157 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 13, 2023

  1. Jenny I do hope your move goes well, and everything settles down immediately. Moving is so horribly disruptive in every way.

    I read Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder, a first novel from Kerryn Mayne, which I really enjoyed. Neurodiverse primary school teacher, with stuff in her past that she’s hiding from herself, tries to get a life.
    Also Kate Quinn’s latest, The Rose Code, which was wonderful. Based around three of the women who worked at Bletchley Park – a thriller with nice chunks of romance mixed in.
    I had one dud – a best-selling fantasy where the protagonist was the most unconvincing cardboard cutout character I’ve read for ages – the story was told in the first person, and I got to the end feeling as if I had no idea who she was. Not sure why I bothered finishing it.
    Now I’m reading Madison Square Murders, which Tammy recommended, and loving it.

          1. That classic situation where someone is really unhappy but doesn’t realise how awful things have become until someone else starts treating them kindly.

  2. Well, I have been reading some Crusies I hadn’t read for a while: Getting rid of Bradley (now are the Bradleys Doppelgängers or not?) and What the lady wants. I’d forgotten how funny Jenny’s alpha males are : opening the West, really ? And I love Mae’s response to that 😀

    I also reread some of my favourite KJ Charles: Proper English, Think of England, Band Sinister and A fashionable Indulgence.

    So a good rereading week for me!

    1. That’s so funny – I reread Think of England this week – must have caught your vibes.

      1. I think it is because Lupe reminded me she is one of my Top 5, I mean, Top 100 last year.
        Think of England is my favourite of favourites but I always have yo reread Proper English first because Pat and Fenella are so delightful.

          1. We caught the Lupe vibes. Next thing you know, we’ll be buying overpriced shoes.

          2. Those shoes would be lovely on a life-size doll, with porcelain or at least highish-quality plastic feet. On a real foot? I’m just saying….

          3. Update: I compromised and got the spiders in purple and the Endora heels in green. I cleaned out my rainy day poshmark cash, but it feels worth it.

            They also have a jazz age line that I covet, but that isn’t on sale. Maybe at Christmas time, after I have had time to list and sell more stuff.

    2. I had to go reread the “opening the west ” sequence after seeing this and now I’m deep into the whole book.

  3. I read R Cooper’s Taji Beyond the Rings. For those of you who liked A Suitable Bodyguard it’s practically identical. Only set in space. For those of you who didn’t like A Suitable Bodyguard – well avoid this.

    I reluctantly read Tal Bauer’s The Jock, despite vowing to avoid his stuff after his attempt to write a hockey book, but my gay BFF decided he wanted to read M/M romance for some reason and when he told me was reading it, I had to join in to be companionable. Actually I liked it, although I can’t follow the football descriptions at all; I desperately wished someone would throw a puck into the mix and I find the writing somewhat over-the-top…and overall I still enjoyed it. May even read the next one, The Quarterback. Football books are not going to be a thing for me though.

    I also read two Annabelle Greene books, both Regency M/M romance, one in her Society of Beasts series, The Servant and the Gentleman, and a novella for The Perdition Club series, A Touch of Steele – both my favourites of what she’s written so far! Particularly enjoyed the novella. Both quite steamy to make up for the fact that I can’t go to the Steamy Lit Con.

    1. Do the Annabelle Greene books need to be read in order or can I skip to the ones you prefer?

      1. Skip. There was some back story in the Beasts one but I couldn’t even remember it and I did fine.

  4. I had a very good reading week, thank heavens because my work and home life are both somewhat in shambles.

    My paperback of Lavender’s Blue is waiting for me for the weekend, when I have time to settle in.

    I’m listening to House of Hopes and Dreams by Trisha Ashley, which is lovely as usual. I forgot that a lot of her protagonists are artists. This one makes stained glass, which I know nothing about, but it still fits the bill for good description of working on making things.

    My ebook is Not All Himbos Wear Capes by C Rochelle. Very very smutty M/M about a super hero and a villain who meet each other’s alter egos on a dating site. I am only a quarter of the way in, but so far am very impressed with how well constructed it is. The villain wants to take care of the hero, who really needs that from someone, plus discovering kinks and trying to hide their identity from each other. It’s really sweet. We will see how the big reveal is navigated.

    And I am anxiously waiting for A Blue Ribbon Romance by CM Nascosta. It’s coming out later this week and is the alternate pov for Morning Glory Milking Farm. I didn’t understand before why authors went back and wrote the book again from the other character’s perspective, but I can’t wait!

    And a ton of library holds came in all at once. I have a buffet of choices.

      1. How come you are reading it already. It’s coming out on 25 July, at least in the UK.
        So jealous!

        1. The print-on-demand paperback is out earlier than the e-reader version.

    1. You had me at very very smutty. So I’ve downloaded that and will try to read it discreetly on the airplane tonight, hoping there isn’t some early-reading four year old sitting beside me. And I too eagerly await Nascosta’s latest tomorrow!

      1. Yay! I am really hopeful about Rochelle. It’s a series and I love a villain protagonist. Of course, it may all go pear shaped in the middle, which is where I seem to have the most trouble, but right now the sex scenes (there are a lot and right from the very beginning) seem very important to the relationship and the plot.

    2. Hope the different shambles will tidy themselves up nicely soon. Sending you lots of strength.

      1. Thanks! Work will do what it wants.

        On the home front, my hubby tried to fix some plumbing for my dad. It didn’t go as planned. Once it is actually fixed and my dad has water again, and I get my car back from the shop, I expect everyone will feel better and calm down. It is all happening at once, you know? And neither of my men folk are good communicators so I get a lot of terse texts and unreturned phone calls.

        And, after seeing everyone’s post here, tension seems to be in the air. The heat, the moon, something.

        1. Ouch. I see where that might bring up some tension, yeah. Hopefully not something a bit of patience and some workmanship can fix. Keeping fingers crossed it’ll all be resolved very soon!

    3. I couldn’t get the Eudora heels to come up in your previous post. Can you repost that link?

          1. Oh that makes sense. I didn’t know what Malibu feathers were, but got engaged in the context, regardless.

  5. I finished Martha Wells “The Witch King”. I enjoyed it, and it reminded me of the flavor of her earlier work. The way things ended, I’m positive there will be more written with these characters.

    I too have the paperback of Lavender’s Blue waiting for me. I’m currently reading the Very Secret Irregular Society of Witches, which has been gentle and kind so far.

      1. I recommended it first, and then several others read it and loved it later, but I’m not sure they read it because of my recommendation.

        But I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

    1. The snark in The Witch King is not quite as good as in Murderbot , but almost.

        1. Yes, me too. Because some of the earlier comments when it came out sounded like it was a bit long and complicated.

          1. It’s complicated, all right. The two time lines seem unnecessary and confusing to me but I was willing to put up with it..

  6. I’m still reading the serial. Book 4 is Almost Finished.

    No title. No author. It starts, ” ‘Lot ninety-seven,’ the auctioneer announced. ‘A boy.’ ” If you’ve read it, you know it. Those five favorites? This would be one of them.

    Just finishing the second novel in Moon’s Heris Serrano. I love her take on Space Opera. I don’t love the editing. When you switch POVs, there should at least be a skipped line, or “* * *,” or something. I’m getting whiplash. I know not where the fault lies. I’d have to get the treeBook and compare, and that’s not happening.

    More Netflix DC superheroes and Gilmore Girls. Rory is now a sophomore at Yale.

    1. Oh that’s quite the teaser! Where do we find this mysterious book with no title nor author? FanFic site?

    2. One of my top-something favorites.

      My tree versions of the Serrano books start out well edited and get worse and worse with the lack of signaling POV changes as the series continues.

      1. My tree versions of the Serrano books start out well edited and get worse and worse with the lack of signaling POV changes as the series continues.

        I suspected as much! I have the ability to go back and insert POV changes myself, but I suspect that’s a copyright violation or some such, even just putting in a blank line. Not to mention a lot of time and effort. Instead, I will grumble and mutter while I read.

      2. In my HTML Library, the books seem to have good POV-change vertical spaces using paragraphs with non-breaking spaces and nothing else. I suspect a lot of those “empty” paragraphs were deleted in the conversion from html to kindle or mobi.

        1. It’s a pretty standard convention to use a line space followed by a full-out first line (rather than an indent) to indicate a text break. Clean and minimalist in a printed book, but easily lost when reformatting (I always have to be careful when I’m copy-editing and formatting the author’s Word file ready for the typesetter).

  7. I’m reading the last in The Galaxy and the Ground Within (last in Becky Chambers Wayfarer series), enjoying it, nearly finished, but my reading time seems to have got swallowed up this week.

    Listening has been better, Arthur Ransome Picts and Martyrs was funnier than i remembered (not surprisingly as it is about 40 years since read it).
    Really enjoyed The Corinthina (Heyer) which i hadn’t read in a while. It’s just a lot of fun.

    Now listening to The Wicked King (Holly Black) as I read the 1st and have the 3rd and found it on Borrowbox. It’s good enough but i’m not a mega fan

    1. I did the same thing. I got the first book in the series and just finished it last night. I think I wrote a review, but the program cut me off. I may have to do it again. Then I moved over to Stacy Abrams murder mystery about the supreme court. It is very good.
      I am thrilled that lavenders blue is waiting for me.

  8. I’m reading Rick Atkinson’s, The Day of Battle, the story of the invasion of Italy during World War II. Also, not reading my pill bottles because who needs that?

  9. Hannah wrote last week: “My favourite Kinsella books are I’ve Got Your Number, My (Not-So) Perfect Life and Can You Keep A Secret?”

    Well, I put all three of those on my hold request list at the library, and so far the first and second have come in. I finished “I’ve got your Number” and it was wonderful! I couldn’t put it down – and since I finished it, I’ve been diving in to some of the turning points to savor them again. Loved the way the female lead was not really in full control of her life, because she was basically too nice, too accommodating.

    The phone problem that was at the center was hilarious! She’s just about to make a phone call on her mobile when some jerk races past and steals it out of her hand and it’s gone. Just gone. The new one she finds, and its connection to other people and events was hysterical – and as before, the secondary characters and their interactions with the lead were almost as good as the main ones.

    This book really made me realize that my favorite characters are always flawed, and struggling to figure out the complicated stuff in their mostly ordinary lives, and I love that. There is a wonderful happy ending, the first real kiss happens only on the last page, and it was a great, great read!! Thank you, Hannah, for the recommendation.

    Next up is “My (Not-So) Perfect Life” which I hope to report on next week.
    Oh, and I’ve requested “The Undomestic Goddess” per JaneB’s suggestion, so thanks as well! Sophie Kinsella — who knew she was hiding in my library with books this good?

    1. I didn’t respond before, but I love Twenties Girl, and the way it turns everything upside down, eventually. The ghost is so stubborn, manipulative, and needy, but ends up helping the protagonist. It’s a glimpse into a time in history that is fascinating, too. I also liked Remember Me? We find out, very slowly, why the protagonist is so driven and ruthless, and what she has forgotten. I tried to read a shopaholic book, but it just didn’t work for me. I think Can You Keep a Secret? is my favorite.

      1. Oh no! Another Kinsella to try to add to my hold list! But thank you, Jan! I am up for it. 🙂

    2. I’m so glad you liked I’ve Got Your Number. I’ve historically been really wary of recommending books because, well, what if people don’t like the books I’ve loved, and then think I’m an idiot for having enjoyed them?

      I have realised that this is stupid. And you and I seem to have very similar taste! I hope you enjoy My (Not-So) Perfect Life and I really look forward to hearing your thoughts.

  10. There is much drama in my world this last week… one niece has left her significant other after 10 years thinking he would change and has moved in with me to get back on her feet. Another niece was pregnant for the first time with twin boys and learned at her regular appt that she had lost one. She went into labor at 31 weeks and delivered them both. The surviving baby is doing great in the NICU.

    SO I needed light fun reading and went for Lyssa Kay Adam’s The Bromance Book Club. It’s the first of a series of a group of men who read romance novels as a way to understand women. It’s got some great dialog and fun moments but an underlying strength as well.

    It did the trick for me!

    1. You have my sympathy. What a lot of drama and sadness in a short period of time. Good news that the baby is doing well.

    2. Sounds like a rough week. Happy to hear you found a book that helped. Sending you a bunch of strength!

    3. That sounds like a tough week. I really enjoyed the Bromance Book Club books and I actually think they get better as they go along – or perhaps I just enjoyed revisiting characters from previous books!

  11. Looking for a book. Can anyone help me with this? The male protagonist is enigmatic and does apparently strange things till we learn that his dog s alerting him to when he will have a seizure so that he can get somewhere safe and lie down.

    I am 92% sure it’s by Jane Ann Krentz but I can’t find it. This lady has written a ton of books! This one would have been in her own name, not one of her pen names. Still can’t find it.

    I finished reading three rather tedious books in a row and am looking forward to something fun. Jenny’s new ones pre-ordered in kindle editions of course. Can’t wait.

    1. The only story I can think of like this is the m/m hockey romance, ‘Like Real People Do’ by E. L. Massey.

  12. “Pack, sort, file, and move–they’re all four-letter words,” as someone I used to know once said in the midst of her own move.
    Best of luck with yours.

  13. Oof! Are they good hallucinations, or bad ones? I hope they’re good, at least.

    I just read a COVID test, and it was negative. I have had a headache and throat issues, and my voice dropped half an octave. Must be a sinus infection. I usually get one in December from the dry furnace-heated air. I guess this is the July furnace-heated air version.

    I was desperate to read, so started Maybe This Time with a magnifying glass. The hardback print is a little bigger than paperbacks. The beginning just grabs me, with Andie’s anger, spiced with her underlying continued attraction to North- “Still playing racquetball”. North’s denial is illustrated so well- “Andiana”, and his fascination with the errant curl. It just gets better, and more Poe-ish, and I can’t wait for all the door-knocking as they start the seance.

    1. Usually they were just so odd that I knew right away I was hallucinating, so they were kind of interesting. Like, where did my mind get that? But the last one was bad, so I went cold turkey on Wellbutrin.

      1. I hoped they were at least interesting. My coworker’s husband’s mother is in the hospital and he was sitting with her in her sixth floor room when she said there was a pink cat outside, and he got up to look before he remembered A) what floor they were on, and B) how many drugs she was on.

        1. My mother had wonderful hallucinations on pain killers, and she told us all about them as if they were real. Even afterward, she still remembered them fondly and recited them to us.

      2. So sorry to hear it. There must be something that would help and not have such awful side effects. I like the Calm gummies that Lazarus makes. CBD, but no THC. I get them online. they are made to strict standards in Portland.

      3. Oh dear, I’m sorry. I hope you can find something that does work for you without the dire side effects. Finding the right thing can be a real journey.

  14. Hope the move will go smoothly so you can ditch the medications and read something more fun than labels.❤️

    Do you remember how I said last week that it was time to wrap my brain in safety, love and chocolate? I love Angela Dawe’s narration of “Maybe This Time” (and everything else she reads), so in an attempt to find something new to read I picked up “Finlay Donovan is Killing It” by Elle Cosimano, which Dawe also narrates. It’s described on Audible as a “wild and funny romp” with “laugh-out-loud-moments”, so I thought: Hey, this sounds like exactly what I need!

    No. It was NOT what I needed. Either I’ve lost my sense of humour completely, or The description promises more than it can keep. OR it was the wrong book at the wrong time, I don’t know. I think I hehe’d ONCE, not one single laugh-out-loud-moment and honestly, I felt a bit betrayed. Instead of make me feel good and give me a bunch of laughs, I felt the MC’s pain of her divorce, the powerlessness in life spinning out of control and the desperation when she tries to make things right again. I’m 100 % ready to put the blame on myself rather than on the book because of everything that’s happened this year, but I still feel like I got something completely different than what I bargained for. Which is not to say it was a bad book, it wasn’t! But it wasn’t right for right now. I did finish it though.

    I’m now in a state of mind where new books feel scary because it feels like I can’t trust them. The unknown, the unpredictability makes me turbo-anxious. Heck, even books I have already read several times suddenly feel intimidating. Bleh.

    So I read “Charlie All Night” again. It didn’t cure me, but it helped me wind down.

    Now reading “Men At Arms” by Terry Pratchett for the gazillionth time. Even when people die in Pratchett’s books it’s not scary, and I know it’ll all be solved at the end. Hoping this will fix me. I don’t want to be scared of reading.

    1. Men at Arms is such a brilliant look at gun theory, along with a fantastic mystery and more Carrot and Vimes and Sybil. I love how Carrot arcs through those books from a simple but honest country boy into this strong, honest, smart, charismatic leader who refuses peer when it’s offered to him because he’s already got enough just being Carrot. Plus Angus. I love those books.

    2. I think that the book blurbs are written by people who have never read the book, which makes them really unreliable. As for rereading, join the club. I’ve noticed that a lot of us on the blog have been doing that lately.

        1. Ain’t that the truth. I’ve had a hard time with new books all year. I should probably avoid picking up something new unless it’s an author I really trust (Jenny, for instance), or unless I feel confident I can handle whatever comes my way. In the meantime I’ll go for safe and stick to rereading.

      1. I know the blurbs for both the Swedish and Dutch talking-book libraries must be written by someone who’s never read the book and just barely skim-read the back-cover, because they are so bad I barely even recognize books I’ve read myself from how they’re described. I thought Audible would be better at this, though.
        Again, it wasn’t a bad book, it just wasn’t really what the description hinted it would be.

        I guess lots of us need comfort right now. Good thing Good Book Thursday and this community exists, so we can get more of that.

    3. generally speaking, if a review or blurb says something is laugh-out-loud funny, or hilarious, I slink quietly away, knowing that *at best* for me it would be a Heh. #Cranky

        1. I think I’ve just been disappointed once too often by writers who present slapstick, insults, and/or incompetence as charmingly funny.

    4. Princess Bride is always a safe bet for anyone who needs comfort, and Robin McKinley’s newer books, Shadows, Chalice, Pegasus, and Sunshine, are great books with some thoughtful themes. Some of her earlier stuff has quite a bit of trauma processing, so it might not be a great fit for right now. She’s writing again 🙂 I also like Lawrence Block’s Hitman series- very much a morally gray character, but unexpectedly funny, I found. Nice for when I need something not too comfy, but distracting.

  15. I read Connie Willis’ new book “The Road to Roswell” which is a first-contact book about a woman going to Roswell, NM to help out with a wedding and winding up meeting a real alien. This is a humorous, yet kind look at people who firmly believe that aliens crash-landed at Roswell. I found this book to be almost as funny as “None But The Dog” which to me is her most hilarious book.

    I also sort of read “In Memoriam” by Alice Winn who used to write as GallaPlacidia at the fan-site Archive Of Our Own. It’s an intense story about 2 gay Englishmen who joined the British Army during World War I (or is it the English Army?). Anyway, it was very hard going, what with people dying left, right and center and, omg, the feelings! Since both prot0ganists didn’t talk to each other, at all, about their feelings. After all, that wouldn’t be British, would it? After about 30% the way through, I couldn’t take it any more so I jumped to the end to see if the heroes survived.

    I re-read “Spell of Catastrophe” by Mayer Alan Brenner after having it pop up at me on Amazon. I haven’t read this book in years, so it was rather nice to rediscover it. It’s still pretty good, lots of action, lots of interesting magic and characters.

    I’m reading “Deepest Darkest”, the 3rd book in the The Oddmire Trilogy by William Ritter. It’s YA series about 2 boys – one of whom is a changeling and the other the human boy who was supposed to be kidnapped in exchange. However, the goblin who attempted the exchange screwed up and left both the changeling and the human boy with the human family. I liked William Ritter’s Jacoby series so since he hasn’t continued that series, I thought I would go with this one, instead.

  16. Life is a dump lately, far too much work, reading loads of stuff for the report I had to finish by today. Including some not-so-informed stuff my colleague wrote in her part of the report on my topics.

    Work-life balance non existent I try to balance it out anyway by reading. I’ve mainly got stuck in excerpts.

    However, I managemd to read only one proper book…
    Pucked Off by Helena Hunting.
    Yes, still reading hockey books.
    When I’m not following trade news on Insta, e.g. watching Looch coo over Pasta’s new baby… Also, what is it with (real life) hockey players so keen on golf? Must be the handling of a stick to swoosh a little thingy over a great or not so great distance…

    Well, Pucked off made me realize that I simply don’t like it when sex is portrayed as completely interchangeable with “love” (very messed up yet beautiful defenseman meets a girl who has a crush on him since she was 12 after an encounter at a party; she’s more or less his salvation from the messed-up toxic relationship with his ex and life in general; most of this “salvation” seems to work through sex though).
    I didn’t hate it, but the psychology didn’t work for me and I really need more of a connection than lust and a fascination with red hair (it’ll go grey eventually, folks).

    I should find the time to read some proper good books – Whit, red, royal blue is waiting in paperback. Must finish it before the film comes out August 11… I couldn’t get into it for quite some time, but with a Taylor as Alex and Nick as Henry… far easier.

    1. The trailer for Red, White and Royal Blue does look cute, doesn’t it? I am also pleased that Amazon is making an m/m romance. Unexpected.

      1. Yes, it does. The two leads are really great. The trailer does tell a bit too much of the story. But it’s great great great that a MM romance makes it to one of the big streaming services. Heartstopper proved that this is possible. White… will be far more steamy, I’d say, so chapeau!

  17. I see your brain chem labels with mine, and raise you probiotic labels because I had to go on antibiotics thanks to the knee.

    It is not fractured (yay!) but the patella tendon took a big knock and it hurts like lightening flashing through the leg.

    In light of my Treasure Island success I started reading Peter Pan and boy, was JM Barrie just… not creative, but a Creator. Not finished yet, but I have hopes. I also started Sandry’s Book which is book 1 of the Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce. I have such important compliance work to to. But I am angry for reasons so it’s either read a novel and watch Th/C/K dramas or say the things you can’t take back. I feel if I painted something it’d have teeth a la Faking It.

    Otherwise I am ok-ish because I keep making myself laugh out loud. I missed me.

    1. I am sending positive energy for your healing and hope that you have at least 2 cold packs in your freezer to help dull the pain until it is better.

    2. You poor thing! Wishing you rapid healing. I’m thinking of heading into a re-read of Tamara Pierce. I love her books.

  18. I’m currently reading “Designing Your Life” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. It’s a good book to think about what version of you, you might want to be and how to move in that direction. It’s very focused on work/job but could be applied elsewhere in life.

    It’s been more than a year since I commented on books I’ve read and I want to share a few really fun ones.

    I recently finished reading “A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder” by Dianne Freeman. It’s a fun cozy mystery set in Victorian England. There’s a bit of romance starting between the protagonist, Frances Wynn – a widow and an American, and her neighbor. I listened to it on Audible and found it to be well read. It is the first in a series.

    “Sanctuary for Seers” by Kathleen Baldwin is the 5th book in a series. I love the whole series. The stories are set in an alternate history around the time of Napoleon. Girls are sent to Stranje House because they don’t fit in with society and their families are looking to get rid of them. Each book is written in first person from the point of view from each of the girls.

    “Hotel of Secrets” by Diana Biller is a delightful romance with a bit of mystery. The women in the family are strong and run a hotel. When I read it from Netgalley, in my review I noted that it reminded me of Agnes and the Hitman but as a historical set in Vienna. I think everyone here would love it!

    Last one, “A Most Agreeable Murder” by Julia Seales. This is another cozy with a touch of paranormal or so is implied. I would describe it as a cross between “Clue” and “The Addams Family.” It’s truly quirky. Yet, there is also an interview done with every major character (the servants aren’t interviewed) that you get to witness. I have high hopes that this will become a series.

  19. I’ve been rereading Dick Francis, the Scholomance books, a very disappointing Kristan Higgins, and a lot of research.

    Jenny, Welbutrin made me halucinate too- horrible stuff. Found out years later that under stress our bodies shed magnesium up to 3x faster than usual, which causes panic attacks, severe anxiety, headaches & muscle cramping.

    Supplements are hard for the body to process, but a serving of nuts/unsweetened dried fruit 3x a day with water can keep levels topped up. I like to add chocolate chips, as little motivational nuggets…

    You’re doing great!

    1. Interesting. I have fibromyalgia, which is known to decrease the body’s ability to absorb magnesium. I also have panic attacks, anxiety, headaches, and muscle cramping. I need to go back to using a topical magnesium spray.

  20. This week I finished Jessie Mihalik’s Capture the Sun. I loved it almost as much as the two previous books (Hunt the Stars? And ?.??) but the large part of the book where the MCs were together but away from the rest of the characters was just not as engaging. Once the team was all together again it held my interest better.

    I also finished my instant reread of Translation State, slowly chewing this time instead of gulping. Loved it more.

    1. Yes, I had the same reaction to the lack of the rest of the team from that comradely spaceship. Just imagine — a spaceship ripping through the universe with a captain who stops captaining to cook breakfast for everybody! Big relief when they got back to the gang again. 🙂

        1. The plot required it, but at first I thought they were off on their own for the whole book and then the message from the captain came through (I just read this! Why can’t I remember these people’s names?) and I went “oh! This is happening at the same time as that other thing” and was reassured.

    1. I’d say old favourites are definitely report-worthy, being favourites and all. Who knows, one or more of them might be just what one of us need to read right now. 🙂 Even better: They might become our favourites, too.

      1. Well, I was bingeing on Anne Bishop’s The Others series. Reread books 1, 2, and 3. and enjoyed them as if it was the first time. I’ll finish the whole series soon.
        And the curious fact is – I resisted those books for a long time. Someone said it was about self-cutting, and I didn’t want to read about that. The first book of the series I finally caved to read was Lake Silence, which was actually #6 in the series. I loved it so much, I went back to the beginning and read them all. It has become one of my all-time favorite urban fantasy series. Pity it is done.

        1. They are compulsive. The thing I can’t quite stomach with Anne Bishop is how much relentless violence is inflicted on women in her books.

          1. I could not read the Tir Alainn series because of that. Couldn’t do it. But I love “Sebastien” and the Others series.

            I used to love Black Jewels series but the neverending sequels broke me. I think I need to re-read the original trilogy plus the next two and leave it there.

  21. Read Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold for the first time. Definitely not the last. Read into the wee hours Monday and Tuesday. Reread starts tonight.

    Helping sorting, etc of my sister’s apartment with niece and family. Always same one throwing a wrench into the mix. Selling things on marketplace in opposition to his mother’s wishes. It has been reported. Lovely favourite sister moved into a good care facility, five minute walk from niece. Boxes of books gone to used book store. Another reason to clear out our home. So many books. So many “what was I thinking?”

    1. And to think that was LMB’s first book… so many delights to come for you, if you haven’t read the rest of the Vorkosigan Saga!

      1. Miles in Love (loved it)
        Shards of Honor (loved it)
        Knife Children #5
        Warrior’s Apprentice

        Just the start…

        1. You have to read Barrayar now as it is the companion novel for Shards of Honor, the other volume really and a brilliant read.

          1. I found four books at the used book store for $12. A very sweet couple own it. Supporting local. Balancing out the purchased new ebooks. Found Barrayar, Borders of Infinity, The Vor Game, Mirror Dance.

            Going to read Barrayar instead of reread of Shards of Honor.

            Plus nephew straightened out. Auntie didn’t even have to give him the stink eye. It’s been a good day.

    2. I love Cordelia’s books. Her other one, one of the latest in the Vorkosigan series, Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen was a delight too, at least for me. I know that some people disliked it. It is not as much science fiction as it is a romance set in a sci-fi environment. With both protagonists older than usual for a romance genre. But for me, it was one of the best in the entire series.

      1. I agree totally. I loved that book. I think it fits well with her overarching interest in biology. Also, it makes you look at Aral completely differently. I think some people couldn’t stomach that but it is completely consistent with Cordelia’s character and Betan culture.

        1. While there are parts I loved, I struggled with the idea that Aral and Cordelia kept this big secret from Miles —seemed very unCordelia and un Betan.

          1. I think Miles was very busy and very oblivious where his parents re concerned and not on the same world.

        2. There’s a fanfic on AO3, written before “Gentleman Jole & The Red Queen” was published, that posits Cordelia/Aral/Jole that just works for me. It’s “The World That You Need” by Dira Sudis.

  22. I read Nora Roberts’ Dragonheart trilogy. Glad I borrowed them from the library. She’s stretched one book’s worth of story across three. And I’m also fed up with how books have been physically inflated over the years: the ridiculously huge hardbacks were really hard on my wrists. I pulled out a 1960s Georgette Heyer hardback, and it’s a fraction of the size and weight (plus the story moves a lot faster!). It’s the same in paperback in the UK: first literary fiction was published in trade paperback rather than mass market paperback size in the 1980s, and then genre fiction followed suit – it felt like a bid for more status. So now almost every book is uncomfortable to read.

    End of rant. I’m now unwinding with a reread of A. J. Demas’s Sword Dance on my rebooted Kindle.

    1. Mass market paperbacks are my favorite format. They are small and light. There was talk online about publishers discarding mass market because they are cheap. And no indi writer prints mass market on-demand, only trade. I guess it is a matter of pricing, but it is upsetting.

      1. The upside of trade is that it works better on a book-stand. My mother’s arthritis has got to the point that her wrists can’t cope with even a paperback (and she doesn’t like e-readers or audio). So I got her a book stand that she uses on a lap-desk, but standard paperbacks don’t have the weight to keep themselves open so ironically we’re re-purchasing all her favorites (mostly Heyer, Sayers & Anne Perry) in trade or hardback.

  23. I reread Trust Me on This (I needed a comfort read on the plane and it was perfect), and read Murder Off the Books, the 3rd in a fun cozy mystery series about a writer and her teen daughter in a funky town, by Tamara Berry. Highly recommend.

  24. Tons of good books are out right now and we’re busy turning our 2nd master suite into a mini apartment for young adult kids (it has a separate exterior entrance and interior door that closes it off from the rest of the house, ideal) so I’m short on reading time right when I most want to be reading. BUT. I did manage to plow through The Only Purple House in Town by Ann Aguirre and I loved loved loved it, it was a warm cozy found family hug and hilariously also about converting your house to house more people, real synchronicity moment there.

  25. I take Wellbutrin also but do not experience any hallucinations. Unless that proboscis monkey living in my downstairs bathroom is not real.
    Effexor is much better for anxiety but it’s a longterm commitment. Hard to get off.

  26. Binged Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver. Very good. I particularly liked the audio for Spinning Silver. Followed that up with T Kingfisher’s Swordheart. Satisfying. Re-read To Say Nothing of the Dog (for the umpteenth time) while on vacation – it’s great for summer porch reading. I still laugh everytime over the seance, “ABCDEFGHIJKLMNO…clack!!” I’ve never read the other Oxford time travel novels by Willis but doubt they could match this one!

    1. I just started The Geomancer’s Apprentice by Yin Leong and it seems delightful.

      I just halved my Wellbutrin dosage on the off chance it’s contributing to my new, not delightful inability to metabolize histamine, and I felt like garbage during the transition—I hope it went better for you!

  27. It’s too hot to go anywhere near the den, so I’m staying here at the computer following my actually-quite-easy day of Day Job (yesterday was not easy and was 1.75 extra hours long, so it all evens out) to write you a long-ass essay about books.

    First, has anyone fallen for those omnibus editions where it’s the ‘complete works’ or whatever for 1.99 and then you open it and it’s so huge you just want to die because what you want is the satisfaction of *finishing a book*? [raises hand] Anyway, I’ve been in the decluttering mode on my two e-readers, removing downloads for things that I ambitiously bought (mostly on sale) but have no burning desire to actually read, winnowing down the contents to things I *do* actually want to read, like within the next year. Prioritizing the collections of books about WWI (research) and the Regency (research), I made it to the thing called BYRON, opened it, realized it was a Complete Works, uttered an expletive, and removed the download. Later for you, Byron; it’s not like you’re going anywhere.

    Okay, recent reading. Includes a lot of my own stuff, for Reasons. Also a lot of shorts, for mostly the same Reasons (chiefly: resting my brain).

    Book I really was not expecting much from but was unexpectedly very impressed by, to the point of pre-ordering the sequel: ‘Imperfect Illusions,’ by Vanora Lawless. It’s WWI, M/M, with magic. If you loved KJ Charles’ Green Men books and want more like that, I urge you to try this one.

    Another unexpected pleasure: ‘The Old Razzle-Dazzle,’ by Will Forrest. Victorian M/M with story-in-story as told by 63 yr old playwright / theater impresario to his new, young, innocent tenor, while said tenor is dealing with awful life realities and also realizing he’s in love with his neighbor. This book does the near-impossible, i.e. give a main character (the young man) a sincere religious faith without ever sermonizing or letting religion interfere with the story. It’s simply part of how he sees the world. Also believes his god wants him to have love, even in the socially-disapproved form. I immediately bought several more titles from this author.

    Then I guaranteed that I will be buying and reading all 11 ‘Tyack & Frayne’ M/M mysteries by Harper Fox, because the first two were bloody good.

    Final rec, another M/M historical, this one a Regency novelette: ‘Shore Leave,’ by Ellie Thomas, set mostly in Bath and featuring a minor aristocrat and a gentry Naval officer. Good pacing, good setup, genuine sense of attraction, good sense of place, actual reasons for them to like each other, respectful approach, credible future. I call all that out because it was noteworthy after half-a-dozen books that did not deliver all those things. The only mild eyeroll was the country manor house with 2 indoor servants. Yeah, Regency manor houses did not run that way.

    Stay cool, y’all.

    1. I love the Tyack and Frayne books! Thanks for reminding me about them–think it’s time for a re-read. Harper Fox is an amazing writer.

  28. Possibly the most wonderful side effect of four weeks off with a spotty internet connection (Scottish islands and highlands) was that I calmed down enough to read a paper book all the way through. I feel like I haven’t managed that since the start of the pandemic, relying on audiobooks and highly skimmable smutty ebooks for my fiction fix. Hopefully this signals a turning point, because I have three years worth of borrowed paper books to get through and return to their rightful shelves!

  29. I have tried,unsuccessfully, to post this for 2 weeks so some of the details are beginning to fade for me,but the book I’ve enjoyed most lately has been Ruby Spencer’s Whiskey Year by Rochelle Billow. A NY food writer quits her job to write a cookbook, only to have her proposal rejected. She rents a cottage in a very small village in Scotland to create a better proposal and finds that if she wants a bath or breakfast, she has to go over to the now foundering pub. She then bonds with the woman who runs it and hangs out with the local handyman.Together they figure out a way to help the pub revitalize itself and compete with the hotel that is bringing tourists into town without losing itself to corporate facelessness. In the process, Ruby falls in love, a father and the son he abandoned reunite, a handyman finds his calling and the whole village unites. I loved it.

    1. Whiskey is spelled Whisky (which makes sense, since that’s the Scottish spelling), and the author’s surname is Bilow. (It took me several goes to find the title on Amazon UK.)

      1. My library has it and all I had to type into the search field was Rochelle B and it popped right up. On hold now.

        1. (Which just proves that Amazon has not hired enough librarians–or is not listening to the ones it has.)

    2. This book sounds really fun, aunt snack! Alas, my library doesn’t have it, but I’m going to check in the area-wide library system for it. Thanks for the recommendation!

  30. I read An Illusion of Thieve, Cate Glass, first book in a series, and will continue with the second. Good world building, complex characters, found family, a little magic. I’ve started Linesman, which looks like a satisfying space opera. Just in, but the writing is good. I listened to Everything was Possible, a memoir about putting on the musical Follies. The writer started his theater career as a production assistant for the show, and is now a producer and was the president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, so he has the long view.

  31. I’d intended to re-read some old favourites this week thanks to a run of fairly disappointing books, but changed my mind and decided to persevere with new ones.

    I read Coming Home to Deep River by Jackie Ashenden which was mildly disappointing. I can’t really put my finger on why although I suspect I might have read it too quickly. I got confused as to the main characters’ motivations and thought they kept changing their minds, but in retrospect I think the book was boring me so I skim-read chunks, which probably explains it. Or, it was genuinely confusing! Who can say. I may, however, read the second book in the series as the main female character is a snarky librarian, and that’s my life goal.

    I then, finally, read an excellent book. It was an impulse choice from the library where I liked the cover, thought the back blurb made it sound intriguing, so picked it up and am glad that I did. The book was Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander, and is about a woman who hasn’t left her house in over a thousand days following a traumatic event. It’s been compared to both Eleanor Oliphant Is Perfectly Fine and The Cactus, and I would agree but with the caveat that I found Meredith a much more sympathetic character than the protagonists in the other two books. The ending didn’t wrap everything up entirely, which felt realistic and not a disappointment at all. I’d recommend reading it for sure.

    I’ve just started If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern which I borrowed from a friend. I’ve only read a few pages so far so judgement is reserved until next week.

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