105 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, April 27, 2023

  1. News feeds, watched YouTube packing carryons for Europe, listening to DLD while gardening and cooking and back to My Name is Lucy Barton eread. Costco has Emily Henry’s new book Happy Place. Or will have in May.

  2. I listened to Dark Space by Lisa Henry. M/M forced proximity trope in outer space. Lots of emotions, which I like and not too dark for me, which I was worried about. I just started the second one and am still enjoying both main characters.

    1. Ohmygosh – Dark Space is one of my favourite Lisa Henry’s series! I enjoyed it all the way through and it’s on my regular re-read list.

      1. The characterizations are really good. I have all three available, and am looking forward to it 🙂

      1. It’s only a trilogy, I think, and each ends at a good place, so it’s not a super huge commitment.

          1. That is going to be the name of our podcast. All snark and one-liners with occasional tentacles.

          2. Omg, yes. All the shoes. I won concert tickets to a local Queen tribute band and I have to figure out what to wear on my feet!

        1. Hahaha! It’s just I’ve got these four or maybe five historical novels in the development stage, and I have SO MUCH research reading to do, and I cannot pay proper attention to nonfiction while the TV is on, so I have to schedule the reading, and it’s just a mess.

          1. Yes that’s the best mess I’ve ever heard of. PS – I love historical novels….just sayin’.

  3. I’ve started a number of books I did not finish. But listened to the last Stephanie Plum book, Going Rogue, and it was fun!

  4. I’m sorting old items on my Kindle, so mostly duds this week. I read Alexis Hall’s Something Spectacular, but wasn’t keen. His historical farces don’t work for me. This one started well, but I didn’t find it involving, and though he’s upfront about his anachronistic approach, the world’s not credible. The characters are drama queens, and the use of ‘they’ for the love interest interrupted the flow again and again, as I stopped to work out whether one or two people were being referred to. It was also distancing, I think, especially as there were no scenes from that character’s point of view. (Please can someone invent a gender-neutral singular pronoun!)

    I think I’d better stick to his contemporary m/m romances.

    1. I personally like xe/xyr or ze/zyr, and I’ve seen both used including in real life.

      I spent a lot time tripping over they/their but then I finally got over my resistance to the reflexive “you” instead of “one” and ending sentences with a preposition so I suppose I’ll eventually get used to this too.

        1. Agreed. Getting used to it doesn’t mean I like it 😉

          And don’t ask me about my feelings re apostrophes in plurals 🙂

  5. I have started a number of things that I didn’t finish. Imagine being in the middle of a mystery and not being interested enough to find out who dun it!!

    I tumbled down a short flight of stairs (10 steps, maybe 15) last Friday. I have some spectacular bruises, but I wasn’t seriously injured or anything. I’m a tad groucher than usual (is that possible?) so maybe that’s why I’m DNF things I might otherwise put up with.

    And of course, I peed my pants when I hit bottom so I was doubly embarrassed. Mortified, really. What a stupid thing to do.

    I did relisten to the Enola Holmes books while I was nursing my wounds. I had some inner dialog about the differences between the movies and the books. I can see why changes were made, but I’m deciding which is the better story and if the changes were necessary. I did find the films very engaging so…

    1. Don’t be embarrassed. It’s a stress response and totally beyond your control. Soldiers in WWI had the same issue and didn’t talk about it, so most didn’t realize until years later that everyone messed themselves.

    2. Sounds like there were people around. Did anyone stop and help you? Peeing is just as mortifying as having toilet paper waving out of your backside. Or on your shoe. Take care!

  6. R Cooper’s A Suitable Bodyguard (set in the same universe as A Suitable Consort for the King and His Husband) came out last week and it did not disappoint. Not a ton of plot, but delectable nonetheless.

    The Goddess of Hockey M/M Romance has heard my prayers and delivered a new hockey author, Hannah Henry with her Delay of the Game series. Her writing is plain but economical so nicely paced with such a strong sense of character that I devoured the first three and am onto the fourth.

    And I read Cici and the Curator which was charming! Thanks to all the Arghers who recommended it. Is her other stuff as good?

    1. OMG! I didn’t know about A Suitable Bodyguard! I am very excited about this. Off to Amazon I go.

    2. Thanks for the new hockey rec 🙂
      I have strayed from the path of hockey stories, shame on me, but alas I’m following the real events – playoffs. I even got a favourite team by now.
      And my home town team won the German Championship last weekend, so yay!!!
      Watching it the game felt different but dh kindly explained that our field is far bigger. So everything seems slower (it probably is, too).

      Hockey ramblings over now, promised.

        1. Nope, it’s still ice hockey.
          The one summer my son tried field hockey turned me off that variety. The club he went was crazy ambitious and nasty towards those who’d just joined.
          Might be similar with ice hockey, but there’s enough distance for me to just watch.

  7. Gosh I hope you’re okay. Hugs. I fell over in Arlington Cemetery once. Took eight Boy Scouts and two leaders to get me up.

  8. I’m subscribed to the Washington Post. I read “the Daily 7” headlines via email. Today, one got my attention WRT dieting. Okay, the dotter is no longer Keto and I’m no longer Atkins. Neither are heart-healthy diets. Atkins let me get a handle on diabetes, which is why my A1c is so low. I still eat the Atkins Chocolate Snacks. In fact, I received 12 boxes of Chocolate Covered Almonds yesterday, 5 bags per box. (I’ve already eaten one box.)

    Other reading?

    The Variation on a Theme serial continues to continue. Chapter 96 tomorrow.

    The Loralynn Kennakris Series Boxed Set: Books 1-3 by Owen R. O’Neil and Jordan Leah Hunter. Still good, so far. I’m deep into the second book. I also downloaded a glossary and maps for the series.

    A Matter of Security by Bjorn Hasseler, a reread, part of the Ring of Fire series. Another of those “I lost track of how many times” rereads.

    I know there were other things I read. They didn’t stick out enough to remember. Also, more Netflix.

    1. Good for you, Gary! I’ve been a pescatarian since 2013, and don’t really have the urge to eat anything else. I did have a chicken sandwich or a burger maybe once a year, for awhile.

      1. I could be a pescatarian if I could find someone to cater it. Wednesday’s shopping trip included tuna steaks and crab cakes and I have 30 cans of Wild Planet Skipjack tuna in my pantry… I love fish. Mostly tuna, but like I said, if someone else cooks it and brings it to me I will eat most kinds of fish.

        If I have to cook it, there has to be beef, pork , and poultry as well as fish. That said, the articles were in favor of a pescatarian diet.

  9. I’ve been rereading books from my youth. Which was a long, long time ago. So lots of Andre Norton and the early Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. In between the dystopian current events from NYT, WaPo, and various SubStack authors.

  10. Has anyone got any recommendations for books on Kindle Unlimited? I’ve got a subscription for a few months and there’s a couple of romance authors I already had on my list that are included (Juliette Cross and Penny Reid) but I don’t have anyone particular to devour after that. Any suggestions for new authors to try?

      1. Judging by the blurbs, if there’s a romance multi-verse then LB Dunbar lives on the world consisting entirely of silver foxes. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Jay Hogan writes fantastic m/m stories set in New Zealand. They’re available on Kindle Unlimited in the UK, hopefully elsewhere as well!

  11. Last week I read “Georgie All Along” by Kate Clayborn and after a rough start, really enjoyed it.

    It’s a “return to home town & discover yourself” sort of book, which was all very well. At the beginning, though, it was all Georgie and her best old friend, and I kind of fell asleep. The friend’s house was perfect, life was perfect, pregnant with first child, lovely husband, and Georgie was fumbling & haunted by memories of her first crush. I somehow have problems with many contemporary young woman characters in books, because they’re trying so hard to conform to social expectations that I fought for years to escape from myself. I don’t want to care that much about how nice my clothes are, how lovely my hair and nails, how successful my life script is, or how OF COURSE I want everything that I am supposed to want! thank you very much!!

    The book picked up for me when the chapters began alternating between male & female MCs, and Georgie’s absent hippie parents started showing up. The young man was a social failure trying to make good in his own way; the young woman’s hippie dad liked him and loaned him their house during the same time that she turned up unexpectedly to stay there, and things got deeper and more interesting. So I recommend it, but know that it somehow drags a bit at the beginning.

    Now I’m into the very interesting “Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen” (KJ Charles), and quite happy to be there. I’m very glad it delves into social mores of British coastal villages during smuggling days. For the most part, the conflicts are resolved through talking things over and responsible group interaction, which always pleases me. Both MCs in this M/M romance are likeable and interesting, and both grow and change during the book. I’m going to savor finishing the final third of the book! 🙂

  12. I finally finished The Great Successor: The Divinely Perfect Destiny of Brilliant Comrade Kim Jong Un, which was really good but also quite disturbing (as any accurate book about North Korea must be). Talk about stranger than fiction. The author seemed to have worked really hard to interview as many defectors and people related to North Korea as humanly possible, and it was really interesting learning about life at both the top and bottom of North Korean society.

  13. I didn’t read any books. I did listen to two podcasts.

    I don’t normally listen to true crime but I did find the Bible John podcast interesting. Three women were murdered in Scotland in the 1960s, and the police and media linked the cases and created the moniker Bible John . The journalist sets out to find out if there was actually a serial killer. It wasn’t a surprise to hear that the police partly blamed the women for their own murders but it’s still shocking when the journalist reads out what the police wrote about the victims.

    The other podcast was Cover up: Ministry of secrets. It’s about the death of Second World War hero Lionel Crabb. Some people believe that Lionel Crabb was the inspiration for James Bond as he was a friend of Ian Fleming. It’s a fascinating insight into British history and the Cold War of the 1950s. The historian tries to find out why the file on the death of Crabb won’t be released until 2057 despite a 30 year rule. He wants to know what information is so sensitive that even when everybody involved is dead, the truth of Crabb’ s drowning can not be told for another thirty years.

  14. I am still working my way through The Keeper of Stories by Sally Page. I picked up in the Lives of Puppets by T J Klune but so far have not been interested in it, despite really liking some of his other books.

  15. I’m listening some Terry Pratchett: I have some extra Audible points so I’m slowly buying the new series of recordings. I will always love the old ones, but these news one are excellent, with different readers taking on different characters, such as Death, and the Foot Notes voice (Bill Nighy). The Witches of Lancre series is narrated by a woman, which I appreciate. Right now it’s The Last Continent (based on Australia), the last book where Rincewind is the main character. It’s full of large and small jokes, every now and then I will bark out a laugh at some tiny pun or side reference. I’ve been trying to find fiction to help my through some funk, and apparently only Pratchett will do.

  16. I read Lily Morton’s Rule Breaker and Vow Maker and liked them fine in spite of the – for me – too juicy sex scenes.

    Finished just in time for Cloud 9 by Fearne Hill which came out just today. Have already started reading it on the way to work. I fell in love with the MC of this book, Tristan, in the few scenes with him in Cloud 10 about his brother Frankie. I love it that Hill has MCs with all sorts of mental or physical limitations – MCs too rarely featured in romances.

  17. Just finished Novik’s Scholomance trilogy, which I loved. Even though I’m not 100% sold on the resolution, I still very much enjoyed the journey and I love love love El. And Orion and really almost everyone.

    Similar themes, “Only a Monster” by debut author Vanessa Len, YA about a girl in a magic family who belatedly finds out that they aren’t joking about being the monsters. Enjoyable and I’ll be interested where she goes after this first book.

    Re-read Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub”: honestly thought it was going to be dnf until I got through the opening chapters. I am much more sensitive to issues of consent than I used to be but at some magic point the balance changed and I was delighted the rest of the way through.

      1. Yes, or when she starts managing him when he’s ill! Plus I love Leonie, and Fanny and Avon. Even Rupert, although his disregard for paying bills is awful. One of Dominic’s more attractive features is that he is solvent, pays his bills and treats his staff well enough to secure their loyalty.

        It just so happens that I’ve been listening to “Live from Pemberley” which Galway Tes recommended and which is great. In the episodes about Mr Collins’ proposal they talk about the expectation that women would demur, play coy, make a show of modesty to preserve their good girl status while satisfying their sexual desires. A practice apparently going back to Tudor times, where Henry VIII arranged to have Ann of Cleeves fake abducted and was quite irritated when she didn’t play along, not realizing it was a game. Even in the early 2000s I had friends who would pretend to be a virgin with each new boyfriend (even after having had 6-8 sexual partners) or even worse saying no when they meant try harder (which I thought was deeply dangerous for the next girlfriend).

        That historical context allowed me to have a more generous interpretation of Dominic’s actions than I had previously – that he thought she was playing coy and in his rage and inebriation couldn’t tell that Judith’s no was real, until she shoots him.

  18. I have not finished a new book in over a week. I keep DNFing things that start promisingly enough but then lose me. I am reading three right now that I can’t remember the titles of, that I would like to finish before they are due back, but I keep stopping to reread things I’m passionate about (Goblin Emperor at the moment. Uprooted before that.)

  19. I finished Jodi Taylor’s Just One Damned Thing After Another, and am jonesing for the next one. There were twists and turns that were unexpected, and it had a satisfactory ending. I also read Man Hunting on the plane ride home from Arizona. A Crusie read is always satisfying and fun. I love the starring role of the fish, toward the end.

    I read the Washington Post, NPR news, and some of the news on my phone feed. You’re right, Jenny, real life these days is extremely dystopian. I read only headlines, mostly, because of that. The world is without two of the worst TV commentators, for now, thank goodness!

  20. I just started A Master of Djinn, and it’s well done but for some reason it’s just not holding my attention for more than a (long) chapter at a time. I may essentially still be in the pre-inciting event stage, so things will pick up soon. Willing to give it a few more chapters, and the narrator (I’ve got the audiobook) is excellent.

    I also read the prologue and first three chapters of Martha Wells’ Witch King (coming out on May 30), and it was a bit slow going, despite lots of action, due to tons of worldbuilding. Good, but don’t go into it expecting the Murderbot voice. To me, it felt less like something the author of Murderbot would write (although Wells has done a lot of non-Murderbot stories that are good, so it’s really a return to her pre-Murderbot stories, in a sense), and more like a Lois McMaster Bujold (Penric) story, in terms of worldbuilding and pacing and voice.

    You can read it here: https://www.tor.com/2023/04/24/excerpt-witch-king-by-martha-wells-the-beginning/

  21. I’m reading Gin Jones’ Helen Binney series and loving it. I’m on number 4 (which is the last one I own in paperback) and just ordered 5 & 6 for the Kindle.

    1. Thank you! I love that series so much, and wish I could figure out a way to bring it more visibility without having to go crazy with advertising/marketing stuff that I’m terrible with.

  22. Very busy work week, slow reading week…I only got to…finally…All Systems Red/Wells.

    I know this group loves this series – it’s rec’d over and over again – Welcome to the World of Murderbot for me!

  23. You know that quote from Toni Morrison, ‘write the book you want to read’? Well, I continue doing that. Reading my own books, that is. Two of the novels and one novella this week. I read them in part because I do like my stories, but also to remind myself of what I’ve done (so many characters and events over 50+ titles…) and in part to see where I could improve things. Sometimes I feel more like editing than composing, so e.g. taking a couple hours to tweak the POV or fix a typo or adjust a word choice feels productive but is low-demand.

    Aside from that, I DNFd a M/M historical that just wasn’t going anywhere, then read ‘On a Lee Shore’ by Elin Gregory. It’s M/M set 1717-1719 and features a 26yo semi-disgraced Royal Navy officer and a 36yo pirate. There is a lot of piracy. Violence and mayhem and bad deeds. The love story is definitely there, but it’s not a happy one, and I was deeply grateful for a last-minute plot twist that promises better times. Detailed and well-written, not a light read.

    My rec of the week is nonfiction: ‘An Immense World’ by Ed Yong, which is about the sense abilities of animals other than humans. It is FASCINATING. Should be required reading for anyone who wants to write SF/F because aren’t we all tired of spec fic in which aliens or supernatural creatures are really just humans in disguise? The book was slightly daunting at first (it seemed I was never going to get halfway through it) but be advised half of the length is notes. And the narrative itself is fluid, conversational, at times funny. So many interesting scientists and creatures. I expect that this would be an immersively listenable book, for those who do audio.

    1. Currently reading Tchaikovsky’s “Children of Time” series, where he tries to imagine what would happen if spiders were uplifted to sentience and what that would look like. Currently in the middle of “Children of Ruin” with octopi and its fascinating. On the downside Mr Tchaikovsky does not have a rosy view of human nature.

      Two short stories along similar themes is heartbreaking but brilliant “The Great Silence” by Ted Chiang, and Seanan McGuire’s delightful and much more upbeat “Hello, Hello”.

  24. “Reality is just too dystopian.” Word!
    This week it was cozy horror–T. Kingfisher’s “A House with Good Bones.” It’s the one with a doorway surrounded by arsenic green wall papoer and the shadow of a vulture on the cover. What more do you need ot know? 😀

    1. I am patiently working my way up the reserve list. Someday I will get to read it.

  25. I finished Veiled Magic, went onto Veiled Menace, and am now halfway through Veiled Enchantments. I’m enjoying these. I’m glad you got your rights back, Deb.

  26. For some insane reason I started deleting books from my kindle. Books I’ve already read and have no desire to re-read. When it got to the “do you want to delete this item permanently” I clicked yes. Is it really permanently? Who knows, I guess I’ll find out. So there went 130 titles. But not to worry. I’ve still have over 350 left for just in case.

    In the meantime, I’m reading second in a series of mobster/mafia romances. By this one I think the author is using a Nora Roberts formula for heroine types. She is a tough talking badass, not my favorite, but I can deal. I like a book that when I put it down, I look forward to getting back into it again. Which is what I’m going to do now. The book, Woman in the Back Room by Jessica Gadziala.

    Waiting in the wings is Parentmoon by LB Dunbar.

  27. No new books for me this week, so nothing to report. A couple I started but DNFed. It was mostly re-reads. Amanda Quick. Sarah Wynde’s Tassamara books. And The Assassins of Thasalon by Bujold. All lovely and familiar, like visiting beloved relatives. Calm and safe.

  28. I haven’t read anything amazing yet that’s new to me over the past few weeks where I’ve not posted. The highlights have all been re-reads – Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall, The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer, and The Pretty Delicious Cafe by Danielle Hawkins.

    I’m now reading It’s All Relative by AJ Jacobs, which is about the author trying to arrange a giant family reunion and researching both his family history and genealogy along the way. I haven’t read much of it so far, but at the moment it’s striking the right balance between informative and humorous so I hope it keeps up.

  29. I reread Jodi Taylor’s A Bachelor Establishment, which is pretty much a comfort read for me, and didn’t let me down. Then Challenger’s Hope by David Feintuch. I’m not sure why I finished this one – the main character whinged and whined all the way through and it ended with a massive deus ex machina, which really just confirmed my decision not to continue with the series. This was the second book – the first one was fun, despite his hopelessness at writing romantic relationships, but this one was awful.

    It was then a great relief to read Elinor Lipman’s Ms Demeanor, about a lawyer who gets sentenced to home confinement for having naked sex on the roof of her apartment building, and strikes up a FWB relationship with a man in the same building who is also on home confinement. It’s funny and sweet with a nice bit of snark, and the development of the relationship (as they both try really hard to pretend it doesn’t mean anything to them) is adorable.

    Now reading and enjoying The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard, recommended by Tammy. I’m not usually big on alpha heroes, but the stubbornness of the heroine is wonderful.

    1. The interesting thing about Linda Howard is that she writes the same hero over and over again, but her heroines are incredibly diverse.

      1. I may have to read Now You See Her again. I love Sweeney. And she offsets Richard so well.

    2. I have a hard time reading anything written by that cow, Isabella Barclay.

      That’s a St. Mary’s reference, not a dig at an actual person.

      I’ve been reading about good quality, water absorbing doormats. Not as much fun as the back of the cereal box. Would not recommend.

    3. I really enjoyed Ms. Demeanor as well. Elinor Lipman’s humor makes me think of The New Yorker.

  30. Just reading the NYT and WaPo for the most part. And rereading some JAK. I really need to get the next Time Police and R Cooper. And get out of my dystopian rut.

  31. I beta read the first 94 pages of a dystopian that is not yet finished but very good even though I am not the audience for dystopian.

    I worry about cognitive consonance when it comes to all of these doomsday, grim dystopians. Trying to think of a way to write one that is not so freaking grim but interesting. I don’t want to even visit most of these for long enough to read them – let alone they be reality.

    Has some of it started already – yes – but we are not helpless. We can make a better world dammit.

    I am reading Midnight At the Blackbird Cafe by Heather Webber. Ok so far.

    I am trying to finish the Webber book because it is a library read & I need to return it. But I am anxious to start Veiled Magic.

    Anyone needing laughter – I am in love with a comedian named Ismo. He is from Finland married to an American living here. He has lots of Youtube videos & they are so funny. Start with the one about sleeping if he is new to you.

    Also – we watched all 6 episodes of Limitless on Disney +/NatGeo with Chris Hemsworth. So very good!!!

    1. I now need “We are not helpless. We can make a better world dammit.” on a T-shirt 🙂

  32. Not much reading but I have started watching Time Team. A reality show with British archeologists. I’ve learned more about the Roman’s than I ever did in history class.

  33. I read Strange Practice, Legends and Lattes, and the book beside my bed is Anne Stuart’s Prince of Magic. Gives me nice dreams.

  34. Gus and the Stalight by Victoria Carless. I listened to it on BorrowBox via my library. The narrator does an excellent job with the different voices.

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