This is a Good Book Thursday, October 19, 2023

Yesterday, I wrote the first scene for Very Nice Funerals. Today I lost my Argh Ink login and it took me forever (well, until now) to find it. Also, today, I’m rereading my first scene and reconsidering my plan to make writing my career because it’s terrible. Well, you know, first draft, but still.

Tell me something good you read this week. Quickly, before I lose the damn log-in again. Thank you.

159 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, October 19, 2023

  1. Okay I’m posting this as fast as possible before you lose the login! I listened to Abby Jimenez’ Yours, Truly. Loved the male character and he’s really who kept me in the book. Too much plot though, multiple premises and way too many romance tropes. Which is the opposite of R Cooper’s new book, Trevor Takes Care, where there’s not enough plot. Together, these would make a perfect book.

    I also listened to Cordelia Kingsbridge’s first in the Seven of Spades series, which I enjoyed and will continue. Still working on the Nicky James series.

    Jen+B sent me this long story? novella? from A03 – himbo hockey player and his surgeon boyfriend – sweet, sexy and super fun:

    1. Oh no! Not more Ao3! I am following you could make a life ´s latest, « Cards on the table », which is lovely but new chapters are posted way too slowly for my reading speed. The latest chapter is great and I so want to know what happens next…

      1. Yes Cards on the Table is wayyyy too slow – but I am dying at the last few chapters – they are awesome!

        What I’ve posted here is only a long story and I didn’t see anything else they’ve written that I wanted to get into so this shouldn’t become a crack cocaine thing. Whereas the 500,000 words thing that Jen+B posted last week totally has already become addictive and I can’t read anything else (fist shaking emoji here).

        1. I don’t mind the slow burn at all. What I mind is that the chapters come out roughly one a week but sometimes, they mix it up with another series so that means that I have to wait two weeks for the next one.

          What makes it worse is that the other series is basically going nowhere as far as I can see…

          1. I knew exactly what you meant and I totally agree. The other Georgie/Robbie series is way too angsty for me anyway. I’m team Holden/James. The last few eps gave me heart-eyes.

          2. I agree. I don’t see how Robbie and Georgie can ever get to an hea. I like Mel. I don’t want anything to happen to her!

          3. I don’t love Robbie. That’s my problem with that series. I’m not invested in him having an HEA. George though I really hope does.

    2. I felt the same about Abby Jimenez. Loved the male lead but couldn’t connect with the female protagonist. And I just wanted more of the relationship… It’s funny how the balance of a plot can be so delicate. I am in awe of anyone who can write a cohesive narrative.

      1. I think because the female lead had her moments but..was written so predictably as a character. I’m tired of those kinds of female mc’s who are obsessed over one past relationship that done her wrong. I wish she’d been the one in her brother’s situation – which was what the author really wanted to focus on anyway so I don’t know why she gave the sit to her brother. Would have been interesting.

        1. Or characters whose parents divorce so are convinced that they will never love… I dnfed several of those in a row the last time I tried to get back into m/f contemporary.

          I mean, marriage wasn’t a great thing in my family but I didn’t automatically ascribe the failures of those around me to all my future relationships. Seems like a kind of flimsy excuse to write off the institution in it’s entirety.

          1. But it always seems to be the woman character who can’t get over these things. The male characters are usually more resilient. I find that annoying. Why are we the wilting flower types??

    3. The best thing that I discovered on the 19th October is that you’ve been writing again and recently published 3 books with Bob Mayer. I ordered them on Amazon that night and am looking forward to finding the right spot in my garden, opening the page and entering the world you created when they arrive.
      From my perspective, you’re the queen of romance and I’ve missed the wit, intelligence and feistiness of your characters. So yes, you’ve had a bad day and hate your first draft. I get it. But you have no idea how many bad days your novels have gotten me through, and it’s a testimony to your skill that they still have a place on my bookcase and make me smile. Thank you! : )
      Oh, and another great author I keep going back to? Connie Willis. I recommend either Bellwether or Crosstalk.

      1. You have to try Take a Look at the Five and Ten and Road to Roswell and . . . I love Connie Willis, too.

        And thank you for the vote of confidence; I really needed to hear that.

  2. I read I’m your Guy by Sarina Bowen. Loved it. That much that I got the audiobook, too, to be able to revisit this world from another perspective.

    This week I’m listening to Time to Shine by Rachel Reid. It always takes me forever to listen to a book. I don’t like the narrator much (just the timbre of his voice, his narration is fine), and about 50 % in I’m loving the story. It feels a bit like YA as one of the MCs is 24 and not very experienced. Which I find *very* nice as ir resonates with not-adventurous-me a lot.

    My tbr pile though is getting higher and higher. One of my favourite authors, Fearne Hill, announced the pub date of her next book (16-11-2023): MC will be the annoying not-quite-villain/bully of one of her last ones. Am very curious 🙂

    1. I really love revisiting books as audiobooks! Isn’t it amazing what you hear the second time?

      1. Absolutely! I’ve usually a harder time picturing a book visually when I listen first, but when I’ve read the book first, the audio adds quite another layer.
        I hope that I like both the narators – one I’ve heard before and liked a lot, so I’m optimistic.

        1. Yeah, I’m picky about narrators, so I always listen to an audio sample before I buy or check out an audiobook. (I was a bit terrified when I found out my own books would be audiobooks — luckily, I think Ron Butler and Kyla García are both SO GOOD, as well as perfect for those stories!)

        2. I often listen to audio versions of books I’ve read — specially comfort reads. I have all the Crusie books as well as all the Georgette Heyers on audio (in addition to the full sets of paperbacks of course.)
          Any chance the Liz Danger series will get audio versions?

          1. Yep, Crusie audiobooks are my comfort listen. I listen them almost every night while going to sleep. They are NOT sleep-inducing, but they are comforting and familiar. I can wake up, and in less than 30 seconds know exactly where I am.

            But I too wonder if Liz and Vince will get released in audio…

    2. I loved Time to Shine in print, and now have it waiting on audio. Iam so happy the quality of the storytelling is consistent with Reid’s Game Changer series even if the tone is quite different.

      Have you read Something Wild and Wonderful by Anita Kelly? I listened to it on audio and really enjoyed it. Also, I highly recommend We Could Be So Good on audio by Cat Sebastian. These aren’t angsty books, but have a great deal of heart and depth.

      Until You by Briar Prescott is her best to date, but is a little angsty. You should try her books if you enjoy Fearne Hill. Cheers!

  3. The Vixen War Bride and the next in that series, Holdouts. It’s a reread.

    “Penric’s Demon”
    “Penric and the Shaman”
    “Penric’s Fox”
    “Masquerade in Lodi”
    “Penric’s Mission”
    “Mira’s Last Dance”
    “The Prisoner of Limnos”
    “The Orphans of Raspay”
    “The Physicians of Vilnoc”
    “Demon,” “Shaman,” and “Fox” are collected as paper volumes in Penric’s Progress; “Mission,” “Mira” and “Limnos” in Penric’s Travels; and “Lodi,” “Orphans” and “Physicians” in Penric’s Labors; all available from Baen Books. That leaves The Assassins of Thasalon and “Knot of Shadows” to mcomplete the reread, unless I continue with The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

    Then I’ll move on to Brenda’s newest.

    1. I LOVE Lois McMaster Bujold! I have almost all her stuff on permanent rotation on my bookshelf. But please tell me you’ve delved into her Miles Vorkosigan series?

      1. The only Bujold I haven’t read is her non-fiction family history – and that’s in my Kindle Library. I’ve read everything else at least twice except Spirit Ring.

        1. Gary, Assuming you mean The Gerould Family, which I just looked up, it’s only edited by Bujold: as described, it’s a compilation of Civil War letters by some of her ancestors. I’m not sure if I’m that much of a completist. Also, I’ve been unwilling to pay the asking price for some of her Penric self-published novellas, which even years after publication are priced at what per word are hardcover prices. (Others I read from the library in Subterranean Press editions. ) I’ll have to see if anything I haven’t read is in those Baen editions you mentioned.

          1. Yes, that’s the one.

            This chapbook contains four family documents of historical interest: two personal diaries from the year 1864, one by mother Cynthia Locke Gerould (1804 – 1893); one by her third son Martin Luther Gerould (1841 – 1904); a memoir of his Civil War experiences written later by eldest son Samuel Lankton Gerould (1834 -1906); and a copy of the war services transcript from the American Revolution of earlier ancestor Samuel Gerould (1755 – 1824), grandfather of Samuel L.

            Bujold, Lois. The Gerould Family of New Hampshire in the Civil War: Two Diaries and a Memoir (p. 7). LMB Press. Kindle Edition.

  4. I re-read Agnes and the Hitman. Loved it as always. Stayed up too late 3 nights so I could continue reading and read it instead of my homework reading assignment for this morning’s conference session.

    I will mention that I was wondering who catered the wedding…

    1. I thought Joey stepped in. But that was a million years ago, so it’s a miracle I remember any of it.

      1. Taylor made it through the rehearsal and the wedding. So Joey said he would do the rehearsal dinner, but got stuck with Shane & Carpenter. So Taylor stepped back in, then did the wedding.

        1. Taylor was killed the night before the wedding by Brenda. I wondered if Joey was able to do it.

          1. Somewhere during the wedding reception Joey is on the dock with Shane who is disposing of Casey and Wilson. But I assume for a wedding he brought in staff.

  5. I’m Your Guy by Serena Brown; Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith; re-read Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters.

    About to delve into a nonfiction book now.

  6. First time reading Murderbot, (1-4), which I saved for my holidays. Love the stories. Definitely rereads. I know, what took me so long?!

    Ordered the next three, book 7 comes out next month according to B&N.

    1. I felt the same way when I finally read them. It helped that my library finally got a physical copy and I could see how short it was. And somehow I missed that they are very funny books. I was expecting an extremely heavy read.

      1. I am working on my husband as well. He is resistant to fiction, but I wore him down on the minimalism and cats, so I will persevere.

  7. I’m so glad you found your login. Welcome back!

    I read the next three Lucky Harbor novels by Jill Shalvis and dnf’d the seventh one. The first six are my faves. Forever and a Day, number six, is a gem. The characters are interesting, the conflict is genuine, and the devilish pug puppy is a scream. There is a hunky doctor who is severely overworked, and who also cares for his paraplegic sister, and his son by a one-night-stand, who did not stay, once the baby was born. Then there is the woman who ends up being the savior of all of them by accident, and a misdialed call for a dog walker.

    I also reread Legends and Lattes, which is a comfort read. I looked up Travis Baldree’s next novel on Amazon, and the preview chapter is bloody and action-filled, as the book is a prequel to L & L. I’m not sure it will be on my tbr list. It comes out Nov. 6, so I’ll see what the readers’ reviews say.

  8. Oh yay. I am glad you are well.

    Lake Silence came up buy one get one free on Audible and after all the discussion, I bought it and have been listening. I see why people like this one. It has a sort of cozy vibe. I like that the heroine is not attractive or special. I like that the problems so far get undercut by planning and communication. It is hard to unsee that the male characters have a lot more agency than the female ones and that does annoy me, so I doubt I will try others by her, but the writing is good and the plot is unusual. I have no idea what is going to happen.

    The gem for this week so far is Tea for Two by CM Nascosta. I really appreciate the depiction of grief and dialog about self care. I feel like it is pretty spot on for a lot of the aspects that don’t get talked about and the weird commercialization that has happened to self-care. Of course, I am not very far yet. My opinion may change. But right now the main character’s depression and self awareness makes me feel seen.

    1. Oh, and Alexis Hall’s Ten Things That Never Happened came out. And Hoopla has it on audio book, so that is up next. I am looking forward to it. It sounds like a spoofy romp.

      1. Same here.
        Listened to the sample, fell in love with the narrator’s voice/accent for Sam (Liverpool?).
        Looking very much forward to it.
        I only wish I were faster in listening.

    2. I thought you’d relate to the heroine. And maybe you can start posting your Outfit of the Day.

      1. This month’s outfits have been pretty good, the earrings especially. Halloween is my favorite. I am just not fond of pictures of myself.

          1. I will post a picture when I get off work. I have been going through my Halloween dresses and leggings. Today’s outfit I am entitling The Pumpkin Patch.

          2. Ooooh I love it already! Can’t wait to see. And how different it will be from my OOTD: “Ripped bagged jeans paired with lumpy hoodie sweater.”

          3. The black cat absolutely came free. Defective, this one is. Totally sweet, but dumb as a box of rocks.

  9. Yep, I’m still in Maisey Yates’ Gold Valley series. There are 14 books. I also have lots of other good books to read and am looking forward to, like Only Good Enemies by Jennifer Estep, the 4th book in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series, The House In The Cerulean Sea, Katee Roberts’ newest Dark Olympus book, etc. So many good books, not enough hours of reading time.

      1. Newest, #5, Cruel Seduction is Aphrodite’s book. Eurydice’s is #6 up for pre-order, coming in Jan. No idea about Hera’s!

  10. I read Lessons in Chemistry (the book) and liked it very much. The ending in particular is very sweet. Not a romance after the first 100 pages or so of the book, and the main character/author have no sense of humor, but I enjoyed it anyway.

    1. I started the series this week on Apple plus. It’s brilliant I love everything about it. But I suggest if you’d like to bench things that you wait till November 24 because they are dropping the eight episodes one week at a time except for the first two.

    2. Back in 1960 professional women (in the US at least) had very little to have a sense of humor about.

      I mean, people were laughing at Milton Berle, Jerry Lewis, Jackie Gleason (“to the moon, Alice!”). It’s an even more impressive book if you were around at that time. 😐

  11. So this week, I read my Book club book for last month, Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety. There is a nice romance in it, not satisfyingly developed unfortunately because, you know, it’s not a romance but the two would be lovers are great characters and Kate Atkinson is a very good writer. Among the many characters, I also really liked the matriarch. She made me think of my grandmother who was also a businesswoman in a man’s world even if in her case it was in the 1950s rather than the 1920s, I am not that old :).

    After that I reread ‘A Gathering Light’ by Jennifer Donnelly thanks to someone here mentioning it here. It was as lovely as I remembered.

    After that I read the new Goddard mentioned by Gary H. It’s about how Conju comes to work for the emperor and it is a satisfying little piece to complement petty treasons.

    Finally, I reread Cotillion because you know, why not! Heyer always delights.

  12. Last week I finally read Lessons in Chemistry which had been on hold at my library forever. It was worth the wait. But it’s a coincidence that you were talking about covers the other day because I have been thinking about the cover and blurb for this book a lot.

    They they give the impression that you are about to read a romcom, and yet the story, while having a love story and including some humor, is not a romantic comedy, being neither a traditional romance nor a comedy.

    And yet, they do get the reader’s attention and make you want to read the book. And I confess that if they had been more accurate I might not have read it, and that would have been my loss, because it was good.

    Of you’ve not read the book, it’s set in the late 1950s through early 60s, and the protagonist is a brilliant chemist who deals with sexual assault and can’t get professional respect because she’s a woman, and she absolutely refuses to play their game and accept less than her due even as it makes her life very difficult. It’s #metoo for the 20th century.

    Sounds like a real fun read, right? And yet aside from the darker parts which are deftly handled, there was a lot of positive stuff too, humor and acceptance where least expected, a strong female protagonist and a really great dog. So I do recommend it.

  13. Listened to the audio of Deep Secret by Dianne Wynne Jones. She is good at world building.

    I like the books of her that I have read, but strangely I have only read some of her books, which is weird, because as a child I used to work my way through all the available books of whichever author struck my fancy. I guess my libraries weren’t stocking her

    1. I don’t know how old you are but she wrote right up until she died in 2011 and they have released at least one book posthumously so maybe some of the books you missed were published after you became an adult.

  14. I’ve read all of Diana WynneJones. My favorites are dark Lord of Derkholm and the sequel, year of the Griffin.
    I listened to my book, I Irish, Magic, and that was fun. Then I started Janet Evanovich’s Full House. Not one of her best.
    I’ve been buying some BookBub recommendations. Nora Goes Off Script
    The advice columnist by Janie Emaus, fairytale of New York, and last night Terry Pratchett children’s book dragons at crumbling Castle, came up for sale, so I immediately bought it the best thing this week was really the Apple plus serialization of lessons in chemistry. The executive producer and writer on the show is Lee Eisenberg. I knew the name was familiar, so I looked it up. He was also the executive producer on the show I was in Jury duty. I need to write him a fan letter.

  15. I’m reading Michelle West’s latest novel “Hunter’s Redoubt” which is the first book in her last arc of books set in her universe containing the Sacred Hunt duology, the Sun Sword set and the House War set. This new arc is called the Burning Crown and will feature as the protagonist Stephen of Maubreche who is Breodan’s son.

    There are 16 hefty books in this series already, so if you know and love this Michelle West universe, you’ll love this book. If anyone feels like getting started in a humongous series with achingly beautiful, emotional scenes, and visually arresting descriptions, I suggest you start with “Hunter’s Oath” which is the first book.

    1. Michelle West also writes as Michelle Sagara, the Kaylin Neya/Chronicles of Elantra series (Cast in Shadow, Cast in …)

  16. The Marquis Who Mustn’t by Courtney Milan — new Milan, yay!! I really like how she’s exploring the protagonists’ internal struggles in her Wedgeford Trials series. It might not work for everyone, but it’s working for me. Also, amazing pottery!

    Wild Massive by Scotto Moore — SF, more world- or idea-focused than character-focused (unlike Murderbot, for instance), but I like watching what happens when someone stuffs every implausible thing into the confetti cannon and sets it off, and I love when an author really stretches. I enjoyed his Battle of the Linguist Mages more, but trying to figure out the structure of this one and why he chose that has been a great puzzle. (I really love structure.)

    The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes — very funny, and I thought it turned out to be more of a “here’s how I came up with out-of-the-box tools to take back control of the situations I found myself in” book (which I loved) than the “I am opening myself up to the universe to see what happens” book I expected from the title. Also, I found the peek into her creative process and work completely fascinating. (Also, it had a super-interesting-to-me structure that seemed very simple and natural, but I bet took a ton of work and care.)

  17. All rereads this week and all Terry Pratchett .I decided to start with some of my favourites Guards Guards, Men At Arms, and am just finishing Feet Of Clay. One of the most amazing author’s ever.

  18. Just finished Starter Villain by John Scalzi. It’s a wonderful adult mash-up of The Fowl Twins, Despicable Me, Austin Powers and Leverage with some super intelligent cats. If you like fish-out-of-water stories on the slightly fantastical side, you’ll have fun with this.

    1. Your description of Starter Villain makes me eager to listen to it. I pre-bought it but other reviews had me less excited.

  19. I’m behind the times (of course). I’ve started reading Cross Talk by Connie Willis. My impression so far – the MC has an impossible family, and while I understand her motivations I’m kinda with C.B. on this – she hasn’t thought everything through. I’m sure there are going to be plenty of unintended consequences!

  20. Read the latest Bruno book by Martin Walker. I think the title is Chateau under Siege. Anyway, it lacked some successful bits of the other books series. Problems: (1) The whole push among the side characters to make Bruno marry Florence should stop. (2) One time characters, especially women, weren’t developed and hints about them weren’t followed up on. (3) Not enough cooking, dammit!

    Question: What do you guys think of an author who will put real people in his book if they make a donation to a worthy charity? I ask because Walker explains in the end note that he has done that. Another couple he includes as significant characters are real and have fixed up the chateau of the title. I’m kinda like . . . what?

    1. I’ve heard of authors naming a character after a real person for a charity auction, but never inserting the real person (description, personality) into the story wholesale. That seems … odd.

      1. One of my friends competed and won in a charity auction to have her name in an author’s book. My friend nominated her dog Chica as the name to be included, and the author asked for permission to make the book character actually an older rescue dog named Chica. So far as I know, all parties — the author, my friend, and Chica — were all thrilled with the outcome.

      2. There are “Gary Jordans” in a number of books and stories because I volunteered when their authors – mostly Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett – asked for names. It’s called Tuckerizing, and yes, some authors do auction it off for charity.

        I also volunteered family members. 🙂

        A similar use of names is called “red shirting” after the belief that Star Trek characters in red shirts are the most likely to die. There is an uber-fan named Joe Buckley who is killed in dozens of books by multiple Baen Book authors. I think there’s even a book called “The Many Deaths of Joe Buckley.”

        1. “The croupier at the craps table is Faith Marie Essence Jordan. She is the granddaughter of Gary Jordan, who was what they call a gentleman host before The Event.

          Flint, Eric; Huff, Gorg; Goodlett, Paula. Alexander Inheritance Series (Kindle Locations 6633-6634). Kindle Edition.

          Faith is my eldest grandchild. 😀

      3. Jim C. Hines inserted a friend of his into one of his Bibliomancer books, full name, description and background, but he made her a villain, with her permission. But my wife didn’t know any of this until she’s reading the books and suddenly there is one of her friends and co-workers at the University of Michigan Law Library there in the book.

        1. Jim C. Hines is an alumni of Michigan State, so of course the U of M person needs to be a villain. 😉 😂 I work for MSU’s library which he destroyed in the first book, Libriomancer. I heard him answer the question why he did that at a library conference and it was due to having had a difficult time finding a book in the library when he was an undergrad. ☹️ We have changed our way finding system since then.

    2. Agree with you Elizabeth; all the pressure on Bruno to get married was extremely unpleasant. The book also seemed more … slight than previous books. Not sure why.

    3. This happens on webtoons from time to time. Usually a minor character and you apply for the privilege in some way. I think that is fun, to see yourself in cartoon form as a coffee barista or something.

  21. I read A Little Ray of Sunshine by Kristan Higgins and Charlotte Illes Is Not a Detective by Katie Siegal and enjoyed both novels.
    The ending to A Little Ray of Sunshine felt rushed; it’s weird to say that about a novel that clocks in at 488p. Still, it was an enjoyable read. First time I’ve read this author and I will hunt down another one.
    Charlotte Illes Is Not a Detective was just fun.
    It’s been a long time since I read multiple novels set in present day. Blame it on our hostess and Bob. 😉

  22. I need some new reading material that really hooks me because I’ve been in a re-read … funk? Can it be a funk if I’m enjoying it? Feels uncreative.

    Anyway. Big re-read is the Audible version of Dracula with Tim Curry, Alan Cumming, and others. One of those classics that I didn’t enjoy until I listened to it (I’m looking at you, LOTR) and now I pull it out every fall.

  23. I finally read (by audiobook) Anne Leckie’s Translation State, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I had a hard time with it. I can cope with non-currently-standard gender pronouns (e.g., in the second Murderbot novella) even if they’re not explained (although I think Martha Wells does explain them deftly, so I know the differences), and I can cope with lack of characters’ physical descriptions (I have aphantasia and can’t visualize them anyway), but I’m hopelessly lost without either a pronoun that makes sense OR a basic physical description, even just a hint, like big or tall or the opposite, or even humanoid or not! It was a real struggle to get through, although I did get a kick out of the character who kept insisting e was an e and not a they, when neither the character nor I knew what what e meant. Also enjoyed what felt like a shoutout to Murderbot when a couple of characters became obsessed with a serial called Pirate Exiles of the Dead Moon (or something like that).

    Anyway, I’d call it more a thought-provoking book than a “good” book, the sort I’d race through, but I’m glad I read it.

    1. I liked Translation State (I find the Presger Translators completely fascinating), but I agree that it’s maybe her least-close-to-human/most alien book, vs Ancillary Justice as her closest-to-human? The question of who/what someone is does seem very central to that book, too, and maybe goes with the body horror aspects. (Pronouns generally kind of get connected to a person like nicknames and titles in my mind, just matched up the way they introduce themselves, so that didn’t bother me — I don’t think of them as having a descriptive aspect, so that piece didn’t bother me. Maybe from reading so much SF?)

      I agree about the Murderbot nod, too! Ann Leckie blurbed one of those books, so she certainly knows about its serials. And I LOVE Adjoa Andoh’s narration for Leckie’s series!

  24. My best read this week was today’s GBT post, for now I know that Jenny is okay!

    Life feels rough right now and I have lots of nightmares and need safety and warm-hug-books and happily ever afters. My brain blocks everything so I end up watching old Swedish TV-series of Astrid Lindgren’s (Pippi Longstocking and such) books instead. But I miss reading.

    1. Thanks all. <3 I'm such a mess right now.
      I know I've asked it here before, but if you want to share your very best supermegacomfort2.0-book(s), feel free.

      1. Sarah Addison Allen Garden Spells
        Georgette Heyer The Grand Sophy (or pretty much any Heyer. I could have said These Old Shades)
        The Liz danger series
        Susan Elizabeth phillips natural born charmer
        Diana Wynn’s Jones Dark Lord of Derkholm
        Kid read:
        Maida’s Little House by Inez Haynes Irwin (it’s available for free in the Gutenberg project.)
        A hero’s guide to saving your kingdom by Christopher Healy
        I hope you find one that makes you feel safe and comforted.

        1. I echo Garden Spells by SAA as a comfort read. I dearly love the main characters. Male love interest Tyler is adorable in his longing for Claire. Their sex scene is one of my favorites alongside Jenny’s & Sarah Wyndes ghost series.

          When I say sex scene – there is no – imo – boring – insert tab a into slot b crap.

        2. If I can’t get one of the others, I might reread Garden Spells. I know I loved that book.
          Liz Danger I will read one day! …when it’s available in audio.
          Thank you so much for your recommendations! ❤️

      2. I agree with what Susan Berger suggested; here are a few more:
        Thales Folly by Dorothy Gilman
        legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
        Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

        1. Great recommendations, thank you! Crocodile I read a few years ago, but I’ve added the other two to my list. ❤️

      3. Like you, I sometimes go back to my favourite childhood books – in my case, C. S. Lewis’s Narnia series, though I’m not always OK with the religious element. Otherwise, Georgette Heyer was my teenage favourite. Or there’s Norah Roberts’ Born In Fire/Ice/Shame trilogy, plus Jewels of the Sun, also set in Ireland. Jayne Ann Krentz’s 1990s titles are a sure thing – ones like Grand Passion and Trust Me.

        Hope you find some that work for you.

        1. I loved the Narnia-books until I read the last 3 ones. I think that before I read the very last one, the religious elements hadn’t really registered, but I’ve not really been able to view them in the same light since. I still think I’d enjoy the first 4 ones if I picked them up again though. Thanks for reminding! Also about the Robertsbooks. The rest I have added to my lists.
          Thank you. ❤️

      4. “Life Among the Savages”, and “Raising Demons”, both by Shirley Jackson (author of “The Lottery”, and “The Haunting of Hill House”.) These are not horror stories, but were originally written for women’s magazines, and are humorous tales of raising her 4 children.

        Also, “The Truth About Forever”, and “This Lullaby” by Sarah Dessen. Really charming YA romances.

        Hope you feel better soon.

        1. I love Period Piece. It’s a book about her childhood by Gwen Raverat the granddaughter of Charles Darwin. No drama or stress; lots of detail about what life in Cambridge England was like in the 1880s and 1990s from a child’s perspective. For the sighted among us a bonus is that she illustrated it herself but it would be a lovely comfort read even without those.

          EB White essays. His writing is so elegant and fascinating and his topics are not stressful. I have even read his letters.

          Lois McMaster Bujold— especially “A Civil Campaign”. Also Ivan’s book Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance.

      5. I keep going back to The Book of Firsts by Karan A Anders and the sequel, Four Kings. I am, as we speak, itching to start them again. I really need to find more gentle books where nothing terrible happens.

        1. I still need to read The Book of Firsts. I know it’s got a lot of love on here. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t available on Audible a while ago when I checked… maybe it is now!
          Thank you! ❤️

          1. Nope, doesn’t seem to be available as audiobook via amazon yet.

            I’m in the minority when it comes to The Book of Firsts, but I never read Manga which might be one reason why I didn’t relate to the story.

  25. Really sorry if I worried anybody; usually I set the posts up ahead of time but this week I just got swamped and forgot.

    Must go do happiness Sunday now before I lose my grip again.

  26. I’m reading Susan Wiggs’ Welcome to Beach Town. As always, the writing is great, but while I’m drawn into the story, I’m not sure I like it, if that makes any sense. Her last book, Sugar & Salt, was my first of hers I DNF. This one is not as traumatic as that last one, but she has grown progressively grimmer, and I’m not loving the trend. She has been an auto-buy for years, and she is a terrific writer (and a lovely person), but I miss her lighter works. On the bright side, I see that her upcoming book is a Christmas novel with lots of dogs, so I’m holding out some hope for the old Susan.

    When I flew last week, I took one of my old Lani Diane Rich books, Crazy in Love, which reminded me of why romcoms are my comfort reads.

  27. I have many readings to report as usual, with attendant mild guilt for wasting anyone’s screen time. Feel free to scroll on. 😉

    1-3. re-read ‘Slippery Creatures,’ ‘The Sugared Game,’ and ‘Subtle Blood’ by KJ Charles.

    4. ‘I’m Your Guy’ by Sarina Bowen, sweet M/M novel feat. interior decorator and a closeted hockey player. Tolerable amount of hockey, v. good relationship development, lots of home improvement, liked this.

    5. re-read ‘Mistletoe and Mishigas’ by M.A. Wardell, M/M novel feat. a teacher and his new school’s custodian. Mental health issues here are a little bit handwaved in the second half (as you know, I like to see the work on the page), and the teacher does most of the heavy lifting in the relationship, but still liked it.

    6. ‘The Celebrants’ by Steven Rowley. Not a romance. Novel about 5 Berkeley dormmates who make a pact to stage ‘funerals’ whenever one of them hits a life-changing turning point. Starts with an actual funeral for their 6th BFF who died right before graduation. The central character is actually dying so this is not a book for everyone. I thought it was well done but the long-building loss would have hit harder with fewer POVs.

    7. re-read my own novella ‘Our Revels Now.’

    8. re-read ‘Booked To Die’ by John Dunning, which I still find a cracking good mystery, but lordy it is violent. All the potential triggers.

    9. ‘Not the Most Romantic Thing’ by Carrie Vaughn, a sweet SF short story which I think you Murderbot lovers would adore.

    10. a short M/M novel / long novella feat. ballet dancer and pianist, messy, lots more sex than talking, hardly any ballet, not terrible but not my cup o’ tea.

    11. ‘The Untouchable Sky’ by Will Forrest, a very good but wildly frustrating (because it’s a prequel story with cliffhangers) paranormal ace/aro M/M in which two water workers find themselves dangerously at odds with a powerful and highly-placed corrupt sorcerer. I will inevitably buy the series whenever I find them because I like Forrest’s writing and am involved with the MCs.

    1. Please DON`T feel guilty!! Anyone who doesn’t want to read your list can scroll down easily. And I’m one of those who eagerly await your recs!!
      Have found many interesting titles thanks to you!!

    2. I love your posts too. You have a really good way of summarising books in an economical but evocative and enticing way.

    3. Don’t you DARE not writing long lists of what you’ve read. Go ahead and spoil us all thoroughly with your findings! <3

    4. I like your format. I like the lists and the summaries. You cover everything that matters in a short description. It works for me 🙂

  28. Finished Iris Foxglove’s Starian novels and am now on to KJ Charles’ The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen. What would I do without everyone’s recommendations?

    1. Rereading Diana Wynne Jones —the Howl’s Moving Castle series and now the Chrestomanci series.

      Howl’s grandiose appearance in his overgrown suit still makes me giggle —first read it out loud to DD more than 20 years ago and still can’t figure out why, although DD and I thought it was hysterical, DH didn’t get it. He also doesn’t really get Terry Pratchett. He grew up with a father who read massively but all nonfiction and a mother who didn’t read (could, but I remember my amazement when they moved to Florida and found she had actually picked up a Barbara Cartland). I have a theory that appreciating fiction requires mental muscular development as a child .
      (He will occasionally read fiction, but rarely and I can never tell what will work for him. Except detective novels set in Italy. )

  29. Boy, it must be something in the air — everyone either reading or wishing they had a few comfort reads to self-medicate with.

    I too turned to an old comfort read — Mary Balogh’s regency-era Westcott series, which begins with the widowed spouse of a cad & horrible husband/father, etc. She quietly asks the family lawyer to settle some money on a young woman in an orphanage in the city of Bath, as she’s aware her father had routinely sent money there for her upkeep. He goes to do so, but discovers that the young woman the cad was supporting was his daughter, born of a woman he married before he married the now-widow. Which turns out to upend the lives of everyone in his family, since they are only now realizing they are illegitimage — bad enough in modern times, but a disaster when the dead father was an Earl, and all the money and property belong to that ‘orphan.’

    The first book in the series follows the unfolding life and eventual happy marriage of the former orphan, the next book takes up the eldest daughter, and the third (which I’m reading now) shows what happens to the widow. Last night I got the point where she’s asked what it is that she had longed for all her life, and she says it would be someone who’s see the person inside all her personas, and recognize that real person, and care about her — not their mother, or sister, or daughter — the actual and real individual. I was so struck by this line this time. Makes for a wonderful, self-aware sort of comfort read.

  30. So this is a book, not a movie, but I finally watched It Happened One Night because someone on here recommended it years ago (maybe Jenny?) and it was SO GOOD. The chemistry, the way their walls slowly crumble, the dialogue (not just with them, the whole movie has great dialogue). I’m not normally big on road-trip stories (sometimes they feel too much like a series of small anecdotes instead of a story that’s going somewhere) but this was simple and lovely and so, so good.

    Anyway, I have good movie-buzz, which is like good book buzz but not quite as strong.

  31. I recently finished Codename Charming By Lucy Parker which was entertaining, but not her best.

    I also just finished The Mechanics of Lust (Mackenzie Country #2)by Jay Hogan (m/m). Ms. Hogan is knocking it out of the park over and over again. Fabulous storyteller. If you enjoy m/m I highly recommend her Painted Bay series.

  32. Read Kristan Higgins’s latest “Little Ray of Sunshine”. I had stopped reading Higgins’s books when she went from light hearted romances to rather un-amusing “women’s fiction” with no humor, unpleasant characters (specially the old women,) and rather too-sad-for -me situations. This latest one was a miss on the romance front for me, but had an interesting premise (child given up for adoption shows up after 18 years.) I still prefer her early books which are among my comfort reads (“Catch of the day”, “Just one of the guys”, etc.)

    Then read the Booker Prize winning “The 7 Moons of Maali Almeida” which was thought- provoking and surprising but grim (centers around Sri Lanka’s civil war.)

    Now reading the new Alexis Hall “Ten Things That didn’t Happen” and so far am really enjoying it. Am hoping it will have the emotional payoff “Boyfriend Material” provided, as I was a bit disappointed with “Husband Material” (liked the tone but I couldn’t get too invested in wedding planning.)

    1. I’m with you on “Boyfriend Material” vs “Husband Material”. Part of it is that I have no patience with the wedding industry and using a wedding to pay off social debts or impress people with your wealth or power. Wedding planning can function as an indicator of how well the couple knows each other and learns to compromise, but often it is just a distraction from the central relationship.

    2. I felt that “Husband Material” was an exploration of how the gay community deals with the trappings of heteronormativity, as encapsulated by the wedding. I enjoyed it but not as much as the first one. Ironically enough the bit I liked best was the funeral 🙂

  33. So I haven’t been reading anything worth talking about but I am considering writing again. Surprise, surprise. I thought my little ADHD Brain (self diagnosed to be fair) had given up on writing. But today I was thinking about Glimmer Girls and I thought maybe I could take the beginning, which I like, and start over. Letting the story take me where it will.

    So far I’m just in the thinking about it stage, but we are coming up on the cold dark, which is a fabulous time to write – so Maybe?

  34. Just finished listening to The Lost Bookshop by Evie Woods.
    Different from my usual book choices, but I have recommended it to a friend.

  35. I’m reading – well, re- re- re- reading to infinity and beyond, “Bet Me” by my favorite author, you! Jus finished “Agnes and the Hitman” and your newest colabs with Bob.

  36. Does it relate to drywall or paint? No? Then I haven’t read it. Unfortunately.

  37. I’m in the middle of Sarina Bowen’s I’m Your Guy and enjoying it. (Autocomplete wanted Sarina to be sarcophagus. It knows me.)

    I finished Aliette de Bodard’s In the Vanishers’ Palace. A F/F romance where one main character is a dragon and the grim post apocalyptic world presents the pair with much more complex problems than their tendency to think themselves unworthy of the other doesn’t sound charming and soothing, but I found it so.

    Rereading a lot of Becky Chambers, speaking of comfort reads. Also The Secret Garden, which is a favorite fall read, just to remind myself that spring is coming.

  38. I’ve been eking out the Rory Clements books about John Shakespeare books. I have just finished number 3. These are books about an intelligencer (spy) working for Walsingham and then Robert Cecil during the reign of Elizabeth I. There are 7 full length novels + novella. John Shakespeare is big brother of the actor/writer William…I highly recommend them.

  39. I’m still reading Good Girl, Bad Blood by Holly Jackson (physical book), am working my way through Lindsay Buroker’s Dragon’s Blood? series (e-book box set), and have discovered that listening to an audiobook while climbing stairs for 40 minutes makes the time fly, especially when you have to pay attention to the vocabulary because it’s Dumas’ The Three Musketeers and there are some great words in there!

Comments are closed.