This is a Good Book Thursday, May 25, 2023

First, this is Wear the Lilac and Carry the Towel day in honor of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. All together now, DON’T PANIC.

Second, Emily came home last night, yowling at the back door. I don’t know where she’s been for three days, but I should probably have her tested for STDS. Very happy to have her home, very.

Third, it’s Good Book Thursday and I’m rereading Pratchett because, well, it’s Wear the Lilac Day.

Fourth, what are you reading?

135 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 25, 2023

  1. I am still reading Dick Francis. What can I say, he has written many books and all the recs you all have given me have been great.

    So since last Thursday, I have read:

    Rat race
    Risk
    Odds against
    Whip hand
    Twice shy
    Longshot
    Wild horses

    I liked especially Longshot with the survival expert and High Stakes with the Toy inventor but I enjoyed them all enormously.

    One of the things I enjoy is the fact that they are period pieces now with brick phones and cassettes and computers running on basic with plots hinging on things that would be impossible now with the instant communication provided by mobile phones for all. Makes me nostalgic really :).

  2. Oh yay! I am so glad that she is home. Seresto collars work wonders on pesky hangers on.

    It was a good reading week for me in that I actually tried new things.

    I listened to The Lonely Hearts Book Club, not my usual dare, but I enjoyed it. And then I listened to a short story by Zip Axelrod and enjoyed it, very sweet m/m second chance with lots of angst. I tried a full length book by same, which was… Fine. May have been too much. But not a bad week.

  3. I’m not making this up right? I was trying to find the partial story that Jenny wrote about Sullivan from Maybe This Time. That did happen right? Can someone tell me where it is or the title of it so I can search? That’s my good book for today 🙂

    1. Yep, it existed. It was called “Ghost of a Chance” I think. I’ll look for it.

      1. There’s a story about Southie? WooHoo! Am I missing any other nuggets like that?

        1. All y’all probably know this already, but in case you don’t- search for “Crazy People: The Crazy for You Stories” on kindle.

          1. It’s why I bought a Kindle. I was very resistant to making the jump to digital. But I needed the Crazy People stories, and Ilona Andrews’ Innkeeper.

            Of course now I am a total convert. Love all the access that ebooks bring to me.

        1. I think it might be on the laptop that turned into a brick. If I get to a Genius Bar I’ll see if it’s on there. It wasn’t a complete story, just a start.

    1. Oh I am, too. She’s sleeping beside me right now. I really thought she was gone for good so I was so delighted when she turned up at the back door last night.
      It’s a jungle out there, especially with the bears so hungry.

      1. How terrifying, Jenny, to have a missing cat when there are bears around. It’s bad enough when the only dangers are snakes, cars and other cats.

        1. Well, there’s the fox den in my side yard, too. And coyotes. And Emily only has three paws. But she was on her own for two years out there, so she’s no pushover. Also she’s a tank and she has claws. Right now she’s still catching up on her sleep. The one thing about being an indoor cat: Nobody’s going to try to eat you while you’re sleeping.

  4. Oh yay, she came back! I’ve been worried.

    I’m still reading my way through the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series. And more Victoria Goddard fanfiction. And I listened to a few episodes of the Hitchhiker’s radio play and started re-reading Night Watch, because for the first time ever I remembered Towel Day. Not that I felt like a hoopy frood today but you can’t have everything.

  5. Oh gosh, SO happy to hear about your happy wanderer. I’ve been re-reading “Lessons in Chemistry” because I love it. Many details appear on re-reading, and this book is no exception. I’d forgotten that Six-Thirty was a bomb-sniffing school dropout because of course, Six-Thirty, makes perfect sense. And his silent conversations with Calvin in the graveyard, just barreled past as I had freight-trained through the book the first and second times I read it. A GREAT book to read again on your birthday, by the way.

  6. The prodigal cat returns! Will there be a slaughtered calf??

    I read three hockey books by authors new to me and none of them bear repeating. I also read Jon’s Downright Ridiculous Shooting Case which sounds like it was full of zany hijinks but it wasn’t. Still reading my way through MCA Hogarth’s Peltaverse series. And doing lots of rereading of Charlie Adhara, and Hannah Henry.

    1. No but there were numerous cat treats that disappeared at the speed of light, a full food bowl, and many ear rubs. So same thing, really.

      1. Totally same thing.

        PS – I’m going to come live with you. That sounds like a sweet deal.

  7. I’m glad Emily made it back! I have such a soft spot for little fur-children.

    I am reading a really good book called “The Time Travel Tourist,” and it’s by Nick James. Well written and really fun.

  8. I’m still ploughing my way through the unsorted books on my Kindle, most of which turn out to be frustrating near misses. (I can usually remember real duds – which I’ve filed in Rejects – and of course favourites.) Happy to be sorting them out, though. (You can’t keep a good editor down.)

    Also reading all about Monet and his mates for the day job. The social history’s interesting, though the lives of the women are depressing. Don’t much like Monet so far. (My advice is, just look at the paintings.)

    1. That’s pretty good advice for all artists, including writers. Art before everything else including basic humanity. (Did I mention my first degree was in art–never date a painter–and my second career was writing? Never date a creative person. It’s one thing for them to sacrifice for their art, but they always volunteer you, too.)

      1. I think that I need to sacrifice more. I went to a yard sale last week of someone I knew from the craft show circuit. She was selling off her jewelry making stuff and I bought some. She asked if I was still doing shows and I said no, too busy. She asked if I had kids, also no, and she made the comment that I must not like my hobby too much. She didn’t mean anything, but that one stung.

        So now I am trying to do better about making my arts and crafts a priority. Plus it makes me less bitchy… a little bit.

          1. Lol. She is actually fine. A little old Korean grandma. She just spoke a hard truth that has been repeating in my head. Because, I mean, she is not wrong.

    2. Jane –

      I was reading about Eduoard Manet. Apparently he had a thing with Berthe Morisot and she was his student and his muse. He was married so he pushed her to marry his brother. After that no more muse (except 1 “scandalous” painting where she is showing way too much ankle).

      The teacher / student relationship continued and it is speculated the thing did also. No one is certain because Berthe and her sister Alma burned any of their letters that would have revealed the truth.

      It is no secret that he often said negative insulting things about her in public, though. Nice guy – NOT!

    1. And now I can’t find it. I’ve got to get that old laptop fixed. I think there’s a lot of old stuff trapped on there.

  9. So so glad Emily is back!!

    I’ve been in a reading slump. So, I reread Bet Me, and Fast Women. 🙂

    Then I read Veiled Magic, followed quickly by Veiled Menace. Veiled Enchantments is arriving today.

    Thanks to the lovely Jenny C, and our Deborah Blake, I am out of the slump. Yay!

  10. Hooray! The Return of the Cat!
    I bet she has some stories to tell.
    I also have a three-legged cat; he lost a back leg after an absence of several days a lot of years ago. It was an expensive mishap but Arty has been a dear and much more cautious cat since then, he ventures out but does not leave the yard, just slinks around behind the bushes. Even with just one back leg, he can jump the five foot fence from front to back yard.

  11. Reading is a chore, right now, with my “new” eye doing distance and the other eye stuck in nearsighted bifocals. I tried removing the glasses lens on the “new” eye side and that was even worse. Plus, I got to the sexy/needy part of Mr. Impossible and have stalled out on that. I am not supposed to bend over past my waist, and a whole new family of chipmunks hatched, and one of my cats is obsessed with them. I opened the back door yesterday, and she zoomed out, and I tried to get her back in with a foot nudge, and fell backwards on my butt on the stoop, with my back against the screen door. I did not hit my head, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t good for the new eye. So far, it seems OK.

    I did watch the eleventh episode of Ted Lasso, and some issues are being resolved, but others have surfaced, including possible bad karma for one villain. There’s only one episode left! I’m not sure I’m going to like how this ends. It doesn’t look like there will be HEA, or even Satisfactory Ever After. Sigh.

    Jenny, I’m so glad your baby is back! I hope the little stinker learned a lesson not to run off anymore.

    1. I absolutely adored the first two seasons of Ted Lasso, but this third and final season is …weak? It’s almost as if they have a whole new crew of writers. The pacing is bizarre as it rushes through to resolution but is so slow at the same time.

      Well, many comedy show finales have been bizarre over the years, so I shouldn’t be surprised. Just a bit disappointed after loving it so much.

  12. Good morning,

    Very glad about The Return of the Queen (Emily).

    Finished This is Where You Belong/Warnick. About finding your place, but also a really great neighborhood/city planning book. The things one likes or learns to like about where one is planted, to feel belonging. Unsurprising: put your time in local, connecting and enjoying what works, and belonging is the result. Great Anne Bogel rec.

    In the Great Agatha Christie Re-Read: Five Little Pigs. Liked the flow – Poirot interviews 5 witnesses to a crime 20 years ago. And the murder plot was dead on. Enjoyable.

    Finished Ari Baran’s Game Misconduct. M/M hockey romance…yep I am on trend with this group 🙂 Liked it. First book. Surprising depth. MCS are ten yrs apart and play the same position. Older MC has pain and troubles and does not want the younger MC to end up like him.

    I DNF’d both a Holmes retelling with a female Holmes AND a highly touted urban fantasy series with a kick ass heroine. Maybe just me at this time, but both just seemed to be trying too hard. The text constantly called attention to itself, if that makes sense.

    And that..is all..Happy Memorial Day weekend folks.

    1. Oooooh – I’ve seen Game Misconduct but didn’t put it on my list because…who knows?? Now I will, thank you.

    1. I use the Newsify app to follow this and a dozen other blogs. Alternatively, I think there’s an email option at the bottom of this page.

  13. Very happy for you and Emily!

    Books. Variation on a Theme Book 4, Once More With Feelings, Tamer 2, 1637: The Volga Rules, Agnes and the Hitman. Veiled Magic still open on Jo.

    VoaTB4 is two chapters into the Saving Cammie from Conversion ‘Therapy’ arc. It has my complete attention… on Monday, Wednesday, and tomorrow, for an hour at a time plus rereads.

    I thought I’d read Volga Rules years ago. That turns out not to be the case. I think I was in hospital when it came out, maybe. Winter 2017. Whatever – it’s New To Me.

  14. I would love to read it again, maybe I’ll just have to live in hope 😉 I thought it was such a great piece of writing. Anyway, I was re reading the Dream trilogy by Nora Roberts this week. One of the things I still love about that series is the female friendship. That and Nora Roberts is just good all the time.

  15. Still enjoying the Sarina Bowen back catalog…been staying up way too late finishing whatever book is next…

    1. Seppie, do you get Sarina’s newsletter?
      Today, one of her books is free on amazon: Speakeasy.

      I’m still stuck on her hockey books and haven’t read Speakeasy as I didn’t get into the True North series back some years ago (it might be different now).

      1. I have a hard time with True North as well. I think that I probably read Speakeasy, but it didn’t make a huge impression if so.

        1. In my opinion, the best of True North are Steadfast and Bountiful (I like Zara), I don’t really bother rereading the others.

          1. Well, I didn’t like the Bruiser’s series on the first try – now that I’ve tried it starting with another title, I love the series. So I there’s a slight chance that I have a different take on the True North books nowadays.

            The book that kept me from the hockey ones was the book about the billionaire owner of the team. I’m allergic to Billionaire books, can’t stand the trope. Still haven’t read the billionaire book and very likely won’t in the foreseeable future…

          2. Dodo. I like the billionnaire book actually. It’s not really a billionnaire book, more a nerd book.

        2. I really liked “Bittersweet” in the True North series, mainly for the female MC who was determined, upbeat, and friendly despite being completely out of her depth. I was working in agri-business when I read it and could very much relate!

      2. I don’t, but will sign up for it – thanks! As for other replies, I’ve been in such a Rosalind James/Jenny Crusie(!) rereading rut for literally the last three years that I’m generally not feeling picky about Sarina’s stuff, just glad to be enjoying something new. And I did like both True North and the Bruisers.

        However, I finished the first Gravity book last night and didn’t really like it. The MC was too much of an unnecessary asshole for too much of it – lots of major red flags that never really got resolved, and it seemed like the only thing they had going as a couple was sex. It reminded me of some of SEP’s more recent stuff, most of which I can’t get through.

  16. I just finished rereading one of my favorites that I think the Argh folks would like. Booklist called it “A charming comic mystery,” and it is. Very funny, lots of heart. Reminds me a bit of a Crusie, probably because of the snark. 1st of three books in the “Tarot Mystery” series. (I’m working on a novel with tarot in it, hence the reread.)

    The White Magic Five and Dime, but Steve Hockensmith with Lisa Falco (she’s the tarot expert, he’s the writer). I probably mentioned it here the first time I read it. Liked it just as much the second time around.

    1. I also love those books and they held up on a second and third reading too

  17. I read a very well written romance, The Scoop by KW Thomas. Restored by faith in contemporary straight romance. Huzzah! About a journalist and a media-shy actor. Recommended.

    Also read many depressing exam scripts. So depressing. Look:

    The simplest of the open ended questions: write two coding classifications for income data.

    Example answer: <10000, $10000-20000, 20000…

    Argh. Just argh. Am I wasting my breath teaching here? Golden rule: exhaustive and mutually exclusive. If your income is exactly 20000, which category? It's not even hard. We hadr exact examine in class but with ages And it only went downhill when we got into the data analysis questions.

    Thank god for the good romance.

  18. I am in a book discussion group on another site and we are currently reading and discussing the books by Megan Whalen Turner. So far, we’ve read and discussed both The Thief, and The Queen of Attolia.
    I am also rereading Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn.

    1. The whole Thief/Attolia series is one of my all time favourite fantasy series. She’s recently put out a book of short stories about Attolia that I haven’t tried yet although it’s on my list – have you? Love to hear your thoughts.

      1. Tammy, I liked it; she gathered all the short stories that were in various publications and put them together along with others that had not been published before; the last one tied some loose ends together while raising some new questions. Reading the series again with having read Moira’s Pen is a bit of an eye opener for me.

  19. Tammy will feel my pain here. I got up early and went to a rummage sale before work, where a pair of John Fluevog shoes were snatched up almost from my outstretched hands! I have never seen a pair in person, let alone thought someone in my podunk central PA town would own some and donate them. I am crying inside.

    1. Oh that is painful. I’m sure you know we have the Fluevog store here in Toronto. I have a friend who loves his shoes to death. What shoe size are you?

      1. It’s ok. I am a size 7. Don’t know what size the ones I missed were, but they looked close… And they were picked up by a grumpy older male reseller, so I harbor resentment. I have been trolling the resale sites, but haven’t made the plunge yet because of the cost. I was “this close” to a pair for $2. Sigh. The curse of thrift life.

        1. There are plenty of size 7’s on eBay but none of them are close to that level of real bargain.

          1. Exactly. I troll Depop, poshmark and Mercari on occasion. I am just not willing to make the plunge yet. Maybe if I get a desk job. Then I can say that they are for work.

    2. I once found a pair of dark red Fluebog boots, almost new, on top of a trash can on Haight Street in San Francisco. I took them home, but sadly they were just too big, so I ended up donating them.

  20. Huurah on Emily’s return! Cats often vanish when house packing begins, I’m so glad she came home!

    Years ago when our upstairs neighbors began to pack for a move, their indoor/outdoor cat vanished. They spent two weeks searching and were heartbroken. The day before they moved out, a lovely young couple drove by and stopped to ask me and my twins if we were missing a black male cat with golden eyes who was a fierce hunter. We were so elated that he’d been found and they were so sad that he had people who loved him. He’d apparently been showing up at their house ever since our neighbors first moved in, asking for cuddles and treats. But two weeks prior he’d showed up at their home and not left. They had named him and were hoping to keep him. But they were good people and wanted to make sure they had done everything to find his actual family. I always hoped that they went to the shelter to adopt a kitty after that.

  21. Life is overwhelming right now. So I only finished one audiobook that I’ve been “reading§ since early May: “Sure Shot” by Sarina Bowen. A lovely male narrator for the hero, an okay female narrator for the heroine. I liked the story a lot – very grown up romance. The main hurdle for the two h/H is an important one – the wish to start a family/infertility. They realize what they have in each other. They talk it out. Satisfying.
    Btw: not much hockey in it in spite of being part of the Brooklyn Bruiser series. Hockey is his job and a major part of her job as she is a sports agent.

    I might get more time for reading next week: have to have surgery, so to keep my mind on something nice(r), I might make a dent in my audible tbr-pile and my e-book tbr-pile or even my tbr pile of actual books…

    1. I liked Sure shot apart from the epilogue. I thought it was going to intelligently avoid the obvious miracle but it didnt. A big shame.

      1. I knew from reading The New Guy that Bess eventually had a baby. It could have been an adopted one but I had a hunch.
        I didn’t mind the epilogue too much because what happened to Tank and Bess was exactly what happened to neighbours of ours: Exactly when they had the chance to adopt, the wife got pregnant. They got their adopted son and their won son at roughly the same time.
        Fertility is a very interesting field of research. To me it seems the more stressed and desperate one gets about getting pregnant, the less willing the body seems to become. Which they counteracted by not trying for a kid. Also, the very bad experiences were those of Tank with his ex. Every female body is different, Bess might have been slightly more compatible with him.
        In short, since knowing that there would be a baby in the future, I wasn’t disappointed by the miracle 🙂

  22. I finished vacation book 8 around 1:30 a.m. since, being on vacation, I saw no reason not to continue reading to the end. 🙂 Started the reading week with two Dick Francis re-reads from my favorites list: ‘Proof’ and ‘The Edge.’

    Next up: ‘Hide and Seek’ by Josh Lanyon, M/M romantic suspense with a little too much going on including high body count.

    Then: ‘The Spare Man’ by Mary Robinette Kowal, a Thin Man pastiche in space, which I found quite entertaining but again with the body count and one body was a likable character killed in a very horrible way. 🙁

    Next: ‘A Killing in Costume’ by Zac Bissonnette, a cosy mystery set in Palm Springs featuring F/M ex-couple, both gay, the ex-wife recently bereaved of her F 2nd wife, now co-running a Hollywood memorabilia store which was the dead 2nd wife’s dream. Got all that? Yeah, it’s a lot. My favorite character was the gay MMC but the teased romance between him and the cop investigating a murder didn’t land and there was a lot I didn’t like about their dynamic. Mostly light, mostly entertaining, I want that MMC to go and do something else. By himself.

    Then: ‘The Violin Conspiracy’ by Brendan Slocumb, an excellent literary mystery about a young Black musician whose family-heirloom Stradivarius is stolen. No murders here but some wrenching backstory about the musician’s family (the violin was given to his grandmother’s enslaved grandfather by the slave owner). If you love music and musicians, highly recommend.

    Next: ‘Scoring Position’ by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James, my go-to M/M hockey romance team. 🙂 A lot of external conflict and Hockey Pro Biz Fuckery on the way to HEA.

    And finally, ‘The One That Got Away’ by Nicky James, M/M romantic suspense, effective in both categories though MC2 (a Toronto cop) comes across as a real asshole in his first POV chapter and MC1 (a writer of YA fantasy) lives with severe anxiety, paranoia, and OCD. Also lives with his loving and tolerant father who is a wonderful character. The backstory is pretty grim and the suspense comes from a stalker linked to that, but there is not too much on-page violence and the on-page sex comes fairly late in the book, full of care and consent. I didn’t really get a sense of place from this one, had only context clues for ‘Canada’ until the word ‘Toronto’ appeared.

    Yesterday was a go-nowhere vacation day and I finished writing a chapter-in-progress plus another chapter, so: sense of accomplishment. We may go for a stroll in the woods today since it’s our last full day here. Ah, vacation.

    1. Yeah I read the One The Got Away and the same two things bothered me – the a**hole M/C and the complete lack of Canadian/Toronto context. Could have been Anywhere, North America.

      And speaking of hockey books…have you tried Hannah Henry?

      1. LOL no, I am really not seeking out more hockey books. The sport itself doesn’t interest me at all. 🙂 Also am in ‘clean out the TBR’ mode right now as I prepare for a deep dive into historical research reading, now that all of my planned 2023 submissions are either in the pipeline or complete & almost ready to submit. Needed to clear my mental desk before moving on to the remaining self-publishing projects!

    2. I’ve read “The one that got away” last year and liked it, too. Same problem here: I was very confused about the location until Canada was mentioned. I liked it that the one MC was such a twat for quite some time. A lot of pent up anger. Also VERY relatable way to their steamy moments.

      1. Once I got a better sense of *why* he was an asshole I was very interested to see how the author turned him around!

    3. I remember wanting the origin story for the main couple in “The Spare Man” – it felt like there should be one, although it was also quite refreshing to have a solidly established couple at the center of a mystery.

  23. I read the new Nora Roberts which was a big disappointment. And am almost done with a new to me Jane Aiken Hodge, A Death In Two Parts, which is also a disappointment. Let me assure you that if you try to murder me or try to frame me for murder I will not forgive you.

  24. I DNF’d a highly praised non fiction, a much longer version of an excellent little tale I read during lockdown – with motives and conflict! Now I’m starting The Murder of Mr. Wickham by Claudia Gray, a literary mystery in which all Jane Austen’s characters play a role.

    And after four tries, I finally figured out how to add a lapel that looks like knitting to my crocheted sweater. Here’s to keeping the cat off it long enough to finish the darling!

  25. I just finished Albert Smith’s Culinary Capers: The First 10 Recipes. Basically, the first ten books in the series came as a set. I liked them well enough to keep listening, but I don’t think I can recommend them. It’s not that they are unlikable, but they are a bit, I don’t know… not very engaging? Written in the third person and has a lot of head-hopping.

    Also, the editing is poor. The wrong name is used quite often. I could always tell who they meant, but it does pull you out of the story. The good part is getting inside the thoughts of dogs which is fun. Also, the UK. Also fun.

    Definitely a mixed bag.

  26. I listened to Christie’s After the Funeral, and didn’t guess the murderer! I’m listening to Pratchett’s Lords and Ladies, and have the new Guards! Guards! lined up. I finished Baking Bad, an odd cozy mystery, with the ladies of the Women’s Institute of the parrish, murdered vicars, and dragons. The most cozy thing about it is that there’s a lot of cake involved. The writing is very good, but things move pretty slowly.

    1. She’s fine. Hasn’t left my side since she came back. Spoiled rotten, but very loved.

  27. I must have been first on the library’s hold list for Nora Robert’s e-book Identity. So that is what I’m reading now. She is first and foremost very methodical in her writing where everything is just so. The villain is the very villainest, the nice people are super nice, every member of the cast is in place. The gardens and all the flower arrangements and the craft store are perfect. But the premise of the story interests me. Having been scammed I want to see this culprit get his just desserts. Just saying.

    So glad Emily made it home. I like to think she was out and about saying good-bye to the neighborhood. Taking a few good memories with her.

    I broke a post on an earring and got it in my head last night that maybe I could repair it by buying a soldering iron and equipment. This morning I watched a YouTube video and exhausted myself by a visual of Mary the Solderer. Not happening. Actually, thirty-five years ago I did that for a living. Not doing it again. Time to find a craft shop. I can bead a bracelet but nothing that intricate. More tools than I want to handle.

  28. I read I will Find You by Harlan Coben. It was a fast read, and enjoyable enough. And I listened to The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes, which made me laugh, even though the book does discuss depression.

    1. I love The Mystery of Mercy Close! This is the book that made me love Helen the most of the Walsh sisters. The names of the paint colors are really amuse me, too.

  29. I’m reading Dorothy Dunnett Queen’s Play, the second in the Lymond chronicles. Set in France on 1548. Mary Queen of Scots is 7. Very entertaining, Lymond is pretending to be Irish. Lots of fun and political intrigue. Perfect holiday read as it entertaining but quite dense so it’s not too quick a read.

    Before that Philip Hensher The Mulberry Empire. About lead up to the first British Afghan war (1830s). Should have been more interesting. I felt like he couldn’t decide if it was straight historical fiction or knowing author stuff.

    1. The Lymond series is one of my all time favourites. Too dense for my life right now, but I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for this highly strung Scot <3

      1. It’s one of my favorites, too! It’s been years since I reread the whole series, will have to think about another reread.

        1. Yes, mine too! Though I haven’t been able to bring myself to reread Pawn in Frankincense – that was way too much heartbreak for me.

  30. Victoria Goddard has come out with two new novellas. Clary Sage, which is a prequel to the Greenwing and Dart series, about Hal, Jemis’ roommate at Morrowlea, on how he came to go to Morrowlea.

    The second is Derring-do for Beginners, which is about how Damian, Jullanar and Fitzroy met. They’re all in their late teens and it feels like a YA book, but an interesting one.

    Someone here recommended Deathmark by Kate Stradling, as well as the book that inspired it, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. I enjoyed Deathmark though it was a bit slow and I had a little bit of trouble with the plot. Deathmark was set in a fantasy world and The Blue Castle is set in 1920’s Canada. The first quarter of The Blue Castle was a struggle, slow and the main character is subjected to constant emotional abuse that gets a little hard to deal with, but once the main character escapes/leaves home it’s pretty good.

  31. I was taking a break from reading. I went to Baen’s Bar Humor conference, laughed at a few jokes, then followed a link to YouTube. Then another link from that video. Then: Diet Humor. I laughed. I laughed aloud. I laughed until it hurt.

    For an encore, I watched Robin Williams Live at the Met. That man was one funny malefactor. While I at no point rolled upon the floor, I did laugh loud and long enough for the dotter to descend the stairs to check on me.

  32. Nothing new to recommend on the book front. I’m rereading Susan Conant’s Dog Lover’s Mystery series. I read them when they first came out thirty years ago but with a mind becoming more sieve-like, they seem new to me.

    Now that Emily is back, would it be worthwhile to Air Tag her? I don’t know if she and Veronica wear collars, but if they do, Air Tags would seem like a good way to locate them if they disappear.

  33. @Debbie, now that I’ve thought about it, her latest fantasy trilogy didn’t hit for me (I’ve not read her latest). I mean with her body of work, I would be kind of shocked if I liked all of it. Plus I’m going through one of the worst book slumps in recent memory, hence me re reading a lot. I’ll get back into it, but it’s been a real rough few months.

    1. I don’t usually read the fantasy trilogies but I do read her big stand alones. While she definitely has a formula, usually the characters and plot are interesting enough and different enough that they are each s distinct. This felt more formulaic and I can’t say any of the characters really came alive for me.
      Oh well, no one does their best work every time

      1. Also I’m not convinced that a scammer would also be a murderer. I think they are completely different mindsets.

  34. Reading comments, trying to find something new I want to read. I haven’t read anything I wanted to finish this week. A couple of DNFs, and I’ve been re-reading Murderbot. Back to back. Maybe that’s why nothing new worked – it is hard to compete with Murderbot. I can’t wait for the new one to come out.

  35. I don’t think any of you read mid grade stories

    If you do, I recommend a Comb of wishes by lisa stringfellow. I’m reading it now and loving it

    1. I like some. The Penderwicks were lovely. I also still like Eown Colfer, from my younger days. I don’t care for the Warriors series or Percy Jackson. I used to read more when I worked at the library, just so I knew what to recommend to people. I don’t keep track anymore.

  36. I read and liked the latest Anne Bishop, “The Queen’s Price” which is the latest in her Black Jewels series. It’s still very good and I liked her treatment of Damien’s daughter who nearly went evil in the last book. And, it was nice to get updates on all the familiar characters in the series.

    I’m having trouble reading Lilith Saintcrow’s newest book “Spring’s Arcana”. This book is SO much like Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” except with Slavic gods and goddesses rather than Egyptian gods and goddesses. And, of course, the protoganist of this book is female, not male. Unfortunately, the female protoganist is very ignorant and rather passive – deliberately made so by her mother. Who may be trying to destroy her daughter later in an effort to revive herself.

    So, I’m going back to re-reading old books. I finished the Miss Seeton series and am currently tearing through Dick Francis’ “Straight” based on a reminder from someone on this site.

  37. I’m slowly continuing reading Discworld, completing Wyrd Sisters and Pyramids in the last few weeks. Should pick up the next one today obviously 🙂

    Also read “The Bone Orchard” by Sara A Mueller which was a gothic fantasy, with intriguing world-building: once I adjusted to the gentle pace and stopped expecting it to turn into a procedural I very much enjoyed it.

    “Two Hands, Wrapped in Gold” by SB Divya was a Rumpelstiltskin retelling – very imaginative and novella length. I tend to like fairy-tale re-tellings but I think Divya did some interesting things with it.

    Lastly, “The Rose” by Tiffany Reisz: erotic romance using Greek and Roman mythologies. A lush contrast to the more grim recent re-tellings of classical myths.

  38. Gardening books. My single pedal, white with yellow center only has 4 blooms this year. The second one, zero. A very old transplanted peony from my former neighbour. Was his mother’s plant. Probably over 75 years old. Both bloomed well last year. I love that peony. Peonies in the backyard are crazy full of blooms. Jane, do you know why. It’s not going to die from old age is it. The leaves are really healthy.

    Continuing to reread Dick Francis too.

    1. Sorry, Carol – not a peony expert. My first thought was, what was the weather like after they flowered last year? If it was unusually dry/wet/cold/hot, they may have been too stressed to make buds this year. I’d give them a mulch – a thin layer of composted manure or good compost – and make sure they don’t get too parched. And cross you fingers. Or, better, look online at what the RHS and specialist peony nurseries (such as Kelways in the UK) advise.

      1. Thank you, Jane. It appears last summer’s heat and the wet winter/spring may be the cause. Grass fertilizer can cause no blooms. No to the fertilizer, so, assuming the heat and wet is the cause. Hope springs eternal for next year. Cheers.

  39. I reread Red Heir, which is my favourite Lisa Henry book (written with Sarah Honey). It’s laugh out loud funny, and the ego on the protagonist is ridiculously charming.

    Also ‘Bulldozed’ by Niki Savva, about the fall of our previous Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who many people rate as ‘Worst Prime Minister Ever’. Entertaining, and lots of schadenfreude to be had.

    Also Ravenmaster by Christopher Skaife, who is the bloke in charge of the Tower of London’s ravens. Worth a read. He’s no great stylist when it comes to writing, but his stories about the ravens and about his previous life in the army are good.

    1. Have you tried Terribly Tristan by Lisa Henry? I thought that was quite funny. Another charming protagonist.

  40. Reread Garden Spells – my favorite Sarah Addison Allen & Getting Rid Of Bradley by MS Crusie.

    Still digging around in Bob Mayer’s Novel Writer’s Toolkit & Elmore Leonard’s Ten Rules of Writing

    Binge watching Medium. I didn’t watch it the first time around. It has pros & cons.

  41. I feel the need to share a bit of farming news. I have hot peppers. Nothing wimpy like jalapeños, these are Red Fire Peppers. They are much larger than my previous crops of RFPeppers. I’m growing them in my AeroGarden Harvests. I got the seed pods from AeroGarden, so it makes sense.

    These pepper plants are growing even taller than the last batch, so I bought extenders from NewHeroTech on Etsy that raise the lights five or six inches. I bought five, one for each Harvest and a spare. I’ve installed three. The fourth Harvest (Harvey) refuses to cooperate. The light deck is press-fit onto its post and will not come off to permit the extension to be installed. The effort caused most of the leaves on two Purple Super-Hot pepper pants to fall, and there were no peppers on them, so I am growing them in the compost pile instead.

    Two of my tomato plants also went to compost. They collapsed, and with no baby tomatoes to rescue… that was that. New seed pods took their places. Last week I bought green onions. As I cut up the onions, I’ve been sticking the roots in custom pods. They grow back nicely.

    All my broccoli plants are growing, but they don’t look like any broccoli I’ve ever eaten. They don’t have the look of moldy brains, if you see what I’m saying. None of the arugula have sprouted yet, but the green chard is doing well. Lastly, the lettuce crop is coming along nicely.

    1. We suffered a power blinkage (you know, the power blinked on and off a few times while shifting loads somewhere) right around midnight and now all my gardens are off their schedules. Very annoying. But every problem is also an opportunity (door closes/window opens, that sort of blarney) so I may rearrange the gardens again. Or not. Every opportunity is an invitation to procrastinate. 😉

  42. I have good news to report. I finished my re-read of “Lessons in Chemistry” this morning, and it was so good I was sort of floating through breakfast. The pacing of the last sixth of the book (leading up to the climax) was just a thing of skill and beauty. The dog Six-Thirty was an anonymous hero, Elizabeth Zott made an important decision and was back in limbo, people who had really contributed to bad things happening to her in the past regretted what they’d done, and took steps to put their parts right, future hopes foundered, and yet everything sort of wove together into a surprise, very satisfying ending. I was so entranced by it that I started to describe it to my husband, who decided that it sounded fun, and planned to read it himself. I got a library Book Due notice, and then my husband brought me an Amazon envelope that contained a copy of the hardback for my birthday. It was just a Really Really Good Day. 🙂

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