This is a Good Book Thursday, April 20, 2023

I’ve been doing a mystery binge, and this week it’s Dick Francis. The thing that always gets me about his work is the clear delineation between good and evil. His protagonists are always basically good people, not showy about it, not saintly, but firmly doing the right thing. And his antagonist are selfish, violent, powerful sadists. I just read the scene in 10 LB Penalty where the antagonist tries to shoot the protagonist’s father but misses because the father slips on the ice and falls just as the shot rings out. The father tells the son to run, but he doesn’t, he falls to his knees and covers his father’s head with his body because, as he explains later, the shot sounded like a 22, and that wouldn’t kill him unless it hit his head. So he protects his father’s head: competence porn matched with moral certitude. I really love Francis’s work.

How did you competently choose good books this week?

95 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 20, 2023

  1. I am finishing a reread of the Corinna Chapman series by Kerry Greenwood. I loved it AGAIN. I am in love with Daniel again. I’m sad that I’m on the last book.

    I have a beta read to do for a friend.

    After that I think I’ll start on Deborah Blake’s series Veiled Magic.

    Hopefully soon I’ll be able to read these books that sound amazing about this character named Liz Danger 😉

  2. The competence is all my son’s. He always gives books as presents at christmas and puts a lot of thought in finding something that will interest the recipient. For some reason, I only got round to reading the book he gave me this year now.

    So, this week, I have read and very much enjoyed Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft and the other 3 books in the series. Very very inventive worldbuilding and some excellent observations along the way. Senlin is a brilliant agent of change.

    I must say I like that type of hero who through their morality and basic decency disrupts the rotten status quo.

  3. This week I am reading A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland.

    Thank you Tammy, and everyone else who recommended it. It’s really lovely. Shades of The Goblin Emperor and Oceans Echo, but of course with it’s own flavor. I am glad that I am listening to it because it seems like another one with a lot of fantasy names to stumble over.

    I especially love how all of the supporting characters are so nuanced and interesting. I really hope Tadek (excuse the spelling) gets his own book, because I love him.

    1. I just hope she continues to write this kind of romance! But yes, it would be great if Tadek got his own book; I loved him too. Glad you are enjoying it. Phew.

      1. The hardest thing about reading a really good book is that it ends. Now I have finished it and I have a book hangover and nothing planned to read next… I usually try to have an option lined up to avoid the dithering.

        1. Did you see my reco to you a couple of weeks back about One Giant Leap by Kay Simone? I think..and I say this with a certain tentativeness…that you would like it. Some competence porn, sweetness and totally romantic.

          1. It’s not available for free in audio book. Should I splurge or read it for free with KU. If I do that, it will be a while… My tbr list is so long.

          2. PS I didn’t know you could do a credits system on KU. I mean, the U stands for Umlimited. Might be different on Amazon,ca because I get unlimited books there.

          3. Sorry, the credits are for audible. I get 12 or 14 a year. KU is free, it just takes me forever to read a book by myself.

  4. He wrote some truly vile antagonists. His protagonists were always people one would like to meet. Think I will read Dick on the flight today

  5. I read Deborah Blake’s Veiled Magic – thank you for the fun, Deborah!

    I also read KJ Charles’ novella Thief in the Night, featuring Robin’s brother from The Gentle Art of Fortune Hunting. Delightful. And there’s a follow-on story on her website.

    Read the latest in the Puckboys – Eden Finlay and Saxon James were at their banter-y best with their MC’s.

    Finished Heartskein by MCA Hogarth and rereading Princes’ Game still and onto Mindtouch.

    I tried Oh Sacred Dark, in a new series by Marina Vivancos – M/M witches/magic. Some allusions to past abuse for one MC. Overall, surprisingly sweet. I’d keep reading this series.

  6. I can hear myself sounding like a broken record, but I read another biography of E.B. White last week — this time one from the children’s section of the library called “Some Writer!” by Melissa Sweet. It’s full of personal details about White — his love for manual typewriters, for example, which he loved and used throughout his life and writing career. His early meeting with Jim Thurber, who he shared a small office with at the New Yorker magazine. The author (who is an artist and coincidentally a neighbor of White’s granddaughter Martha) illustrated the book with pieces of art and items constructed with bits of wood and leaves and drawings of children and pigs and such. The photographs were nearly all new to me, including an early photo of White’s wife Katharine, looking very Botticelli, and one of White as a little boy dressed in a Little Lord Fauntleroy suit. Such a nice book.

    I also read and enjoyed a book recommended by someone here called “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” by Rachel Joyce — an unexpectedly good book about a very ordinary man who hears about a dying friend on the other end of England and decides to walk to see her for one last time. Reminded me of Backman’s “A Man Called Ove.”

      1. And it was so interesting, and unexpected (at least for me) too, the fact that his marriage was healed more or less in absentia.

        Plus I can’t remember ever reading a novel in which the plot (so to speak) happened on the road, with learning incidents and interactions and movement, while the background and many explanations were happening in the background and in people’s thoughts about the past. None of the tropes that ordinarily drive plots via successive crises.

        1. It’s quite a while since I read it, so there’s lots I don’t remember about it. But it was a gentle sort of book if I remember rightly. There’s also a follow-up, from the pov of the friend who is dying.

  7. I am trying to read The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page. Trying as in, I read a few pages then put it down until later, when I read a few more pages etc. I also picked up The Mostly True Story of Tanner and Louise by Colleen Oakley from the library.

  8. I’m reading this really wonderful web comic called Paranatural that can be found here I think the artist started this when he was a teen so the art starts out a little jank, but you really see him improve over the years to the point where he makes truly beautiful spreads and comes up with really creative ways to use paneling. It’s a story about a middle school paranatural (paranormal + supernatural) club where they can actually see and interact with spirits, as well as the greater conspiracy that has to do with their strangely spirit-dense town and potentially evil intentions afoot. But that aside, it’s got tons of both good and bad puns, has lots of clever wordplay and fun dialogue, and develops the heck out of its characters. As someone who hasn’t delved much into the graphic novel world, this was a very fresh story for me. Love the worldbuilding and the development of powers, too.

      1. Haha not gonna lie, I went to the site that hosts the webcomic, hiveworks, and opened tabs for about 20 more that caught my eye! Not sure when I’ll get around to them, but you can’t help but revel in the creativity and artistry of them when you find a good one.

        1. This webcomic got me to start watching The Bureau Of Magical Things on Netflix, yet another time sink I did not need. It’s a good thing I am tired again (retired, that is) with Nothing Better To Do.

  9. I love Dick Francis. All the hardcover copies I owned survived the recent book purge, although a few of the paperbacks were so tattered they got tossed. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve reread them.

    I’m reading Gin Jones’ A Draw of Death. It’s the third book in her Helen Birney series, and I love that the protagonist has lupus and that it is portrayed as slowing her down but not stopping her. There aren’t many books with protagonists who have chronic illnesses, and this series is really well done.

    On the Kindle I’m reading Nan Reinhardt’s new book, Home to River’s Edge. Well done, like everything else she writes.

  10. I’m enjoying reading Veiled Magic. It’s fun to find a book that keeps my interest and that I hate to put down. I listened to the first in the Chronicles of St Mary’s again last night. My old dog decided to go for a walk and took the younger one with her and they didn’t come home. Last night was a long night worrying. This morning we’ll go looking.

  11. I’m glad you brought up Dick Francis, Jenny. I’ve been reading him for 50 years now, and he never disappoints. Some books are better than others, but his writing is always good! Kit Fielding and Syd Haley are among the many, many book characters that have become like old friends; I got to know them so well.

  12. I am just finishing the Touchstone Trilogy (which I think was an Argh recommendation). I found the going a bit slow at the start and during the wrap up after the climax, but really enjoyed it overall. Great world-building, teenaged characters who have to save those worlds, and creative structure.

    1. I really like this series but find that after she adopts the three children, I skip most sections dealing with the little girl as being too cloying.

  13. I listened to many Dick Francis books in the early days of audiobooks. His reader at that time, Tony Britton, was the best. Requisite bit of toughness in his narration. I’ll have to see if he is on audible.

    1. Andrea, after what you said, I listened to a sample and found him indeed to be a perfect narrator for those books. Alas, I just tried to buy Break in narrated by him, but get a notice that I can’t buy it because of geographic restrictions.
      I generally much prefer the British voices for English books, and a very American accent has stopped me from buying books I want to listen to more than once before.

      I wish Audible would use the same rules for audiobooks as are used for ebooks, that people in the rest of the world could choose to buy either the British or the American version, whichever we prefer.
      Here in Holland we’re much closer to Britain, get the BBC but not the American broadcasters, and that is just the accent I’m used to!

      It feels so wrong to hear an English author writing a book set in England being read in a very American accent.
      So I’m very sorry that I still can’t listen to Dick Francis audiobooks, but will keep tgese on my wish list in case they ever become buyable.

      1. Addendum: I wrote an email to this audiobook publisher, asking if contracts for audiobooks work the same as for ebooks, and they maybe forgot to tick the box that these books can be sold (non-exclusively) to people in the “rest of the world”, i.e. anything that’s not the other major English-speaking market for which the rights are sold exclusively.

        I hope it works like that, and that Bolinda can repair that oversight so more people can buy it!

  14. My current reading was based on, well, being written by an author whose work I trust: Lilith Saintcrow writing as S.C. Emmett. I’m currently working my way through the Hostage of Empire series, and I’m currently on book two: The Poison Prince. The books do a nice of job balancing just-enough-information with not over-explaining; the characters and events are very distinct, but you have to pay attention to pick up the context of some of the scenes. There’s a lot of court politics, treachery, assassination attempts, and horseback riding. Though it’s definitely fantasy in the sense of not being set in the real world, there’s no magic present (at least so far); just swords, knives, poisons, bows, and princes and princesses — some of them behaving very badly — and, of course, romance.

  15. Working my way through Ngaio Marsh’s series of Roderick Alleyn, about a third of the way through now. Thinking of the ways in which Roderick and Peter Wimsey are alike but different. Marsh and Sayers were writing about the same time. I wonder if they ever met or if they read each other’s work.

  16. My now-departed mother loved Dick Francis, and re-read his books many times. I never got the bug, but maybe I’ll try one, now. I appreciate that the protagonists are so lovable.

    I’m reading Just One Damned Thing After Another, by Jodi Taylor, and finding it fun as well as educational. There is violence and death but the descriptions aren’t terribly graphic, and it’s all very fast-moving, so it doesn’t seem to be upsetting me. There’s some love interest, but it is also downplayed, so far. Max is a fascinating MC, a strong, resourceful woman who is emotionally stunted due to some unknown childhood traumas. The other characters are equally quirky, and the time travel theme keeps things interesting and ever-changing. There is some really good humor mixed in, too. My brother ( Hi, Ty!) recommended this, and he tells me there are multiple sequels, so this could be ongoing. He is a “lurker”, here, and began reading the St. Mary’s series because of this group’s recommendations.

  17. I listened to Queen Bee by Ciara Geraghty. It was funny and wonderfully angry. Agatha Doyle is an author struggling to write her current book due to the symptoms of the menopause. Every time her agent rings, she tells her a bunch of lies. Then at a book event, Agatha goes into a rant about the menopause. The video goes viral and Agatha unwillingly becomes the voice for menopausal women. It is told in diary format. And begins: 22 May 4A.M Symptoms Insomnia, Rage, Resentment, Night Sweats, Resentment.

  18. Straight remains a favorite of mine. Competence porn is a great term for it, there is something super compelling about that archetype, and no one else seems to quite nail that practical, down to earth, no fuss competence.

    Sadly, I mostly did not make good choices this week reading wise 🙁 I’ve been handling ARC reviews, and ended up with 3 books that were “upmarket” that would have been much, much better as genre fiction. The blurbs seemed to indicate that they were genre, but the end notes said that their editors had urged the authors to aim for the more commercial bracket. I guess it sold the books, but it ruined them, too. Imo.

    One sparklingly good book saved my sanity, The Scarlet Alchemist by Kylie Lee Baker is terrific. It’s grim, bright, and exasperatedly funny. Some terrific trope upending, to excellent effect. Competence was a strong theme in this book. It’s an interesting read, I’d love to hear others’ thoughts on it.

  19. This week I read “Ten Trends to Seduce Your Bestfriend” by Penny Reid. Loved this romance! The protaganist is a social media maven looking to improve her profile by doing a tiktok challenge series with a good friend, only that doesn’t work out and she has to do it with a not so good friend instead. I liked how they struggled to communicate how they felt because they’re such different types of people – it felt like a really genuine conflict where these things can often feel very contrived. On special offer at Amazon UK right now.

    1. Not on my Amazon UK; it’s in KU, but otherwise is expensive for a Kindle book (£8.99).

      Maybe Amazon doesn’t give me its best prices!

  20. I’m reading a book of epilogues, Miles Ever After by T.L. Swan from the Miles High series. Now if only I could remember the initial stories that go with each one (its only been a couple of months since reading them) I’d be happy.

    Last night I started watching on Amazon a series that Susan Berger mentioned that she is in. Jury Duty! It’s part of Frevuu and comes with ads. I’ve only seen the first episode and that is about potential jurors trying to get out of jury duty.

  21. Not much this week…

    I read Honeymoon for One/Andrews based on the rec last week…thank you! Quick, sweet and I learned a lot about Late-Deafened challenges.

    Finished Rex Stout’s A Trio for Blunt Instruments. 3 Nero Wolfe/Archie Goodwin short stories. Always enjoyable, and perfect Snappy Patter. If I ever get a dog…he’s going to be named Snappy Patter.

    My commute’s been a bit longer, so I’m listening to an audio of Watership Down. This is one of my favorite books ever. I re-read it every few years. I understand that it’s not for everyone, but it is for me. Great narration, and epic tale of adventure and leadership.

    I appreciate all of the Dick Francis comments. This group helped me with recs when my retired father became a classic mystery devourer. I’ve started giving him Dick Francis and it’s one of his faves. Now if I could only convince him to get a library card…I’ve been obtaining and curating his book supply for two years now 🙂

    1. Why should he get his own card when he has you to curate for him? In her later years one of my mother’s greatest joys was the mysteries that my brother ordered for her. That way she got a selection of pre-screened titles.

      1. I have to say, you are so right aunt snack. This has been unexpected joy for the both of us. He was a read-2-papers-a-day, work 60 hours a week kind of guy, and now we can discuss books!

  22. I love, love, love Dick Francis and Jenny has reminded me that I should start a re-read soon.

    I haven’t read much this past week as after one week of holiday work had piled up very high.
    I did finish my re-read of Risk Taker by Lily Morton though and though I liked it the first time round I liked it better on the re-read. Appreciated one of the MCs being an artist and noticed the visuality of the writing. One MC is the artist, portrayed more momo-chromatic both in colouring as in clothing style and also I think in behaviour (don’t ask me to explain what this means… it’s just the feeling I got) and the second one, a red-head, is the artist’s focus, dressing in more daring style and colour and overall being the kind and loving type.
    I knew that I liked expecially the red-head but this time realized WHY:

    So now I’m on a Lily Morton reading spell, have finally started the first title in her Mixed Messages series that didn’t interest me at all when I discovered Lily Morton. Now I’m absolutely loving it.
    Lily Morton’s juicy bits are usually too juicy for my no-nonsense personality. On my way to work spent reading (train ride…) I realized that I spent 30 minutes reading what any onlooker would have regarded as basically p*rn… Gulp.
    But as I at a minimum like and often love her writing, I go along with it and if it gets too much, skim.

    You might have noticed I didn’t read any hockey book.
    I follow the playoffs irl instead 😉

    1. Argh, only when Tammy mentioned Puckboy 4 that I remembered that I’ve read it last week… it difn’t work fpr me. Much as I like the Collectove, Aleks didn’t get his own voice in my ear. I guess I also eeacted badly to the obvious crossover with James’ new series of which I didn’t like totle nr.1 and it rubbed of on Gabe.
      Also, Gabe is a name I’ll forever associate with a certain very loveable private eye…

        1. Agreed.
          The first two in the Puckboy series or CU series?
          I liked the first two Puckboys a lot.
          Also liked title 2 of CU very (less so title 1 because I didn’t get Zach).

          I might have a tendency to like the guys written by Finley more, but I might imagine this based on liking solo books by her and not so much the solo titles by James.
          Yet, I find them both stronger as a duo.
          Rambling here, sorry.

          1. The first two in the CU series. Haven’t loved either of their solo books so I don’t bother anymore.

  23. Jayne Davis’s King George’s Man was an average historical romance. Clean – no sex. What makes this writer different from the historical romance crowd is that the heroes are not dukes and earls. The male protagonist is a middle class officer. The female lead is a cook at her uncle’s inn. No aristocrats hanging from their family trees whatsoever. This book wasn’t the best by this author, but it was OK. Readable.
    Paul Gallico’s Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris was a dud. I didn’t enjoy it, but I did finish it, which was a struggle. It was too dated. I wish I read it in my youth. It could’ve been a magical experience then. But now … Not so much. Why did the author equate the heroine’s desire for a dress with femininity? One has nothing to do with another.
    Also, read K.M. Shea’s trilogy Gates of Myth and Power, that includes the following novels: The King’s Captive (#1), The King’s Shadow (#2), and The King’s Queen (#3). All three are essentially one story, and I enjoyed it, as I enjoyed the previous 3 series I’ve read by this author. All three novels are set in the imaginary city of Magiford in the American Midwest. The city houses many supernatural folks: wizards, fae, shapeshifters, vampires, and elves. Lots of magic flies around.
    The story was light, formulaic, and a bit slow, but it hit my comfort zone perfectly, as do all other stories I read by Shea. I’ve read four trilogies by her in the last month. I’m finally saturated, but I’m certainly a fan. Fortunately, not all the loose ends in Magiford have been tied up, not all the secrets revealed. There is definitely a potential for more stories set in Magiford. I look forward to them.

    1. Mrs Harris worked all her adult life cleaning for wealthier women. Even if she could afford that kind of frock, it wouldn’t survive her the kind of work she does, she is invisible to all but a few others in her neighborhood. So what that dress represents is feeling beautiful and not being treated as “Less Than” because of her economic and social station.

      1. And for me, buying something pricy that I really love is a magical experience. Our budget is pretty tight right now, so any discretionary spending comes out of my side hustles.

        Most of my clothing purchases are thrifted, practical business casual staples that are on the more androgynous side. I need things to fit and be comfortable, and I don’t like to invite unwanted attention at work.

        So when I find something I really want, I save and I dream and I usually plan an outing to wear it for. It’s one of the few luxuries I allow myself.

    2. K.M. Shea and her Magiford series get another thumbs up from me, too!

      Fairly quick reads, trilogies each telling in essence the story of one couple coming together, with some humor as well as adventures.
      All the trilogies together build the world in more detail, and are building a sense of an ongoing overarching storyline/threat in the background. It’s slowly becoming clear that behind the different adventures of the different couples, there might be a distant opponent manipulating the antagonists in the individual trilogies.

  24. One or two duds, but I read A Thief in the Night and followed it up with a reread of The Gentle Art of Fortune-hunting, which I enjoyed more this second time.

  25. I’m reading The House in the Cerulean Sea, which I bought on vacation last fall but didn’t start until this week. I’m enjoying it, but not nearly as much as the person who recommended it to me, who raved about it. My favorite character is the wyvvern, who collects buttons.

      1. I am still on the wait list for Cerulean Sea (I started at 127 several months ago). But I had a similar reaction to Under the Whispering Door. I finished it and said “That was nice,” instead of “That was wonderful!”

  26. The Variation on a Theme serial continues. Friends from my writing days have exchanged a flurry of short emails, proving to one another that we yet live. I’m the youngest of us. The eldest is still actively editing many amateur authors, including Grey Wolf and Variations.

    From that, one may realize that I’ve been rereading a great many emails. I’ve been discarding hundreds in a category named receipts, so, so many being Amazon receipts for ebooks or other orders, or some other company. Email from friends or family are exempt from deletion. Receipts are only exempt if there’s a membership or warranty at issue. All utility bills from 2022 or earlier are gone.

    WRT Utilities, I think I entioned reporting Verizon to the Better Business Bureau because they did not execute my attempt to close their account, indeed, persisted in charging for services at an address at which I do not live. We settled it. They did as I asked, and the BBB complaint is closed.

    Back to books. I’ve reread the Enola Holmes series in its current entirety and watched the first movie again. The books and movies are like so many boot-to-movie projects. They share a name and elements from the plot, and of course many characters. Or at least the characters’s names.

    I’ve completed a reread of the Murderbot Diaries. It still satisfies.

    Have I mentioned The Taking of Romeo Nine by Owen R. O’Neil and Jordan Leah Hunter? I liked it so much, I bought 4 or 5 of their other books. I’ve started on The Loralynn Kennakris Series Boxed Set: Books 1-3 (p. 82). Pleiades Web Press. Kindle Edition.

    Tack on the usual Netflix and Chill and it has been a nice week.

    Farming? Feed-Me-Seymour-Day was observed

    1. book-to-movie, not boot-to-movie, although with all the movie reboots… You know what? Never mind. It works either way. Or doesn’t. Either way.

    2. Congrats on getting the Verizon thing sorted. Its so amazing how often a complaint (or even a threat of one) can resolve a dispute. And so frustrating that its needed – why can’t they just do the right thing? (And yes I know the answer is alternatively profit, incompetence or inadequate staffing but still).

      Best tip I came across was from an insurance assessor, using the word “Complaint” in the subject header which triggers the complaint policy – so many people think they’ve made a complaint, but if you don’t use the word then it doesn’t trigger the policy and even when front line staff want to help you they aren’t allowed to. Gah!

  27. By a singular coincidence, I re-read Dick Francis’ “The Edge” this week. I credit this book for giving me a love of trains. After I read this book, I went on a train ride for the first time and absolutely loved it.

    I’m also re-reading Meg Cabot’s The Mediator series so that I can finally read the last book in the series. The heroine is a bit more TSTL than I remember her being when I read these books a long, long time ago. But, at least the plotting is excellent with lots of action.

  28. I need to revisit Dick Francis, I loved those books as a teen and there is never enough competence.

    I read Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Rose Daughter back to back, plus Chuck Wendig’s Dust and Grim, all excellent. Then I read 75% of a romance until it stopped being fun and I quit. This is why we all go back and re-read Cruisies. I need to pull out my copy of Getting Rid of Bradley because Lucy and those dogs never get old.

    1. I love reading Beauty and Rose Daughter back to back! Good to know I am not alone in this.

      1. They make a great bookend set! Different takes on the same basic story, 20 years apart.

    2. I love “Beauty” but haven’t read “Rose Daughter” yet, really must find it again.

      I keep seeing Chuck Wendig’s name but I’ve always had the sense his books are a bit depressing. Is that right? Where would be the best place to start?

  29. I started reading Dick Francis on your recommendation, Jenny, and am so glad I did. I love them.

    This week one of my best reads was a reread of Jodi Taylor’s A Trail Through Time. Apart from being very funny, this is where Major Ellis from the Time Police series crops up for the first time – except of course he’s not a major at this stage. It’s always a delight making a connection like that.

    The other REALLY good one was A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske. Victorian MM fantasy romance, with a non-magical protagonist finding himself accidentally in a job that involves liaising with the magical part of English society – which he didn’t know existed. The danger level is high and the romance is delightful.

    1. Very much enjoyed “A Marvellous Light” and its sequel “A Restless Truth” as well. Freya Marske, Alexandra Rowland and Jennifer Mace did a podcast called BetheSerpent about sff and fanfic which got me through 2020 – they wrapped it up at 100 episodes but its lovely and I think still on podbean somewhere.

      I enjoy Freya & Alex’s books so much I really wish a publisher would be pick up Macey’s book because I’m sure I would love that too!

  30. I read The Widow of Rose House (Diana Butler) and actually finished this one, which hasn’t happened much lately. It’s set in late 19th-century New York City and up the Hudson River in Hyde Park, with a reportedly scarlet women as the widow, and a genius inventor as the suitor. The language is quite modern, so be prepared, but I enjoyed the relationship, the family, and the ghost.

  31. Best new read of the week: ‘A Thief in the Night’ by KJ Charles. I read it, watched an episode of Mrs. Maisel and an episode of Drag Race, then read it again. And it sits on my Kindle because I’m positive I’ll want to read it again very soon. (Yes, I did read the linked story KJC released this week too.)

    Pleasant surprise of the week: ‘Romance of the Ruin’ by Judith Hale Everett, a F/M clean Regency with a very nice fits-the-setting prose style. The heroine is infatuated with The Gothic (as in Mrs. Radcliffe’s novels) and transfers that to the neglected manor house adjacent to the one she’s living in. Its caretaker is a mess. Most of the plot has to do with heroine attempting to identify and then contact the new heir to the property, who turns out to be guess who? There are some misunderstandings and miscommunications of the ‘because social rules’ and ‘because this other person flat-out lied’ variety, thus easily forgiven. I was a bit disappointed by the conclusion. Though in most ways satisfying, the book ends before any work gets done on the house! The whole story was about this house!! 🙂 Anyway it was free on BookBub, and since I liked it I got the next in series for 99c, but didn’t find that one at all engaging and DNFd.

    In non-fiction, I finished reading ‘Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England’ by Amanda Vickery, and ‘Inventing the It Girl: How Elinor Glyn Created the Modern Romance and Conquered Early Hollywood’ by Hilary A. Hallett. Both books delivered tasty chunks of good-to-know and need-to-know historical foundation for this writer, grateful for the highlight function so I can go to my ‘notes’ to find the bits of most value.

    Also re-read my own F/F/M contemporary ‘Undertow’ because it got a really strong review and I always want to wallow in those.

    1. Just saw the Drag Race finale – won’t spoil it for you but I thought the winner was the right choice.

  32. I finally got Daniel O’Malley’s Blitz from the library. I liked it but I had a real problem with the two stories which he flipped back and forth between. As I became interested in one MC he would flip me to the other one. So it was real easy to put it down since I had already been disconnected. There were also a few sections where he got caught up in world building that I skipped because I wanted more action. But for those of us who like the Rook series, it delivers.

    1. I know that’s a popular structure, but I’ve never liked it. It’s the same problem as having two love interests: readers are going to pick one and find the other annoying. In the love interest problem, readers are going to pick one and be very upset if the other one is chosen. In the dual plot thing, people will start to skim the one they’re less interested in to get back to “the good one.” I think that switching back and forth between plots is confusing. Between characters in the same plot? That works if you’re careful. But one plot to rule them all.

      1. Yes, it’s particularly problematic for me when one story is historical and one is contemporary. I nearly always end up skimming one or the other.

  33. I finished another Stephanie Plum. It had zombies. But something kept me at a distance from the story. Then it finally clicked. This story was Ranger Lite. Ranger is the magic that holds these books together.
    Without him everything drifts.
    Diesel appeared again and I get goofy cousin vibes from him. I’m not convinced about him as a romantic threat for Joe or Ranger.

    I tried a LOT of books. Lots of genres. Historical romance, dragons, vampires, similar to Stephanie Plum, newbie werewolves…Nothing worked. Nothing clicked.

    Maybe I’m just cranky because of the never ending heatwave.

    1. Writing really is everything. Genre doesn’t matter me anymore. Just a writer who I like. And comparisons just don’t really work for me. So and so writes like so and so. No, they don’t. Argh.

  34. This week, I got to proofread TASMAKAT, the next full-length book from Ryo in’Gara’s viewpoint in the Tuyo series by Rachel Neumeier.
    It’s a powerful book, it kept me up late at night reading every evening this week because the story wouldn’t let me go.
    Not because of a deadline, which she hadn’t set, but because I was so gripped by the story. But it won’t be out until (IIRC) July, so it’s no use for me to try to express how good it is now. I’ll have to keep that for later, but it’s hard to keep that feeling of the big sigh of satisfaction when I finished the book and turn it into a well-argued but non-spoilery book review later that will still express that contentment.

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