107 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 8, 2023

  1. Viking funeral sounds very cool 🙂

    Mainly I’ve been glomming Ginn Hale, rereading the “Champion of the Scarlet Wolf” duology and am now in the middle of the “Master of Restless Shadows” duology, which features two m/ romances and a whole lot of political intrigue, perfect if you’re in an angsty mood. I think I prefer the northern setting of the Scarlet Wolf with its trolls, frog-wives and shape-changers, and its fealty based love story. Nonetheless so far MORS is gorgeous and complicated and very queer.

    I did take time out to read “Morning Glory Milking Farm” by C M Nascosta: gloriously ridiculous fun and thank-you to Lupe for the recc!

      1. Hope you enjoy it. I think it should stand alone, but the more immediate back story is “Lord of the White Hell” if you’re looking for Fedeles’ origin story.

        1. Now finished the second volume of MORS – I like where the characters ended up but there’s a lot of death and destruction before they get there. Probably the darkest of the books in this universe but not as dark as Hale’s Rifter series (which is very good but torturous).

  2. Last week, I finally got Heated Rivalry after a couple of months waiting time for my paperback copy. It really sucked me in and I loved it (so many people recommended it, so I was a bit hesitant if it could live up to my expectations). Usually, a high level of smut is not my thing, but here it really is important for the story/development of the relationship.

    Immediately afterwards I got The Long Game. As e-book. The paperback is almost 20 Euro and I’d have to wait again another month for it to arrive, so no. If I love it as much as HR, I’ll get the pb copy eventually, but at leisure and for less (with patience that should be possible).
    But as life has picked up intensity again, I might have to wait until I can dive into it.

    In the meantime I’ve finished listening to Overnight Sensation which was alright, but suffered from the longish pauses in between as I have to busy my hands unless I want to fall asleep while listening. And I get interrupted by life every so often (i.e. by family members). Long intervals between listening sessions are not the best set up for any story. However, I liked the audiobook of Sure Shot (from a couple of weeks ago) better, the protagonists are more mature (30/mid 30s) and have problems I can more easily relate to.
    And I’ve re-read Irresponsible Puckboy. A fake marriage seems to be a very well-liked trope lately. As the straight best friend discovering he’s pan/not so straight. Still, I have a soft spot for the two dumbasses in this installment of the Puckboy series.
    And yes, I’m obviously still into hockey books. I very probably won’t stop for another couple of weeks (or until Vegas has beat the Panthers to the Cup).
    Anyone feels sad when you have to step out of the fictional world of your favourite book(s)? With hockey, it doesn’t feel like I really have to leave as there are so many books by now and the real world, too, where I can just stay in the bubble and pretend the fictional characters are real – LOL.

    1. So glad you enjoyed Heated Rivalry! The Long Game is much different but the characters are the same and it’s great to visit them again.

  3. Emilie Richards’ When We Were Sisters. The female protagonists were foster sisters and they join in the making of a documentary about growing up in the system. It was a hard read sometimes, but a good one.

  4. My brain has no capacity this week, so I listened to Strange Bedpersons and then segued into Murderbot, where I have stayed.

  5. Cat Sebastian’s new book We Could Be So Good came out so I gobbled it up immediately. Set in NYC of the ’50’s, two men working at a newspaper. Loved the historical references. Probably not my favourite Cat Sebastian book but didn’t matter because I love her writing; it’s not elegant but I savour every carefully chosen word, and I love how she writes such sweet romances, not cozy but sweet, with a bit of tartness.

    On the sweetness theme, I read Like You’ve Nothing Left to Prove, the second in the hockey duology by EL Massey, thoroughly enjoyable if you’re in the mood for M/M YA.

    I also read Tavia Lark’s the Prince and the Assassin, which I just couldn’t get into, although I’m not able to put my finger on why. I think (?) there was something off about the main characters, not sure.

    And in the opposite direction of sweetness, I read the Stars of the Pack series by NJ Lysk – shifter wolves in a full-on O/B/A ‘verse where an 18-year old is pretty much coerced into taking on a pack of five men. I was in the mood for trashy and there was definitely a lot of dubcon, explicit sex and…it wasn’t actually a trashy read. Was quite serious and became less about the sex over the series and more about the relationships, including working out the non consensual elements, which I’d expected the usual handwaving over. A surprising read.

          1. So…Oklahoma Bar Association? Nigerian tribal leader? Orange Beach Area (California)? Solo artist from Utah?

            God, I feel so old sometimes.

        1. Tammy, I had a glimpse into book 1. The story is meant to take place. It didn’t read/feel British to me, more like the US, but it’s not my language so I might be mistaken.
          Did you have a similar impression?

          1. LOL, you are reading a hockey series right now?Tammy, who would’ve guessed you might like hockey books 😉

            I’m pondering doing small collages for my favourite books… but pinterest surely is a time destroyer…

          2. Sorry, I wasn’t clear! NJ Lysk also has written a hockey series that I’m reading.

            By the way, the use of the word ‘arse’ always instantly identifies a book as being by a British writer. A word sometimes used in Canada but not in the US.

        2. You are probably right, but it may be years before I get to it. My list is ever growing. Sigh.

  6. I’ve been reading “The rest of us just live here” by Patrick Ness. There are two concurrent storylines – the main one and a side bar one that occurs in a summary at the beginning of each chapter to a totally different set of kids. It’s somewhat bizarre, but it is keeping my interest.

  7. On my agent’s recommendation, I’ve started reading Wildwood Whispers, by Willa Reese. It’s supposed to have elements of magical realism, which is what I’m looking to read now. But it is definitely off to a depressing start, which I’m not in the mood for. We’ll see.

    1. Oh, and I like the idea of a Viking funeral too. I live across the street from a creek (really a small river) and I’ve told people that when I die, I want to be put in a canoe and set on fire as it goes down the creek. Obviously, that’s illegal, but hey, once the canoe is on fire…

      1. Have you seen How to Train Your Dragon 2? There’s a Viking funeral in it that is really lovely, in spite of the sorrow. Those movies are just fun. So, you’ll need to cultivate the friendship of a good archer who can shoot burning arrows. Good luck!

      2. Love that. Tried to like it and the red heart turned grey. I would never have thought I’d be so attached to that functionality 😉

  8. At the moment, I’ve gotten to the White House portion of “Becoming” by Michelle Obama. It’s been really interesting — her childhood in a working class area of Chicago was interesting (her father was a boiler operator, her mother a housewife) and a fascinating look at a happy family and their black middle class-ish life. Her struggles to achieve and fit in were really kind of inspiring, from a segregated school to a new enrichment learning high school, to Princeton as an undergraduate and finally to Harvard for law school. And her warm, prickly romance with the “hey — how ya doin’?” laidback Hawaiian boy she was assigned to mentor in her law firm was kind of a primer on how to build a great relationship slowly, with emphasis on equality and deep communication.

    I’ve been surprised at how unpolitical the book is — no mentions anywhere of Democrats vs. Republicans, or of criticizing any of the nutjobs who populated the crises of the early 2000s. But it’s been an amazing back-pages kind of approach to feminism, in that every restriction she faced as a political wife was like a shorthand to all the social “no” restrictions that were unspoken, but a glass ceiling that every woman has had to conform to in some way in her life.

    You can probably tell I’m loving this book. 🙂

    1. It really is a good book, and well written. I enjoyed it, too, when it came out. It’s inspiring.

  9. I finished Legends and Lattes, and looked on Amazon to see if Travis Baldree had written a sequel. He has, but it’s not available till Nov. 3! It looks like it might be following in a similar vein. If it does, I will get it. If he goes off on the violence and mayhem tangent that some authors do, I will not buy it. I started A Second Chance in The Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. It’s off to a good start.

    1. Jan – I just finished the first book in the St. Mary’s series and really loved it…then realized it’s now what, 10 books? In your opinion does the quality remain in the other book…worth it to keep reading? I’m so jazzed on it now I want to rush out and buy all 10!

      1. Yes, the quality continues, as far as I can see. My brother recommended the books to me after seeing them praised, here. He has all of them. I may get all of them. So far, I’m buying two at a time.

      2. I think there’s more than 10 as well as 2 short story collections. And then there’s the Time Police books. And I find they are all fun..

  10. The Witch King by Martha Wells took me a while to read. Busy week, and it’s a long slow deep sort of story so that worked well. Then I read Chick Magnet, because I thought aww cute vet next door/chicken owner story with hilarious hijinks and yeah no, it is not light and funny. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but if you want light and funny this is not that. It is an inside look at the fallout of Covid economically on small business, ending a bad relationship and the fallout from that, the epidemic of veterinary depression. There are chickens, there is romance, there is HEA, but wow it was heavy. I need to go re-read some Jeeves books now or something.

    1. I also got partway into Chick Magnet and thought, oh, this is not exactly what I signed up for… I’ll finish it eventually, but not right now!

      1. Yeah it seemed like bait and switch kind of marketing but then again maybe that’s just how rom coms are these days because it’s definitely a trend I keep running into. (I don’t blame the author for the marketing obviously) The world needs more Jenny books! That’s the answer.

      1. That sale-price Witch King is by a different author. Martha Wells’ book is a brand new release, not likely to go on sale for a while. (Just don’t want anyone getting the wrong one by mistake.)

  11. Also, I re-read two of my own titles and really really enjoyed them. I have been putting off re-editing and re-releasing since I got all my rights back but these two really only need a couple of minor changes and would be good to go, which was a pleasant surprise. Maybe the task is not so daunting.

    1. Way back when I read your Wild Wild West. Wow, I had never read anything like it at the time. I loved it, the first story especially. I have revisted it a few times over the years. So happy to hear you have your rights back, Charlene.

      1. Thank you! I was surprisingly happy with Past Me’s competency and it gives me hope that Present Me is competent too. ; )

  12. When I was temporarily housing my neighbor’s dogs, they (the neighbors, including the kids) visited a number of times. As I talked with them, I discovered that one of the boys likes sci-if/fan. His siblings were playing with the dogs and he was bored so I showed him my sci-if/fan collection and gathered a number of books I thought he might like and left him to go through them. He ended up choosing Foundation by Mercedes Lackey so I lent it to him, specifying he take care of it and return it when finished (and in good condition!). After they left, I realized I felt like reading it myself; fortunately, I have the ebook so I read it, as well as finishing The King of Attolia for my book discussion group.

  13. Just finished Wrapt in Crystal by Sharon Shinn and quite enjoyed it. I am non-religious but her books always make me think about it.
    Also finished The Guards by Ken Bruen (I’m on an Irish kick lately) and it was good also. Interesting writing style that took me a bit to get into but then it lent a lot of atmosphere to the story. Will read the next in the series.

  14. I am definitely resting my brain at the moment.

    After I finished rereading the Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls, I wanted to stay in the Five gods world so I have now embarked on a reread of the Penric novellas.

    I am on Penric’s fox right now but I expect I will have read all of them yet again by next Thursday.

    1. I love Penric and Des. I’m so pleased that LMMB has been adding to the series.

      1. I’m rereading the Curse of Chalion and Paladin of souls . I had forgotten how amazing they are.
        They also have such a different voice than the Vorkosigan series. Maybe twice in the first book there was a sentence that sounded like the author of the Vorkosigan series.

        I also adore the little matchmaking scene at the end of Chalion. Such a wonderful light touch and at tbe same time a totally well deserved happy ending to a painful book.

  15. I’m trying to make a dent in the 2000+ Kindle samples I’ve downloaded over the last however many years. Honing my “this isn’t going to work for me” detector.

  16. I just got Burn It Down by Maureen Ryan. Any TV fan, especially female/PoC, should get this book immediately. Look for the excerpts from it online.

  17. I re-listen to all of the Aaronnovitch Rivers of London series constantly. I love love LOVE Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s voice! And I love the humor. Right now I’m on my (fill in any large made up number here and it will be about right) time of listening to “Whispers Underground” The sewer scenes are dramatic, and funny, and I can just smell the smells.
    Another one I like to listen to again and again is The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher. James Marsters is the narrator and he delivers just the right amount of droll, noir dry sarcastic tone to Harry’s predicaments. I will go to “Cold Days” just for the opening scenes and the conversation between Harry and Demonreach. Good for a chuckle every time!

    1. I can’t lusten to quite a number of audiobooks because the narrators manage to rub me the wrong way, but some just light up the pages!
      Imho they don’t “read” the text but bring it alive.
      James Marsters is one of those few ones, Joe Jameson (under all of his pseudonyms) also comes to mind. KH-S seems to be another one (sorry, haven’t listened to the Rivers books yet).
      I guess my sensitivity towards voices is particular. It’s even worse in my mother tongue.
      Does anyone had similar experiences?

        1. Yes Dodo, I have trouble listening to the voices of some audiobook readers as well, they can really put me off listening to that book. So now I’ll only buy audiobooks if I can listen to a sample of the reading first.

          I’m so happy that this week, during the Audible sale, a bunch of Dick Francis book read by Tony Britton became available to me, so I quickly bought all of them (on sale) in case it was just during the sale.

          I don’t know if it was the email I sent to their publisher, asking if he could turn on the non-exclusive rights to sell to the rest of the world, or just a temporary effect of the sale, but I was very glad to be able to get them as I really like that reader’s voice for those books.

          My thanks for the person who recommended him here!

      1. I’m with you on the voices-matter-wagon. When I was a kid and the Talking Book Library was my main source of getting something to read, I read everything I could lay my hands on, bad narrator or no, just because I wanted to read. Now that Audiobooks have become easily accessible for *everyone* and their narration-quality is so, so much better than the library’s, I find myself unable to ignore a bad narration and “just read it”. I DNF books because I can’t stand the voice delivering them. It’s sad that the power of voice is underestimated sometimes.
        I AM aware that taste differs and that some people really WANT(!) a monotone I-hate-my-job-but-okay-lets-read-this-whateverIdontcare-voice when they read, but for the life of me I can not imagine why. Bad narration can completely ruin a book for me that I might otherwise have loved.

        1. I think it’s because they want to put their own ideas into the voice . It’s one of the reasons I prefer books to movies too.

      2. I’m also in love with certain narrators — Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, James Marsters, Kevin R Free (Murderbot), and Kate Reading (Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series). I’ve been fortunate not to run into terrible ones, altho’ I recall starting to listen to the first of the “Ancillary” books (I think they’re the Radtch Empire series but may have spelled it wrong — it’s been a while), and it was narrated INTENTIONALLY to sound like a computer (very Siri-ish, and monotone) because the main character was an AI, and I just couldn’t listen to it. Not only was it annoying — who wants to listen to Siri read a book? — but it also seemed to violate the whole concept, which was that the character was (as Murderbot would say, reluctantly) a PERSON, not a computer stringing words together. I think the book was re-released with a more listenable narrator (and the new person did the later books in the series, but I was so put off by the narration I never listened to any of them, stuck to reading them myself).

    2. I’m with you on Kobna Holbrook-Smith’s voice. I just (like Jenny) finished Lies Sleeping, one of my favourites. I love the rapport that develops between MC and Foxglove. The scene in the pharmacy as they make their escape was perfect! One can truly see how Aaronovitch can write great television (Dr. Who); there’s an episodic quality to writing that is truly addictive (to me).

      1. I’ve just started listening to Lies Sleeping… For the first time. I am slowly working my way through Rivers of London (having been introduced to them here). The narration is fabulous. I couldn’t imagine reading them in book form now.

    3. Both of those narrators are among my favs. Juliet Stephenson is great for classics.
      I wanted to listen to Robin Hobb’s Assassin (?) series but the narrator put me off.

      1. I went to audible and listened to Paul Boehmer’s version of Hobb’s books. Can totally see what put you off. Narration IS an art form of its own imo: a way to interprete/ not just read.
        Plus the incalculable factor that the “reader” might take a dislike to the voice itself. I plead guilty of that: I couldn’t listen to Bujolds favourite narrator for the Vorkosigan books. He sounded far too old for Miles for me.
        Or accents: not long ago, I discovered that one narrator for NR Walker’s Aussie books had indeed a soft Aussie accent. I was thrilled.

  18. Nathan Lowell has put out a new Ishmael Wang book (the Solar Clipper series, Quarter Share, Half Share, etc.). It’s called School Days and it’s the first of a new trio. Someone recently mentioned how little plot these books have, which I hadn’t really noticed, but I see is certainly true now that they mentioned it. And that’s usually pretty important to me, along with interesting characters that I care about, but I really enjoy these anyway.

    And in the forthcoming section it also lists a sequel to The Wizard’s Butler called The Wizard’s Cat, which I know a number of people here will be excited for.

    1. Lowell’s Ishmael series is one I much prefer listening to before I fall asleep. Just enough engagement, but no tension, rarely even a climax of any sort.

    2. The wizard’s cat has been listed as forthcoming for years and years.
      Did it mention a date or .onth, where you saw it listed?

      1. According to Lowell’s most recent blog post, he hopes to have a finished draft of The Wizard’s Cat to editing by the end of July. So hopefully it will be available as an ebook by the end of the summer. Audio will take several months after that.

    3. Thanks for reminding my of Nathan Lowell. Have downloaded the Butler book already.
      I LOVED the Ishmael books and the fact that they focused on daily stuff instead of adventure was a pleasant surprise.
      How well the crew got along was a bit of an unrealistic ideal, but oh so calming. Pre escapism for me. Both dh and I LOVED the coffee machine bit early on in the first book. Strange, what gets stuck in one’s mind…

  19. Listening to Faking It while I garden/cook. Finishing 10 Lb Penalty, Dick Francis. Next is They Used to Call Me Snow White BUT I Drifted and listening to another JC audio book while gardening. Moving the poor baby hosta I almost burnt to death. It was not the ideal spot with dappled sunshine. 😟

  20. The Variation on a Theme serial is eight chapters into the “let’s save Cammie from the ‘pray the gay away’ place” arc, which is now complete. Steve has saved Camellia from her religious gay-intolerant parents (Joseph and Magnolia) by providing a lawyer, shelter, and undergoing police interrogation without the presence of his parents or his own lawyer. He even allows himself to be struck by Cammie’s da to strengthen the lawsuits.

    Yesterday, the author commented that this story (4 “books”) is about to top 2 million words. Given the genre-related descriptions for flash fiction (100-1,000 words), short stories (1,000-10,000 words), novellas (10,000-50,000 words), novels (50,000-120,000 words), and epic novels (120,000-250,000 words), 2,000,000 words must fall into a new definition.

    Mind, the four “books” are just convenient divisions of the text by year of high school and there is no recap at the start of books 2, 3, nor 4. There is instead a warning that you need to read all the previous “books” to know the characters and plotlines. So what I say the author is writing is Word Opera. Like soap opera, the story is addictive. (I’m addicted.) Like soap opera, the story has a cast of characters whose lives we follow on a daily basis. Like soap opera, the story will continue beyond the boundaries currently set (into college and beyond.)

    So that’s first. At three chapters per week, I’ll be reading into next year.

    I mentioned last week that I had gathered up Honorverse Stories and assembled them all in one place, reading or rereading as I go. To be clear, I assembled all the stories together and used Mobipocket Creator to produce a single file, with all of the short stories and novellas as single chapters in internal chronological order. 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
    and
    The Honor of the Queen by David Weber

    As of today, I am 25 chapters into On Basilisk Station. I’m remembering how much I loved the early Honorverse, before Weber began writing Word Opera instead of books.

  21. After finishing “Guards! Guards!” by Terry Pratchett, I found myself picking up the first book in the Bride Quartet-series by Nora Roberts. They’ve become a sweet comfort-read to me, along with a couple other series of hers. So, I am resting my brain with those.

    I started with “Vision in White”, and I LOVE Carter. Love, love. If I didn’t already have my computer nerd, I’d definitely want a dude like him. I also feel very strongly right now that despite all my denials over the last 15 years or so, I *am* a romantic at heart. Not sure how to feel about that. Anyway, this might be my favourite book of this quartet.

    Now reading “Bed of Roses”. I love this community.

    1. I think that is my favorite of the four books, and Carter really is just the best combination of cute, clumsy, earnest, and endearing.

  22. ‘In for a Penny’ by Rose Lerner was a definite brain rest for me. A sweet romance about a marriage of convenience between a penniless aristocrat and the daughter of a rich merchant, very light and enjoyable.

    Katherine Rundell’s middle grade ‘The Good Thieves’ was just gorgeous – a lush adventure story set in New York, about a girl trying to retrieve her grandfather’s castle, which has been stolen by a conman/crook.

    Jodi Taylor’s ‘White Silence’ – a fantasy about a woman who can see auras, and is being pursued by the government for unspecified purposes. Taylor is so readable, whatever she writes. This was a bit darker than the early St Mary’s books so I’m pausing before the second book to catch my breath.

    And now I’m reading Jane Smiley’s ‘Perestroika in Paris’, about a naive young filly who walks out of her stable one night and gets lost in Paris. So far it’s delightful.

    1. Love the idea of that Jane Smiley.
      I’m still a sucker for Pony books!.. and horse books (Dick Francis of course)

  23. Amanda Quick’s Desire was a reread, but I read it first so long ago, I didn’t remember a thing. Didn’t like it much either. It was published 20 years ago and it shows its age. The story is a historical romance, set in a vaguely medieval world. The general attitude towards women is dismissive, even faintly contemptuous, and the concept of sexual consent seems unknown to everyone, male and female alike. Which was true in a historical sense but unpleasant to read about. Overall, this book was definitely not the best by this author, but it was still readable. I even enjoyed it a little.
    Now I’m half-way into another reread – Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs. It is #5 in the Alpha & Omega series. I love Anna and Charles and I love all their books, except maybe the last one, Wild Sign. But I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

    1. I’m fond of Amanda Quick’s two medieval romcoms (the other one’s called Mystique, which is a completely irrelevant title for it). I think the history is pretty good, in fact, and they’re both funny as well as good romances. The feisty heroines get their heroes in line.

      1. NB just encountered another website gremlin: my first attempt to post the above comment, which I’d taken several minutes to write, was rejected with the message ‘You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down’ !!!

        1. I got that one recently,too.What makes it so funny is that I can’t type, so every thing I enter happens v-e-r-y-slowly.

  24. I read Martha Wells’s Witch King, and it reminded me of her Fall of Ile Rien and Ships of Air series, which I devoured years ago. The problem, for me, is that I think I’ve grown away from action-adventure fantasy, so it didn’t work for me. Very much a “not for me at this point in my life” thing, others’ mileage my vary.

    So I’m back to re-listening to stuff.

  25. I re-read all of Ann Leckie’s books – I just meant to re-read the Imperial Radch series (Ancillery Justice, Ancillery Sword, Ancillery Mercy and Provenance), but couldn’t resist her standalone as well – in preparation for the release of her new book in the series “Translation State”.

    I’m also reading the Inspector Wilkins series by James Alexander. I’ve finished the first one – “The Affair of the Bloodstained Cosy” and started the second. The first book was a glorious stew of the most outlandish elements of the English countryside manor house murder scenario. You’ve got an international jewel thief, spies, an American multi-millionaire, an English earl and family, diplomats, and an apparently bungling English police inspector. It’s a like cross between Georgette Heyer’s mysteries and P.G. Wodehouse. Although, it’s not as funny as Wodehouse, still I found it amusing.

  26. I’m rereading Quick’s ‘Otherwise Engaged’, a Victorian. Just a pause after Jodi Taylor’s “Saving Time’ and AJ Lancaster’s ‘A Rake of His Own’. I enjoyed both. Taylor’s Time Police are a hoot.

    I have no idea what will come next.

  27. My reading week started with new release from Jay Hogan, ‘The Art of Husbandry,’ set on New Zealand’s South Island which comes across irresistibly in her books. This one wasn’t quite five stars for me but the emotion is strong.

    Then another M/M, this one an age-gap rebound romance: ‘Ripped’ by Linden Bell, satisfactory though misuse of lie/lay distracted me more than twice. Followed by yet another M/M which was predictable, inoffensive, sufficiently entertaining, nothing memorable.

    Then ‘Everything’s Better with You’ by R.L. Merrill, billed as a rom-com and there is some funny, but the MCs are both athletes dealing with significant injuries. One is a pro football quarterback retired at 45ish and the other a 36yo still-active dancer/choreographer. The sports and injury stuff is front and center here. The MCs are colleagues at a small midwestern college and have been in contact, openly attracted, but not together for 15 yrs. It’s a lot. I liked the characters, a bit more editing would’ve been beneficial, especially in the epilogue.

    M/M alt-Victorian mystery with magic and a romance through-story, ‘Death by Silver’ by Melissa Scott and Amy Bartlett; workmanlike, with fade-to-black love scenes and strange lack of urgency throughout. I mean, some magic dude is killing people, but it’s all very prosaically procedural.

    Re-read my own ‘A Little Turn’ which I still like a lot.

    In nonfiction, ‘How To Be a Victorian,’ by Ruth Goodman, a fascinating dawn-to-dusk look at daily life. Sections concentrate on specific pieces of life – clothes, hygiene, food, jobs, etc – from 1830ish to 1910ish. Really superb resource, eminently readable, recommended to all writers of historical fiction.

    And finally, my other rec of the week, ‘Once Upon a Tome’ by Oliver Darkshire – memoir by a longtime employee of Sotheran’s (est. 1761) rare & antiquarian books in London. Very entertaining.

      1. I second that totally.
        On youtube, there’re very nice documentaries by/ with Goodman too. Highly rnjoyable!

  28. I am reading Witch King by Martha Wells and feeling confused. So many characters, so much jumping from past to present.

    I’m listening to Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld and loving it. Currently the main characters are exchanging emails during the pandemic. Love some falling for each other because of Words.

    1. You’re not alone. The jumping from present to past and back again really started to get to me after a while.

      1. I bought Witch King but now I’m not feeling terribly motivated to read it…

  29. I’m nearly finished Queen’s Play (Dorothy Dunnett, Lymond chronicles. Today hopefully.
    Back from holidays and reading time seemed to vanish!

  30. I had a long drive to an ed tech conference this week so put on Faking It from Audible and it passed very pleasantly. I just bought Maureen Ryan’s Burn it Down and I’m looking forward to diving in although I know it’s going to enrage me. I’ve been reading her reporting for years now so it feels good to support her with a book purchase.

    I got an ARC approval for the new Murderbot, System Collapse, so need to carve out some time to enjoy and review that one. And new Ben Aaronovitch novella!

    It’s going to be a good book summer.

  31. I read and thoroughly enjoyed ‘Six Cloves Under’, by Gin Jones. I now want to roast whole cloves and spread them on toast.
    Last week I read the first 4 or 5 of The Queen’s Thief series, very absorbing. On a wait list for the last two.

    1. Roasted cloves on toast are excellent. Makes all other “garlic” bread pale in comparison 🙂

      And so envious of you reading the Thief series for the first time. I read the first three in one hit and then had to wait for the rest.

  32. Hey y’all, KJ Charles was a guest on the Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast this week! Transcript is up now at smartbitchestrashybooks dot com.

  33. I second Once Upon a Tome! I had left it too long on my “To read” shelf, had just started it when the library gently reminded me it was due and someone else wanted it, so I ended up buying it at the bookstore where I work. It’s very entertaining!
    I’m reading Kim Watt’s Gobbelino London mystery series, told from the POV of the snarky cat. He and his person are PIs that keep getting magical clients and/or sucked into bad magical situations. The second in the series went on too long, but the rest have been fun. I also finished Demon Copperhead, and Kingsolver deserved the Pulitzer- what an incredible book. And I’m rereading Lessons in Chemistry for my book club this week; I keep highlighting parts that make me laugh or make me mad. I desperately want to name a dog Six-Thirty now.

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