the past month or so 😀 (and when I accidentally see the news I think to myself it’s probably for the best. Sigh)

  7. I read the fifth in the Princes’ Game series. The addiction continues. I also read Samantha Wayland’s latest in her hockey series, The Long Game, and yes, too much sex but I enjoyed it anyway.

    I listened to Miss Moriarty I Presume? by Sherry Thomas, in her Lady Sherlock series. Fantastic narrator btw. And I think this ‘Sherlock’ is my literary/movie/TV favourite, all apologies to Benedict Cumberbatch.

    1. Yes, Kate Reading is the best of the best for historical narration. Total rock star.

      I think I first heard her when listening to Lord of Scoundrels, a great book on its own, but it is outstanding narrated by Kate.

  8. I’ve just read ‘The Tenants of 7c’ and ‘The Siege of 7c’, two novellas that A. J. Demas gave away to subscribers to her mailing list. They were written under her other name, Alice Degan, and though the characters are strong as usual, I don’t much like the world – contemporary urban fantasy; not nearly as much fun as her pseudo-Classical world. But they might well appeal more to some of you. Don’t think they’re on sale yet – she’s doing new editions; I think the original versions came out about ten years ago.

    1. I wondered about those. I am on the mailing list also but I haven’t read them yet. I think I might get the books when they are published as I prefer reading on my kindle anyway, easier on the eyes!

      1. Definitely – she does offer Kindle format, but I thought it might be tricky to navigate, so opted for iBooks, but it’s much less relaxing to read on the iPad.

    2. Thanks for the info, Jane.
      Demas’ newsletter accidentally ended up in my junk mail, have retrieved it.

      I might give it a try – I like her pseudo-classical world a lot. Not sure abotu urban fantasy.

      1. I saw them too but had the same reaction – I want more pseudo classical world, not contemporary. Unless there are pucks in it; let me know if those show up.

    3. I read the first one but wasn’t too impressed. I didn’t even try the second one – no interest. I liked her books set in a version of ancient Greece much better.

  9. I re-read the first three of the True Gentlemen series by Grace Burrowes. She tends to explore social ills and inequities while spinning out sweet romances. I like that she does that. Tremaine’s True Love deals with the lack of health care for the poor, domestic violence, the diminished role of married women, and the antiquated belief that illness is visited on those who deserve it. Daniel’s True Desire is an interesting look into the clergy, marriage laws, and “rotten boys”. The boys are very diverting. Will’s True Desire explores the cruel bear-baiting and cock-fighting entertainments in London. It also has interesting tips on dog training. I found that I needed to skip the worst of the animal abuse descriptions this time, the same way I mute ASPCA commercials and leave the room. I absolutely loved the ending where the nastiest man gets his due, led by a fearless woman.

  10. I read a couple of “meh” books, so I’m here to recommend a lovely TV romance in 12 episodes. It’s new to Canadian Netflix, not sure if US Netflix is also carrying it.

    Hubert et Fanny (Quebec French with very good English subtitles) has a plausible premise, a meet-crazy, and two opening episodes with plenty of action.

    The two leads are extremely attractive and easy to identify with, all the secondary characters have solid stories and are terrific actors. Throw in a strong theme, smart dialogue, contemporary issues, pretty Montreal streets and a killer soundtrack and what’s not to like?

    It’s a tiny bit steamy and occasionally soapy. But not everyone gets a happy ending. Loved it.

  11. Thanks to Jenny’s recommendation I read Mad About You by Mhairi McFarlane. I wasn’t terribly attached to either of MCs until they started spending more time together, but once they started to really get to know each other the story began to click. It turned into a nice balance between cautionary tale and HEA.

  12. Good few weeks of reading:

    Casino Royale/Fleming. Yep, the first Bond book. Always curious about it. Quick, short read with a LOT of information about high stakes gambling. What surprised me is that the book is not nearly as over the top or misogenistic as the movies. Lightly enjoyable.

    Re-started Maurice Druon’s French monarchy series with the Strangled Queen and the Poisoned Crown. Also quick reads and great historical fiction. Scheming in the French Court that led up to the 100 years war.

    Finished The Long Game/Wayland. Nice end for Grady and Jack and I thought more about instant Found Family, than the romance.

    Read a quick Sam Burns M/M novella The Cat Returns to Adderley, part of a 3 stories fairy tale retelling series. This was Puss in Boots, and very charming.

    Finally, Read Roberta Gellis’ Enchanted Fire, telling the Orpheus and Eurydice myth in the context of their time with Jason and the Voyage of the Argo (BTW saw the musical Hadestown and if you can see it, see it – wonderful re-telling – great music.)

    Book was really really well done. I read 2 of her Greek myth books as a teenager and didn’t care for them, my teenage heart thought there wasn’t enough romance in them. Now, I think they are riveting with the character development, the early feminism and the mythology. Perspective change.

    Does anyone remember the Rosalynde series by Gellis? I rolled through those as a kid as well. Such good historical fiction with romance.

    1. The Fairy Tale Retellings look adorable so I’m going to give at least one a try, thank you. Yes, Wayland’s Long Game was very thought provoking from a found family aspect, which compensated for the too-much-gratuitous-sex aspect for me.

  13. Midnight Duet by Jen Comfort. I’m not sure where I discovered it–could be here! It’s a gender-swapped Phantom of the Opera with a happy ending set in a small town near Las Vegas. The heroine is an ex-Broadway star, and the hero fronts a German hair metal band. So much fun! Good sex scenes too: well-written and as much about the emotional feels as they are about the physical.

  14. After several disheartening DNFs, I finally finished a book – Kristin Cashore’s Seasparrow. It wasn’t an easy book to read. It was too long and too slow. Too many details and repetitions – especially of the nautical variety, like sails, masts, and rigging in the first part – diffused the action, made it crawling instead of flying, which is never a good thing to say about a YA novel. A competent editor should’ve chopped off a good third of the text, which would’ve made the plot tighter and the entire novel stronger.
    It is told from the POV of Hava, a queen’s spy with the magical Grace to become unnoticeable. But the story isn’t about Hava spying on anyone. It’s her quest to find herself, her self-discovery story.
    Structurally, most of it is a road trip across the brutal landscape of the north in winter, with its unending ice, snow, and hunger. The book itself feels cold and gray, just like this northern realm the characters slog through. Not my favorite kind of book.

    1. I liked Graceling, and Bitterblue, but didn’t love the others, so didn’t even try Seasparrow.

      But, if you like her writing, and have not have not checked out her stand alone novel, “Jane, Unlimited”, take a look and see if it appeals. That book is one of my all time favorites.

  15. Been listening to the Finlay Donovan series by Elle Cosimano–suburban writer/mom in mid-divorce accidentally taken for hitwoman and trouble ensues.

    Totally crazy situations but well written and fun if you buy in and the narrator does great job. Not finished the series yet but overall fun so far, although it does touch on some sensitive topics in book 1 but with light touch that matches the largely comedic tone. To me, the books have influences from several movies and TV shows of same ilk but won’t mention any specifics here to avoid spoilers.

  16. I ran out of library fodder, so I’ve embarked on some Mary Balogh titles that I was saving for a book drought — in this case, I’m reading the series about the Huxtable family. It has a lot to recommend it — the family is quite poor, consisting of three 20-something sisters and their youngest sibling, a sunny boy of 17. They live in a small English village, where they make ends meet in various ways, but they are suddenly thrust into wealth and position, and have to figure out how to cope with it. It doesn’t have the Napoleonic Wars in the background the way the Survivors series did, but it has Balogh and her deep interest in the psychology of the family and its members, so I am enjoying these books as usual. Book 2 is the one I’m on now, and it unfortunately involves the trope of an attempted seduction of one of the country innocents by a seasoned rake, which is not a device I like at all. But the girl is successful at resisting things, and the unraveling of that beginning has gotten more and more interesting.

    1. I’ve just reread all five Huxtable books. Not my no. 1 favourites of hers, but still keepers (unlike her recent stories, which have got very thin).

  17. So far this year, I’ve mostly been rereading. Except for two Discworld-novels randomly thrown in, it’s been Rick Riordan’s books. I started with the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians”-books at the end of last year, then moved on to the “Heroes of Olympus” and now “The Trials of Apollo”. Great comfort-reads.
    After Matcha’s house-call-vet-appointment, I reread James Herriot’s “All Creatures Great and Small”. Love that book. Might reread the second too soon, so I can read the rest that I have not yet read. Cosy.
    Been ploughing through a whole bunch of slowcooker-cookbooks. We bought a slowcooker last December, and I wanna learn more about what to cook and how to do it well. Have made a quite nice pulled chicken so far, a slightly less fabulous chicken tikka (which wasn’t bad, but not what we wanted and hoped would be) and pretty dang great Swedish rice pudding/porridge for Christmas. If you have a favourite slowcooker-recipe to recommend, please throw it my way!
    Yesterday, I finished “Winston Chu vs. The Whimseys” by Stacey Lee; A “Modern reimagining of a Chinese folktale repleting with magic, boba and lots of trash-talking”. I really liked it, but it did not get a 5. 4 is a good number, too. I think I’m getting more and more difficult when it comes to giving out fives the older I get.
    Also slowly making my way through “Think like a Cat” by Pam Johnson Bennett. We’ve always had cats, but I still learn quite a lot. There are always new things to learn. 🙂

  18. This week I read everything by Margaret Rogerson which alas didn’t take long as she only has 4 books out. First was An Enchantment of Ravens because somebody talked about it on Mastodon, I looked it up and couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before, and promptly devoured it. An artist and a fae, a great read about love and creativity along with fantastic worldbuilding and beautiful writing. Next I read Sorcery of Thorns which features a magical library and a heroine who charges around bashing things with a sword, sorcery, demons, true love, found family, and the great stuff continues in Mysteries of Thorn Manor. Vespertine is not connected to any other book but also very good. Less of a romance plot than the other books but same in terms of a cast of characters to root for and a story that sucks you in. Characters you want to spend time with and writing that’s a joy to read is always fabulous to find.

    1. Ooh, I didn’t know about Mysteries of Thorn Manor. 6 week wait at the library, it’ll be a nice treat in 6 weeks.

  19. This week I read Saint Death’s Daughter, a fantasy book by C.S.E. Cooney. It’s about a young necromancer who is trying to survive her terrible family and learn how to use her magic to protect the ones she loves. I really wasn’t sure what to make of it initially because it looked as if it might veer too much into horror, but it didn’t. I ended up being weirdly charmed by this book.

    I also read a romcom, Marlowe Banks, Redesigned, by Jacqueline Firkins. The heroine, a wardrobe assistant, is recovering from a toxic relationship when she meets an actor on the set of a 90210-like tv show. The usual hijinks ensue while they fall in love despite the perils of fame and their own psychological wounds. It’s a cliched plot but I thought it was handled pretty well.

    I also read Ms. Demeanor by Eleanor Lippman, about two people who meet while on house arrest in the same NY apartment building. It held my interest from beginning to end which is more than I can say for many romance novels these days.

    1. i love all of her books

      been meaning to get the new one

      with this recommendation might go tomorrow-thanks!

    2. I like Ms. Demeanor as well, Jeanine. Lippman enthralled me previously with On Turpentine Lane and Good Riddance. It’s very NYC, but her heroines are engaging.

  20. Read “Wood Sprites” by Web Spencer this week, which I liked better second time around, and her latest”Harbinger”, which I suspect will be the same. It’s being marketed as book 5 but its really book 6, picking up a lot of threads from her novella collection “Project Elfhome”, and her 2022 novella (free on Baen website) which I didn’t read until afterwards so was baffled by references to the fight in the museum. There are now a lot of POV characters, which very much slows the book down. I enjoyed it still as I like all the characters and I like slice-of-life but its very much a change from her earlier books which are tightly focussed and fast-paced.

    Really hope she gets the next one out quickly as I really want it now!

    1. As the series progress, it gets an ever expanding cast which could be very problematic if you didn’t like some of them but as you say, they are very likeable (well apart from the villains).
      + the whole mice thing with the twins!

  21. I read a couple of memoirs; re-read a Ngaio Marsh and one of my own novella collections because a co-worker said she liked the first one very much and I tend to wallow in praise; read the first chapter of ‘The Season: A Social History of the Debutante’ by Kristen Richardson before giving up and scanning in the other two chapters I want to read, because who prints a book with 8 pt goddamn type?

    A cute M/M short: ‘2 Dead Fish Named Kevin,’ by L.A. Witt. If you’ve heard about the zoos selling a chance to name a thing that will shortly be fed to one of their animals, well, that’s where this starts.

    2 other M/M novels and 2 other M/M shorts that were either just okay or actively disappointing, so, moving on …

    In other light entertainment, ‘Follow My Lead’ by Louisa Masters is a pleasant M/M age-gap co-workers romance set in a fictional Georgia ‘company town’ alongside a Disney World-esque entertainment complex. The MCs – producer and director for new live theater program – get off on the wrong foot but, you know. 🙂 Some ex-boyfriend drama and family drama which is dealt with intelligently as both men vocally and publicly choose each other; central relationship is blissfully free of bullshit. I enjoyed this and will probably read again.

  22. I was listening to a third Darcie Wilde about a “Useful Woman” carefully maneuvering her way through Regency London, when I just had to change over to a heroine who actually has the vote, can have sex when she likes, and makes her own living. So I moved over to Jenny and Bob’s “Wild Ride,” which I enjoyed tremendously. I loved Mab and her painting coat, Frankie the Raven, all the different trailers, Weaver the agent, Glenda and her daiquiries, and Cindy with her ice cream flavors and making people see dragons in their hot cocoa marshmallows. That book is a load of fun.

  23. I finally got the energy to read Patricia Brigg’s latest. It was ok; it felt like it didn’t have a whole plot but just was another dose of a serial.
    I did love learning what was making Warren so grumpy.
    I also found that an author I used to read a long time ago, Torey Hayden, had some new nonfiction books about working with disabled and disturbed kids, so I read those.
    I’ve been dipping into various social history books and also rereading —Heyer, Sayers, Christie.
    I plan next to go back to working my way through the old New Yorkers, and to start reading my cookbooks with postits in hand to mark recipes I want to try .

    1. I should add that somewhere in my rabbit hole research for interesting social history I learned that Mde de Montespan may have really been involved in black magic including murders. I may end up reading a book about the Affaire de poisons and La Voisin which I always thought was made up by her enemies to see how much evidence there really is.

      1. Fiction, but you might like “The Oracle Glass” by Judith Merkle Riley

        I have a hard time believing she isn’t a time traveler, reporting what she observed.

  24. Rather than reading this week, I went through my home library and filled up a box of books to go to the library. I know they were books I’d read and enjoyed enough years ago to keep them on the shelves for re-reads, but after more than a decade with no re-reading, I figured it was time to send the books on to their next home (and free up some space in my own).

    I’ll be heading to Oxford this summer, so when I do start reading again it will be Jane Austen, Marie Edgeworth, and others of that ilk.

    1. Fanny Burney? Though for Oxford I’d read Sayers’ Gaudy Night or Philip Pulman’s Northern Lights; or even the one that made me want to study there: Elizabeth Goudge’s Towers in the Mist.

      1. Oh I had forgotten Towers in the Mist….I should reread it.
        There’s also Alice in Wonderland. And Zuleika Dobson.
        My son will spend two weeks there soon for his PhD research. I should give him some Oxford books…

      2. I did my master’s thesis on Fanny Burney. 🙂 She lived a fascinating life but I must confess I have not read the novels since. ‘Evelina’ is fun. The others suffer from Paid By The Volume Syndrome.

        1. I liked Evelina. I trudged through Cecilia. I tried Camilla and gave up. I think I might actually own Evelina? I should go look.

  25. I had such a good reading week. First, Lessons in Chemistry, which I loved, though I was glad people had warned us about the darkness of the first few chapters.

    Then a reread of Cici and the Curator. I first read it a long time ago, and had forgotten the big reveal, so that was fun.

    And then, Picture Miss Seeton, the first book in a series about a retired art teacher taking on various criminals with her umbrella and her talent for drawing. It was utterly delightful, and I’ve just bought the next two books.

    1. Miss Seeton is fabulous. Sadly the original author, Heron Carvic, only wrote four of them before he died, although they are all fabulous. The publisher hired other authors to continue the series after that, but they’re not as good.

      1. I was wondering about that, Gary. I’ve never yet come across a different author continuing a series and making it as good as the original. I shall read the first four, then tentatively dip my toe into the fifth and see how I go.

        1. Yes, the not-original I tried was flavorless. Like a paper doll instead of a real person.

  26. Currently reading The Fifteenth Minute and LOVING it that the author included a kind of soundtrack. The male MC is djing the hockey games and we get a peek into the playlist.
    It’s great to have great music in my ear while I start typing away at work (listening to Lenny Kravitz, Run DMC, Inncer Circle… Come and get your girl, Brown eyed Girl… Ain’t No Mountain High Enough etc)

    1. Goodness you have had one trial after another. I hope you have a good long period with no problems greater than the occasional plant flop.

      1. I freely admit that as trials go, this one was minor. I just cost half a tax refund, no worries.

        Speaking of plant flops, I desperately need to prune a lot of lettuce. I should take pictures before and after. 🙂

    2. “about having to use a towel that has another grandchild’s cooties” reminded me of my father (who had to carry water in a bucket from the spring when he was a boy and knew the value of water) telling me, every time I wasted water, that on the LSTs he was on in the Pacific, the enlisted men got a gallon of fresh water a day, which had to serve for bathing, shaving, and washing their skivvies. Since it was the tropics, and temperatures on deck often reached 100F, everyone sweated a lot, and not keeping clean was socially unacceptable.

      1. Submarine stories are similar. The sub leaves port with potable water tanks topped off and a distilling unit that worked when the sub was running on diesels on the surface. That’s cooking and drinking water. They took salt water showers once or twice a week and had a cup of water for sponging off the salt residue.

        Modern nuclear subs have much better distilling units. Even so, a submarine shower means 30 seconds to get wet, turn off water, soap up and shampoo or whatever, then 150 seconds to rinse. Three minutes. Anything more and someone would accuse you of taking “Hollywood Showers.”

        I do not miss submarines.

  27. Can a YouTube website count as another book? I really don’t know, but since I count on this site as a source of good ideas, among other things, I wanted to share a webvid I just watched on the Tube called “9 GARDENING HACKS That Actually Work.” This is just for the gardeners among you, and it focuses on seed germination and growing season extension:

    I love it when individual people just put their ingenuity to work to solve problems they encounter in daily life, and this video just epitomized that.

  28. I just saw the Kindle version of Don’t You Forget About Me By Mhairi McFarlane on sale for $2. I haven’t read it yet, but I have enjoyed many of her other books.

  29. I am still very slowly, but enjoyably, picking my way through The Half-life of Valery K, which needs frequent breaks from the grimth. After several months my hold on Legends and Latte came in, which was an excellent break. I enjoyed it, and will certainly reread it, and its promised sequel, but it did not make it to the top of my list. It has a lot of elements I like, skillfully blended, but…it was nice. Very nice.

    I have a stack–I just measured–a foot high of paper books I am rereading, not to mention the ebooks. I have an extra day off next week, but instead of time for more reading, I’m trying to have the delayed solstice party (no replies from those who asked me to plan the original) and I’m desperately trying to keep ahead of advancing spring in my yard work, so even less time for reading than usual.

  30. Two books by Janice Hallett (The Appeal and The Twyford Code) caught my interest especially the latter: If you like clever puzzles and an intriguing POV it may suit you. I also found the voice of the MC in The Twyford Code moving and authentic, though as it turns out untrustworthy.
    Also read the new Deborah Crombie (I like the dynamic of the central family, also London) as well as Chris Pavone’s Two Night’s in Lisbon (speaking of untrustworthy narrator.
    Finally I’ve been listening yet again to the Rivers of London series. Kobna Holdbrooke-Smith is currently my all-time favourite narrator. Even for those of you who normally avoid audible’s this is one to try.

  31. Completely off topic. The technology conference I’m at just started the post lunch activities with an exercise for everyone to relax their sphincters. I am not making this up. My Ted Talk later this afternoon can only be better than this.

        1. 1. I talked about how it’s a myth that people resist change. If they did there would be no babies in the world. 2. My shoes which are ridiculously cute suede flats with tassel on the laces were a big hit. 3. I was up at 6:30. 4. My sphincter is so relaxed. 5. I never want to speak of sphincters again.

  32. I’m rereading Jo Beverley’s historical romances, after someone recommended her favorite two books from the Georgian Malloren series – I started the reread with those two, and am going on with the rest because it reminded me why I liked her romances.

  33. I finished Lessons in Chemistry earlier this afternoon and had to take a nap. Elizabeth (marches to the tune of her own drummer) Zoot was exhausting. Best character was Six-thirty the ex-bomb stiffing dog. In my lifetime I can say that I’ve run into self-important assholes on the job, and I know we all have. One thing I’ve remembered from a job was when one of my earlier bosses would come into the department and to no one in particular announce “there are ways and means of getting even with people”. Things like that stick with you. Recommended reading.

  34. Someone here recommended No One Is Alone by Rachel Vincent, and I thought ‘Hey, I recognize that author’s name from somewhere.’ And it is indeed one of my favorite Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance authors. This one is not fantasy, it’s more of a YA coming of age story. A sixteen year old girl’s single mother is killed crossing the street one day, and her absentee father has to take her in. Problem, he’s not the swinging single unable to commit that she’s always imagined him to be, he’s married, and has been for 21 years, and has three other children, one of whom is a daughter who is a mere nine weeks older than she is, who she has to share a room with, and who hates her very existence. It’s a very good book but very sad to start out, and in a few other places.

    I also read a couple of paranormal romances by Irene Radford, Confessions of a Ballroom Diva and Confessions of a Changeling Dancer. The first one was quite good, about a psychic vampire who had a fling with a guy who turned out to be a professional vampire hunter, though he had no idea that psychic vampires even existed. After he discovers her secret and stakes her, she turns over a new leaf (after it turns out that psychic vampires aren’t quite as susceptible to stakes as blood vampires) and 40 years later they run into each other again at a ballroom dance competition, she as a competitor and he as a judge, and then people start dying in ways only a psychic vampire could kill, but she couldn’t have done it.

    The other book is the fourth book in the series but it’s still a sequel to the first one, but not as good unfortunately.

    1. Thank you very very for recommending No One Is Alone. I recognized Rachel Vincent, too. I have a dozen of her books, but a bunch are unread for reasons. I bought the Kindle book then the Audible book and listened almost straight through. I passed on your rec and my own in another group. Thanks again. 🙂

  35. Unless you can take sad endings for characters you love – don’t read Lizzie and Dante by Mary Bly aka Eloisa James.

    If she had left off the epilogue and I could have decided for myself whether Lizzie dies or not – might have been okay.

    As it is, it left me crying and I will be heading back to rereads while waiting on new books by authors I trust asap.

    1. Oh, I loved this. Yes, it’s terribly sad, but it would have been even sadder if she didn’t seize the chance of happiness. And her relationship with the kid is lovely.

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