131 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, July 20, 2023

  1. Jenny, I’m reading Joanna Trollope’s A VILLAGE AFFAIR. Her writing is spectacular. But I’m writing to tell you I thought of you a few days ago when I saw The Turn of the Screw opera in Brevard, NC. They have a summer-long musical festival there.

    Have you seen it? The whole opera was written around twelve musical tones, so the players sound like monks singing the lines of a script in an abbey. It was so unusual and compelling. The whole time I was thinking, I wish Jenny were here to see this!

    So of course I shared MAYBE THIS TIME’s information with the staff at Brevard Music Center, which runs the festival.

    I hope you’re well, and I’m so glad you and Bob are working together again. xoxo

    1. Kieran, how great to hear from you! Nope, haven’t seen anything but packing boxes here for awhile, but I’ll look into it. Thank you.

      1. Jenny, I feel such a strong sense of poignancy being here again…time has gone so fast. I was a mom with three kids at home when I started being inspired by you and dreaming of my own books, and now I’m an empty nester.

        We share the same birthday. I’ll be 60 this September 17th. A big year. You and Krissy have been such an inspiration to me over the years. I’m looking forward to the new decade in part because of you two. This is odd, but the nickname given to me by my wiseass father long before I got a Nora Ephron neck is Krone. I embrace it.

        I’m so happy for you that you’re having an exciting move. Please send Mollie my very best, and godspeed. xoxo

  2. Shane and the Hitwoman is quite good.

    and that Lavender’s Blue book – it should be on TV as the new Schitt’s Creek.

  3. Have you got the new Rivers of London novella? Very good on small town American gothic (says the Englishwoman).

  4. I have been listening to the Will Darling books by KJ Charles. Honestly, I don’t remember the third one at all. I know I read it but the plot has flown from my mind. There is some really lovely emotional relationship work that they do in that book.

    And Blue Ribbon Romance by CM Nascosta is fun. I don’t think that I love it the way I love Morning Glory Milking Farm, but that may be because of the lack of surprise. That book was so much more than I was expecting. Still, I really like Rourke’s pov. And it’s all just emotions, not much plot, which is exactly what I need right now.

    1. Lupe, I read Blue Ribbon Romance and thought it was just as fun as the original! In some ways, it was even more fun. I really do love her writing.

      1. I love her writing too. It may just be my mindset then. I am reading it in small chunks before bed.

    2. I also read the Villainous Things Book I – it didn’t go pear shaped in the middle but it ran out of steam and steaminess. What did you think?

      1. I didn’t finish it, (she hides her head in shame). It’s on hold until after Blue Ribbon. Hopefully I can finish it before my digital copy of Lavender comes through, or it will get bumped again.

    3. I am on a big KJ Charles reread too while I wait for Lavender’s Blue to drop on my kindle.
      I am enjoying working my way through the Sins of the cities trilogy. I especially like the first one. Clem and Rowley are just lovely together. Usually, you get one cinnamon roll in a romance but here you get two (for the price of one) 😀

      1. Also I forgot to say I reread a favourite YA of mine, My Life Next door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and I discovered with great sadness that the author died last year.
        It is a bit of a shock when someone whose books you love dies as you feel that they are someone you somehow know.

        1. My Life Next Door is one of my favourite YA books too, I was so sad to hear that Huntley Fitzpatrick had passed away. You’ve hit the nail on the head – I felt as if I knew her thanks to her books.

  5. I listened to The Wizard’s Butler – thank you for whoever recommended this and I don’t recall who that was but please wave and be acknowledged – really enjoyed it. It’s not much about wizardy, there’s hardly any magic at all, and the pixies’ activities are lightly felt but never seen. No romance or sex. Mostly this book is an interesting form of competence porn – experts in various fields teaching the MC to become a butler. My favourite was the chapter where he gets outfitted for the role. Even the chapter about installing WiFi was (oddly) interesting. Lupe, when you’re in the mode of wanting a book about nothing, I believe you’d enjoy this. Like biting into an apple, kind of boring, but crisp and juicy.

    I also listened to In Calabria, a novella about a farmer who finds a unicorn in his field. Again, thank you for who recommended this; again, I can’t remember. A delightful read.

    Plus I confess I read the sequel to Tal Bauer’s The Jock, which is The Quarterback. Again, surprisingly enjoyable – and now I’m done with football.

    1. Could you please give the author’s names for The Wizard’s Butler and In Calabria? Thanks! I am just writing these down on index cards, for now, until I get back to reading again.

      1. Calabria is Peter S. Beagle of Last Unicorn fame. Which I also love, but it is bittersweet. Tamsin, by same is also excellent.

        1. Thanks! I think I wrote this down before, but I can’t find it, right now.

    2. I think I recommended The Wizard’s Butler, by Nathan Lowell, here first, at least the written version. A bunch of others recommended it later also, although I don’t know if they were inspired to read it by my recommendation or not.

  6. On my Sophie Kinsella pilgrimage — thank you, Hannah! — I finished “My (Not-so) Perfect Life” which I liked very much. It was a very skilled take on the conflict between the slick, unemotional facades we build up for high-pressure urban jobs and the un-phony genuine selves that we have to push down in order to get that slick.

    It was sad and familiar to read about the tiny, expensive, uncomfortable apartment lives we agree to live when we take a first job in a distant city. Sleeping in a hammock in the laundry room of a shared flat; eating oatmeal and taking sandwiches to work to save food money, up against the competition of well-to-do well-dressed colleagues in your marked-down bargain work clothing trying to win the approval of a posh, wealthy boss? …. been there, done that.

    But the FMC has another life back at home in a rural area, and when the posh boss shows up there and fails to recognize you in your unshorn normal self, wearing overalls and work boots, the self-recognition begins to percolate in both of them. This was another lovely book that I’ll be glad to read again. 🙂

    Next up from the library: The Undomestic Goddess, then Can You Keep A Secret?

  7. Best: reread Lavender’s Blue.

    Very Good: Last October I lost my new copy of Bruno’s Challenge and other stories, a collection by Martin Walker. This month I finally gave in and bought another copy. I’m savoring story by story.

    Putting together puzzle: I saw a terrific production of “Candide,” an opera by Leonard Bernstein (and a million others) which is based on Voltaire’s novel. The opera I saw was unlike the LP-then-CD I’ve listened to for years. So, I’m rereading the novel to figure out what existed by Voltaire so I can figure out what Bernstein did, then how the opera was changed further by the time I saw it.

    The novel “Candide” is a satire, so I’m not feeling warm and cuddly about it.

  8. I enjoyed my reread if A. J. Demas’s Sword Dance trilogy. I think this is my third reading, and it’s more enjoyable now: there were an awful lot of characters to keep up with on a first reading.

    1. You inspired me last time to reread the trilogy – have made it through the first two again, thank you.

  9. I started listening to “Take Control of Your Life” by Mel Robbins. Only an 97 minutes into it, but I’m liking it. I’m hoping/trusting that she spent time talking with these people or getting more information from them than just the interview shared in the book.

    I got my copy of Lavender’s Blue and will begin reading it this weekend. I’m afraid if I start it now, I’ll stop doing everything else.

  10. I’m reading Kristan Higgins’ new one, A Little Ray of Sunshine. I have to confess, I am feeling a little meh about it. Not so meh I’m not going to finish (even though I’m going to have to pay a late fee at the library because I got the book right before I left for vacation), but there is something about it that just isn’t hitting me the way the author intends. Might be me. It’s all about adoption, and I don’t have any personal issues with that. There is one character I really hate (you’re supposed to) and I dislike the sections of the book from her POV.

    1. I had a similar experience with the most recent Lady Sherlock (Tempest on the Sea) — a good chunk of it isn’t exactly in a hated character’s POV, but he’s got the majority of the dialogue for long stretches, so especially in the audiobook, it sort of feels like he’s the POV character, and every word he spoke just grated on me, making it a bit of a slog.

      I mean, it takes real authorial skill to make a reader hate a character as much as I hate this one, but still, not sure I want to re-read/listen to this one as much as I’ve done with the others.

    2. Good to know. I normally really enjoy Kristan Higgins’ books, but I did not much care for her last one, “Out of the Clear Blue Sky,” and I believe I will skip this one, too, based on your comment. Thanks!

      1. I liked thus book but it was not my top KH. Interesting premise but the execution was a bit heavy-handed. The main character was almost too-good-to-be-true and other key characters were angrily selfish.

  11. Not sure I mentioned this in the last good book thread as life is a blur but Ann Aguirre’s The Only Purple House in Town is a gem of a found family comfort read, linked to the Fix It Witches series but stands alone fine. Then I read The Hero and The Crown by Robin McKinley because it’s a great story about the superpower of stupidly not giving up and thus overcoming impossible odds plus romance and a Very Good Horse. After which I read Precise Oaths because somebody recommended it and it is a story about finding friends and being brave. I predict if the series goes on it is also found family and romance but the romance is really only hinted at in this book. Next up I have Cat Sebastian’s Hither Page and The Missing Page because the premise, man.

    1. Oh I love The Hero and the Crown so much. Only equalled by my love of The Blue Sword. Time for a reread! Those early books of Robin McKinley’s are so good.

      1. The early ones are fabulous, and I own them all. But the last ones were awful, and I stopped reading her.
        Off subject. Has anyone read Dalemhach?
        I loved House Witch with the exception of -this is the worst character-naming I’ve ever seen. I’m still reading the books in the series. The story is so interesting and I really love it but the names! You’ve got to be kidding me.

  12. A slow week for me. That Serial is up to Chapter 131 out of an anticipated 158. High school is drawing to a close. The last 25 chapters will likely describe the post H.S. pre-college road trip in a rented RV towing a small car. Then we move on into Book 5.

    I’m also rereading Book 1. (Variation on a Theme by “Grey Wolf”)

    The new book I’m enjoying? “THE MEMORY OF the look on Baba’s face kept Liam going through the long day that followed.” Blake, Deborah. Wickedly Dangerous (Baba Yaga Book 1) (p. 176). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

      1. My eyes are old. I added the audiobook from Audible, and now I’m listening to it at 1.2 speed and following along in the Kindle ap.

  13. Very slow reading week for me (thanks to the day job), so I only finished one book, one that was charming but felt like a very small glimpse into a bigger story. Which I didn’t get.
    Now I’ve got a ton of reading samples on my smartphone and some KU titles that wait patiently to be read.
    What I’m reading at the moment is the new title by Eden Finley and Saxon James Up in Flames. Almost no hockey in this one 😉 (one colleague of the firefighter MC is in a relationship with a hockey player = the MCs of Puckyboy no. 4), but as I love the Seattle Kraken (Grubi, their goalie comes from a nearby town and looks like it ;-)), so Seattle is on the map for me.
    The book explores subtle emotional abuse and how to first of all realize that it’s done and second, how to overcome the effects for the next relationship to work. I like both MCs and I’m curious about the big crisis: since the evil ex is about to explode I take it it’ll be some fire crisis (see title), especially since the firefighter MC has past traume about losing a loved one in a house fire…
    The books by this author team are solid fare. As life is too exhausting right now, my books can be solid simple treats.

      1. It’s not meant to be a hockey book, Tammy. One side character just happens to be a hockey player 😀

        1. But that’s cheating! I think when an author does that they’re trying to capitalize on the current popularity of hockey books without actually including hockey.

  14. I did no reading, but today is the day I find out when I’ll be able to read again, from the Optometrist. She postponed it a day. I get these appointments that require dilation at the end of the day, because it takes my eyes a looong time to recover from it. If it is done early, my whole day is ruined. Evidently, she didn’t want to stay late (3:15 is late?) yesterday, even though the appointment was made weeks ago. I’m used to waiting, now….

      1. Jan, I hope I never need cataract surgery based on your experience. Most people I know had no problems, but that’s only one side of the picture (that you can’t see very well if you have cataracts or your surgery wasn’t so immediately successful).

        Take care!

  15. I don’t have a review as I’ve just started to read The Housekeepers by Alex Hay. I’m only in the first chapters with the story’s concept about a housekeeper who has been fired and sets out to rob the new owner of the house during a ball. It takes place in 1905 London. Mrs. King, the housekeeper was sacked because she was seen coming out of another servant’s room. She is just beginning to gather the cronies that will help with the heist and should learn what their stories are. One review I read likened it to Downton Abbey meets Ocean Eleven.

  16. I’ve been reading the John McLeish/Francesca Wilson murder mystery series, which is also a long running romance series. It’s not for everyone: at one point, both members of the romance have other relationships while ‘on a break’ and at another, the heroine has a one night stand with another man, but I really enjoy the way it consistently handles infidelity: as something that is not necessarily the end, and they are pure competence porn.

  17. I read volume 2 of Nathan Lowell’s new Solar Clipper trilogy about the SC Marva Collins. The first one was School Daze and this one is titled Working Class. If you have read and liked the previous books in the series (Trader’s Tales from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper, Quarter Share, etc.) and it’s companion trilogy (Smuggler’s Tales from the Golden Age of the Solar Clipper), those characters are now together in this new trilogy, and in book 2 they head out from the Academy with a crew full of extremely green cadets taking a gap year as quarter share crew, many of whom don’t actually believe the Toe-Hold stations actually exist. Hijinks ensue.

    I also read The Secrets of Wycliffe Manor by Patricia Rice. A standalone regency romance that’s very enjoyable about a wounded army surveyor who discovers that he has inherited a decrepit manor house in the middle of nowhere but not exactly. And his attempts to gather the real heirs together only leads to mysterious corpses, evil bankers, and a search for a hidden fortune in jewels.

    1. That latter one sounds really good, GaryH — but in the former group, what exactly is a Solar Clipper? Is that some kind of Sci-Fi Solar powered interstellar vehicle or something? Or something else that I don’t understand? (There’s a lot of the latter, by the way… 🙂

      1. Yes, you’re right – solar clippers are the space equivalent of ships in the clipper trade on old earth. Read: merchant class, often with a triangle trade route. They are the main setting of all the Nathan Lowell Sci-Fi’s. This latest series would, I believe, be better read as three installments of one novel (after the 3rd part is published) and it might help to have read one of the other series first. But I still love the characters and calm tone; Ishmael Wang is a character you want to know IRL.

  18. I read The Bodyguard by Katherine Center. Yes, same plot as usual Bodyguard stuff, but it was really fun. I really like that author. I also read The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn, a slightly fictionalized story of a famous Russian sniper in WW2. Also highly recommend.

  19. I read Jilly Woods Seeds of Power and Seeds of Exile and am currently reading Seeds of Destiny.

      1. Jilly, yes I liked them but I have to admit I was left wondering what happened to the third brother. Is there, by any chance, a story coming about him?

  20. There must be a book, and my name is in it. Everyone claiming to represent firefighters, local police, state police, veterans, and so on and so forth calls me for a $20 donation to their non-tax-exempt cause. And frankly, they all sound like the same guy. “Hello, Gary?”

    I have donated to the red cross, the heart fund, Navy Relief Society, and others. They are all legitimate charities with oversight. All these other calls, I choose to regard as scams.

    That’s all. I got my curmudge on and had to share.

    1. Just forward their number to one of those youtubers that mess with scammers, they’re always looking for new material . Then block them

    2. Ooh, I really hate those fake-charity (or fake-public-servant-supporting) calls. Next time I’m looking for a good bad guy, I’ll remember this!

    3. AARP says I’ve been dealing with a robot. They described my experience perfectly, including how it ignores “No!” and continues the pitch. Now I hang up and block the number, but they have devices that let them use other numbers and spoof caller ID.

      1. Gary, I refuse to donate to phone requests. I choose charities that I know are genuine and donate to those. If someone asks me for a donation that I am not sure of, I just politely tell them I have already chosen my charities and hang up.

        1. I had not thought about it but it has been years since I’ve had a charity call. I used to say (truthfully) “I never give over the phone.” Not even to my college which I have given something to every year since 1975. I guess they all eventually believed me.

  21. I’ve started Tropical Issue, Dorothy Dunnett (also called Bird of Paradise). It’s a light mystery, so far pretty funny. I love the Lymond chronicles which are much heavier historical fiction. But she was good at this too (so far anyway).

    Only complaint is that though I’m 50 pages in and no murder they have named the victim on the back cover which is a spoiler for me, I’d been enjoying speculating who it might be. Not the author’s fault of course, and another reminder to me to be careful reading the blurb when I’m about to read/reading a book.

    On audio just finished The Wicked King, Holly Black, Folk of the Air. I was a bit lukewarm last week but ended up really enjoying it and am looking forward to the last one.

    1. I’m so happy to read this! I love the Lymond Chronicles (Niccolo series not so much) but have never read any of Dorothy Dunnett’s mysteries because back in the day I couldn’t find them as e-books and I don’t read fiction in paperback any more.

      I just checked on Amazon, and ta-da! all the mysteries are in the kindle store. And next week I have time to read. So when I’m done with Lavender’s Blue, it will be all Dorothy, all week. I’m not much of a mystery reader so I don’t care if they name the victim, or the murder happens half way through the book, or not at all. I just love Dorothy Dunnet’s voice.

      1. I don’t like the Dolly books as much as Lymond and Niccolo. I think her voice works better for historical than contemporary – but she’s still incapable of writing a bad book!

  22. Amanda Quick’s The Bride Wore White was her latest release. It wasn’t as good as I wanted. On the one hand, I love this author and always compare her new books with her old, beloved ones. Sometimes, the new books don’t deliver to expectations. That was the case with this book. On the other hand, if I compared this novel to a glut of mediocre novels of the same genre but by other writers, this one would definitely be the winner.
    Considering that this book is advertised as a romantic thriller, only half of the genre worked. The thriller part is certainly prominent. The tension is high, the pacing furious, and the villains powerful – the worthy antagonists to our heroes. The plot is packed with action, and the mounting danger to the hero and the heroine kept me at the edge of my seat.
    But the romantic part is weak and undeveloped. There is no chemistry between the protagonists, and their sexual interludes come seemingly out of nowhere. And the characters themselves are flat and bland, beige cardboard cutouts instead of living persons. There is no depth to them and no colors.
    Overall, I read this story exclusively for the plot.
    Amanda Quick’s Ravished was part of my Amanda Quick reread project. This old novel (published first in 1992) was delightful: a quick and fun read. It was a historical romantic thriller too, and it worked on all levels: the characters, the plot, the adventures, the tension. Everything was as it should be. Yummy.

  23. I was grateful this week to have good books to read. My sister had a stroke while we were traveling together, and books helped while away the time waiting in the hospital, and alleviated some of the stress of disrupted travel plans and worry over her health. (She’s home again and doing okay, whew!)

    I particularly enjoyed “Just A Regular Boy” by Cathryne Ryan Hyde. Main characters are a boy named Remy, whose survivalist father has taken him to a remote wilderness cabin, and Anne, who becomes Remy’s foster mom after Remy has been trying to survive alone after his dad’s death.

    Also enjoyed escape reading “Salvage Right” by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller , part of the Liaden universe space opera. Not sure how enjoyable it would be if you have not read other books in the series, as it may be incomprehensible without the background world building and character arcs. But personally I loved catching up with the characters.

    And like Gary, I also enjoyed “Marva Collins – School Days” by Nathan Lowell. Easy read, but probably mostly enjoyable by those who enjoyed previous books in the series.

      1. Alison, It sounds like you have quite a tale to tell about traveling and taking care of everything when your sister suffered a stroke. Glad to know that you have books to sustain you while other stuff goes crazy.

  24. If you’ve read any of the Liaden Universe books by Lee and Miller, their latest is one of the best they’ve written, imho. Salvage Right came out in early July and is a hope and healing sort of book. It also wraps up some lingering plot lines from Neogenesis. I wouldn’t advise starting it there, but the website offers several entry points for new readers. Huge respect for these authors as this is book 28, I think, in their universe. https://korval.com/publication-list/correct-reading-order/

    People who enjoy romance, family dynamics, comedy of manners, and space opera will love this series.

    I’m currently reading The Bodyguard by Katherine Center and Capture the Sun by Jesse Mihalik. Enjoying both!

    1. Oh goodness, I didn’t see Alison’s post right above mine when I posted. We must have come in at the same time with the same book.

      Too funny.

    2. My library does not yet have Salvage Right. I will go and poke them again. (I did before the release but so far nothing.)

  25. One of the things I really like about the Liaden Universe is that they all eat mostly cheese, vegetable and fruit.

    1. Reading my comment, I realise it doesn’t make much sense.
      What I mean is that there is a huge enjoyment of food which is unusual in an sf novel and that weirdly it’s mostly cheese, which to me adds a peculiar sense of being in a different culture.
      There is a whole thing in the Theo Waitley early books about toasted cheese which I always enjoy.

      1. Also wine! I can get with a culture that’s all about wine, cheese, and fruit for comfort food. Clan Korval does seem largely vegetarian but ham and cheese, meat rolls are in my memory. Also pizza when Aelianna gets her jump license. Can you tell I love these books? 😂

        1. My feeling is that Liaden culture is vegetarian while Earth has meat.
          Yes the pizza experience is very funny. If I remember well, in that distant future, it’s called pezo or pescha? Something like that…

  26. Finally started (and read) the first three books of Skyward by Brandon Sanderson. Loved the first two, more meh on the third, eagerly anticipating the fourth.

    Read all three DFZ books by Rachel Aaron on Kindle Unlimited- futuristic magic and dragons and all that. Tons of fun.

    This morning, FINALLY started Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire. I love her other books, but have never read any of October Daye. That ends now.

      1. That sounds very tempting. I have a hit list and everything. But alas, I never learned to tap dance.

      1. They just dropped a pink collection for the Barbie movie. Pink is not always my color, but… My poor bank account. Maybe it’s time to turn to a life of crime.

        1. OPI has Barbie nail polish. I just ordered two of them. And a bright pink coat from Nordstrom’s. I am so not a bright pink kind of woman, but I’m moving to a new state, I can be anything I want. Also that movie just fascinates me. I have to get Krissie to PA so we can watch it together. I don’t think Bob is going to want to go.

    1. They are so gorgeous. I went to the site, but I have very wide feet and they aren’t sized for me.

  27. Spurred on by a previous discussion here of which Rachel Gibson hockey book was my favorite, I reread “Nothing But Trouble”. It was cute and I certainly appreciated a MC who said that the size of a woman’s breasts was nobody’s business but her own, but I still prefer “See Jane Score”. I think that I am more interested in watching an ordinary looking woman find what she is good at professionally and then figure out how to do it than to watch a starlet get stuck in slasher flicks. And there was more about the other players’ personalities instead of just mentioning the fact that they had stuck with Mark after his accident.So although I enjoyed the reread, I was glad that I could get it from the library rather than buying it.

    What I did buy was “Worth Any Price” an older title by Lisa Kleypas. It is part of her Bow Street Runners series. A middle class family living well beyond their means betroths their daughter to a horrid much older rich man who then decrees all the specifics of her upbringing. At age 18 she runs away and gets a job as a companion to an elderly noblewoman who doesn’t leave her country estate and hides on her country estate for 3 years. The older fiance hires a Bow Street Runner to find her and after watching her for so long he can’t bear to hand her off to such a horrid person. Where they go from there is the second half of the book, which I have yet to read.

  28. Preparing to possibly meet author Anita Kelly at the Steamy Lit Con, I read two of her novellas and ‘Love & Other Disasters.’ All good.

    In non-fiction, ‘Georgette Heyer’s Regency World’ by Jennifer Kloester. A very readable survey using events or people in Heyer’s books as entry points to real stuff. Limited by its premise but nonetheless a good resource.

    Excellent M/M Regency romantic suspense a la ‘Any Old Diamonds’ by KJ Charles (if you liked that one, you’ll like this one): ‘An Inconvenient Earl’ by Will Forrest. Confess to a wince at repeated substitution of ‘discrete’ for ‘discreet’ but the book itself was very satisfying. Features a main character with what would now be diagnosed as severe dyslexia, who has suffered as a consequence.

    Read L.A. Witt’s new M/M foodie road-tripper ‘Deep Dish,’ which I liked with reservations, then re-read Layla Reyne’s M/M foodie road-tripper ‘Dine With Me,’ which I love without reservations.

    Read four more of the Tyack & Frayne mysteries by Harper Fox. Love ’em.

    Finally, ‘The Pearl’ by Robin Knight, which was unlike anything else of his that I’ve read. I really liked it. A coming-of-age story with M/M friends-to-lovers interrupted by university then reunited amidst Real Dramatic Shit Happening. Action & adventure, frightening scrubfire, danger of many kinds. But it’s a romance novel so happy ending, whew. Strong sense of place (largely set in and near Darwin, a part of Australia I haven’t seen much in romance novels) and realistic emotional development by the POV character.

  29. I read and loved Lavender’s Blue by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. Will probably reread when it drops on my Kindle.
    Eagerly waiting for Book 2 &3 in the Liz Danger series.

    I am seriously considering a major move to Kobo. Amazon is messing with one of my daughters favorite authors. Cate Wells is an established self publisher with a large # of books and fans who are loyal to her books.

    Amazon is accusing her of ‘fraudulent reviews’ for a book, Tyrant Alpha’s Rejected Mate, that is several years old and has sold thousands of copies already.

    I am so tired of Amazons ridiculous attempts at policing who likes what and how they express it.

      1. Cate Wells offered info she just got. It wasn’t just her, it was several authors and it was all a big mistake on the part of amz bots.
        Not really giving me warm fuzzies towards amz.

  30. I’m reading Mary Balogh’s Westcott series. Up to #4 and waiting for the rest to become available from the library. I’ve seen her name mentioned on many Thursday’s but she flew under my reading radar until now. Not only is she prolific but she’s a fellow Canadian. So far, I liked the first book in the series the best but her characters are well-written and I like that she includes characters and details about people of other classes, besides the rich and titled.

    I also read The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont. Not to be confused with The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Both are about Agatha Christie’s 11 day disappearance in the mid 1920s. The Christie Affair tells the story from the point of view of AC’s husband’s mistress. It’s well written and uses several literary devices to tell the story, to good effect.

    1. She is Welsh originally and I think that gives her regencies a more convincing accent than a lot of those written by non UK writers.
      I still remember reading one years ago where the author talked about a pinky. I had to look it up as I had no idea what that was and it really took me out of the story.
      That’s why I approach regencies with much caution these days.

    2. Mary Balogh has several earlier series that are better – I think – than the Westcott one, so you’ve got plenty to look forward to. Although her stories get melodramatic if you go too far back. My favourites are the Slightly series (and its prequel, A Summer to Remember), the Simply series, and the Huxtables.

      1. Yes, those!

        I have read some of the earlier ones but they are slight formulaic romances (not that I don’t enjoy a slight formulaic romances if I am in the mood) and the later ones suffer too much from the curse of the ever expanding cast of characters as previous couples pop in to give a hand and demonstrate marital bliss.

        It’s the same with Stella Riley. I love her earlier civil war and georgian novels but the ones she is writing now juggle too many happy couples too. I think it is probably best to start off with entirely new characters or keep the connections more veiled or tenuous the way KJ Charles does. In her work, it is done with a very light touch and it’s fun puzzling out the clues.

      2. Back when I used to frequent the AAR boards there was ongoing debates between fans of her trad romance and fans of her single titles (back then the Slightly series was most recent). I remember commenter sherryfair giving her tiers of the trads, which I then sought out, although I never did find “The Obediant Bride” 🙂

        I personally like Balogh’s trad Christmas romances: “Best Gift”, “Family Christmas”, “Star of Bethlehem” etc.

  31. Read and re-read Lilah Pace’s duology “His Royal Secret/His Royal Favorite” which I picked up because I was looking for m/m royal romances after reading the excellent “Red, White & Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston. Quite a different look at the subject and very satisfying, with the Prince of Wales falling for a financial journalist. Loved both principals, the politics and family dynamics, the discussions of being family with someone who self-harms. If Ms Pace wrote companion pieces for Cass/Spencer and Indigo/Zale I’d be very happy to read them. As it was I just kept re-reading sections for days.

    Thank-you to Chacha1 and Tammy for the recc!

  32. Carol Light’s debut, Room for Suspicion, is wonderful. She has a great writing voice and her “cast of characters” is nuanced and interesting. The next book in her Cluttered Crime Mysteries series is Deadlier than Fiction and I’m anxious to read it.

  33. I enjoyed Witch King by Martha Wells, her new fantasy. Interesting dual timelines, past and present. Also thoroughly enjoyed Emily Wilde’s Encyclopedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett. An unexpected delight.

  34. I just rattled through The Ward Witch by Sarah Parker. It’s set on a mysterious island in Northumberland, which is one of my favourite places.

  35. I just finished and absolutely loved Becky Chambers Monk & Robot series ( “A Psalm for the Wild-Built” and a “Prayer for the Crown-Shy”), and came to check and see if you’d read it Jenny! Such a lovely, thoughtful story.

    Just to give a taste of what makes it so cozy—One of the main characters, Dex, serves as a “tea monk” who travels from town to town, sets up a camper van and people line up and talk about life and their problems. And then Dex makes them a custom mug of tea, and they walk away feeling a little lighter. That’s the kind of world this series builds.

    I know I’ll come back to it for a comfort read, so if you’re looking for a soothing book amidst the chaos of a move I hope you try this series!

  36. Hi all. So happy to get Lavender! I recently found an author I love, Abbi Waxman. I started with The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, but you could read them in order since the books seem to all be connected. I read them in order of when I got them from the library.😀

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