This is a Good Book Thursday, November 30, 2023

This week I realized I’d never read Loretta Chase’s Dressmaker series (except for the last one, so long ago I can reread it almost like a new book) so I went headfirst into all four books. I love Chase’s work and reread Mr. Impossible at least once a year, so I think I’m going to binge that whole series next (Last Night’s Scandal is a particular fave). You cannot go wrong with Loretta Chase.

What did you read this week?

167 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 30, 2023

  1. This is a ‘listen’ recc. I’m a loyal listener of BBC’s More or Less, a short (ten minute) podcast on numbers in life and the media. It’s on summer break right now so different presenters are doing interesting forays into the world of numbers. This week, an analysis of the careers of heroines in romcom movies and whether they reflect the number of women working in STEM related fields in real life (spoiler, they don’t). Anyway, go Minerva, I’m off to reread Bet Me.

    PS More or Less’ coverage of covid stats was exceptional. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

    Although my favourite episode is on whether female patients are more likely to die if their surgeon is male. Yay statistics. https://open.spotify.com/episode/4YUWcAtXVlJFT5IeBpU9j8?si=FUrRpBPgR0SeGH9XL9mc7w

    1. I liked the first, but they’re not the sort of books which I found rereading a lot at the same time…

      1. Yes, Clare, I really liked Miss Buncle’s Book and a friend recommended the other two with her as the main character. But I tried the second and it was only fun in relation to the first.

    2. Her other books are much better than the Miss Buncle series (I don’t care for the Mrs Tim ones either). Try the Amberfield duo, Bel Lamington / Fletchers End, the trio which begin with Vittoria Cottage, and my personal favourites, Katherine Wentworth & Katherine’s Marriage. Most available at a reasonable cost on Kindle.

    3. Thank you very much! I love DE Stevenson, this will be perfect to listen to on these freezing cold winter nights.

  2. That’s the thing with authors you like. I am also on a binge reread. After I finished rereading Sharon Shinn’s elemental blessings series, I decided to read my favourite book from the Twelve Houses series, « Fortune and Fate ». I really love that book because it is about two ordinary people, they don’t have magic or special powers and they are coping with the aftermath of the war that played out over the first four books.
    But of course, I had to go back and read where it all started because I also like very much the characters in those, even though they have all sorts of special talents. I am on Justin’s book right now and enjoying it very much.

    1. “Fortune and Fate” has one of my favorite Opposites Attract romances with Wen & Jasper – such a good series.

    2. It’s hard for me to choose a favourite in Shinn’s Twelve Houses series – I love the first one so much and I also love the fourth and fifth ones – but Fortune and Fate is definitely my husband’s favourite.

      1. Before Fortune and Fate came out, the first was my absolute favourite too because of Tayse 🙂 but Jasper is so lovely with his love of books.
        Tayse is a more conventional Fantasy hero, Jasper is a delightful surprise.

  3. I don’t recall ever reading a Loretta Chase (but I may have a long time ago) and they are too expensive to buy these days, which is a pity given the sterling recommendations here.

    Last weekend I read The Running Grave by Robert Galbraith, the latest in the Cormoran Strike series. It is a bit of a door-stopper at 944 pages – but I couldn’t put it down and can heartily recommend it. This story is about a family trying to “rescue” their son from a cult.

    I also read Don’t Forget To Write by Sara Goodman Confino. What a wonderful book and I couldn’t put it down either. Set at The Shore in 60’s America about a woman who doesn’t want to submit to being a wife and mother at 20, and being banished to her Great Aunts (The Dragon).

    I am planning on reading The Six Tales of Christmas by Anne Marie Ryan – after everyone talked about Christmas reads last week I remembered that I have this on the shelf and re-read it every year. It is set in a small town bookshop, and the empty-nesters who own it are struggling to keep the building and the bookshop going. Great story with a heart.

    Struggling with some lurgy this week and off sick so have had plenty of time to read. Finished the last in the trilogy by Talia Hibbert (Act Your Age, Eve Brown) – which I loved. Felt that each story was better than the last.

    1. Maybe your library has some of Loretta Chase’s books? I belong to my big state library as well as my local one and almost all of my borrows are digital. It’s a great help to my budget.

      1. Sadly the library doesn’t have any Loretta Chase either Lupe – I did check (not even digital). I will be looking in any charity shops when I am up and about though.)

        1. That’s where I picked up most of mine – although it has usually been through Amazon. I choose the “or these used books”, and sort through for those that aren’t too expensive.

        2. Well that is disappointing. My library has a decent selection in all formats. Do you live inside the US? I run across her books quite often, as I frequent a lot of book sales. I would be happy to grab some for you on $1 a bag day. I can always squeeze more in my tote…

          1. I thought that might be a clue, but didn’t know for sure. Ah well. Media mail within the US is cheap. Getting books through customs, not so much.

          2. At least to some countries, international postage is sky-high and book rate has disappeared, but in my experience (not recent) customs is no problem because books are duty free to everywhere I’ve sent them. The parcel just has to be marked as books. I don’t know how stiff book postage to the UK is these days, unfortunately.

          3. I shut down my international shipping options during covid and haven’t seen a dip in my sales, so never turned it back on. It was always a hassle, no matter what and ended up not being cost effective for me. I just remember being asked to label things differently for customs to some countries. Ugh.

    2. Looks like only four Loretta Chases have been published in the UK: the Carsington series – Miss Wonderful, Mr Impossible, Lord Perfect & Not Quite a Lady. They’re all good. The UK covers are a bit dull (not that I’m over-keen on the heaving bosoms of the US ones). They’re published by Piatkus over here; hopefully will be around in charity shops.

      1. Thank you all for your suggestions and help. I have purchased Mr Impossible for £2.65 after spending a morning having searching on-line

      2. There are a lot more available on kindle in the UK though. Some of the more recent titles are around the £5 mark but back catalogue £2-3 on average which I don’t think is bad. The first dressmakers book is currently £2.49

        1. The US paperback editions of her other titles are also available from Amazon UK; just not as likely to be in charity shops as UK publications. Since she’s a keeper for me, I’ve got print versions of all but the most recent, though I have now switched to ebooks, as for other authors.

  4. Last thing I read by Chase was “A Duke in Shining Armor”, which was very funny. I particularly liked that the merchants love Ripley because he pays his bills monthly, in full. My kind of hero 🙂

    Best thing I read this week was “At the Feet of the Sun” by Victoria Goddard. I’m very glad I read “The Return of Fitzroy Angursell” first otherwise the first bit would not have made sense. There were a lot of things I loved including the gorgeous imagery of the Sky Ocean, the House of the Sun, the Sea Witch and meeting the ancestors. I’m a little regretful to see the way the relationship between Kip and Artorin change, but that’s inevitable given he’s retiring, and I’m happy where they ended. I particularly liked the way Goddard lampshaded the changed understanding with Kip’s dismay at Auri & El pretty much mirroring my own. Looking forward to the next one.

    Change of pace with “Meddling & Murder” by Ovidia Yu, fourth of the Aunty Lee mysteries. So wonderfully evocative of Singapore and I love good-hearted busybodies of which Aunty Lee is a good exemplar.

    After that I continued on Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series – so far “Role Model” is my favorite. I love Harris and his happy sunshine goofball attitude. Just one to go now. Thank-you everyone for the reccs!

    1. Oh, I loved the Dukes novels, too. Still waiting for the third one, but since I went ten years between books, I really can’t hassle Loretta for that one.

      1. Her website says she hopes to finish it before the end of the year. I assume that means another 6 months or so to release…

  5. This week I caved and used a precious audible credit to buy The Christmas Invitation by Trisha Ashley. It was just what I needed to power through my prep work and it was 12 hours, so I didn’t have to make any decisions about what to listen to next until last night. Then I browsed Hoopla and Time to Shine by Rachel Reid was in the Holiday collection, so I started that (waves at Tammy).

    A couple of Loretta Chase’s books were available from Libby, so I borrowed those as well. And I have A Christmas Carol queued up, but am not quite ready for Scrooge yet.

  6. Someone recommended Rest Ye Merry last week, so my week’s reading was ploughing through that…and some of the sequels…and the author’s other series (well, the first one, the rest aren’t available via Kobo)

    Otherwise, I’m rereading a lot of Georgette Heyer, and re-preparing my argument that Cousin Kate if you read it as a Gothic novel.

    1. Oh! And reading Frances Hodgson Burnett’s books for adults! Some of them get a bit weird, but The Shuttle (a naive American dollar princess marries a brutal baronet. Twelve years later, her sister comes to find her) and The Making of a Marchioness (gets weird and very…of it’s time in the latter half, but the first half is a pleasant, genteely poor woman having a Marquis fall in love with her)

  7. Kid no. 2 asked me to get the KU of Blindsided by Finley/James as she’s slowly making her way through the Fake Boyfriends series. Much to her chagrin (we use my account, her reading on my iPad, me on my phone) I jumped in and started reading it. So I totally messed up the book marks…
    I had avoided this book so far because I have abslutely no interest whatsoever in Football, neither the game nor the kind of athlete that is playing it (mostly muscle mountains seemingly) who for me are the opposite of attractive.
    Plus I usually don’t like much smut and three- or moresomes are so not my thing. So not the best starting point for the story.
    Yet, I really took to Talon and Miller (one is a quarterback, so less of a mountain, plus the more-somes were backstory).
    Liked it a lot because it centered on the realistic problems of getting to grips with a friendship turning into more, the decision to come out to a less than accepting sports environment and also the difficulty of keeping a career afloat when injured.
    Okay, in the end all the problems were manageable which might not be the case in real life, but still. Nice to have more realism than in many other mm sports romances.

    The other book I read/listened to was similar: Sidelined by Becca Steele.
    I liked that it’s very British and the narrators are great – my absolute favourites Will M. Watt and James Joseph/Joe Jameson did the narration.
    It also centered around two best friends and here, too, one was in love with the other supposedly straight one for ages while the other MC had to figure out what he was feeling (far more than friendship). However, here the MCs were university students, so much younger, with far less to lose and not in the eye of the media, so it kind of lacked conflict and in comparison felt a bit (too) light.

  8. Tammy, thanks for directing me towards Ari Baran last week!
    I may not quite get into their books yet (I guess I tend to choose more escapism), but the background reading on the website was fascinating!!!
    The mental health aspect is hugely interesting and tragic at the same time.
    I really would not have the stamina and guts, endurance and courage for competitive sports on this high a level, nor would I dare to risk my health and sanity to this degree.

    1. Baran’s two published books are definitely challenging – but I think you’d like the free novella Ab+Huth – it’s definitely more on the sweet side.

      1. Haven’t found that novella yet, instead got two stories after getting the newsletter: one a vampire AU and one with Brandon and Sammy the goalie. Not far into the story but it has slightly Time to Shine vibes (talkative young player but here a sunshiney Swedish goalie). Very nice so far 😀

        1. The Brandon and Sammy one is Ab + Huth – no idea why since it’s named something entirely different inside…

  9. I finished Sofie Kelly’s cozy mystery (with magical cats in an otherwise normal world) Paws to Remember. I thought it was one of the best in the series.

    Right now I’m FINALLY getting to read Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree and it is just as charming and funny and quirky as his first one. Absolutely loving it. You don’t need to have read the first one (since this one is set earlier) to enjoy this one.

    On the Kindle (whose battery is going the way of the dodo, and therefore is in the process of being replaced after only 3 years, grrr) I’m reading The Copenhagen Connection by Elizabeth Peters. It was on a sale a bit ago and I picked it up on a whim. I must have read it years ago, because I read everything she wrote, but I’d forgotten how good it was. It actually holds up pretty well over time, which not all of her older books do.

    1. I found out this week that my iPad is officially dead, and only recyclable. It still works. I didn’t realize I had it that long. Now, you are saying your Kindle needs a new battery. Ick. The iPads are much more expensive than Kindles, but they have more features, too. ????

          1. My kindle is 10ish years old and still functional. Of course I mostly switched to reading on my phone. Easier to carry to work.

      1. iPads aren’t nearly as good to read on, though, Jan, because of their glary screens. I do enjoy reading magazines & illustrated books on mine, but for straight text I far prefer my Kindle.

      2. By the way, if your iPad still works, I don’t see the problem? I keep running my tech until I can’t run the software I need on it, or until it breaks down. I had the battery in my iPhone replaced locally, since Apple wouldn’t do it for such an old device, and so far it’s fine. The operating system’s several years old, but Apple do still supply occasional bug fixes for it. I think this model phone was released in 2013; I bought it new in 2017, though not from Apple, who’d already declared it obsolete.

        1. I had Apple replace the battery in my iPhone last year, too. They will not refurbish my iPad, because it is no longer “secure”, but for reading books, I don’t think that is necessary. I haven’t used my iPad for reading since two plane trips ago, which was at least last year. I really prefer “real” books.

      3. My Kindles have each lasted about 5 years before I trade in. I’m on my third one having started with a Paperwhite in 2014, moved to an Oasis in 2018 for the features and got a new Oasis dirt cheap this summer on a super sale with an outstanding trade-in credit. I didn’t really necessarily need a new Oasis but at six years old, tech hardware may start to falter.

        Kindles are for reading. Easy on the eyes. Lightweight with easily controlled visuals.

        Tablets like my iPad are for more internet use, backlit and therefore harder on the eyes. Or I should say my older eyes.

      4. You can also get second-hand / reconditioned iPads & Kindles. A techy friend sourced one for me that was a year old for so much cheaper than new.

  10. Was a big book week – vacay and all so will try to be efficient here.

    Alessandra Hazard’s Just a Bit Captivated came out – not my fave of hers but her usual smutty dubcon stuff is always fun.

    I read RJ Scott & VL Locey’s Script – ADHD actor learning to skate from hockey player – quite adorable.

    I read Miranda Dubner’s The Spare: A Novel as part of Royal Reading Month. Hmmm…the first third was great and then…the plot rode off madly in all directions (Canadian quote for you). I think she lost the thread of the main MC’s inside all the royal intrigue and four, count them four, different romance threads. That’s too many.

    And that kicked off a theme of messy books. The next was C.S. Pacat’s Dark Heir, the sequel to Dark Rise – no idea if there’s going to be a third. Her Captive Prince is in my top five M/M series. Once again I was disappointed despite holding out many hopes that she’d sort it out in this one. Again – too much back story, too many tangled plot points. There were moments of interest but overall it reminded me of my grade ten report card: “Erratic, with flashes of brilliance.”

    Then I read Andi Jaxon’s Hidden Scars, a hockey author new to me who shall remain further unexplored. I appreciate that she tackles a difficult subject – adult physical abuse by a parent – but it mostly made me wince.

    At this point, the good times began – I finished Cordelia Kingsbrige’s fourth in the Seven of Spaces series – Christina, I think you would like this one – and am onto the last one. Then I read Christina’s recommended Josh Lanyon Come Unto These Yellow Sands – loved it. So have been reading
    the Adrien English series, another in the Two Guys Solving Cases and Falling In Love genre. I’m in the fourth book and have liked the series which is focussed on a book seller and his on-again/off-again cop boyfriend, but I have serious reservations about that boyfriend who behaved badly in the third book and he’d better redeem himself is all I can say.

    Plus I read a new Marina Vivancos book in her a/b/o ‘verse. Also R Cooper wrote a short story AU version of A Suitable Husband for a King and His Consort set in the a/b/o ‘verse and it was actually quite super well done.

    1. Second you on The Spare, Tammy. Started out great, but needed direction urgently – it’smd been good had she concentrated on the main romance amd followed the others up in their own books. It could have become a series that way.
      I rnded up really dusliking the book in the end. A pity.

    2. Thanks for the Cordelia Kingsbridge recommendation — I immediately put the series on my Must Read list. Glad you’re enjoying the Adrien English series — it’s one of my go to comfort reads. Josh Lanyon has a long backlist and there are very very few duds in there.

      1. What would you recommend after the Adrien English series? I finished the fourth book and Jake has redeemed himself slightly so I’m definitely continuing.

        1. Depending on how much you enjoyed the series you can go to her website and read the codas and “interviews” she did with Adrien and Jake. These “out takes” give insights into some of Jake’s thinking. Even though some take place in between books earlier in the series, I’d wait to finish all 6 books before going there because of possible spoilers.
          My next two favorite series are The Art of Murder (FBI agents, one a profiler, one on the Art Crime Squad) First one in the series is the Mermaid Murders. My next favorite series is the Fair Play series (FBI agent and a college professor who used to be FBI but was injured in the line of duty.) First one in that series is called Fair Game. For a series that is more light-hearted the Bedknobs and Broomsticks series is fun (Police chief and antiques dealer who is a warlock.)
          There are lots of good choices on that backlist of both series and stand alones!

          1. This is excellent intel, Christina, and when I finish the Adrien English series, I’m going to read those ‘interviews’ and try some of these other series.

    3. And I am disappointed about the Pacat. I have put off reading Dark Heir, hoping that it would improve. Not sure I am going to bother now. :/

      1. Yeah, I was really disappointed too. If her name hadn’t been on the book, I would have DNF’d it.

    4. Tammy, I wanted to ask you as the Queen of Hockey recs. I remember reading a few books on KU in a series that was not set in the NHL but in the next league down. I think it was MM and I think you recommended it. Does it ring a bell?

      1. I think you’re referring to two leagues down – the ECHL? That would be Avon Gale’s Scoring Changes series, starting with Breakaway. That is an excellent series. I frequently re-read them except or the last one which I can take or leave. Don’t bother with her series with Piper Vaughan, except maybe the first one. And do read her novella Next Season – so good.

        1. That’s the one! I knew you’d know the answer. I remember liking that these guys played for the love of the game, which makes sense if they are two leagues down 🙂

  11. I finished up Murderbot. While it was good, I think it would be better served to be read immediately after the previous one, while all the juices from that are still flowing.

    I then started Starter Villain by John Scalzi. So far, I’m enjoying it immensely, especially the intelligent (and verbal) cats.

    1. I also finished the latest Murderbot and agree wholeheartedly that it should be read after Network Effect. I had a hard time remembering who was who and how that whole event went down and how it fit with what was happening in this book. Once I got my memory activated, the book delivered. Love ART!
      Glad you’re enjoyed Starter Villain. I was fully engaged with it.

  12. Does anybody else have the problem I experienced recently, of going to the library without a list of recommendations from knowledgeable other people and hence having to depend on a blind browse?

    In my situation, I chose, on sight, two books with cute YA-type cartoon covers, both by romance authors I’d never read. I recognized one author’s name, but couldn’t recall having read a thing about her books.

    And guys, I hated both of them. The one I doggedly read to the end had a heroine who kind of had a crush on an older co-worker. They kind of solve a crime together, then realize that despite having NOTHING in common except the town they live in, they were (starry eyes here) MEANT for each other!!!!

    Hated the workplace wrongness of their love affair, hated the young girl’s convictions of always being right when she clearly had no real basis for that. And grew to hate the town, the bit players, and the whole concept of the book. Despite the cute cartoon cover, it was NOT a cute cartoon story, and neither the motivations nor the perceptiveness of the author about those brought any depth to the book. Huge waste of time.

    The second book involved an Indian-American heroine who was an uncomfortable mix of American chutzpah and Indian cultural conformity, the combination of which drove me crazy in the first 10 pages, after which I tossed it back in the library bag to return.

    My takeaway was that I have not been sufficiently grateful for the hugely helpful qualities of this website and this group of intelligent readers. It’s Thanksgiving time, readers, and I thank you all every time I read Good Book Thursday for all the ways you help me avoid these Dreadful Library Mistakes. Thank you!!

    1. You know, I was thinking recently that I hardly ever read blindly anymore. There is so MUCH to sort through, so much to choose from and my time is so very, very precious.

      Also, I have ton more choices now that I have gone digital. In my college days I was dependent on what I could find in physical books, locally. Ordering books was precious and expensive. Now I have several library cards, a KU membership, several patreon subscriptions and the power of the internet. I can afford to indulge my tastes where before I just read whatever was new at the library.

      And, interestingly, I don’t read blurbs much anymore. I start books on recommendations and only have the faintest idea of what it is about, or none at all. Autobuy authors like Martha Wells and Jenny I just read without any intro.

    2. I stopped browsing at the library some time ago. I get my book recommendations mostly from here, but sometimes from other sources, and then order the specific books from the library. So far, my hit-or-miss ratio with this system has been pretty high.

    3. I do like a blind browse at the library every now and then, but I agree that it can backfire horribly. I usually have reservations to pick up so get those first, then if there’s any capacity left on my card I’ll have a wander through the shelves and see if anything takes my fancy.

        1. 20 books at a time. When I was about seven, the limit was four books then it increased to six, and I was ecstatic. I’m not sure when it increased to 20 but I’m very glad that it did.

        2. I have seen mothers of young children check out pretty near 20 at once. Picture books can be short and light. I’ve myself managed to have pretty near 20 out at one time, in the past because I was writing an article on J.D. Robb and possibly on other occasions for research, but I got them over multiple trips.
          I also recently had about 7 installments of manga collections out at once (very fast reading) plus other books. (I think 20 is the limit at the local library.)

          1. When I was a mother of young children I was very grateful when my kids were old enough to have their own cards and we could take more books. When you have an independent reader at 8 ( who will pick up and read wildly inappropriate books behind your back) and a toddler who can go through dozens of board books and picture books in a week, it’s worth having a giant library tote. Of course we also had a car.

        3. I am so lucky that our take out limit is 50 physical books. Plus all the ebooks. Still not a big enough limit, lol. I order my library books online these days and go in just to pick them up. So very convenient! I do miss the serendipity of a blind browse at the library sometimes though. I would trawl the shelves and crack a new to me author’s book open somewhere in the middle and read a couple of pages and see if it grabbed me enough to take out. I still do that a little, but online. It’s not quite the same. And it’s true there can be duds! But the wonderful thing about library books is they’re free and I can return them if they don’t work out.

  13. I did not get a notification for Working Wednesday, and didn’t think to check, since I spent most of the day outside. It finally warmed up, so I could put the lights on the Dogwood, and trim away all the dead twigs and branches on the Maple.

    I am sorry to say, I dnf’d both Loretta Chase novels I have tried to read. I may go back to them. For me, they just became ponderous, after a while. One was Mr. Impossible. If I reach one of these impasses on an author I don’t know, it’s just hard to get past it.

    I read His Last Christmas in London, by Con Riley, which is M/M with too much graphic sex for me, but I skipped that. It’s a sweet love story, and moves fast. The roommates are hilarious.

  14. This week I finally gave up on The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. I read over 50% and can go no further. Just too slow and I just no longer cared how it would all get resolved. I then reread Heyer’s Sylvester always a great comfort read.

    To recover from a lovely but frenzied Thanksgiving weekend, I reread Henry James’ The Europeans. This one and The Ambassadors, are two of my favorite slow-down-and-take-a-deep-breath reads. I find something new on each re-read.

    Finally, thanks to Tammy I read the first two in the Valor and Doyle series by Nicky James. I’m really enjoying them. Two detectives (M/M) working cases and working through their mutual attraction. One of my favorite combinations.

  15. Let’s see, last GBT was Thanksgiving and we were listening to Murderbot Diaries while tree-trimming. So other than that: read the re-release of Maisey Yates’ Crazy Stupid Sex which was very fun, The Troublemaker also by MY (4 Corners Ranch series), and also a couple of other installments in the Carolina Comets series by Teagan Hunt.

  16. One of my many holds on Nora Roberts, Inheritance, the first of a trilogy came in and I’m a third of a way through. I was looking forward to it because it brings me back to the Gothic era when I would read at least a book a week about a poor relation governess or a long-lost relative moving to the manor. Actually, it is about a long lost relative. Sonya is graphic designer from Boston who inherits her just found out uncle’s home in Maine. He happened to be a twin brother to her father, and they were separated at birth (convoluted story here). Things go bump in the night here and day, too.

    I live in a two hundred plus year old house and no entity has ever made my bed or turned it down at night. Back in the day my kitchen AM radio never started on its own with tunes of what I was thinking. But so what if there isn’t a crochety housekeeper dangling the keys around her waist or a nasty elderly so and so dictating instructions to the beleaguered minions, goth-dammit. I’m going to stick it out to find the whereabouts of those seven missing rings.

    P.S. I hope she gets a dog soon.

    1. I sometimes pretend that my old house is haunted so I can blame any noises on the ghosts and not have to go looking for things that are going to be expensive to fix. 😛

    2. Be warned, huge cliffhanger! I was not expecting such a big one when I got to the end. Another year till the next book and a year after that to the third. Sigh.

  17. Thanks to whoever suggested Starter Villain- it’s absolutely hilarious. I mean, who can resist cats who type and really pissed off dolphins threatening to go on strike? I must get more of his books.
    I also read two KU Cordelia Rooks cozy mysteries, Mystery Repeats Itself and An Old Knives Tale. Cute, a hint of romance, some snark and a giant black dog. Three KU Lisa Shay mysteries (Talk to the Hoof, Undercover Kittens and Lights, Camera, Murder) featuring a veterinarian who is also an animal communicator were just okay. I liked Talk to the Hoof but the others became too much like the first in characters, plot and an extremely slow budding romance. Lazy writing.
    The bookstore I work for has a nonprofit arm that gives gently used books and ARCs to schools, shelters, etc., and I “rescued” a copy of The Elusive Mrs Polifax by Dorothy Gilman. It’s been a long time since I read any of the Mrs Polifax books, but I loved her escapades, so this will be a fun reread.

    1. If you are at all familiar with Star Trek, then you must read Scalzi’s “Red Shirts.” What is also, super amusing is if you get the audiobook, it was read by Will Wheaton.

      What is KU?

      1. I believe it is Kindle Unlimited. This is an Amazon service which is a subscription rather than an individual purchase of book titles. There are frequently trials that for a set amount each month allow you to read as many books by as many authors in the Kindle Unlimited program as you wish.

        1. https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-kindle-unlimited-4178136

          That explains how it works for subscribers.

          For authors…

          “A customer can read your Kindle eBook as many times as they want when they download it using Kindle Unlimited (KU). However, we will only pay you for the number of pages read the first time the customer reads them. This is true even if your KDP Select enrollment period has expired, and you choose not to re-enroll.”

          You’ll get one royalty payment for Kindle Unlimited (KU). We’ll pay according to the same payment schedule and payment method you selected for your other KDP sales. We review the size of the KDP Select Global Fund each month to make it compelling for authors to enroll their Kindle eBooks in KDP Select. We announce the fund monthly in our community forum. The share of fund allocated to each country varies based on a number of factors, such as exchange rates, customer reading behavior, and local subscription pricing. Author earnings are then determined by their share of total pages read. They are able to earn a maximum of 3,000 Kindle Edition Normalized Pages(KENPC) read per title per customer.

          For example, here’s how we’d calculate royalty payouts if $10 million in funds are available in a given month with 100 million total pages read. (Note: Actual payouts may vary. Check your Prior Month’s Royalty Report to see your earnings):

          Author with a 100-page Kindle eBook that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million x 10,000 pages for this author / 100,000,000 total pages).
          Author of a 200-page Kindle eBook that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $2,000 ($10 million x 20,000 pages for this author / 100,000,000 total pages).
          Author of a 200-page Kindle eBook that was borrowed 100 times but only read halfway through on average would earn $1,000 ($10 million x 10,000 pages for this author / 100,000,000 total pages).
          We support our authors’ efforts to promote their Kindle eBooks, but we also work to prevent any manipulation of the Kindle experience.

          We do not permit authors to offer, or participate in marketing that incentivizes Kindle Unlimited (KU) customers to read their Kindle eBooks in exchange for compensation of any kind. This includes payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.

          Because we’re continuously looking to improve our authors’ experience, we have systems in place to monitor for potential manipulation.

          There’s more on the KDP website.

        2. I like KU for all the weird stuff and new authors that I wouldn’t otherwise read. If I find one for the keeper shelf, I buy the book. But most of what I find on KU are dnf or really trashy/crappy romances that I will never read again and don’t want to spend $2 to try. The subscription has also halted my depression impulse doomscrolling on Amazon where I would buy a bunch of books to mostly not read.

  18. Jeanine recommended Let It Crow! by Donna Andrews on October 12. I think someone else may have mentioned it later, but if so I couldn’t find it again. Anyway, I finally got around to looking, and nabbed it from the one local digital library where there wasn’t a waiting list. I read it immediately, since I knew that her annual Christmas book would have a lot of demand. Sure enough, it had a hold on it by the time I returned it. Good but not great for me. It’s a little more plot-centered and less discursive than some of her books, which is good. But the crows of the title struck me as a bit more intelligent than even real crows (I could be wrong, no crow expert here!), and I thought the murderer was decidedly unmotivated to make the speech they did explaining their motives and inadvertently keeping Meg alive. Such a speech may be an acceptable genre convention, but the author has to make it halfway plausible somehow. Still, decidedly readable and the author remains on my read-everthing list.

    Speaking of which, I belatedly read the first book in the series and learned that Meg’s future husband speaks fluent Vietnamese! He must be one of the few American non-native speakers younger than those trained in the Vietnam War years with that ability. Yet the author has done *nothing* with it since the first book! He could host some visitor to the college or overhear something critical. Lots of possibilities just left on the table.

    1. Well, by the time you start counting up all the dead bodies Meg has found and all the murders she has solved, a few smart crows and a monologing villain doesn’t require that much of a suspension of disbelief in comparison. Lol! Glad it was still worth your while. I don’t remember Michael knowing Vietnamese in the first book. The character bible that keeps track of Andrews’ characters and their traits must be huge by now! But I agree it would be fun to have Vietnamese pop up in a later book. Speaking of Michael, I was always surprised that Michael’s tv show fans didn’t show up from time to time demanding autographs, etc.

      1. I just double-checked that I had the right book. Yes, Vietnamese in Murder with Peacocks. The conventions of the genre will buy an author a long string of solved murders and a dangerous confrontation with the murderer in every book, where they have to be delayed long enough for opportunity or a rescue to arrive. On the other point, convention will *not*, for me, buy an author failing to present a halfway plausible reason why the murderer doesn’t just off our heroine/hero without a monolog or other delay. Inventing a fairly fresh reason may be as hard as contriving a means of death in the first place, but if you’re going to use well worn tropes, you have to freshen them up somehow.

      2. On Michael and autographs: Well, he was only a supporting character in a syndicated TV show in something of the same niche as Xena, and one about as far in the past by now. He seems to have a cult following, but a very specialized one. At least his 15 minutes of fame does occasionally still get mentioned.

        1. Also Michael does a Christmas one man show annually, so if his fans actually wanted to see him, they would just buy tickets and nab an autograph afterwards

          1. I think it’s hilarious we’re talking very seriously about this fictional character’s fans. But I do love Michael’s one man shows!

  19. I continued to zoom through Hockey stuff, though I think I may have now come to an end…
    Read Epic, the tiny novella in the Sarina Bowen Elle Kennedy Wesmie series. Enjoyed it very much. Nice to see Jamie getting some limelight.

    Wanting to continue in that vein I went to their M/F WAGS series. The first I enjoyed. I liked the male MC from the Wesmie books and the story line and obstacles seemed believable enough.
    The second I struggled to finish. Had a trope I assumed would have been left in the 1990s¬ female MC had married young, only had sex with one guy, didn’t enjoy it, is nervous and then she is transformed in the space of two paragraphs (with the aid of a famous hockey player). It also has other fav tropes including a one dimensional evil ex wife and adorable twins who of course love the new woman in their Dad’s life.

    But then I tried Taylor Fitzpatrick who was recommended last week and I was engrossed again! All four books were great, very different characters in each and all completely absorbing, though of course I am now stuck waiting for the third in the Between the Teeth Trilogy.

    So basically i have found i like angsty (or funny, but not really the in between stuff)
    Any angsty M/F Hockey recs or FF if that is a thing (haven’t seen any)? or more angsty MM (but I have read Reid, Baran, Nary and Fitzpatrick)?

    Finally, on audio I gave up on the two books I wasn’t listening to and went to the Ali Hazelwood Checkmate (someone here recommended it last week). Really fun, with a great reader, and though a YA (I think) it is not too prim so far.

    1. I had the same trouble with Bowen’s M/F hockey series and eventually gave up on them. They ranged from Meh to dislike for me.

      I did however enjoy Man Hands and Man Toy, by same. Less so Man Cuffed, but it was ok. I didn’t actively dislike it. Just not as fun as the first couple in that series.

    2. The Carolina Comets series by Teagan Hunter is M/F hockey and I call them potato chip books, light and fun. I’m enjoying them. (not an insult to the books or potato chips, sometimes light is what you want)

    3. Frozen Pond, have you tried Taylor Fitzpatrick’s A03 series? I gave Christina on last week’s Good Book Thursday a link and a listing of some angsty ones.

      1. I saw those links and was tempted!But a question about A03 (actually I have a few as I don’t have a clue about it) but one to start, what do you read it on? I’m not keen on reading on my computer or phone. Are those the only options?

    4. Honestly, if I had not known Check & Mate was marketed as a YA, I probably wouldn’t have noticed. In the same way that I can read a Regency and not notice it’s a “closed door” romance while reading. If it’s well written it doesn’t read like something’s missing.

  20. I’ve been reading some not-great KU books. By far the best was Cathy Yardley’s Role Playing (m/f older protagonists; strong characters, but I thought the pacing was off). Switched to rereading Eli Easton’s Unwrapping Hank to remind myself she can be good, after reading three rather disappointing titles in a row.

    I’m now rereading Mary Stewart’s My Brother Michael and enjoying my break in Greece.

    1. Jane, thank you for your thoughts about Role Playing. Pacing.
      There was something I couldn’t name that made it a struggle to finish which was surprising since the characters are so engaging.

    2. I love My Brother Michael. My first Mary Stewart. My grandmother gave it to me for my birthday when I was about 13. I think she’d forgotten where she put my present and took it off her shelf. It was a lovely edition with a cool 1960s heroine on the cover.

  21. The fifth book in Shelley Laurenston’s The Honey Badger Chronicles came out, but I accidentally started reading book 3 but didn’t realize it for a while, but was really enjoying it when I realized I wasn’t reading the new one and ended up rereading Badger to the Bone, and then Breaking Badger before getting to the new one Born to be a Badger. They are still hilarious but just as violent as ever.

    1. My copy just came in. I’m looking forward to reading it. I’m not as crazy about her other books, but for some reason the Badger ones really work for me.

  22. After a string of DNFs I finally hit upon a great book. Annabel Monaghan’s Same Time Next Summer was a wonderful novel. If one book could be the perfect summer read, this book might be it. It is about first love and the ocean, about second chances and being true to yourself. I read this author’s previous adult book, Nora Goes Off Script and enjoyed it. And I enjoyed this one too.
    Also I’d like to share the good news: T. Kingfisher’s fourth Paladin novel – Paladin’s Faith – is about to be published. I think it comes out next week. I already preordered.

    1. I’ve been re-reading Kingfisher’s Paladin books to get ready — I’m excited! I’d completely forgotten that great inevitable-yet-unexpected twist at the end of the third book.

        1. I enjoyed my reread! Twist is maybe not the right word, but I didn’t see the very end of the third book coming. If you’re short on time and remember the characters well, you could just revisit that.

    2. I’m waiting for the paper copy of Paladin’s Faith to be posted so I can order it immediately!

  23. I am still not reading as it’s hard to hold a book when you have an arm in a sling. However, I did want to mention that audible had an amazing sitewide sale going on where a lot of Jenny‘s back list is on sale for as little as two dollars and change. I did make the mistake the first time I tried to buy them of not realizing that audible automatically applied credits to pay for the books so I had to return them get my credit back so that I could pay cash. (Credits cost ~$15)

    @Jane On a completely different note, I wanted to reach to Jane. Do you use any software for organizing your photos? I was considering Mylio and it has a sale right now, where in bundles into other software packages. My challenge with our organizing photos is I want to combine mine and my husband’s and we use different platforms. I’m on Apple, and he is on Windows/android.

    1. I don’t think I can help, Kelly. I use Adobe Lightroom Classic, which combines a database for organizing, rating & keywording photos with a sophisticated set of processing controls, mainly aimed at photographers who shoot raw files, though it can be used on JPEGs. It costs £10 a month, in a bundle with Photoshop (or just over half that in their recent Black Friday deal).

      I imagine you’re after something a lot simpler and cheaper! (I’m organizing tens of thousands of images.) I’ve never heard of Mylio, but I’m sure there must be various cross-platform programs. Good luck! (My usual recourse is to Google something like ‘review: best photo organizers’, which should bring up some comparative reviews.)

      1. Kelly S — If you can spare the space, I might try importing your husband’s photos to new albums in Photos on your Mac? I’ve also used more than one Photo library before. Just in case that helps!

        1. Yes: I think you may have problems trying to manage the same database from two different machines. But the image file formats should be the same on both platforms – whether JPEGs or raw files.

  24. I keep forgetting to track down more Loretta Chase books! I also live in the UK but have managed to read a couple of e-books thanks to my out-of-state membership of Queens Library.

    What have I been reading this week… I finished New Yorkers (the name of the author escapes me but I think it’s Craig Thompson). Whatever his name, the author spent a prolonged period of time in New York interviewing residents and the book is a collation of condensed monologues by those interviewees, along with a couple of essays about his interactions with New Yorkers. It took me a while to read as it got a bit samey but I enjoyed it and want to read his book Londoners yet.

    I did a 24-hour dash to Yorkshire at the weekend to see my best friend before Christmas, and read The Hating Game by Sally Thorne and The Only Game In Town by Lacie Waldron on the two train journeys. I thoroughly enjoyed the Waldron book, and The Hating Game was about my fourth re-read, still entertaining.

    Next was The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein, a companion novel to the book which made me cry buckets Code Name Verity. I didn’t enjoy The Pearl Thief as much, but it was still brilliantly written and a real page-turner.

    (Fun note about Code Name Verity – I lent it to my ex-manager and now good friend about a decade ago. It tore her to pieces just as it did me. I see her roughly twice a year, and on each occasion she reminds me she needs to find a book to lend me that will break my heart like Verity did hers. So far, nothing!)

    1. Code Name Verity is fab. I listened to it on audible and it was the first thing I recommended to my sister on audio. Totally heartbreaking but incredible. And memorable.

      1. I hadn’t even thought about listening to it on audio! I’ve got spare Audible credits so that’s going to be my next purchase.

    2. For anyone who liked the book, I would heartily recommend the film of The Hating Game from 2021. I feel it’s actually better than the book (though it’s still true to the book, don’t worry). It’s on Amazon Prime.

    3. Currently low on books that break your heart, but if you want to come away suicidally depressed read some Margaret Attwood, brilliant writing, but set in times so dark you can only despair

  25. Dressmakers series is another favoured series. Silk is for Seduction, #1 and Dukes Prefer Blondes, #4 are rereads. Dukes Prefer Blondes has a great scene wherein the lawyer, down the line of the dukedom succession and doesn’t want to be a Duke, presents his case for marrying the Blonde. Also, Lord Lovedon’s Duel, short story is great too. Love reading Loretta Chase novels.

    Saving Murderbot for quick trip north (100 birthday celebration) back before Christmas. Next up is The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies recommended here. Rereading mostly.

  26. Binged Death before Dragons by Lindsay Buroker 1-7 official audiobooks on her youtube channel. Vivienne Leheny is an excellent narrator. I bought the last two in the series. If anyone is interested amazon has some of her books free and some very cheap boxsets on kindle. Death before Dragons 1-3 was 79p !

  27. I read Allison Montclair’s latest book in the Sparks and Bainbridge series, The Woman From Burma. This is such a good series and it shows no sign of sagging. Each book is satisfying in its own right, but there’s also a really interesting longer arc, part of which resolves at last in this book.

    I think it was Chachal who recommended Fantastic Fluke a couple of weeks ago, a MM fantasy with an immensely cute fox familiar and a romance between a low-level magician and a ghost. I really enjoyed the first book and will continue with this series if it keeps going this well. And the fox is utterly adorable.

    Now I’m rereading Three Bags Full by Leonie Swann, subtitled ‘A Sheep Detective Story’. It’s written for adults, and here’s the blurb:

    ‘On a hillside near the cosy Irish village of Glennkill, a flock of sheep gather around their beloved shepherd George, who lies murdered, his body pinned to the pasture with a spade. Fortunately, George has left behind an unusually intelligent group of sheep. Every night since they were lambs he has read aloud to them – even detective stories. Faced with a real-life investigation, the flock spring into action.’

    It’s an adorable story. The sheep are hilarious and we see everything through their eyes. The different characters, including Miss Maple, ‘the cleverest sheep in Glenkill and possibly the world’, are so clearly drawn. Highly recommended.

    1. Your reading this week sounds fascinating and entertaining. Thanks. I have not heard of these books.

    2. I think I have to read a book where the sheep are the detectives, specially if it stars the cleverest sheep in the world! Am off to look this one up!

        1. My library has two copies and 17 people ahead of me. I’m guessing it’s got its own Groupies who reread it regularly .

          This made me look for comparison at Good Omens. 7 editions lots of formats
          And yet there is a waitlist.

    3. I just put the sheep book on hold at my library and also checked for an e copy and I would have been number 43 on four copies if I didn’t have the book headed my way. Just have to love the premise.

    4. That book was a lot of fun. Thanks for reminding about it so I can see if the author has written anymore like it.

  28. EVERY SINGLE LIE by Vincent, Rachel.

    Description: New York : Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2021.
    Summary: High school junior Beckett’s life is turned upside-down when she discovers a dead baby in her small-town high school’s locker room, and her police detective mother investigates while cyberbullies claim it is Beckett’s child.

    My first impulse was to pass this one by. What got me was the juxtaposition of “dead baby” with genre “Young Adult.” So I read it. I’ll probably read it again.

    SYSTEM COLLAPSE (The Murderbot Diaries Book 7) by Wells, Martha. I’m only on Chapter 6, and I switched from Kindle to Audible.

    VARIATION ON A THEME, BOOK 5 by Grey Wolf.

    Description: Almost four years into his second life, Steve and friends are off to college. Graduation has sent old friends off in various directions; a new school brings new faces and new challenges. In addition, there’s the wider world of business, investments, politics, and much more. How will they adapt to this new environment – and how will the world adapt to them? Likely about 500-600,000 words. Posting schedule: 2 chapters/week (M/Th AM) for now.

    Word. Opera. This serially published story will be in every one of my GBT posts for the next year.

    WEARING THE CAPE: SMALL TOWN HEROES by Marion G. Harmon

    Bad things happen and people need help all over the world, but even when superheroes have the power we can’t always help. Inside the US, we need to get permission from state governments or deal with FEMA. Internationally, sovereign nations can refuse to let you come in; when the Sentinels went abroad they went as volunteers for Heroes Without Borders, the international organization founded to aid and protect civilian populations trapped in disaster and war zones.
    From the journal of Hope Corrigan.

    Harmon, Marion G.. Small Town Heroes (Wearing the Cape Series Book 4) (p. 1). . Kindle Edition.

    I just finished this re-read and have moved on to

    RONIN GAMES by Marion G. Harmon.

    Ronin
    Historically, a masterless samurai (lit., a wave-man). Outside the political power-structure, ronin lived as mercenaries and bodyguards, or as outlaws and robbers when work could not be found. In Post-Event Japan “ronin” is slang for Active Non-Government Powers (ANGPs), freelance superhumans, criminal or otherwise, who use their powers without government sanction.
    – Barlow’s Guide to Superheroes

    George (the “G” in Marion G. Harmon) numbers this as book 5. He doesn’t count BITE ME nor OMEGA NIGHT in that tally. The former because the protagonist is Jacqueline “Jacky” Siegler/Bouchard AKA Artemis, one of Hope/Astra’s BFFs instead of Hope herself; the latter because it’s a short story like COMPULSORY in the Murderbot Diaries.

    I was reading I’M JUST A SMALL TOWN SHIFTER 2 by G.S. D’Moore, and realized that it was one of those series, where I needed to read I’M JUST A SMALL TOWN SHIFTER 1 first, so I bought it.

    Considering that Rachel Vincent has written several Shifter series, lycanthropes were on my mind, so when Amazon did the “because you read…” thing, and I recognized an author – Michael Dalton – I bought a few of his shifter books. SHIFTER GIRLS: URBAN FANTASY HAREM series, books 1 – 3. Mr. Dalton was once known as MichaelD38 and published stories at Alt.Sex.Stories.Text.Repository and was one of my idols. I read all of his before I published any of mine. Then he went Pro.

    I’m still binging on Star Trek: Lower Decks and Daria

  29. I read three new books before my brain gave up again and I had to reread Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett to recover.
    First I read The Fork, The Witch and the Worm by Christoffer Paolini, a little inbetween-book taking place between the 4th part of his Inheritance-series and his newest book, Murtagh. I hadn’t read Fork-Witch-Worm yet, but figured I should before jumping into Murtagh’s adventure. I liked it. First story of the three told in this book was my favourite. Last story was good, but I kept losing focus on it so it took me a while to finish it. All in all a pleasant read.
    Did not go on to read Murtagh after that, but instead picked up The Wake-Up Call by Beth O’leary. I have a little bit of mixed feelings about it. I liked it, but not as much as I loved The Flatshare and liked The No-Show, and (SPOILER) the big misunderstanding looming through the larger part of the story kinda… disturbed me. I knew where things would lead all the time so it wasn’t a catastrophy, but it still kinda mixed my feelings for the book up a little.
    After that I read The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healey, which someone here recommended when I asked for gentle books for my ouchy brain a while ago. Sorry, I don’t remember who it was, but THANK YOU SO MUCH! I really enjoyed it. Easy on my brain, great narrator, just a very relaxing read. Thanks!

    I also wanted to headsup everyone of the Audible-sale, which looks like it’s going on until tomorrow (December 1st). Someone mentioned the Cecelia & Kate-books yesterday on WW, so I bought that one. 4 bucks for all 3 books in one? Yes please. So, that’s what I’ll try to read right now.

  30. Finished System Collapse which was great (of course). Now reading Jim Hines Terminal Uprising, second in a series. It’s not Murderbot, but, what is?

    And, apparently nothing on the county court docket for December so I’m dismissed from jury duty. I can now organize December’s appointments and projects.

    1. Earlier this year I got notification of jury duty, but they allowed me to presume on my geezerhood and abstain. The cutoff was 70 years old. No more jury duty. 🙂

      1. Same thing happened to me, although in my state it might vary by county. I remember that in Florida my aged mother once got called for duty and had to show up in person and plead inability to sit still long enough for a trial. But that was years ago.

  31. Lots of books. Apologies to those who tried ‘The Spare’ (after I rec’d it) and didn’t like it. Maybe I was just in the right mood for it (my Royal Binge!). Before I start my list, dropping in a link to the JMS advent calendar where you can get a free book each day Dec 1-24; mine is up on the 2nd. 🙂 https://www.jmsbooksllc.com/advent-calendar/

    1. two shorts: ‘An Easy Job’ by Carrie Vaughn (another Graff short story) and ‘Waiting’ by Harper Fox, which is Lee & Ezekiel POV after Gideon’s life-threatening injury. The first will, I hope, someday be wrapped into a Graff collection. The second is for Fox completists. 🙂

    2. ‘Fluke and the Faithless Father’ by Sam Burns, in which MC Sage contends with some Serious Problems and Mortal Peril; his no-longer-a-ghost bf Gideon, fox familiar Fluke, and other allies step up. This book is a lot, y’all – lots of tension, conflict, psycho cultists torturing our hero, body count. I am thoroughly invested, but hope the next one is a bit less Mayhem Deluxe.

    3. ‘Dragged to the Wedding’ by Andrew Grey, in which a closeted-back-home Chicago cop hires a drag queen to impersonate a nonexistent female girlfriend for a family wedding in Missoula. Didn’t love it, but the drag queen is a well-rounded and very sympathetic character, which is not always the case.

    4. ‘The Lost Prince’ by Harper Fox. 2nd of 2 books featuring a young & very talented actor from a very troubled aristocratic family and his lover, son of a Romanian drug lord. Drama, trauma, romantic conflict, & mayhem. Both characters very unhappy throughout, rough going, so another one for completists.

    5. ‘Crow’s Fate’ by Kim Fielding. And here we have a 5-star book (for me), by far the best of the Carnival of Mysteries titles I’ve read, in which the carnival is simply a side character but also provides a link to the sequel I crave and which KF says she is writing. Complicated story with a good bit of trauma, not a light read. The MC has been dogged for ten years by supernatural fiends who kill anyone he gets close to. Naturally he’s not so good at family (the few he has left), friends (likewise), or lovers (such as the Carnival roustabout from Victorian London who becomes his co-traveler and ally). The MC develops into a credible & compelling protagonist and the story is neatly tied up.

    6. ‘Part of Your World’ by Abby Jimenez. I liked this one a lot, too. F/M contemporary feat. a Minneapolis ER doctor from very rich & prominent medical family who meet-cutes a small-town mayor / carpenter / B&B keeper. They hook up, they repeat, they fall in love. The obstacles are real. There is some truly funny stuff in this book but also true pain. Some sad & unflinching scenes with toxic family. Well balanced, though, with a credible HEA.

    6.5 ‘So We Meet-Cute Again’ by Geneva Vand, a harmless M/M novelette in which there are no real reasons (on the page) for the MCs not to get together immediately, so the conceit wears thin.

    7. ‘Stars In Your Eyes’ by Kacen Callendar, M/M Hollywood romance except the romance takes a sixth-row seat to literally all the potential triggers. Did not expect this level of angst; the trauma consumed most of the book, leaving both MCs to deal with their shit off the page before getting back together after a gap of years. You know I prefer to see people do the work.

    7.5 two stories from the ‘We Came To Dance’ Club Q benefit anthology. One was my own story ‘Speaking of Happiness,’ because you know what they say about write the stories you want to read? Yeah, that. And K.L. Noone’s story ‘A Waltz and a Wave,’ which is sweet and lyrical and nicely composed.

    8. [re-read, skimmed a lot] ‘Surrender to Love’ by Edith Layton, Super Regency in which she finally gives her So Beautiful character center stage, but OMG. In the interest of making her page count, a totally unnecessary murderous plot lands midway through. I skimmed most of it in the interest of getting through the book to see how she wrapped it up. Couldn’t remember from 1980-whatever. Toward the end the FMC tells someone ‘he only wants what he can’t have’ and that is 100% the entire problem, which is 100% not addressed on his side. The murder plot was tedious but I was ready to kill him myself, so. I’d say she deserved better except she took him back after an inadequate grovel even though he has shown no sign of doing any thinking whatsoever about why he does what he does with women. Oh! And back in the first half he f**ked two different women on the same night after flouncing out of a ball where FMC was being a big success, because jealous. Srsly, kill this guy.

    1. Never apologize for recommending a book that others don’t like! One person’s treasure is another person’s garbage and vice versa. I’ve certainly liked 99% of the books you’ve recommended that I’ve read so I can tolerate the odd 1% here or there.

      1. Agreed!
        I’ve found so many great reads thanks to your recs that the one here and there were my tastes differ and I end up not likimg it as much is more than okay.
        Sp
        So please don’t stop recommending, please don’t!

        1. I dunno. I won’t pay for it but I would maybe read it from the library just to see how bad it was…

          There are some early Regencies that deal head on with what romance or marriage would look like in an era when men’s mistresses were acceptable (so long as not brought in to society) and what it meant for women. I think of several Joan Wolf books and Laura Gurke’s the Marriage Bed. And I find them worth reading because they really are historicals—dealing with the time. But this sounds like it just cheats on the topic.

          1. In those times when arranged marriages are the norm, obviously people would find love or other stuff outside marriage. The demi-monde were around for a reason.

  32. I tried Spare and was not feeling it. Tina Brown’s “The Palace Papers”was awesome. Mary Lovell “The Sisters” about the Mitford family was fascinating. Royal adjacent, British and American(related to Kennedy by marriage). A couple of authors, a Communist and a couple of Nazi’s. Wow.

  33. I have been enjoying Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green and also Palace of Rogues series from my library’s digital stash. Regencies with female main characters who have more back story and depth than is usual. Not quite willing yet to pay the $12 kindle price for the ones the library doesn’t have, but expect I will get there.

    1. There may be alternatives short of that drastic step! I’ve paid $12, or nearly that, for a fiction ebook, but only because my local book club was doing it. Through my library I can access not only their own ebooks but those on the apps Cloud and Hoopla. Hoopla has a few of her books, although probably old ones. Also, at least in my state, it’s easy for state residents to get online cards for many of the other county systems. You may have to show up in person once and prove you’re a state resident. I’ve got two extra cards that way, which are helpful in finding free digital material. (A lot of states use library districts rather than counties as their base units, but the same principle may apply.)

      1. Forget to add that my other recourse when an ebook that I really want is stiffly priced is to see if I can order a used physical copy cheaper over the internet. Often I can, although that means one more print book to store, ideally by disposing of something else. The first places I look are abe.com and Amazon (for used copies), in that order. There are other possibilities too. (I do have a physical second hand bookstore in easy range, but it’s better for browsing than for finding specific books.)

        1. I prefer Alibris.com. But then I try to use Amazon only when I have to and Abe.com is amazon

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