This is a Good Book Thursday, June 1, 2023

Welp, it’s summer so time to begin summer reading. That’s actually a leftover from when I was a kid in summer reading programs, which were pretty much redundant for me since I read constantly, the original four-eyed kid who spent all her time at the library. Thank god for libraries. In my definition, summer reading is anything I feel like reading. So pretty much the same as winter reading. This week it was Aaronovitch rereads and a Rosalind James newbie. And a lot of Rocky Start because we are closing in on the end of the first draft so I’m rewriting obsessively. Bob is being patient; he just wants a finished first draft. But first I have to fix this scene . . .

What’s your summer reading looking like?

136 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 1, 2023

  1. Same here, I read like a maniac all year round when I was a kid. No summer reading programme needed back then. Nor now.
    Am home on leave so can indulge in reading after the last very stressfull weeks…
    Thanks to whoever recommended Lisa Henry’s bad boyfriends inc. series – have read Horrible Harry yesterday and am in the middle of Terribly Tristan. Light amd fluffy with the bonus being a setting in Sidney, Australia. Just what I needed while home sick.
    Also, unexpectedly, my paperback copy of Heated Rivalry arrived finally!
    Plus, I’ve picked up our (dd’s and mine) copy of Red White and Royal Blue!
    I don’t het it why it was so mucv easier getting into the story reading the paoerback than the e-book…

    1. Lisa’s Bad Boyfriend series was totally fun. And now you have Heated Rivalry and Red, White and Royal Blue ahead of you! The good times only continue.

    2. I suspect quite a few people on this list were all-year-round maniac readers. I certainly was. Still am. One of the great joys of life.

      1. Well, the difference in summer reading is that there is no school to shorten the reading hours of the day. The amount of time I spent with a book up in a tree, ahhh.

  2. On a note about happiness: for some like kid no 2 music has been a life line. Especially life live concerts.
    Today we were successful in getting tickets to our next big thing: Niall Horan goes on tour next year. Crazy me not only got us 2 tickets to our local venue (there will be 3 other mums) but 2 for the show in Dublin. I’ve never been to Ireland!!! Nor to the stadium there, hyperventillating sigh. The things you embark on to make your kid happy… (well, I love the music, too).
    Any recommendations for Dublin anyone?

    1. It’s really really lovely! If you can get to other parts of Ireland too I’d recommend it because I think Ireland shines most outside of its cities, but I’d recommend a day trip to Powerscourt if you’re into gardens — they’re pretty stunning! 14 Henrietta St was a really interesting tour, and the Chester Beatty Library has gorgeous manuscripts. You should also go on a Newgrange tour to see the ancient mound tombs. They were really really cool! I tried to go on a tour to Glendalough, but it got canceled at the last minute.

      1. Thanks for the recommendations, Zoe. We won’t have a lot of time to do sightseeing, but hope to spend more time there in the near future, so I’ll note down everything.

  3. Lubrican, Robert. The Dildo That Stole Claire Bonneville’s Memory (Kindle) Way too much sex. Well, not consummated until the last chapter, but way too much graphic foreplay. Almost. 😉

    The Variation on a Theme serial is five chapters into the “let’s save Cammie from the ‘pray the gay away’ place” arc, with a cliffhanger… not really, because it gets resolved tomorrow. It’s just that the end of Wednesday’s chapter didn’t resolve things happening in that chapter. It’s nothing carried into a next book.

    I reread Agnes and the Hitman and Sizzle. They were fun. 🙂

    I’ve been gathering up Honorverse Stories and assembling them all in one place, reading or rereading as I go. This first batch includes:
    “What Price Dreams?” by David Weber in Worlds of Honor
    “Beauty and the Beast” by David Weber in Beginnings
    “The Best Laid Plans” by David Weber in Beginnings
    “Our Sacred Honor” by David Weber in Infinite Stars
    “Ms. Midshipwoman Harrington” by David Weber in Changer of Worlds
    “Queen’s Gambit” by Jane Lindskold in Worlds of Honor
    “The Hard Way Home” by David Weber in Worlds of Honor
    “Promised Land” by Jane Lindskold in The Service of the Sword
    “Ruthless” by Jane Lindskold in In Fire Forged
    “Let’s Dance!” by David Weber in In Fire Forged
    On Basilisk Station by David Weber
    “With One Stone” by Timothy Zahn in The Service of the Sword
    The Honor of the Queen by David Weber

  4. Well, I’d like to say I am moving on from Dick Francis and I have honestly, I have!
    But first, I read:

    For kicks
    In the frame

    But now, I am rereading The Curse of Chalion by Lois Mcmaster Bujold. It took me a while to get into it when I first read it eons ago but I do love it now. I think Caz’s backstory is so harrowing and the court atmosphere so poisonous that it is a bit hard to relax into the book at first but I know everything will be fine, eventually, so I can enjoy it now from the start. I think that is the joy of rereads.

    I’ll reread the sequel, Paladin of Souls, tomorrow on the plane to Paris for a short visit to my mum and I am already looking forward to it.

      1. I can’t think how many times I’ve re-read Paladin. Got it on audio book and I’ve now listened to it at least twice.

    1. I adore The Curse of Chalion. Caz is such a great character. I was thinking of him while I was reading Ravenmaster, about the ravens in the Tower of London – the connection was obvious.

      And I am also reading Dick Francis. Reread Straight this week. Such a good story.

      1. Same here, Lisn. From the first few chapters when Bean made them available before publication date, I was hooked on Caz. Still am.
        Which makes me realize that I thoroughly love Bujold’s take on her heroes’ masculinity.

  5. I am back to unabashedly comfort rereading. I did try some new stuff but dnfed one for being too sad for my current frame of mind.

    My library had the audiobook for Unfit to print (KJ Charles) and that sent me down a rabbit whole as they also have the Will Darling books.

    And my IRL friend is struggling with reading new things so went back to the book of Firsts, which sent me back to Four Kings. Something about the extreme competence, difficult family dynamics and not much plot just reels me in every time. I need more books about practically nothing.

    1. Since you want comfort books about practically nothing, I’m bravely going to recommend MCA Hogarth’s Dreamhealer series. No sex, no romance, no violence, just two alien best friends on a pretty great world, trying to figure out student life and developing a new psychotherapy technique – so a tiny bit of competence porn. Intelligently but not densely written. Plus it’s the right entry into the whole Pelteverse mega series she has going on. Just don’t accidentally start the Princes’ Game series – that is a whole other enchilada.

      1. That’s where I started too! Way before I read the Prince’s Game and accidentally reeled you in :).

      2. It’s been on the list, but maybe I will splurge on the audio book. I have 5 credits left in audible.

    1. My hearts were grey, at first, but no plusses. I clicked and they turned red and got one plus. As I scrolled down, I came to some that were already red and had one plus. This is so strange!

    2. Mine aren’t. Mine are all red, so I don’t have the satisfaction of clicking them.

      And when I first read your comment, Lupe, I thought you must have been having heart trouble, and was just about to congratulate you on your medical recovery. 🙂

  6. I just read…or listened to…Taylor Jenkins Reid’s ONE TRUE LOVES. It was a good start to summer reading. I’m listening to Marie Bostwick’s ESME CAHILL FAILS SPECTACULARLY now. I’m only in the second chapter, but she’s a never-fail for me.

  7. I read Game Misconduct by Ara Baran – Chacha1, I liked it and was surprised that you did because that was some tough little sex/romance they had going on there. Also, for any hockey loving reading friends here – same editor as Rachel Reid and Cait Nary. She must be developing quite the editorial niche.

    I also read Hat Trick by Diana Foster – I think (?) it was YA hockey; was okay.

    I finished listening to the second in the SK Dunstall Linesman series and am onto the third – will be very sorry when this is over.

    1. Just started SK Dunstall’s Stars Uncharted and am loving it. Glad to hear the Linesman series is good too. Just in the mood for space operas these days.

        1. I like the Stars Uncharted ones a lot, but I loooove the Linesman books. My hindbrain creates the music for me.

      1. I went back and checked and it was actually Fretful’s recommendation. Sorry about that – no wonder it didn’t seem like your kind of book! And thank you, Fretful.

  8. So I read “Kill the Farm Boy”, on recommendation here. It definitely took all the tropes for high fantasy and turned them sideways. It took a little while for me to get into it, but I enjoyed it by the end.

    1. I am a big fan of Kevin Hearne, but it took me a while to get into that one, too. Some parts were a… little too much trying to be funny for me. I read the next one in that series as well, but have not read the third (although I think maybe I should).
      At least Kill The Farmboy really takes you on a ride. And a lot of things you definitely don’t see coming.

  9. I don’t think I’ve been rereading this much in years as I’ve done this year. There’s been a lot of Middlegrade fantasy and books I read as a kid/teenager, the latter mainly about horses. I have little patience and/or focus for new books. I can’t handle them, so I just better not right now, lest I’ll spoil or ditch books I’d normally love. It’s a little sad, but it is what it is.

    Currently reading GUARDS! GUARDS! by Terry Pratchett because Sam Vimes. And because Pratchett. WITCHES ABROAD was lovely, as always, too. When I grow up, I wanna become a mix of Granny and Nanny, please and thanks.

    As mentioned last Sunday, I also tried reading a rediscover happiness-book: “SHINE – Rediscovering your energy, happiness & purpose” by Andy Cope and Gavin Oates. I’m now stuck at 64 % and don’t feel like reading any further. I’m sure it’s a great book for people “just not feeling it right now”, but it mostly makes me angry. Might pick it up again at a later time just to finish it, for it’s not a bad book, but. . . Well. We’ll see.

    You guys are good at feelslikeahug-books with lots of tenderness and good community and stuff in it, including lack of TooStupidToLive main characters. What would you read right now if you were me? I want a book that wraps you up and hugs you and tells you there ARE things like happy endings and decent people and loving care and hope for the future.

    Oh, by the way! I FINALLY finished Mystic & Rider by Sharon Shinn (which I started even before we moved to our new place, so it’s been on ice for a loooong while) earlier this year! Thanks to all who recommended it. The last scene made me cry a little. So much tenderness. Beautiful.

    1. Maybe try “Unnatural Magic” by C M Waggoner. It’s the second book in the series, but I read it first (which was just fine), and I think it fits your criteria. Or maybe “A Psalm for the Wild Built” by Becky Chambers,” which I think has been recommended here before.

      1. Turns out both books are on my Want-to-read-list on Goodreads! Doesn’t help much when I’ve got thousands of books on there though so I can’t find the really good nuggets…that’s where Good Book Thursday is invaluable.
        Thanks for the recs! I’ll see if I can find them in audio.

    2. Have you tried Patricia C Wrede? She has a fun middle grade series about dragons and a lot of here love Sorcery and Cecilia by same and Caroline Stevermer. I like Stevermer too, but she is definitely more bittersweet.

      And Sherwood Smith. I read Court Duel/Crown Duel over and over until my copy fell apart. And then I bought a new one and the audiobook. She has a lot of other work, but it’s interconnected and hard to find the beginning.

    3. Ooh! Ohh! And In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. Grumpy old Italian farmer has a unicorn give birth in his garden.

      1. Despite loving dragons, I have not read Wrede’s books (although they’re definitely on my list, especially after following GBT for years). Maybe I should see if Audible has ’em. Can’t imagine they don’t.
        Sorcery and Cecelia are also on there, as is Sherwood Smith. I really should start ranking this list in order of Ragh-recs.
        In Calabria sounds interesting! I recognize the author because of The Last Unicorn, which I haven’t read either (Swedish talking book library’s narrator was AWFUL, so I never got started on it…). Maybe unicorns is exactly what I need right now.
        Or dragons.
        Thanks lots for the recs!

        1. I love Wrede. I loved the series with Stevermer. I loved the two magic books with Marelon. And despite the “young adult” label, I love-love-loved the Frontier Magic trilogy. They have a place on my “must reread annually” list.

      1. Wholeheartedly agree! And I think I’ve only read Bet Me so far this year, so that’s definitely a great suggestion. If you want great community, snark and HEA, Jenny’s your woman. <3
        I'm leaning towards Wild Ride because singign marshmallow dragons. We'll see what it'll be after Guards! Guards!

    4. Since you’ve read and liked “Mystic and Rider,” I suggest reading the others in the 5-book series. The next one in line is “The Thirteenth House” although my favorites are Books 3 and 5 in the series. All the major characters in the first book show up in the later books, which is a nice, reassuring thing.

      1. Totally with you, Jinx – although I loved book 4 and 5 next best after book 1.

          1. No, none of them are hard to get through. They start and move quickly, it’s easy to focus on who is who in each book (I say this after just finishing a book where two characters had names that confused me from Chapter 1 to the end of the book), and there’s humor and comradeship throughout the series. Each book has a different circle of main characters, though, and I think that books by favorite characters win when I think about them.

          2. I reread them all, including the second and third books but the first is such a great table setter, plus I love the MC, and then the last two books are so fabulous.

          3. “Thirteenth House” is good, but could be confronting if you’re expecting a romance. It’s definitely the least romantic of the set, but the world-building is very worthwhile.

            Books 3-5 are excellent with strong romantic threads, and there’s a novella featuring Sosie, whose pregnant sister was rescued in “Mystic & Rider”.

    5. If the idea of a trio of queer Edwardian novelettes (adding up to a short novel) in which there are more than three happy endings with zero mayhem and no graphic sex appeals, my weird little ‘Sextette’ might suit? AMZ ebook, the PB can be ordered there or through Barnes & Noble. That’s Alexandra Caluen. I’m putting it on sale this month, too. 🙂

    6. “I want a book that wraps you up and hugs you and tells you there ARE things like happy endings and decent people and loving care and hope for the future.”

      Why I read Jennifer Crusie.

    7. “lots of tenderness and good community and stuff in it, including lack of TooStupidToLive main characters.” Sounds like Goblin Emperor to me. That’s what I go to when real life is just too grim. It has grimness, but Sri does not win.

  10. The Wizard’s Butler by Nathan Lowell—it was nicely different with interesting characters…and a bit of magic
    A Vintage Vacation by Maddie Please— the character is in her 60s and her mother is in her late 70s. This author does write romances for the older generation. Another author that does that is Judi Leigh. It is refreshing to acknowledge that mature women can still enjoy romance.

    1. I really like Nathan Lowell. His Ishmael Wang books are comfort reads for me – lots of competence though not much plot – but nice community.

  11. This week was House with Good Bones by T Kingfisher, which was enjoyable, well-written, but I don’t like horror much, so I wished the ending were different. Then The Echo of Old Books, which I really liked, only it needed another pass by the editor- the subplot keeps contradicting itself. The main arc was terrific, though. Now onto Last of the Moon Girls, also by Barbara Davis. So far I’m not finding the MC very relatable. We’ll see how it goes…

    1. There’s a new T Kingfisher coming out next spring. It’s a sequel to her book about the fall of the house of Usher. It sounds horror adjacent so not sure you would like it.

  12. Since I lived in the country we had a Bookmobile in our small town. I went every week to get new books. But because I read so quickly I also read any magazines I could get a hold of. Red Book was my favorite since it had one Novella and 5 short stories in every issue. My mom didn’t subscribe (too expensive ) but some of her friends did and they gave me all magazines after they were done with them. I still read one book every day or two.

    1. I also went to the bookmobile every week in my small town, and checked out piles of books that my siblings helped me carry home! I also read quickly and got through them before the week was out. I still read a book every day or two, and my name is also Audrey. Funny coincidence.

    2. Books and libraries were my lifeline growing up. (Commenting because…also Audrey.)

  13. First, another bulletin from the list of interesting puzzle titles by Oceanna on the JigPlanet site. That she thinks this up with reference to a lot of pattern and color is something that just always amuses me.

    > The logical beginning of everything is nothing
    > Being upset is a lot like work

    Then I finished “A Marvellous Light” by Freya Marske. It has interesting worldbuilding — sort of quasi-historical and with magical talents that are obtained either from birth or from vowing fealty to a specific plot of land (which means that it often goes with or augments itself via inheritance among the nobility). I really got drawn into it due to the confused protagonist trying to make sense of what seems to be chaos around him in a new job. That’s such a logical framework for infodump that it passes smoothly by. However, there is a LOT of fairly graphic M/M sex, so if you prefer not to read that, be forewarned. There’s a HEA for the main characters and a foiling of some creepy villains, so all in all, it was worth it.

        1. I’ve just gotten to the next page of puzzles, and apparently Oceanna was listening to music while constructing them, because the names (not fun but quite familiar) give her away:

          – Drove the Chevy to the levee
          – Uptown Girl
          – Don’t Stop

          And a newsbreak seems to have inspired the next one:

          – I’d rather be skiing with Gwyneth Paltrow

          For myself, I prefer the oddball philosophical titles. 🙁

  14. I read Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge. The mystery is the least interesting aspect of the book. The centre of the story is a friendship between Julia Child and Tabitha, a fictional American woman, in the early post-war years in Paris. It’s a light read with lots of descriptions about food, Paris and French culture.

    I also read Fifth Avenue Glamour Girl by Renee Risen. It’s a fictionalized story of Estée Lauder’s early years. Total coincidence but uses the same device as Cambridge’s book – a fictional best friend who serves as the narrator and confidante. It’s set in New York just before and during WWII. As historical fiction goes, it’s pretty good, although there’s not a lot of clarity on what drove Estée Lauder, beyond a desire for fame and fortune. The author used EL’s own book as source material which may explain why her beginnings story is a bit murky.

    Also a number of DNFs this week. I blame the weather for my lack of attention span – we’ve gone from frost warnings to too hot to move in less than a week. I’m still adjusting.

  15. I’ve also always been a reader, and it got me in trouble at times, because I used the British spelling of words when I wrote my little paragraphs at elementary school. It gave me a very good vocabulary at a young age, too. I highly recommend it for any child you know.

    I am re-reading Legends and Lattes, as it is a comfort book and my copy has larger print. My eye doctor told me yesterday that there are 6 diopters difference in my eyes right now, so no wonder I have a headache most days and have to close one eye to see well. Two more weeks!!!

    I watched the last episode of Ted Lasso yesterday, and it was a Satisfactory Ever After. We still don’t know what will happen to some characters, especially any love lives for them. But it was a nice resolution. After rewatching the entire series, I was so full of TL good nature and Midwestern niceness that I did not get upset or angry when it took three tries to get the temporary crown to fit at my dental appointment. Or when, after I got home and ate the tapioca pudding that I bought as my reward for enduring the numbing shot and all the grinding and meddling in my mouth, the temp just loosened and came out! I called and they said I could just leave it off, which is what I will do. It’s already had a root canal, so there are no pain issues, and they had told me I couldn’t use the water pik, the electric toothbrush, or chew gum, or floss by pulling the floss up from the teeth. That was too much regulation for me.

    TMI Sorry.

    1. Oh no! That does not sound like a nice dental experience. Even if you’re not in pain, I guess that means you’ll have to go back and do it all over again?

      1. Fortunately, the root canal,which is the painful part, does not have to be revisited.

  16. I finally finished The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate. I read this at my brother’s request and now will have to discuss it via email despite the fact that I had to return it to the library the second I finished it (there is still an enormous waiting list). I think I’ll just ask my brother what parts he thought applied to our family and let him lead the discussion. I was hoping for some more specific suggestions about applying the findings to my own life,but since the author’s big breakthrough came through the use of psychedelics,I doubt that will be useful to me. I also wish that the author had not taken such along time (most of 497 pages) to get to the point.

    1. I read Gabor Mate’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction – a truly depressing book since he works with the long-term, hard core, poverty stricken drugs addicts of Vancouver – but so insightful.

      1. I once interviewed Gabor Mate for my newspaper article in regards to his work with drug addicts and his book about it. A fascinating man. As he lives in Vancouver, I somehow was surprised to find mentioning of him here, on this blog. Our city rarely gets into literary blogs.

        1. I just looked him up in Wikipedia because his name sounds so very Hungarian. The things that surprised me were (1) he has an MD degree and (2) his face is just amazing — it reminds me of Akhenaten or maybe Montesquieu.

  17. Summer reading challenges at the library were amazing. Any challenges I’ve tried as an adult haven’t been the same…

    I’ve had a run of mostly mediocre reads since the last time I posted, apart from three notable exceptions (for the best of reasons). Between Us by Mhairi McFarlane and Mrs Porter Calling by AJ Pearce are two new brilliant reads from trusted favourites, although I should mention that I haven’t finished Mrs Porter Calling yet so it may disappoint at the end. I really don’t think that it will.

    I also read The Library by Bella Osborne which was like a great big hug of a book. Even though it’s fictional, it gave me confidence in books, in readers, and in people. Highly recommended.

    1. Added The Library to my list, since I’m in search of books that are like big hugs. The world needs more book-hugs.

  18. I had some nice reads past week. Finally, read Ben Aaronovitch’s What Abigail Did That Summer. Can’t say I was impressed. I expected more from all the praises people heaped on this book. It was OK, but nothing special. What fascinated me was the book itself, the object, not the story. I got it from my local library. It is a collector’s hardcover edition, signed and numbered, and the price on the back flap says: $250. I don’t think our public library, which is always struggling with its limited budget, would buy a book, any book, for such a ridiculously inflated price. So how did they get it? Perhaps, someone bought it for themselves, or as a gift for someone else, and the owner decided to donate it to the library. They probably didn’t like it much either, the same as I didn’t.
    Mimi Matthews’s Return to Satterthwaite Court was charming and fluffy. Was it great literature? No. Was it escapism at its best? Yes. And unlike many other historical romances, the girl pursues and wins the guy she chose for herself, not the other way around. I smiled almost the entire time I read it.
    Diana Biller’s latest novel, Hotel of Secrets, was wonderful, probably the best book I’ve read in a while. It has everything: spies, murderers, secrets, love, music, a bright, independent woman as the protagonist, and a grumpy, stoic, seemingly unemotional man as her counterpart. And of course, it has Vienna in the end of the 19th century, with all its beauty, decadence, and endless balls. And waltzes. Vienna couldn’t flourish without its dazzling waltzes. It is a serious book, with the heroine facing serious problems, but the humor of the narrative is charming and pervasive, sometimes subtle, the other times, laugh-out-loud rambunctious. Besides, the story starts on a New Year’s Eve, and its spirit of renewal persists to the end. As you could guess, I loved this novel, as much if not more than I loved the author’s previous two novels. I wish she could write more and faster.

    1. That’s probably the Subterranean Press edition and I don’t think it was priced that high. I got mine for about 40. Perhaps someone tried to sell to a used bookstore and got fanciful.

      I have the Biller book and need to get started on that one. I’ve really enjoyed her books.

      1. The signed, lettered edition was that much. I’m surprised someone donated it given the resale value.

        1. That’s just nuts. I’ve gotten some SP books because they are gorgeous, but I always try to hit a sale. I have almost all the Penric books because the covers are just so pretty. Well, Penric is pretty too so it tracks.

  19. Right now I’m reading Paw and Order by spencer Quinn and I plan to finish it because it’s kind of fun. It’s written in the dogs voice and the dog has a great voice.
    Before that I read A Comb of Wishes by Lisa Stringfellow, a beautifully written midgrads fantasy. I have read all of Patricia Wrede. The new Amanda Quick is sitting by my bedside table and I have a whole bunch of unread kindle books.
    I’m thinking about diving into some more re-reading but I haven’t decided which author to reread.

  20. I actually read a new book this week–an achievement, since I have been in the reading doldrums for a long time. Sadly, the book–which I had purchased in support of a local independent bookstore, mainly based on the cover–was a dud (large swaths of description, walking, and eating/drinking and with little actual story and an unsatisfying mystery).

    I switched to video and finally watched Three Pines, the adaptation based on Louise Penny’s mystery series. The show was . . . okay but not great. The lead actor was excellent and made a great “Inspector Gamache” and a couple of the supporting cast were standouts as well, but the adaptation was a Frankenstein-mashup of the stories, so it felt odd, and whoever did the adaptation seemed to have made a point to switch around character names/genders/personalities for no discernable reason. The main miss for me was that the video version turned the village of Three Pines from a sanctuary of last resort kind of place to a “we actively repel people place.”

    On the plus side, the addition of the indigenous storyline was well done. The first (and only) season ended on a bit of a cliff-hanger, so people who are not familiar with the books may feel they were left hanging.

    I read a couple of old Elizabeth Cadell stories as a palate cleanser and now Legends and Lattes is next up in the queue. I think I’ve seen it mentioned here and my leant me his copy because he thought I would enjoy it.

  21. Read Kleypas’ Secrets of a Summer Night. I know! Published in 2004…I am very late to the game. Holds up. Heroine must marry for money and she has no dowry but looks, Hero is monied but not of her class – some nice banter and chemistry. First in her M/F Wallflowers series. Enjoyable.

    Finished Riley Hart’s Only for the Weekend, M/M May-December with some trauma for both MCs. This author hasn’t worked for me before..very happy to say this book does work for me – cinnamon roll younger man meets fleeing from big city (for Reasons) older man and they work it out together.

    Now reading Jodi Taylor’s One Damn Thing…100 pages in…really like it so far. Historians and Time Travel.

    Sidebar conversation – Asking of the Group – I do not get eBook/Kindle pricing.

    I think I get tradition trade paperback publishing. I think it costs $12-21 ’cause of marketing, high cost of paper, paying editors, distribution channels, etc. – correct me if I am wrong.

    But an ebook can cost $2.99. Or $4.99 for an author’s second or more popular book. But then sometimes it jumps to $6.99…or even $12.99. It seems random but I have no idea if it is.

    I buy mostly new, want the authors to get paid. That is true. What is also true is I have a hard time paying upwards of 8 bucks for an eBook, which doesn’t appear to have as many costs to produce.

    Educate me please, any insight?

    1. Most of the costs that go into producing a book have nothing to do with the format. Yes, there’s printing and shipping costs, which you don’t have with an ebook, but for any book there is the author, multiple editors, the cost of running the publishing house,etc. So many of the same costs still exist, no matter what format the book is in. Also, many contracts pay the author a larger percentage for an ebook sale (usually 25% in my contracts) that in a print book (anywhere from 7% to 12% in my experience, although of course the cover costs of the print book are higher). These are on net royalties.

      Does that answer your question?

    2. Pretty much what Deb says — the real costs are the editing, cover art, marketing, overhead, etc., not the printing of paper. And bigger than all the rest is the split with the retailer. If you pay $10 (easy math) for a book, whether it’s paper or digital, $5 (or more!) goes to the retailer, about a buck goes to the author, and the other $4 gets split (indirectly) among the editor, cover artist, publicist/advertising, and publisher profit. The difference between the costs for a ten dollar paperback and a ten dollar ebook is only about a buck (maybe $2 now, with inflation) for the printing. It’s shockingly cheap to print a paper book in the quantities that publishers do them. So much so that when bookstores “return” them, they actually destroy the book, because it would cost more than the book is worth to mail them back to the distributor. The numbers are a little different for the oversized paperbacks and hardcovers, but still the printing is relatively minor part of the costs to produce the book.

    3. The higher prices are charged by some publishers, and will be what they think they can get. Self-published books and some genres/authors will be cheaper.

      1. Sometimes the higher prices for the e-books are set while the book is only out in hardcover, to keep those prices comparable and not undercut the hardcover sales. Then when the mass-market paperback comes out at a cheaper price a year later, the ebook price will come down too.
        Logical from a total marketing and sales perspective, but it does make the ebook look very overpriced that first year.

    4. I am cheap as f**k about ebooks myself, so I get it. 🙂 Kindle pricing depends on the royalty level and the size of the book file. (Self publishing view here). If you select 35% royalty your retail price is lower than if you select 70%. So for example with the four fat novels I had on sale last month, at 70% the cheapest I could price them was 2.99, and I wanted to ‘sale’ them for 1.99, so I dropped the royalty to 35%. Publishers typically price higher, and the bigger the publisher the higher the price (my observation). Thus I put titles of interest on my wishlist and check it daily for what’s on sale. 🙂

      1. That’s interesting! Didn’t know that about Kindle royalties. I think Tor might be an exception to your big publishers rule, since their prices are often sky-high.

      2. Chacha1 – Lisa Henry’s Two-Man Station (which I think I recall you read but possibly not since apparently my memory in these things is suspect?) is on Amazon free today – in case you read on KU and want your own copy.

  22. I’m on the 3rd book in the tarot mystery series I have been rereading, Give the Devil His Due, by Steve Hockensmith and Lisa Falco. I can’t remember if I ever actually read the 3rd one, or even knew it existed. It seems to have been self-published by the author (his copyright page is hysterical), probably because the first two were from Midnight Ink, one of Llewellyn’s few fiction lines, which closed down a number of years ago.

    Still loving them.

  23. I’m still in a reading slump, but I did finish my ARC of The Witch King by Martha Wells and got my review in before publication. I went to her signing in Houston this week and she took a great many questions about her fantasy books and, of course, Murderbot. She talked about having writer’s block during covid which sounded very familiar. There are a few more Murderbots coming before her current contract ends.

    I also finished my ARC of Salvage Right by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. The Liaden universe is comfort for me and this was a very healing sort of book. It’s set on Tesori Light and is almost a direct sequel to Neogenesis. Lots of Theo (which is my preference) and AI discussion. It will publish in July but you can buy the ARC directly from Baen if you want to read it early.

    I’m still working on Bitter Medicine and looking for more urban fantasy recs. I picked up Justin Cronin’s The Ferryman at the signing so that will probably be my next book.

    1. If you’re interested in one-offs, “Black Water Sister” by Zen Cho was very good- a child of immigrants returning to Malaysia for the first time and discovering that folk tales are more real than would be comfortable.

      Lee Mandelo’s “Summer Sons” is a southern gothic fantasy, edging over into horror territory sometimes, but otherwise enjoyable with a rich set of characters.

  24. Summer reading forever! I’m reading Martha Wells’ Witch King which is as good as you’d expect. Also picked up to read: Soil by Camille T Dungy (all about transforming a typical suburban yard into a garden with lots of philosophy) and the newest Kami Garcia/Gabriel Picolo Teen Titans graphic novel, Robin. This duo does great work together.

  25. Oh, also read In the Wild Light, which is full of poetry and Mary Oliver references and will make you want to read poetry and Mary Oliver and Mary Oliver’s poetry. It’s also a good story about friendship and has a HEA which isn’t clear from the description. It’s a bit heavy in places as the two main characters meet in a group for kids with addict parents and the inside view of America’s drug crisis and the impact on kids is pretty awful. Still, overall a hopeful and beautiful book and I’m glad I read it.

  26. I remember in school I used to hide from the heat, curled up with a book. Now reading is year round unless I’m voting in a poll.

    This week I read “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy” by Megan Bannen: an adorable enemies-to-lovers fantasy romance and so not what I was expecting. Mercy is an undertaker and I love the care she takes in her work.

    Then I picked up “Murder at Haven’s Rock” by Kelley Armstrong, which is just mind candy for me. Which feels odd to say about a murder mystery series but is true, I just gobble these up.

  27. I haven’t read any fiction recently because it fell out of my life.

    Yesterday I picked up The Talisman Ring by Georgette Heyer — such a lovely book for relaxing, laughing, and basking in good story telling.

    Sarah Thane is a great heroine, too, because she is Tristram Shield’s equal in every way and she knows it.

  28. Have never in my life gotten in trouble for reading. Even at our most broke, my parents found some money to order through Scholastic during the school year, and during the summer we were taken to the library almost every week. We all read A Lot. 🙂

    This reading week started with promised vacation re-read of ‘Something Wild & Wonderful’ by Anita Kelly, loved it again. Then three M/M romances, all acceptable, not outstanding. Re-read ‘A Thief in the Night’ by KJ Charles, which may never leave my Kindle.

    Then ‘The Infinite Onion’ by Alice Archer, which for me is a 5 star book. M/M, set in Washington State and features a 39yo divorced man at rock bottom (depressed & homeless) and a slightly younger rich artist who hasn’t left his property for 13 years following a series of deaths in the family. Both men wrestle with the full scope of their troubles over the course of the book; confronting, challenging & antagonizing each other while also helping and supporting. The romantic relationship doesn’t truly begin until they’ve each had a breakthrough. Not much sex, lots of thoughts & feelings, with the work on the page the way I like it.

    Next up, 1950s hard-boiled mystery ‘A Penny Earned’ by M. Ruth Myers, starring a WWII veteran introduced in her Maggie Sullivan series. Great character work, plausible plot, sense of place & time – I liked it a lot.

    Then three more re-reads; two Vicky Bliss novels by Elizabeth Peters, and ‘Wild Horses’ by Dick Francis. I am up to 156 books read so far in 2023.

  29. Bought Julia Cameron’s Seeking Wisdom, a spiritual path to creative connection book at B&N today. A six week Artist’s Way program. Looking forward to it.

    Had a lovely conversation with a woman about favourite authors and books. It was our first trip to Bellingham since the troubles. It was lovely day. Bought seven patterns at Joann’s. 30%off so even with the exchange and what the patterns would cost in Canada, it was a win. And a full tank of gas at $3.98/gallon compared to $1.989/litre.

    There was a homeless woman outside the store, my heart broke for her. H had been saving US coins which we were going to take to a coin counter. I said I would meet him inside, he said to give her lots of coin. I gave her the bag and what I was going to give her. I noticed her when we first drove past on our way to Joann’s. Had it in mind to give her some money. If she was still there. She and I talked for a bit. Clear eyed and sun burnt. I firmly believe i was suppose to give her the money. So what tugged at me today, many times I walk by. Hoping, praying she makes it and more people come into her life to really help her out of homelessness. H told me how much he thought was in the bag. I didn’t think so, but…could be.

    Today was such a good day. A happiness day on Good Book Thursday. A meant to be day. And popcorn. And a new book. You know when everything just goes right day.

  30. I could have sworn I answered this yesterday but my response isn’t showing up. I read the first 3 books in the Mind Healers series by MCA Hogarth, followed by the 4th book in the Tassamarra series by Sarah Wynde. I don’t have my book list in front of me so I can list the title, which is eluding me at the moment. I am currently rereading The King of Attolia for a book discussion on another forum this weekend and am taking notes for ideas for discussion.

    1. Looked it up for you, Rouan — Book 4 of Tassamara Series is “A Gift of Grace”.

  31. I binge read the SK Dunstall Linesman books (recommended here) and really love this world and Ean’s innocent navigation of the political quagmire.

    Just finished Station Eternity by Mur Laffery – interesting but told partly in flashbacks which is not my favorite. But overall a good read.

    Currently reading (in audio) Our Hearts Were Young and Gay – one of my alltime favs. I hadn’t read it in a decade and was afraid that it wouldn’t be as appealing to me now, but it had me giggling thoughout my morning commute. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a lighthearted read.

  32. I have a question: what’s with all the wildfires in Canada? Our weather reporter mentioned this morning that the hazy skies this weekend (this is in the Washington DC suburbs) are from smoke that originated in Nova Scotia. Last week or so haze was caused by wildfires in Alberta.

    I think of Canadians as sort of like Mounties — clean in thought, word & deed, endlessly cautious, careful and polite. Sort of like Kiwis, really. But the weather lady mentioned that reports suggested these fires were caused by human carelessness.

    So, was it American MAGA tourists in all those parks & forests?

    1. It’s climate change. Lots of hot, dry and windy weather. Plus, in the west the boreal forest is getting hammered by bugs that couldn’t survive winters before.

  33. I just read the latest by a favorite author and it was very disappointing. The hero and heroine spent most of the entire book apart, moping about how they weren’t in contact with each other, and for zero good reason not just getting in touch. It felt like it was written by someone half asleep to meet a deadline. They can’t all be winners, but wow.

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