This is a Good Book Thursday, November 23, 2023

It is also American Thanksgiving, a day of turkey and relatives, which often means more turkeys. My favorite book for today is Thanksgiving 101, which taught me to make great gravy, but today I am ignoring th holiday and reading whatever I want. Already finished Murderbot, scrolling through my Kindle now. It’s gonna be a good day.

What did you read t his week?

178 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 23, 2023

  1. Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating (even if those ignoring it).

    I finally, after months of waiting, got to the top of the list at the library for Lessons in Chemistry – absolutely love it and now know what all the fuss was about. Is it wrong that my favourite character is Six Thirty (the dog)?

    1. It’s absolutely worth it to pay for Apple plus TV for a month to see the eight part series. Lee Eisenberg did a brilliant job with it, and all of the characters are splendid, including the dog.

  2. I read Sharon Shinn’s most recent, Whispering Wood, and as many here have already said, it was great. In fact, it’s the best in the Elemental Blessings series since Troubled Waters (this resulted in another re-read of that book).

    I finished another Nicky James book the Valor/Doyle series – by the way, who doesn’t love an MC whose first name is Aslan because his mother was a Narnia fan?

    And I loved Ab+Huth, the free Ari Baran hockey novella, thank you for that Cristie!

    Now onto Alessandra Hazard’s newest which came out today – yea!

    1. Glad you liked it Tammy! Any chance you’ve read AB’s Delay of Game yet? I’m thinking of reading that before Game Misconduct because it sounds less angsty.

      1. I read Delay of the Game and liked it better than Game Misconduct. The angst in the first one made me wince. But Mike and Danny show up as characters again in the second one – not really a spoiler, just saying’.

    2. My reading of Whispering wood last week also led me to rereading the Blessings series. I am on Leah’s book now. While I intensely dislike the main plot with the truly vile Karkans, I really like Leah and Mally and also, as usual, the setting up of a shop delightful.
      Only in books, starting a business can be such a painless delight, effortlessly securing starting capital, excellent stock, trustworthy employees and an endless stream of costumers!
      At least, this time, an elderly relative did not have to die to provide the shop!

  3. I’ve just finished bingeing Penny Reid’s Knitting In The City series. Seven women who meet once a week to knit, eat, drink and support each other in their lives.

    While that sounds dull, it’s anything but. They’re a wonderful found family, and it’s funny, fast paced and romantic.

    PS – is it just me, but I don’t get a notification if anyone responds to me. I don’t know how to fix it, so if anyone asks me a question and I don’t respond, I’m not ignoring you!

    1. I think that the notification thing has ended. I don’t get them anymore either. I just come back here and check regularly.

    2. It stopped several years ago. I seem to remember that someone who had notifications set up went on holiday and left an automated reply on their email, and it set up a vicious circle with the notifications, bouncing back and forth and resulting in an apocalyptic meltdown of arghink. So they never reinstated it.

  4. I am metaphorically double fisting short, fluffy holiday romances. That seems to be all I have the bandwidth for. Murderbot will have to wait a little while longer.

    I finished Trisha Ashley’s One More Christmas at the Castle and really enjoyed all the depictions of cooking and housekeeping a big British estate. It was our competence porn. Martha Stewart would be jealous.

    Next was When Christmas Lights Turn Blue by Harper Fox. It was more poignant than I was expecting, but still good and quite short.

    Now I am listening to A Royal Christmas Cruise by Max Walker. Secret prince, fake boyfriend on a cruise ship. There is going to be a big misunderstanding, but it is so fluffy that I can probably deal with it.

    1. I love One More Christmas at the Castle and her 12 Days of Christmas. I re-read both at this time of year.

    2. I just borrowed It’s a Wonderful Tangled Christmas Carol by Emma Chase from KU. Only 82 pages so it will be quick.

    3. I’ve been re-reading Trisha Ashley too! My favourite is A Winter’s Tale, but she does good competence porn in most of them!

      I confess that I like One Last Christmas but the older generation don’t really stand up if you interrogate their actions too closely… (And by older generation I very much mean Asa)

      1. You mean ethically? Yes he is really awful and the way Sabine copes is honestly not great.
        But the book is charming.

        1. Yes. The treatment of Faye is frankly horrible, and gets glossed over by the narrative because Sabine despised her, and Dido never knew her. But she was a child who lost her family, lost her home, and then had the man she was with (her brother-in-law and effective guardian, when she was about sixteen) try to murder her!

          I keep hoping Xan’s biography will reveal the nasty undercurrent, but at the end Asa’s an approving presence.

          1. Totally completely agree. Plus Asa seduced a child under his care . She was a child so you can’t say it was mutual. And Sabine’s treatment of Faye is human but still bad. Faye wasn’t responsible for the behavior of her parents.

      2. Oh, Asa was a first rate pos. I read it as Sabine enabling him because she couldn’t handle the alternative, not as the author condoning his actions… And maybe as a look at the outdated views of the time. For all her coziness, she likes to add a fair amount of darkness from the past. I can think of at least three others where past rape comes into play. I think that she puts it out there and lets you make your own conclusions and that Dido and the others let the “indiscretion” go because everyone else is gone and Sabine has grown as much as she has time and space to do.

  5. I just finished Witch of Wild Things by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, which I think was recommended by someone here. Thank you! It was lovely.

    Starting a cozy mystery set at Christmas this morning, before setting out to a relaxed Thanksgiving early dinner with a couple of friends later. I only have to make cranberry sauce and Brussels sprouts, and bring a bottle of prosecco, which is about what I’m up to at this point.

      1. It’s the newest in Sofie Kelly’s “Magical Cats” mysteries. (I think Sofie used to be here on the blog occasionally, but I could be wrong.) This one is called Paws to Remember. It’s one of my favorite cozy series.

  6. For anyone open to middle-grade/YA, I recommend Greenglass House, by Kate Milford. It has ghosts and mysteries and found family, and a great old house. And, it does take place at Christmas.

      1. If you like it, it’s the first in a series, and the second one also takes place at Christmas.

  7. Witch King by Martha Wells – haven’t had Murderbot arrive in my local library yet, so I picked up this new one by the same author. It’s an interesting read and I liked it as it has great world building and you root for the demon. Not much in the way of romance, but a lot of layered thinking went into this one. I’m hoping she continues the series, but the book ends on a final note so further adventures are possible but it doesn’t end on a cliffhanger.

    Enjoy your Thanksgiving today (Americans) and everyone else have a great Thursday! We’ll be celebrating at my daughter’s house with my sister an a co-worker of hers who couldn’t get home (Tennessee) for Thanksgiving.

  8. I read Bookstores and Bone Dust, by Travis Baldree. All but one character are new, and it’s very different from Legends and Lattes, but it is growing on me. I’m rereading it, and writing down the species of each character as they come up. This is a very diverse cast! My favorite character is the bone homunculus. He has a dry wit, which shows up as things progress. It’s a slow starter, since Viv is lame from an injury for much of the beginning. It has an interesting ending. I recommend it.

  9. Preparing my annual list of Christmas related murder mysteries!

    Not A Creature Was Stirring (Jane Haddam) (And the later books in the series, A Stillness in Bethlehem and Festival of Death)
    Murder After Christmas, by Rupert Latimer, an incredibly fun book published in 1944.
    Envious Casca by Georgette Heyer, much beloved for the elderly relative who just wants to finish her library book…

    Does anyone have any recommendations? Fighting to remember the name of the one that really put me off…

    I just read the latest Nora Roberts, which didn’t quite work for me: I’ll probably try the next in the series, but it might just be me, everyone felt a bit flat…

    1. I’ve just started Inheritance. I have a different problem. I’m not sure I’m in the mood to deal with a trilogy that involves a (spoiler!) ghost who is essentially a serial killer.

      1. I finished it (the new Nora Roberts) and (spoiler ) the book doesn’t really have an ending just a giant cliffhanger. I can’t say I got attached to the characters.

        I’m still rereading the W.R. Gingell Two Monarchies series. I also started her Lady of Weeds but it felt too much like Patricia McKillip’s The Changeling Sea without its charm.

        Has anyone read her Between series? Is it as grim as it sounds or does it have a light touch?

        1. Yes. I’d have thought I’d get attached to Sonya, but she just never really clicked as more than an assemblage of parts, and nor did Cleo or her mother. I’d just like a bit more grit to them.

          (My favourite bride: Agatha! Not a lovely sweet perfect girl! Had a bit of bite to her, still worthy of being mourned)

    2. Four of my cozies have a Christmas setting: A Gingerbread Diorama of Death, A dozen Days of Death (both novellas in the Helen Bonney series), A Christmas Quilt to Die For (Danger Cove), and Four Cat Night (novella, Crazy Cat Lady Chronicles). And the third Bourbon B&B mystery will be a Christmas cozy (releasing in December 2034). Who knew I liked Christmas stories souch?

        1. Yes, this decade not next! Although it feels like it’s been ten years since my last new book release. Only a little over amonth to the first book in the series and all three are coming out next year.

    3. I love “Envious Casca” – so much fun. Am immediately going to find a copy of “Murder After Christmas”.

      If you like non-cosy mysteries as well, I really like “A Maigret Christmas & Other Stories” by George Simenon, which is rather more solemn.

    4. If you want to add to your Christmas murder mystery list, Rest You Merry by Charlotte MacLeod is one I enjoy revisiting. I think another Argher has recommended it previously . The town, college, and characters are so wonderfully, um, individual? I’ve read the entire Peter Shandy series, Merry is the first and I always find myself smiling/grinning as I read.

  10. My before-sleeping books in bed at night have recently centered on books I love but seldom think of re-reading:

    * “Beguilement” – book One of the four volumes in Lois McMaster Bujold’s “Sharing Knife” series. It introduces the innocent girl from a farm family who has gotten herself pregnant with a careless boy from a nearby farm. She decides she has no option but to run away to the nearest town to somehow find a job and keep her shameful secret from everyone who knows her. Enroute, while walking on the road to that town and sleeping rough, she gets herself mixed up in the search by a group of Lakewalkers who are riding out to do battle with a really scary monster who has awakened from underground to wreak widespread destruction. So, Innocent girl, widowed and depressed Lakewalker, Monster on the loose — it’s a quiet book that you can barely put down once you start it, full of Bujold’s keen insight into the inner lives of complex characters. I may just have to read the other three volumes as well.

    * “Written in Red” – Book 1 of the 5 volumes in “The Others” series by Anne Bishop. This is the same world that is the setting of “Lake Silence” which I often re-read. It’s an engrossing series as well, all set more or less around the city of Lakeside. The central character is also an innocent girl, but this time she is someone who has somehow escaped from the secret clinic that captures and uses girls who are able to see visions that predict the future when their skin is cut to bleed. All she knows of the world are the scraps of information she can recall from those predictive visions, as well as from the drills run with these captive seers to teach them the names of things they might see in visions. She finds a haven in the mid-city home of the Others. These are shape-shifters who largely control the world of ordinary humans: wolves, hawks, crows, bears and other magical figures who carry the characteristics of both their animal selves and their human shapes, and can switch back and forth from one to the other. Think of Central Park in the midst of NYC, or Hyde Park in the middle of London — an island of nature in the middle of busy modern urban life. This is a wonderful series told with empathy and imagination.

    * And finally, my favorite free-standing Diana Wynne Jones book “Deep Secret.” The beleaguered Mage Rupert Venable is supposed to locate an equally strong mage to send to another dimension to handle all the magical problems of a galactic empire whose Emperor has died suddenly. His own senior mage has also died, but before the end, that mage produced a list of five magically talented individuals who are prime candidates for mage training, and the only way to evaluate them all quickly and efficiently is to affect their fate lines in order to bring them all to the same place at the same time — which turns out to be a Speculative Fiction convention in a small town in the middle of Britain. This convention is full of weirdos and strange ongoing events, and Rupert Venable has to juggle and maneuver his way to realizing who is really the one he needs to choose and train in Magic Arts. A very funny, touching book with great characters, great laughs, and a happy ending. With a leaping centaur on the cover. 🙂

    1. Deep Secret is one of my favorite Diana Wynne Jones books. Love all the characters at the convention, the witchy dance flicking your fingernails, and using the nursery rhyme How Many Miles toBabylon.

    2. ” I may just have to read the other three volumes as well.”

      The four volumes are really just two books divided for size. When you finish Beguilement just cruise right on through Legacy because it’s the second half of the first book.

      At that point, you’ll love Dag and Fawn and their companions, so reading the last two will be inevitable. At the end of book 4, one of those companions has a personal growth incident that isn’t resolved until Knife Children, a follow-up novella, so read that, too.

      I love Bujold.

      1. Yes, I know. 🙂 I’ve read the series before, and have them all in hardback and paperback. Plus Knife Children.

        At this point I’m reading the paperbacks, since it’s pre-bedtime reading and that’s easiest to hold.

  11. I read Bright Lights, Big Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews. I liked it but not as much as The Santa Suit. I’m on book #6 in the Burning Cove series by Amanda Quick. I’m loving all the sex, sporty cars from the 30s that everyone is driving. LOL!

  12. Someone mentioned Ari Baran last week so I looked them up.
    Really enjoyed Game Misconduct. It’s quite intense, and kind of dark (similar in tone to Rachel Reid Tough Guy and the first Cait Nary. Great complex characters. I was gripped.

    Read Delay of Game after, and was a bit disappointed. Missed some of the complexity and wasn’t as compelled by the characters but it is a lighter read.

    Also read Into the Blue Pene Hensen. MM surfing. Liked the surfing stuff, and the mix of characters.

    Have nearly finished Them Sarina Bowen Elle Kennedy. A follow up to Him but I like it more. It takes place after the HEA of Him and as Jennie suggested earlier this week, sometime that part of the romance is more interesting and complex.

  13. Happy Thanksgiving to all who are celebrating! May everyone here have much to be thankful for! I am grateful for this community, and so many other things!

    I have not been reading much due to being one-handed temporarily, but instead have been watching all sorts of movies and shows. Yesterday I watched
    – “Hop” – a combination of real life and animation(?) where are the Easter bunny wants to be a drummer
    – “Love Punch” – which starred Emma Thompson and Pierce Bronson as a divorced couple, who decided to try to steal a diamond from the owner of the company that took away their retirement fund
    – “ the hitman’s bodyguard” and “ the hitman’s wife’s bodyguard” – these movies, starred, Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, and Salma Hayek. They were violent and action packed and there was a lot of swearing. They were also kind of funny. Ryan Reynolds plays the bodyguard, and he is protecting Samuel Jackson, who is the Hitman, so he can testify against an evil dictator in the first movie. In the second movie, Salma Hayek, who is the hitman’s wife, gets the bodyguard to help her kidnapped husband, and their recruited by Interpol to help with a big bad who wants to destroy the European Union. The big bad is played by Antonio Banderas.

    I also started watching the series “locke and key” which is a Netflix show that is about the Locke family and the kids finding magic keys. It is suspensful. I also watched an episode of “Almost Paradise”, which stars Christian Kane, “the Chosen,” “ metal shop masters,” “ the world’s most amazing vacation rentals,” and “an entire season of “ the great British sewing bee.”

    Other movies I’ve watched this week include:
    – “80 for Brady” – stars, Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Rita, Moreno, and Lily Tomlin. Before women travel to the 2017 Super Bowl to see Tom Brady play. It was cute.
    – “Once Upon a Crime” – a farce where two Americans try to return a Dachshund to a wealthy woman for reward only to find her murdered upon their arrival
    – “In Vino” – a clue like movie where the patriarch is murdered, and those inheriting need to determine who is going to take the fall
    – “A Man Called Otto” – the stars, Tom Hanks, and was sweet and touching and I cried a lot, which was perfect because I was feeling sorry for myself that day
    – “Riverdance – the animated adventure” – a touching story with dancing deer and Irish music of a young boy, whose grandfather passes, and he is helped by a young girl, who had lost her grandmother and the dancing deer.
    -“The Sea Beast” – an animated film that of hunters who fight the sea beasts in order to make safe passageway for people. Then an orphan girl befriends one of the beasts and things change.
    – and a Hallmark movie type romance one that I can’t remember well enough to tell you the title or the plot

    1. If you haven’t yet watched “ The Shape of Water,” I recently watched it and loved it! It’s free on FREEVEE.

    2. Locke and Key is based on a graphic novel series by Joe Hill which is fantastic. The kids’ school scenes are mostly filmed in an Anglican theology college on the University of Toronto campus where I lived my first year at the U of T. The cafeteria in the series is actually the reading room of the library and is that gorgeous in real life.

  14. I just finished the newly released ebook Beware of Chicken 3, by “Casual Farmer.” I’m pretty sure I recommended the first two books together here when I read them. They’re a sort of subversion of Chinese hero fantasy, but they worked well for me even without knowing much about that genre. Our protagonist is a peace-loving Canadian, reincarnated (sort of) into a world resembling legendary premodern China. He demonstrates that things work much better when people work together rather than continually striving against each other to reach the top of the social pyramid and glory.

    1. I’ve put this on my list. I’m all for a protagonist who is a reincarnated Canadian, being one myself. Canadian not reincarnated. I think.

  15. What’s with all these Christmas book recommendations??? I changed the station because the radio started playing “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies,” which I suppose is not strictly Christmasy but is too close. It’s still American Thanksgiving today! By American convention, the Christmas runup starts tomorrow. By European convention, it starts only with Advent (3 December this year). I vaguely recall that in Toronto the Christmas season reportedly starts with a parade even earlier than American Thanksgiving, but I don’t think all the Christmas titles here are coming from Canadians!

    Now I’ve got to go finish unloading the dishwasher so I can fill it again and have dishes to eat Thanksgiving dinner on.

    1. When walking yesterday, I saw a Christmas wreath on someone’s door. It gets earlier every year. Costco had holiday stuff on Tuesday when I was there.

      1. Our school sells wreaths as a fundraiser and always has pick up the week before Thanksgiving so people can distribute them to family/friends when they are already gathered. So I’ve had my wreath up since last Friday.

        1. My 4-inch fiber optic Christmas tree has been plugged in for over a week. I used to have two other similar trees that I can’t find since the move. If I find them, I’ll plug them in. 🙂

    2. Our city started putting up Christmas decorations on 1st October – I was horrified! Feeling very curmudgeonly 😉

      But I do start ordering Christmas books in November so I have a nice stack by 1 Dec.

    3. As a maker, I am always working a season ahead. I try to hold on the the current holiday in my home and Christmas is not my favorite by far, but it does shed a little light as the year gets darker.

      And I try to get some enjoyment out of it, by gearing up for the season. This time of year I am worn out, disheartened and tired. And I have no focus for reading anything at all demanding of me. Sometimes fluffy holiday romance is just what I need to keep my head above water.

  16. I finished Whispering Wood, and loved it (although Tammy is wrong: Troubled Waters is not the best of the series, Royal Airs is! I say this not only because of all the flying, which I am obsessed with, but because Josetta is my favorite character in the entire series.)

    I read Cait Nary’s Season’s Change, and enjoyed it greatly, but I am not as engaged with her next one. It seems to be heading angst-ward too much for me. I also feel a bit burned out on contemporary anything. I need more SFF. Soon to start my System Collapse reread, quotation list pulled up beside it.

    I DNFd several contemporary romances that just weren’t holding my attention. They weren’t bad at all, but they just weren’t what I wanted, and it felt plodding, even though if I concentrated, the writing was really good

    1. Lol – I’m okay to be wrong on behalf of Josetta! But you can’t say Rafe or whatever his name is beats Darien as a romantic lead.

          1. Jinx, you’ll have to read Troubled Waters to get it!
            I actually made myself so blessings counters and occasionally pick some, especially when I am rereading.
            It’s such a nice idea because whatever you pick is always nice!

          2. My blessings are all over the place. I have no idea what I would be. How about you, Tammy? I am guessing water. Or maybe fire.

      1. I think one of the best things about Whispering Woods is when Val tells Darien he abandoned her. I find him annoying and it’s good to see him confronted with something he can’t argue away.

      1. Olga, so do I! Troubled Waters is my favorite in the series, while Royal Airs (sorry Mary Ann!) is my least favorite. In all the other books, the main female character grows and changes during the story; Josetta has already done her growth and change before the book starts so it’s not as interesting to me.

        For those who are interested, Sharon Shin pulls blessings every Monday and posts them on her fb page.

  17. I read Taylor Fitzgerald’s “Between the Teeth” books 1 and 2 and found them both so so so good. I was moved and gripped. Thank you Tammy! I don’t know how I didn’t stumble upon Fitzgerald before. What a find. I was lost when I realized at the 75% mark in book 2 that there was going to be another book — and it hasn’t come out yet. It took a bit to get over that. 🙂

    Because I don’t think Fitzgerald’s books can be matched on the hockey front and because her backlist is short, I’ve decided to delay gratification and take a break from hockey for a bit. So I started The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue which so far (am at the 20% mark) is a bit slow. I think this might be one of those books that I will putting down periodically…

    1. Christina – good news – Taylor’s published back list is short but she has some incredible series, some short but some super long and some still in progress on A03. Happy to make reco’s.

      1. Please recommend!! I’m totally stuck in Taylor Fitzpatrick mode despite having moved on to the Addie LaRue book.

          1. I think primarily angsty. As for the chillies scale — doesn’t matter to me as long as it moves the story and isn’t just sex for sex sake.

          2. Taylor’s sex scenes are always on point. Warning though – she does not always believe in an HEA. She says she writes relationships not romances. Having said that, here’s the link to the series page of her A03:

            https://archiveofourown.org/users/youcouldmakealife/series

            Here’s the ones I’d recommend for you:

            Throw Up Your Fists, Throw Out Your Wits (Very Angsty)
            Always In Tandem and Still Always in Tandem (Very Angsty)
            If All is Enough (Novella – Very Angsty – and don’t read until after you’ve read her book You Could Make a Life)
            No Expectation of Returns (Novella – Somewhat Angsty)
            Impaired Judgement (Somewhat Angsty – and not quite finished but will be by the time you get through this long one)
            Under the Influence (Novella – A Bit Angsty)

            The other series are either fun or incomplete. And dear god stay away from the outtakes until you’ve read all of the series or they will make no sense (I speak from experience.) But when you’re done the above, we can talk.

  18. I finished the Murderbot series, and then felt the need to skim-read the first book again – I wanted Murderbot back with its Preservation humans. I then switched to print, since I wanted to trade in my ten-year-old Kindle for a new one (it’s been getting a bit hinky, and I was having to charge it pretty much every day). I thought I’d miss the boat with Amazon’s Black Friday deals on a new one, but to my surprise I could buy the replacement with the trade-in discount before posting my old one to them. So I got a really good deal (£95 instead of £160), and am enjoying my new device.

    I took them up on a free three-month trial of Kindle Unlimited, too, so if anyone has any recommendations for that, I’d appreciate it.

    I’m altogether thankful for American Thanksgiving today, since (after watching Amazon like a hawk for the past ten days) I’ve also just got a really excellent deal on a year’s subscription to Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop: just over half price, which makes a real difference.

    1. Speaking of Kindles, I am seriously thinking of getting one, or asking Santa for one. Which version do you recommend? There are so many versions!!! I think one with a lighted page, and large print would be really good, but I’m not sure about the other features.

      1. The great benefit of aKindle is the ability to change the font size at will. Also they are not backlit; the light (fully adjustable) shines down on the words instead of up into your eyes like a phone or iPad/tablet/computer and is therefore ok for nighttime reading.

        The Paperwhite is a solid performer that is often offered at special pricing. I have an Oasis, which I adore, but it is pricey.

      2. I’ve gone for a Kindle Paperwhite. It’s light, and as Lisa says, the screen is much kinder on the eyes than the glare from a tablet. It’s also waterproof/will survive a brief dunking, which appealed to me since I like reading in the bath. The fact you can adjust the size and boldness of the type is invaluable, as is its lightness – I find modern hardbacks really uncomfortable to read (older ones were much more compact, as were paperbacks).

        Don’t worry about memory, by the way: ebooks take up surprisingly little space.

        1. I had an older model Paperwhite that did not recover even from a very slight splash from a coffee cup that I mistakenly thought was empty. Making them splash resistant sounds a needed improvement.

          About the time my last Kindle died, I had decided to move to mobile broadband, and I find that the Kindle app on a tablet works very satisfactorily for me. Granted, I wouldn’t risk the tablet in a bath, and in the days when I traveled more, I was glad I was only putting a relatively inexpensive device at risk.

      3. I have an Oasis which I absolutely love but even though I got it during a Black Friday (or Christmas?) Sale, it was pretty expensive. The feature I love the best is it has a button turn-the-page feature. Also it’s very light.
        The Paperwhite version is also great and much more affordable.

        1. I’m finding my new Paperwhite subtly better than the old one at page turning – I’m not turning pages by mistake so often.

      4. Thanks, Deborah, Jane, Patrick, Lisa ATL, and Christina. It sounds like the Paperwhite is the best idea for me. I appreciate your input!

        1. I had a fire and a paperwhite and liked the latter much better. It’s the most book-like reading experience.

      5. I have a couple of Kindles, (my husband’s love language is giving tech and his religion is anything not Apple). They are good for travel and difficult to find books. I also play a lot of Spider Solitary on it.

  19. Am finishing up my current reread of Connie Willis’s To Say Nothing of the Dog.

    Next, a reread of Possession in honor of the late A S Byatt.

    Saw a movie — The Holdovers — Paul Giamatti acted really well. Funny to see a boarding school movie about 1971 when I was in boarding school. Definitely over the top with the language and drinking, but right on with the presence of cigarettes and pipes. I’m glad the air has cleared from those days. Also, the movie was filmed mostly near where I live, so it was fun to recognize the places. Can’t say I’d recommend it, but the popcorn was good.

  20. Re: old Kindles, I have two and someday will need to upgrade but for now am going with ‘charge every second book and deal with it.’ 🙂

    The reading week:

    1. started reading ‘A Most Agreeable Murder’ by Julia Seales, was prepared to be entertained because let’s face it, calling the mysterious estate Stabmort is funny, but had to bail out at 10%. Too silly for me at this time. Proceeded to ‘Executive Decision’ by Alice Archer, a M/M short story featuring an overworked transportation executive and a dry stone builder stuck in a really terrible contract. Their meeting, negotiation, and alliance worked for me.

    2. [re-read] ‘The Witch of Blackbird Pond’ by Elizabeth George Speare. A flawless book.

    3. ‘The Camelot Caper’ by Elizabeth Peters, 1970s-set and indeed a caper, featuring an American woman in England for legacy reasons and the English writer who joins forces with her to discover who’s trying to keep her from getting to Cornwall. Semi-farcical despite occasional Real Peril, a whiff of romance, drama & trauma in a busted-ass castle leading to a negotiated peace and hints of HEA.

    4. [re-read] ‘Love In Disguise’ by Edith Layton, one of those big Super Regencies from Signet. Mannered style, good characterizations and some finely observed details, soapy plot with various infatuations, a very skeevy villain, a charming criminal, and the likable FMC choosing the correct man from two tempting options.

    5. two shorts: ‘Sinew and Steel and What They Told’ and ‘Time: Marked and Mended’ by Carrie Vaughn; stories about Graff, a bionic spacefarer in love with his ship’s doctor. Liked both of these a lot.

    6. ‘Somewhere in the Gray Area’ by Jeffrey K. Davenport. M/M thriller. Unusual choices, including the POV character and his love interest not ending up together, which based on backstory and character growth is the correct conclusion. This is a violent action-packed story about a college senior with a high-level internship in computer / software whose mentor and fellow interns are all slaughtered; he is extracted just in time by a black ops agent (the love interest). Not all loose ends are tied up but it’s involving and the emotional notes (lots of conflict) rang true for me.

    7. ‘Twisted Tome’ by Vanora Lawless. Book 2 of her ‘magicians blackmailed into serving in WWI’ series, which for all I know began as fan fiction based on KJ Charles’ Spectred Isle but is thoroughly imagined, with distinct characters. I would advise reading the first book (‘Imperfect Illusions’) before this one. Excellent found family / allies, a new magical threat to be countered, and the theft of an ancient French grimoire with apocalyptic potential hovering over book 3 (out next fall). The central lovers stay alive & together amid various mayhem including a grisly climactic battle scene.

    8. [re-read] ‘The Game of Love’ by Edith Layton. Another big fat Regency (in ‘The Love Trilogy’ collection), this one is again very soapy. Central is the daughter of an aristocratic gambling addict who meets the charming criminal from ‘Love in Disguise,’ now an ex-criminal, who’s been roaming Europe for a couple of years with BFF of hero of preceding book, and unfortunately one deduces that Layton really wanted to write about the BFF because he takes up a lot of space in this book. The central romance is satisfactory but really, the other guy, too much. I get it, he’s very handsome, enough already. And did we really have to kill that guy’s harmless ex-mistress? Was there no other way to tie up her thread? Did we need that last chapter which was all about the hero of book 3, or would we rather have had a last chapter which was all about the main characters of THIS book? /rhetorical rant

    I am waiting till December to begin reading Christmas books, but There Will Be Christmas Books.

  21. I’m done my podcast binge (they changed one host after episode 100 and I wasn’t going to stop until I got there) and am listening to Murderbot. I had to take the truck for an oil change, a 2 hour highway drive round trip, so I got a big chunk of it done then. I loved its comment about humans watching media and eating crunchy things out of bags. I felt so seen. And also so judged.

    Tomorrow I’m off to Edmonton for the first part of our girls Christmas market trip to Calgary and I have 3 brand new audio books to choose from once I’m done Murderbot.

    The weather is supposed to be really good; last year I had to wear my parka, this year I’m just wearing my winter coat. I have to remember to throw my boots in the car. We are having warm weather and a serious snow drought, which is both a good and bad thing: good because the roads are clear and dry and we are able to still pick up after the dogs in the yard and bad because no snow equals no moisture equals dry trees equals fires and no one wants a repeat of this spring. Good because it’s easy on the wild animals and they are able to forage much easier much later in the year and bad because they might not be growing out enough coat if we get a sudden temp drop.

    Next Thursday (fingers crossed) I’ll be having my cataract surgery.

    Thursday after that (also fingers crossed) I’ll be reading actual paper books.

    1. Good luck with the cataract surgery, all my friends who have had it loved the results, much better vision and enjoying colors more than before! Taf

  22. S.J. Bennett’s Murder Most Royal is #3 in the series. Like its two predecessors, The Windsor Knot and All the Queen’s Men, this book features Queen Elizabeth of England. The queen investigates murders in this gentle and entertaining murder mystery series.
    Although murder mystery as a genre is far from my favorites and rarely works for me, this series does. I enjoyed the previous two books, and I enjoyed this one. In light of the Queen’s recent death, I think this series as a whole could stand as a wonderful tribute to her – as a woman and a monarch.
    After that book, for a few days, I had nothing new to read, so I turned to one of my old favorites. Before I finished it, 4 books I ordered arrived on the same day to my library. And Amazon delivered System Collapse (the paper version) the same afternoon. So now I have a glut of new reading material. Of course, I wanted to dive in the new Murderbot right away, but I have to read the library books first. Such a delightful conundrum.

    1. I really enjoyed reading the Windsor Knot, and had not realized that sequels have been published. Thank you for informing me!

  23. Reading Connie Willis Christmas stories. I just bought “take a look at the five and dime” and I loved it. i’m starting the book charmer. Also an arghink recommendation. Thank you all for your recommendations.
    The last episode of lessons in chemistry comes out on Apple plus TV tomorrow then I plan a bunch the whole thing. I saw the first two episodes and they were absolutely amazing.
    I hope you all have the joyful day of your choice. Blessings

  24. I finished Once More With Feelings by The Night Hawk. I mentioned I love do-over stories, right?

    Variation on a Theme, Book 5 by Grey Wolf. Forward, Chapter 1 & 2. The serial continues (resumes), now on a M-Th schedule instead of M-W-F. I questioned whether I’d follow this word opera into the college years, but I’m still hooked. Like sands through an hourglass, the world turns.

    Murderbot diary System Collapse is in progress and occupies my Kindle Ap on the All-in-1. If I want to read around it, I’ll use one of my stand-alone Kindles. Or fire up a laptop. I can’t seem to build any momentum.

    The Viennese Waltz by Flint/Huff/Goodlett. Another of the Ring of Fire series. The Barbie Consortium buys Vienna, and all but one Barbie present become Princess Barbies – the one is holding out to become a Doctor Barbie.

    On Paramount+ I’ve been binge-watching Star Trek: Lower Decks. 🙂

      1. I haven’t dived (diven?) into Strange New Worlds yet, so that will be something to look forward to. I burned out on Star Trek for a few years. I never finished Enterprise and haven’t watched any of the CBS All Access stuff. A blogger old me what I was missing out on with Lower Decks, so there I am.

        I’m also binging on Daria out of nostalgia.

      2. Myself, I don’t subscribe to streaming services, but fortunately the local library eventually gets the DVDs. Waiting impatiently for Season 4 Lower Decks to get to them. SNW doesn’t grab me, but I plan to watch the crossover when the library gets it.

      3. I saw that one. It was cute. I am not a huge fan of Captain Pike, but I like the rest of the cast.

  25. I’m reading The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu. The main character is a story telling bot. There’s also a monkey bot, the Jinn-Bot, several human characters, a world which may or may not be heading to destruction, several dueling street lords, and more. It is chaotic and fun.

    1. And I read Check & Mate by Ali Hazelwood. Just gobbled it up. I liked it the best since her first. It’s YA about two young chess champions. I am not a chess player but know people who do a daily chess puzzle.

      1. Loved Check & Mate – but I love all hers so that’s no surprise. I cannot stand chess and I still enjoyed the book.

    2. According to the library I should be reading this in about 14 weeks. I’m glad it sounds worth the wait.

  26. Happy Thanksgiving. Listening to Ally Carter’s The Blonde Identity and enjoying it very much.

    I’m thankful for all the people who have come into my life as a result of books and authors, two in particular. 😉

  27. John Scalzi fans may want to google “Scalzi humble bundle”. There is a really good offer there for anyone who either has read few of his works but has been hooked, or for someone eager to have their own ebook copies of books already read from the library. Humble Bundle is an organization that puts together these package deals with much of the money going to charity. Some Humble Bundles work internationally, but I’m unsure if this one is valid outside the US, so I’d investigate further if in that situation.

    1. Thanks for the Scalzi heads up. I rushed right over and downloaded a ton of books. Between that bundle and the Seanan MacGuire bundle from a month or two back, I am happy.

  28. I just spent an idyllic Thanksgiving utterly alone finishing a marvelous, weird, beautiful book. When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill. The dedication is to “Christine Blasey Ford whose testimony triggered this narrative.” It has rage, joy, grief, humor (a little,) and so much love. I admit to buying this book because of its blurbs, but it also has a gorgeous cover, and I’ve recommended it to several friends. It isn’t light reading, but instead, I found it compelling. My next is the Herbalist by Heather Morrison-Tapley, choice based again on a fabulous cover.

  29. I spent last week in Belgium for a business trip that left little time to read, but I managed to finish listening to 10 Things by Alexis Hall – I already raved about it and it’s great narrator. Since I fell in love so hard with the narration, I downloaded Sidelined by Becca Steele just because it’s narrated by Will Watt again, plus James Joseph, my second-most beloved narrator. It’s strange to have two voices interwoven, but they are fantastic in giving each character (and there are many) distinct voices. I just don’t know if a story about two best friends from childhood into young adulthood/students is story enough for me. They both dance around each other, thinking the other one is not that into it while both loving each other dearly.
    Or in short: not enough hockey in this story (and only a little bit of football/soccer)…
    However, I haven’t finished listening so far, so I might change my mind and fall in love with the story yet.

    “The second best man” by Fearne Hill was nice, but it didn’t click with me, which might have to do with my predilections not the quality of her writing. Two MCs that were not very likable in previous books, get their second chance with each other. The forced proximity the blurb promised was not long enough imo and somehow I didn’t recognize the bully of a former book in Rob who seemed sweet from the get go. I might not be that into this story because he’s a dairy farmer and I really don’t like the smell. Some years ago we spent a week of holiday at a dairy farm (agroturismo) and dd got up very early each day to “assist” with the milking and each day she had to shower and get her hair thoroughly washed before breakfast otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to eat. Poor thing.
    So my amygdala might have been too involved in the story to the story’s detriment.
    Also the non-farmer MC has a very domineering streak which I find completely not sexy. And I didn’t quite get it why the first MC did.
    Oh well, after two really fabulous books lately (Time to Shine and 10 Things) any book would have had difficulty measuring up. And it was still a pleasant read. Also I tend to be difficult to please if I had too much time to look forward to reading it – I didn’t expect much from Cloud White because I wasn’t in love with the two MCs but was most pleasantly surprised and loved the book dearly.

    Then yesterday I tried reading a “hockey” romance I had downloaded at the “Stuff your kindle” week. Sadly a meh book. A bad boy hockey player, supposedly sent “down” (to a less successful, but still NHL team…) because of his outrageous behavior falls in love with an airhead of a cook book author that has trouble getting her first book published. Fake dating that is not really fake dating because both fall for each other from the first meeting. This book seemed inspired by the hockey trend on booktok or wherever. I’m still not that big a hockey connoisseur, but to me, checking opponents into the boards does not make a great player in itself, does it? Especially when the player gets to spend endless time in the penalty box which to inexperienced me sounds like giving the opposing team the chance for power play…
    Oh well, the FMC was annoying and the focus was on her, so very soon I skipped to the end and it felt like I didn’t miss anything interesting, so I dnf and read the reviews on Goodreads instead. Which was far rather enjoyable, especially the few-star reviews that mirrored my feelings…

        1. Yes, all nonfiction. Those were names off the top of my head. Did you want fiction? I’ll have to think about this topic a bit longer, and maybe peruse my shelves when I get home.

          1. I’m not sure why I didn’t think of non-fiction – silly of me! All suggestions very welcome 🙂

    1. The Secret Garden. You have to ignore some latent racism and classism, but the joy in nature if real and feels accurate to the seasons.

      1. Good idea. I haven’t read that for so long – I used to have it on cassette tape when I was a kid, that’s how long ago it was. Will see if I still have it somewhere!

    2. I had forgotten that Norman Maclean got many rejections for “A River Runs Through It”
      And one rejection said “it has trees in it”.
      So it does.

    3. I had forgotten that Norman Maclean got many rejections for “A River Runs Through It”.
      And one rejection said “it has trees in it”.
      So it does.

  30. It is still Thursday, so this counts. I was browsing my Mobi Reader book listings and hit Esther Friesner’s entries. I had to hunt through a couple of anthologies to find a particular story; “Bait and Switch” by Steven Piziks in Fangs for the Mammaries. It’s a vampire anthology and that story is about a woman who deprograms kids from Vampy mind control. It has a fabulous ending.

  31. Happy US Thanksgiving. This week’s reads: finished The Wizard’s Butler and enjoyed it, looking forward to The Wizard’s Cat when that comes out next year. Also finished Maisey Yates’ Cowboy Christmas Blues, so many fantastic lines in there. But mostly we’ve been listening to the Graphic Audio versions of the Murderbot Diaries while working on things and I really love the productions. They aren’t available for the whole series yet but we’ll replace the regular audio book versions with Graphic Audio when they are. They’re that good.

    1. Just listened to their sample for All Systems Red, and don’t find the narrator as clear as on the Audible version: I think for non-Americans it might be harder to follow. Of course, for me the American accents are jarring anyway – although given the author’s American, I guess they shouldn’t be. (I was put off audio books years ago by an American voicing a C19 British heroine.) Do hope I never have to give up reading!

    2. I really liked The Wizard’s Butler but couldn’t enjoy the author’s Solar Clipper stories, on which he has been concentrating since. Glad to learn a Wizard sequel is finally in the works.

  32. Read a historical fiction book “Girl Waits with Gun” with Amy Stewart., who effectively mixed fact & fiction and then had a historical note untangling them, which I always appreciate. Although it took me a while to get interested, I liked where it ended up and will pick up the next one.

    Then Ovidia Yu’s Singaporean mystery “Aunty Lee’s Chilled Revenge” – third and strongest so far for me in this series. Aunty Lee is a great character, as well as being compassionate and kind and the books make me very hungry for her food.

    And just started Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series – enjoying it so far.

  33. I am sure many of you will want to know that Paladin’s Faith the fourth book in TKingfisher’s Paladin series is now available for preorder.
    And the heroine is Marguerite , the BFF of Grace the heroine of the first book .

  34. The latest Murderbot and an anti-anxiety book.

    Found a great new word: valetudinarian.

    It means a person unduly concerned with their health.

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