97 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, August 3, 2023

  1. Good luck with the unpacking Jenny. Sometimes I think it is worse than the packing, especially when you open the box, look at the contents and wonder why you thought they were worth moving.

    As for me I finally read Catherine Cloud. Tammy, I think you said she was very much like Taylor Fitzpatrick and I can see the resemblance but I think her stories are gentler somehow, less angsty. I also like that the sex is not very graphic.

    I think my favourite is Adam Bradley’s best mistake.

    1. Catherine Cloud is totally kinder, gentler version of Taylor. My favourite is Love and Other Conveniences. Jen+B will likely also weigh in on her fave. Cloud actually published a short collection of ‘outtakes’ from her various books only yesterday.

      1. My favorite Catherine Cloud books are Three is the Luckiest Number” (published) and “The Streets are the Same” (free on AO3).

        As much as I enjoy her work, it doesn’t come close to the work of Taylor Fitzpatrick in my opinion.

  2. I read the second in SE Harmon’s Spectral Files series, the sillily-named Principles of Spookology, about the MC profiler who sees ghosts and his cop partner. Liked this one even better than the first! The narrator’s snark keeps me grinning the whole way through. A sample: “I eyed him with a healthy dash of disgust. Jogging. On a Saturday morning. By choice. When we were old, I was going to relish putting him in a home. I was going to cite reasons of senility, and this kind of behaviour would be my first example.” The series isn’t quite up to the Charlie Adhara standard but darned close. Warning/incentive: there’s a fair amount of on-page sex.

    I also listened to Katherine Center’s Hello, Stranger about the portrait artist who gets face blindness. That was really interesting aspect of the book actually. However, once again the author did the same thing she did in The Bodyguard (which I thought was a better book) and wrote an unnecessary epilogue that lectures the reader, summarizing the themes and lessons of the book, a pedantic exercise that left me annoyed (thank you, a) I read the book, and b) I’m not stupid) – probably not the recency effect she was going for.

    1. I don’t usually comment about books particularly if they didn’t work for me as after reading this blog for so many years I am so much more aware of the hard work, effort & emotional investment that goes into writing. However I totally agree regarding the epilogue in Katherine Center’s Hello Stranger; which I found preachy & heading towards patronising.

      1. Totally with you. And by the way – I do recommend reading the author’s note which was really interesting – her learning about face blindness, etc. Go figure.

    2. IMO the only reason to put in an epilogue is to offer closure on the primary storyline of the book. Not to tease a sequel, not to tease a spinoff, not to recap. It’s very possible to write a genre novel that comes to a satisfying conclusion without delivering every answer; sometimes the answer is a big one, like ‘will they ever ask each other to get married,’ which might happen years after the main storyline concludes. Eh, IDK. I’d be pissed off at being lectured in an epilogue, just saying. 🙂 Recently read one that was a straight-up recap of the whole book and yeah: b*tch, I just read the book.

  3. Had an good time reading “You Had Me at Hola” by Alexis Daria. Very enjoyable m/f romance featuring two Puerto Ricans trying to make it in the US TV and all the challenges that come with fame, family and living across cultures. The TV script complements their romance nicely and I absolutely loved the intimacy coordinator. I also really liked that love is wonderful but doesn’t fix all, with the characters getting therapy in the epilogue which is just so refreshing.

    I always like Rose Lerner’s historicals but “The Wife in the Attic” was a bit too gothic for my taste. A regency set f/f retelling of Jane Eyre (at least the bit at Thornfield) with a Jewish atheist governess and a Jewish Bertha analogue. I liked the history, and the experience of being Jewish and refugees from the Inquisition felt very real. Perhaps not entirely successful as a romance, but very interesting and worth reading.

    Best read of the week was “Til Human Voices Wake Us” an early entry in Victoria Goddard’s Nine Worlds series. Completely different set of characters but we get a hint of what might have caused the Fall, and having read the later books gave me a lot of connection points. Raphael is the Lord Magus of Ysthar (aka Earth) and in a battle for his life, but he’s also acting in a Shakespeare play, keeping secrets from his friends and reuniting with a long-lost twin brother. I loved how stiff Raphael is, how he speaks in allusions because talking was always difficult for him. A friend who also likes Goddard told me this was the book she liked least so I had low expectations but it ended up really working for me. Best of all is the importance and space given to Raphael’s friendships – lovely.

    1. I felt like “The Wife in the Attic” ended halfway through. You have the big catastrophe, but they don’t actually have a relationship built afterwards.

      1. Exactly!

        I don’t read many gothics so I wasn’t sure whether it was the gothic style? It certainly wasn’t how I usually feel after reading Rose Lerner’s work.

  4. I had a great time with Lavender’s Blue and I’m listening to Marie Bostwick’s The Promise Girls in the car. I read it when it came out, but it’s fun hearing it six or so years later. Getting ready to start on Laurie Beach’s Blink Twice if You Love Me.

  5. Unpacking happens in a low pressure condition. (It sucks.) I dedicated several “Home Moanership” posts to unpacking. I hope yours happens with ski9ll and ease.

    Reading. I’m behind. There’s the serial, book 4, up to chapter 137 (and they still haven’t attended a graduation nor given the valedictorian speech.) I also reread book 2.

    Happily, I’ve been reading Lavender’s Blue to Chapter 50 and I have had a chief suspect for 10 chapters. I’ve been reading all night (alternating with solitaire and YouTube). I think I’m going to sack out, shortly. Eyes want to slam shut.

    1. It’s that moment in “The Incredibles” where Helen calls Bob happily to announce they’re officially moved in – having unpacked the last box is three years after the first. So true! I’m nine years and counting; when I cleared out my parents’ place I found boxes I don’t think my mother had unpacked since she moved in thirty-five years prior 🙂

      1. I still have unpacked boxes from our last move stored in our cellar.
        At least I know what is in the boxes (however, nothing I want to throw away )
        The move was 1999…

        1. I have some of those, too. There is hospice information in there from my former career that I am convinced might come in handy someday, plus a lot of family heirlooms that no one else wants. It would really hurt to get rid of those quilts and other mementos. The Swedes have it right. “You are not your things,” I just can’t go there, yet.

      1. “RE: Is it soup yet. Not yet.” Is in reference to Gary J’s Mug profile picture, which is itself a reference to Rocky Horror Picture Show. I think. The reply did not land where I thought it would. 😬

        1. *Chortle!*

          I was trying to decide if it was Too Soon to ask whether it was soup yet. The post would have mentioned moving the soup truck from Jerzey to Penn.

          I don’t know any association between Rocky Horror and the soup thing. Where I got it from was 1) Soup commercials growing up and b) having a writer friend John Campbell who used Jack “cupasoup” Lipton as his pseudonym. Jack wrote prolifically (adult literature) until Mrs. Campbell found out, and he needed a new site and a new nym.

    2. I was right!!!

      GREAT book! Waiting patiently for the next to pop up in my library. Switching to other books on the TBR list, starting where I left off with Wickedly Wonderful.

  6. I too had a great time with Lavender’s Blue. I’m looking forward to ordering the next one when it is available in trade paper.

    I had made a splurge of a purchase at an airport bookstore and got Sanderson’s “The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England” – mostly for the title. 🙂 So far, so good, but I’m not yet totally into it. Maybe another evening’s 10 minutes before falling asleep will make everything click.

  7. I ordered the complete Gail Carriger series – Finishing School and all the others set in that time period – and am reading them in chronological order this time!

  8. I kept adding, changing, and rereading my post for yesterday, trying to get it to repost, after it appeared for a split second and then disappeared. I am giving up on that, although I’d like to know what I did wrong. There was nothing offensive in that post. Very odd. I was allowed to reply to others’ posts, which was nice.

    My copy of Lavender came last evening, and I read two chapters before going to bed. I was only able to put it down because I had seen the tip of the iceberg and the characters weren’t filled out, yet. I was impressed by Bob’s restraint! No mention of a gun, or its make and model, and Vince seemed half mellow, for a police officer. Lots of color in those two chapters. LOL

    I couldn’t sleep because of the medication I’m taking to get rid of this sinus infection. It’s working, but I could not shut my mind up. So I got up and read my own book and then added to it into the wee hours of the morning. Progress! It felt good. Today I will see if it’s any good, or just sleepy mumblings.

  9. I’m a slow reader and life is busy, so I still haven’t finished Red White Royal Blue since I’m undecided whether I should indeed finish BEFORE watching the movie out next Friday or afterwards. I’m at 50% so would be very surprised by the latter half.
    DD says I should not read on, only afterwards.

    Which I will definitely do with Heartstopper. Season 2 dropped today. I don’t have WiFi in the office, but will download and watch as soon as I’m home. I might even manage to watch it ahead of DD…

    Confession time – but no recommendation:
    For the last few days I’ve been somewhat hooked on a – for me anyway – train wreck of a book. Train wreck as in I ought to be too appalled to still be reading.
    Polyamorous story (MFMM) set in the world of hockey (yes, I’m still stuck with hockey and unlikely to stop anytime soon in spite of this book) with a fictional new team but competing against real life teams (I don’t like to picture the fictional protags against real life teams here).
    FMC is the physical therapist doc, MMCs are player, goalie and equipment manager.
    She’s in lurve (slobber) with all three of them, they are all three in lurve with her and somehow also with each other. All kinds of kink thrown in as well.
    Also very long: 750 pages – a mix of almost normal, witty writing and very, very slutty content with too little variation in coarsness of language.

    I’m fascinated that I’m still reading (albeit skipping along) in spite of my disgust of/with many many details (coarse language, medical pro has very unsanitary unprotected relations with said MMMCs – e.g. for me an unacceptable detail is that the heroine constantly has unprotected sex – as a doctor!!! – just because the partners claim to be “clean”)!

    All characters are rather sketched and at least for the male characters it would be interesting to get their backstory but I’m rather sure we won’t get it/only very little because the smutty smut is more important. Also, lust obvs means deep love, yuk.

    One point in favour: No matter how gross I find the situation the heroine faces willignly, she never comes across as the victim. Never afraid, never concerned (maybe too dumb?).

    I should have stopped long ago, yet I might very well be too curious to see how the author fills the last 31 %.

    1. Sometimes train wrecks are un-putdownable. I have stayed up way too late for a few myself. I have no idea why.

      And I vote for finishing RWand RB before you see the movie on the grounds that no matter how good a job the movie does, the book will be better. And the first time reading a story is precious to me. I grew up on Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the Rings, and kind of wish I could remember how I felt watching the story unfold for the first time.

      1. Thanks, Lupe, for the shared feeling towards train wrecks <3
        And also for your vote on finishing RWRB.
        I'm soooo looking forward to this adaptation, though.
        Apart from the obvious eye candies: Stephen Fry as fictional king. As an actor, writer, narrator, he's accompanied my whole adult reading life, sigh.

        1. Is there any actual hockey?? I guess there can’t be much time to write a lot of ice events…

          1. Far too little hockey imo
            But a looot of equipment to be ecercised with. Only not on the ice.
            Once immediately after ice time. In rather close quarters. Smelly or what?!?
            But why bother with real life fun detractors?? Like smell, periods, unwelcome results of use of backdoor by monster thing etc. The heroine is endlessly elastic down there and has hardly any refraction (?) time (as have her partners), her o’s come very easily.
            I could go on.
            Porn disguised as hockey romance eith better looking guys and a curvy peach in the middle with no need if bras who nevertheless is deeply respected by all the men around her and is such a professional doc in spite of a foul mouth towards one of her bosses…
            Sigh.

          2. I’m reading one by an author new to me. Hockey player and a figure skater. That rarely seems to go well. Too much gratuitous sex, and no hockey whatsoever so far. I’m 50% of the way through so will probably finish it but this author will remain mostly unexplored by me.

          3. Ok, I kind of want to read it now. There is something about truly terrible smut that I find amusing and oddly comforting. The less real it is the better, depending on my mood.

            I have even started collecting the old trade fiction paperbacks from Elora’s cave. I got rid of some years ago and now I regret it because they were so out there and I don’t remember the titles and probably won’t find them again…

          4. You know, Lupe, I’ve by now read how successful this author and title has become. It might be me because she really has a huge following, book 2 is about to come out shortly and book 3 is in the works.
            The author also has a very funny instagram account.
            And as I said – I’m still reading even though there are so many things I don’t like about it.
            Maybe because she’s so obviously having fun telling the story and her heroine is so absolutely uninhibited about everything. Somewhere around 60 % one of the MCs wonders what it is about the heroine and he points towards being “free” to do whatever she wants, unapologetically so.

            Still, the detail about having such reckless sex without any sort of protection is a no go – is this the fantasy element?

          5. Tammy, which one are you reading? I’ve come across a title where a hockey player and a figure skater end up Vegas married after a drunken night out. The hockey guy is on board b/c secretely in love and the figure skater seems grossed out. Have only read the excerpt though. My tbr pile is too high as it is and my reading pace is too sloooow anyway.

          6. Dodo, that is exactly the hockey book I’m reading. Or thinking of finishing reading. What I’m actually doing is re-reading Taylor Fitzpatrick’s Follow the North Stars. Anyway – you can safely avoid that book.

        2. About terribly bad books having strong appeal for some of us:
          I can still remember a romance I read before the turn of the century with a alpha uber-male called Marcus Maximus or such cause he was maximus in every sense. I was a romance novice then and had to read the book closely for work (go figure). Back then I thought it was over the top and dh and I had a lot of fun trashing it. In hindsight. I’m not so sure it was awful… only me unfamiliar with the genre.
          As I might be towards polyamorous topics.
          Which seems to be the thing for the author of “my train wreck of a hockey-porn/romance” (she’s written poly Regency, too).

          1. If you want polyamorous hockey, there is also Samantha Wayland’s Crashing the Net series.

          2. Thanks for the rec, Tammy. I’m really not that into poly books, so I’ll give the Crashing books a pass. Long before my recent hockey-addiction I’ve read the first one and didn’t get hooked. It might be very different nowadays, but I’ve already got more than enough titles on my tbr pile so should stay reasonable.

  10. I just finished The Backup Plan by Jill Shalvis, and really liked it. Enough that I’m going to order her newest one, The Sweetheart List, from the library. I’ve heard her name for years and somehow I never read anything of hers.

    I did have a few minor gripes–the book takes place in an imaginary small town near Lake Tahoe, and there is snow, yet no one in the book ever wears a coat, and half the time they’re hanging around in tee shirts. Since I live in multiple layers during my upstate NY winter, this just made me want to laugh. But overall, a very good read.

    1. My experience of winter in California is that everyone is so thrilled it’s not hot that they go completely overboard with outerwear. Parkas! Fake fur coats! Hats & scarves & mittens! Meanwhile it’s maybe 45 degrees and the snow only sticks because the sun doesn’t hit it. 🙂

      1. I live in San Diego, (inland Riverside County was too hot), and if I travel to experience snow, I dress in a warm layer. (Night skiing many years ago, the puffy overalls meant I had fewer bruises as well.) Some folks overdress for cool weather, and quite a few others will not switch from shorts and t-shirts until frostbite seems likely. Californians have a variety of preferences for how to dress for the current climate, and given how many types of terrain the state has, preferred clothing varies quite a bit by the area.

        1. I saw fotos recently of tourists in Rome in spring, wearing summer clothes at 20 degree Celsius (today in Munich at around 10 am: 15 C, a bit too cold for high summer) while the Romans still wear their winter garb 🙂

      2. It’s the opposite phenomenon in Vancouver, which is populated by people who love their own weather. Even when it’s 1° above freezing, people are in shorts and eating on the patio with some kind of fire going and exclaiming: “Can you believe how great this weather is?” And the only rationale I can understand for the love of their weather is that there’s not much snow there. But wow there’s a ton of rain and and that’s not my definition of great weather.

        1. Wow, must tell that dd who set her sight to spend an exchange year in Vancouver 24/25. I would have thought Ireland (not that far away) since the UK is out b/c of Brexit. But no…
          I’m not sure why a friend and her settled adamantely on V.
          I’d prefer snow to rain. And less distance, gasp.
          Vancouver

          1. I once got cornered at the rail of a ferry between Victoria (on Vancouver Island) and the mainland by a guy who had had a few too many beers and insisted on telling me that British Columbia was paradise because you could go skiing and play golf on the same day. Since I had flown to Washington state from Wisconsin, I thought that the fact that it was warm in winter was amazing and didn’t care about the rain. But my brother, who had just spent his second year in Bellingham, Washington, was ready to commit murder if it would get him a dry, sunny day.

          2. The other thing about Vancouver that Vancouverites love – and with good reason – is the mountains and the ocean, both of which are not available in Toronto. Still not worth the price of all that rain. My husband lived four years in Vancouver before he moved to Toronto and said he got tired of sitting at work all day in jeans that were wet from the ankle to the knee because no umbrella could save that part.

    2. Definitely go for library on this one. I enjoy her books but this one is a little too cozy. Everyone is a good guy. Someone to dislike would spark things up. imho

  11. Had a good reading run in July, aided by an unexpected vacation week. Had a good time reading:

    A Study in Charlotte/Cavallero. Modernized reverse gender YA Sherlock Holmes mystery set in a boarding school. I’m not always the biggest YA fan, but this was sharp, well paced, and the teenagers sounded like teenagers of today, which is always a plus. Will go on to read the next one.

    The Garden of Small Beginnings/Waxman. I was behind on this one…it’s a few years old. Widow comes out of heavy grieving period aided by her sister, young children, and a circle of new friends in a gardening class with a nice love interest in there as well. Again, very realistic snappy modern dialogue and I laughed out loud a few times. Delightful.

    Great Catherine/Erickson. Anyone else read this historical bio writer? I like that she tells the story of Catherine The Great in an accessible way, not quite fluffy, not quite super indepth dry. Only nitpick was the majority of the book was about Catherine’s trials on the way to Empress, and then a quick few chapters on her time in power.

    The Last Wolf/Vale. M/F romance but more about the unique world-building side of a pack that must change for 3 days a month and the culture and structure put into place to protect that time. Beautiful descriptions of the natural world. I liked it, but not sure the 2 and 3rd book are for me. And can’t really suss out why in my head. Anyone have reactions to this series?

    The Christie Re-Read: Towards Zero. Middle of the road kind of Christie, I actually prefer the BBC adaptation with Marple (Marple not in the book, it’s Superintendent Battle.)

    And…finished with a new favorite. I think someone on here rec’d it – thank you. Aster Glenn Gray’s Tramps and Vagabonds. This was a stunner and I stayed up ’til 1 to finish it, which I haven’t done with a book in quite a while. M/M romance set during the depression about MC 20 year olds who ride the rails.

    Dealt with poverty, how to survive on the road, and the perception of gay men in the 30s…I really was wondering if they would get their HFN. Did quite a lot of work about how far we’ve come and how far we have not around issues of acceptance and poverty and survival. Sweet characters. A really good read.

    Well I went on a bit…Whew…now I need a break…jigsaw or crossword puzzle time…

    1. I liked ‘The Last Wolf’ but didn’t pursue the series. Bit too traumatically metaphorical in re: real world, for me.

      I also liked ‘Tramps and Vagabonds,’ the conclusion was a relief. Chose not to extrapolate to what fresh hell awaited during the next war years.

      1. I read “Last Wolf” and the sequel “A Wolf Apart”. Definitely not a happy world but as you say the world-building is beautiful and the werewolf culture is very distinct.

        I didn’t love the MCs in the first book, the male MC because he was blundered through without respecting the host culture, and both of them for keeping dangerous secrets far too long. I preferred the MCs in the second book, although the first half is pretty bleak, the payoff satisfied me. I might pick up book 3.

        Overall its not a world I want to spend a huge amount of time in, but I think it might work with some moods – sometime you just want to wallow in sadness with an HEA as a safety net.

    2. Checked my bookshelves for the bio about Catherine. It is a bio of Elizabeth and Catherine. 1977 Robert Coughlan. Recall it delved into their reigns. One hid her pregnancy/s (lovers) as Empress. Perhaps both did. Recollection of subterfuge and spies behind doors and secret passages and the cold of winter. Funny, remembered the book thinking I should reread.

    3. After months of wondering what a “porpentine” is, I googled it. I thought maybe it was a combination of a porcupine and a porpoise. Nope. Just an archaic term for a porcupine. There was a Shakespearean theater by that name, too, evidently. Not fretful, though. Nice choice, Fretful!

  12. I’ve been re-reading Jane Haddam’s Patience McKenna novels, set around romance publishing in the 1970s, which are hilarious and penetrating. She had some very good years before her Gregor Demarkian books went off the rails.

    I’m looking at Karen Heenan’s Tudor Court series, a trilogy about a musician at the court of Henry VIII, a functionary under Thomas Cromwell (who tells his story to the man taking him to be executed by Mary I), and then the functionary’s wife, a young woman called to serve Elizabeth I.

    1. Prompted by something here, I am rereading A Civil Campaign by Bujold. I’m also rereading the books I wrote about my kids in. And I’m planning to read a book of short stories by Michael Gilbert that I found on my bookshelves and don’t remember reading. I also have a couple of Josephine Teys lined up.

      And I will probably reread Lavender’s Blue ….

      We have been watching Good Omens 2, which is not nearly as good as the first one but still must be watched. Someone should let Bob know that one of the six episodes has zombies …

      1. Josephine Tey was great to read (my Mom turned me on to her books when I was a teenager). That was when Mom was starting to try to steer us all to read just non-fiction. “Daughter of Time” (about Richard III) was good to read for my inner history geek.

        It is about time to re-read Lavender’s Blue, I will want to refresh my memory before I get the next book.

  13. I am 80 percent of the way through Lavender and am so happy that the next one is coming out soon!

    And Charlie Adhara had an audiobook on sale, so I bought that. And it is very nice to re listen to. I have been in an audiobook slump

      1. Oh yes, I finished it. I liked it. Cute and sweet. I felt like it dragged a bit, but maybe that was because I knew the story.

        1. I feel that you’re the one person I can’t defend Nascosta to so I won’t even try.

  14. Obviously I read ‘Lavender’s Blue’ and liked it a lot. 🙂

    Read the latest M/M Cornwall contemporary by Con Riley, ‘Wedding in a Week,’ and liked it with reservations (one MC is irritatingly bad at using his words).

    Re-read some things.

    Finished up the reading week with historical F/M ‘The Shadow Earl’ by Stella Riley, a standalone which features some characters from her other Georgian books. It’s about a young Earl who disappeared at the end of his Grand Tour and returns three years later to reclaim his life and deal with the cousin who engineered his disappearance. Deals well (and in historically plausible way) with his trauma, with the effects on his informal fiancee and the recovery of their relationship (which is a very good relationship, free of hasty assumptions), and with the nature of late-18th-c. male friendship (very good friends here too). The carryover characters appear organically, not as a roll call as we’ve seen with some other historical novelists. 🙂 Recommended if you like this period, want a little intrigue with your romance, and appreciate a reasoned and consequential comeuppance for a villain.

  15. I absolutely loved “Lavender’s Blue”! So happy that the other two will be available soon.

    Also enjoyed “The Lady from Burma” by Allison Montclair aka Alan Gordon.

    Also also making my way through the Churchill and Pemberley mystery series by Emily Organ. Very amusing.

    “The Road to Roswell” was good fun though it did go on a bit at the end. Much as I love “To Say Nothing of the Dog” that one also dragged at the end.

    In other news, the musical episode of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds was not bad at all. There were a couple of references to Buffy’s Once More With Feeling.

    Loved the second season of Good Omens. David Tennant does like chewing the scenery.

    All in all a very good week for reading and watching.

  16. Lavender’s blue, C&M, happy a new book, very invested, waiting for Rest In Pink
    Reading:
    Warrior’s Apprentice, LMB
    Letter to the American Church, Eric Metaxas
    The Cinderella Deal, Crusie
    Just to read Linc say, “Behave,Magnolia.” And more.
    At sister’s apt, found a memoir by an old family friend written for her family, she was a grand lady, the kind of woman one can aspire to. Many happy memories indeed. Mom was a good friend of hers. Borrowed it. Can’t find my copy, lent it to brother I think. Yikes, may never see it again.

    So many books to read, so little time.

  17. In my tour through Sophie Kinsella books, I had to return “Can You Keep a Secret?” before reading because other readers wanted it. But I was able to read “The Undomestic Goddess,” which was quite nice — a little less gripping (for me) than the first three I read and loved.

    I love the concept of this novel, though — a crazy-busy attorney who does trade & business law, learns that she made a terrible terrible mistake that she doesn’t recall making, but it leads to her losing that job. In a panic state, she jumps on a train out of London into who-knows-where, and when she gets to a town, she leaves the train and walks to the nearest house to ask for a little help. Instead, in her dazed state, she is hired for a job by the homeowner, only to discover that it’s a housekeeper job, and she knows absolutely nothing about cooking, cleaning, or managing an upper-middle class home.

    It was fun to read a story about an exhausted, overworked professional who is exposed for almost the first time in her life to a pragmatic job that involves evenings and weekends free. And she meets village neighbors who are kind and willing to help her learn that job on the sly while she recovers from the whole job loss trauma. It was a goodhearted story, and while I don’t quite believe the happy ending(s), I finished it feeling good about the book, which is a fine ending to an unknown read.

    1. I love all of her books. Try The Twenties Girl if you haven’t yet, it’s one of my favourites. I read them over and over.

  18. Many thanks to the Argh-er that recommended “My Life Next Door.” I really enjoyed it, and have already ordered one of her others.

    And I’m waiting patiently for the paperback copy of “Rest in Pink” to become available. I’ll be rereading Lavender just before I read the second one. Delightful anticipation!!

  19. This week I read The Library by Bella Osborne which I enjoyed. Having worked in a few libraries, I’m a sucker for the “Let’s Save the Library” trope and how it unites a small town. Along the way it touched on alcoholism, dealing with personal loss, work vs college, and had a nice budding romance between 2 high school volunteers. It reminded me a lot of The Littlest Library by Poppy Alexander,but I think this one handled the issues a little bit better. Of course, that might be because I read them 11 months apart and I remember this one better.

  20. I’m on chapter 21 of Lavender, and reading so fast I know I’m going to have to read it again as soon as I finish, because I’m missing stuff. Wow!! Do not miss this book!

  21. I finished Lavender, with that glorious climax, and realised that I hadn’t had nearly enough Crusie, so I went straight on to reread Agnes and the Hitman. Which is so ridiculously funny.
    Then Alix Harrow’s novella A Spindle Splintered, which is a modern day subversion of Sleeping Beauty, and worth a read.
    Then Jennifer Lynne Barnes’ The Lovely and the Lost, a YA story about such and rescue dogs and lost girls. I enjoyed it despite the endless angst (pretty much par for the course with YA).

  22. Anne Gracie’s The Laird’s Bride was a sweet historical novella of a Scottish romance. No conflict as such, just a chance meeting of two strangers that turned into a love match. Light, charming, and very well written, like all Gracie’s books. I smiled the entire time I read it. And I must add that the cover was gorgeous.
    Amanda Quick’s The Paid Companion was another of that author’s reread. It was, as expected, a professionally written romantic thriller, fast-paced and engaging. All the elements that comprised the story were totally familiar, but they were compiled competently, ensuring excellent reading experience. And the protagonists were typical for this writer: the hero an alpha male of the best variety; the heroine quirky, sturdy, and optimistic. No damsel in distress here. Of course, I rooted for them. I wanted their adversaries vanquished, and I rejoiced when that happened.

  23. Sneaking in the back door from the Bar after a long absence to say, the good book I read this week was Lavender’s Blue. I loved everything about it!! I devoured it in under 24 hours (would have been faster if it hadn’t been for work and sleep). It was great hearing your voices again. Every character and twist just had me so giddy. Waiting (im)patiently for the next in the series.

    This week I also read and loved The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman. Regency mystery-adventure-romance revolving around 2 “spinster” sisters. Very highly recommend.

    1. The Alison Goodman book sounds good. Obviously everyone else think so too because there are 55 holds on it at my library! I am now number fifty-six.

    2. Looks very interesting. I had a listen in into the audiiobook and that seems to be narrated also very nicely. I guess I know what to get next 🙂

      1. Oh, yes, I also recommend The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman. Lots of somewhat unbelievable adventures told with a wry tone with a little romance.

  24. I’ve been in a horrific reading slump for the last few months, but was finally able to finish a couple of books. The slump buster was Catherine Cloud’s Caught Off Guard which I adored. It had everything I love about her books–hockey, dogs, found family and the gentle, no angst vibes LN and Tammy mentioned above. I was a teeny bit worried for a second that there would be a goalie controversy (I loathe goalie drama in real life so it would’ve bugged the crap out of me) but it was nicely side stepped. The second book was Cat Sebastian’s We Could Be So Good which has been recommended everywhere and did not disappoint. It was so good I resented having to go to bed or work because it meant I had to stop reading. And when I finished it I sat there smiling like an idiot and then immediately went back to the beginning and started reading it again. I’m playing chicken with Libby as we speak trying to finish it before it gets snatched away. Finally, thank you to the people in the thread about packing who have made me feel soooo much better about the boxes taking up half my kitchen and back room. I only moved 3 months ago so I figure I have about 10 years before I have to feel bad about not unpacking this crap.

  25. Couldn’t settle on a book this week:

    I started The Summer of Broken Rules by Walther and enjoyed the Assasin Game portions but couldn’t get into it.

    Switched to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green and enjoyed the audio presentation. I resonated with the art student view of the world but wasn’t in the mood for commentary on social media and fame, no matter how amusingly presented. Something I’ll pick up some other time as it was well written and well-read.

    I then started Martha Wells’ Witch King but the many characters and new world-building needed more of my attention than I could muster.

    Finally found just what I needed in this tension filled week: The Bromance Book Club was light and amusing, a straight-up romance with just enough emotional depth to keep it real. I think its been mentioned here before – a group of men have a secret romance book club to improve their relationships. The pro-athletes critiquing the Little Mermaid’s inappropriate messaging for little girls was hilarious! I listened to the audio and really enjoyed the switch in readers between the main action and the romance book excerpts. Highly recommend for light romance and immediately checked out the next in the series.

  26. This has been a week of DNFs. I think four or five. The only books I’ve finished have been rereads.
    The most disappointing DNF was Remarkably Bright Creatures, which I had been looking forward to so much. I loved the octopus POV, but all the humans were so dismal I just could not. I am sad, but life is too short.

  27. Finally reading Shane and the Hitwoman and Phoebe and the Traitor. Very enjoyable with no dull moments.

    1. Next up is The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies based on Argh recommendations.

  28. I haven’t read much this week. I am thinking of creating a silent retreat for myself. I would go elsewhere for one but all of them want to add some treatment & raise the price ridiculously.
    It’s been a couple of weeks since I read LB & loved it. Eagerly anticipating the 2nd Liz Danger book.
    Otherwise, except for my own wip which I intend to keep chipping away at, the written word and the spoken word can kiss my ass!

  29. This week I LOVED Lavender’s Blue, great book! So much fun to read. And the collaboration between Jenny and Bob is seamless.

    Also read Marva Collins: Hard Knocks by Nathan Lowell; I enjoy the series for lightweight entertainment, but this book would not be good place to start because is fairly far along with the series.

  30. Moving sucks. Glad it is behind you.

    Are there any collages for your Rocky Start/Excellent Oddities series?

    I’ve been listening to Family for Beginners by Sarah Morgan. I’m only a couple of chapters in but it seems promising

  31. I was too stupid to save the purchase information for the paperback of Lavender’s Blue so I have a question: Is there anywhere other than Amazon I can buy it? All the info I’ve found is about the electronic format.

    1. I am deeply prejudiced against the Amazon monopolies, so I didn’t want to buy it from them either. I inquired of both my library system and of the buyers at Barnes & Noble, and both said they were unable to get a physical copy from their suppliers.

      I was so sad. But it’s Jenny, so I will be stoic and buy it from them anyway. Wish I could help you, but alas, no.

      1. Yeah,that’s what I decided to do, too. I also have had trouble with Amazon deliveries at 2 different addresses, so that’s another worry. But next week I will order at and sent to my sister’s house because my BIL always gets his orders from Amazon.

  32. I am delighted to see Lavender’s Blue included in Jo Walton’s July Reading List at Tor.

  33. This week I am rereading Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead, by Olga Tokarchuk. She’s a Polish writer, and this is the most amazing crime story featuring an elderly lady who lives in a remote area of the Carpathian mountains who uncovers a series of weird murders. I suspect Crusie fans would love it. Full of snark and dead bodies.

  34. I finished Lavender’s Blue… nice work you two.
    I also read The Sweetheart List by Jill Shalvis, Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong and Magical Midlife Madness by K.F. Breene.

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