139 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, November 9, 2023

  1. Talking about books definitely counts!

    Best thing I read was “The Return of Fitzroy Angursell” by Victoria Goddard, which follows “Hands of the Emperor”. I loved seeing more of this fabulous world. I particularly liked that the protagonist in a man in his sixties off on an adventure, having to reconcile the person he is now with the younger man his friends knew.

    Then a bunch of meh, followed by “Bitter Blood” by Lyn Gala – an m/f paranormal romance with an interesting take on vampires & demons. Not her best, but then her best is very good. I’d be happy to read more in this world.

    Then the Bellingham Mysteries (Vol 1) by Nicole Kimberling: m/m romance of the amateur sleuth variety with a small town reporter and an artist. Each was better than the last, and by the third one I was thoroughly enjoying this couple.

  2. I am listening to Murderbot. It doesn’t seem fair to start anything new because I am going to drop whatever it is as soon as the new one comes out.

    1. I think it’s a good idea to read System Collapse ahead of the new release. It follows right after those events. I do like the reader for the audiobooks.

      1. I am so looking forward to the new one! Aftermath, emotions and such are my catnip. I hope we get to see more of Three!

      2. Sorry-I meant Network Effect ofc. System Collapse is the new one. Brain is tired this week.

  3. I hope you’d be pleased to know I’m rereading the Liz Danger trilogy. This time I’m highlighting things I want to remember. I’m in the beginning of One in Vermillion now.

    I’m also rereading the “Wearing the Cape” series, 28 chapters into the eponymous first book. I love Astra and her bff, Artemis.

    I’m pretty sure I read something else, but nothing comes to mind. As much as I like the MobiPocket Reader ap, it’s lousy at tracking the “recently read” category.

    Diet articles don’t count. Reading about cubanelle peppers, while interesting to me while I held one in my hand, aren’t something I could recommend to others. I could commend the peppers, not the articles. I’m going to render one into pepper rings and add them to my next vegetable soup. Or my next salad, definitely. I had three red peppers and did the stuffed pepper thing with rice and sausage and diced tomato topped with mozzarella cheese. They were marvelous, and with the constraints of the diet. Cubanelles are large enough to stuff that way.

    Back to the books. Ta.

      1. You are most welcome! Want to read about those peppers? One of many, many articles. I mentioned yesterday that I did a stuffed cubanelle (AKA Italian Frying Pepper) with mozzarella and wrapped in ham. It started out wrapped; the ham shrank in the oven. There’s a picture linked from that post which I won’t duplicate. Multiple links send one’s post to arbitration purdah.

        Okay, that’s Way Too Much Information about my diet. Chow! ) [heh heh heh]

  4. I’ve been reading A Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins. Magical realism, set in the same town as her previous novel. I’m liking it a lot, although not quite as much as the first one. Definitely worth reading, though.

    Also rereading my own manuscript as I pick it up to work on it again. I can’t tell if that’s worth reading or not.

  5. This week I read The Long Game (Rachel Reid) the final book in the Gamechangers series (MM Hockey). I think it closed the series very well, completed the story from Heated Rivalry and didn’t spend too much time indulging the other characters from the series, which is what I had been worried about. It is not my favourite of the series but will definitely be a future reread.

    I had planned to give MM hockey a break, but instead got caught up in Season’s Change (Cait Nary, no 1 in the Trade Season series). I loved this book. It has strong characters, lots of hockey and I was glued to it see how things would turn out.

    For me this is a definite reread and I’d really recommend it. Just note, it is quite serious in tone, and very character driven with less smut than some of the Gamechangers and mostly not very explicit (though some).

    Of course, I’m not entirely sure how to define levels of explicit are so hopefully I didn’t get that wrong (one way or the other!). Possibly some form of chilli score could be useful.

    1. Season’s Change is one of my top five or six or whatever favourite hockey romances so you’ve done well with that one. Yes, we’ll have to define a chilli score some time…

          1. I’m more occupied trying to figure out the five chilli system:
            0 chili – no on page sex
            1 chili – light on page sex with no real details
            2 chilis – 1 or 2 incidents of on page sex with vanilla details
            3 chilis – 3+ incidents of on page sex with delicious details
            4 chilis – 3+ incidents of on page sex with innovative details
            5 chilis – 3+ incidents of on page sex with smutty/kinky details

            What do you think? All feedback welcome.

          2. There are a lot of rating systems, so this seems like reinventing the wheel, but with pokes instead of spokes. And there are so many variations on the theme. It’s like rating a movie “R.” Was it for the language? Sex? Violins? Drugs?

            I visit StoriesOnline.net – definitely an adult site. Lazeez, the proprietor, requires that anyone who asks him to host a story has to code it rather than rate it. You should all stop reading at this point. I’m going to share the coding system.
            Tags and Sex Contents Definitions
            Sex Contents Definitions:
            Stroke Story: Story is mostly sex.
            Much Sex: Story contains plenty of sex.
            Some Sex: Story contains Some sex.
            Minimal Sex: Story contains just a bit of sex.
            No Sex: Don’t expect any sex.
            Tag Definitions:
            Ma/Fa Adult Male over 18, Adult Female over 18
            mt/ft Teen Male under 18, Teen Female under 18
            Ma/ft Adult Male over 18, Teen Female under 18
            mt/Fa Teen Male under 18, Adult Female
            Fa/Fa 2 or more Females over 18
            ft/ft 2 or more Teen Females under 18
            Fa/ft Adult Female, Teen female under 18
            boy Boy 12 years old or younger
            girl Girl 12 years old or younger
            Ma/Ma 2 or more Adult Males over 18
            Ma/mt Adult Male, Teen Male under 18
            mt/mt 2 or more Teen Males under 18
            Ma Male adult 18 and over
            Fa Adult Female 18 and over
            mt Teen male under 18 and over 13
            ft Teen female under 18 and over 13
            Mult Multiple Partner. ie MFF or mmmF, (done like this because of the endless combinations that cannot be all included)
            Teenagers Cast of story is mostly teenagers
            Level of Consent
            Blackmail Blackmailing somebody to force them into the sex act depicted
            Coercion Not exactly blackmail, but applying different kinds of pressure to force into the act.
            Consensual All parties are consenting to the act
            Drunk/Drugged One party at least is Drunk or drugged and participates while under the influence without really knowing
            Hypnosis One party using hypnosis for sexual purposes
            Lolita A pre-pubescent child (boy or girl, 12 or younger) initiates sexual contact with an adult
            Mind Control Stories where one party somehow controls another’s mind
            NonConsensual At least one of the parties is not participating willingly
            Pedophilia An adult initiating sexual contact with a pre-pubescent child (boy or girl, 13 or under)
            Rape Stories with violent rape
            Reluctant Start as non consentual and then the non consenting party participates willingly
            Romantic Mushy love story
            Slavery Slavery, sexual or otherwise
            Teen Siren An underaged girl 14 or over, seducing or tempting an adult
            Sexual Orientations
            Gay Self Explanatory
            Lesbian Self Explanatory
            BiSexual Self Explanatory
            Heterosexual Self Explanatory
            CrossDressing Men dressing as women and in women clothing, also vice-versa
            Hermaphrodite Person having both male and female genitalia
            Shemale Trans women with male genitalia and augmented female breasts from breast augmentation and/or use of hormones
            TransGender Gender crossing, mostly men turning into women
            Story Types
            Fiction Fictitious story, not true
            True Story A true story, according to the author.
            Celebrity A story about a real life celebrity, the story is fictional of course.
            Crime Story centred on or involving crime
            Fairy Tale A story involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins) in which improbable events lead to a happy ending
            Fan Fiction A story using characters from movies, TV shows or Comics
            Farming Story set on a farm or about working a farm
            Futanari Stories with Characters that have mainly female bodies but with both female and male sexual organs
            GameLit Stories with gaming elements essential to the plot. Often includes features of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Science Fantasy.
            High Fantasy High Fantasy, sword and sorcery and such
            Historical Story that is set in past history, mostly related to famous people and events.
            Horror Horror Elements in the story, erotic or otherwise.
            Humor Contains humor or the story is a spoof
            Military Story in a Military setting
            Mystery A suspenseful story about a mystery
            Rags To Riches Building a large business/fortune starting with little or no money
            Restart Restarting personal life from scratch after an involuntary event like bankruptcy, dislocation due to war, emigration, coma etc…
            School Mostly in an educational setting (high-school, college, University)
            Sports A story with a sports theme
            Steampunk Science fiction with 19th century aesthetics using steam power as power delivery medium
            Superhero Story contains Super Hero/Heroine
            Tear Jerker Sad story or containing sad moments
            Vignettes Short stories collection
            War Story occurring during a war or somebody goes to a war
            Western Set in the old US west
            Workplace Story centres around a workplace setting
            Zoophilia Different from bestiality, it’s about relationships between humans and animals, not just sex.
            Science Fiction
            Science Fiction Science Fiction
            Aliens Science fiction stories with Aliens in them
            Alternate History A speculative story where a major event in history occurred differently
            DoOver Getting to do one’s life all over again
            Extra Sensory Perception Perceiving things by means other than the known senses, e.g. by telepathy or clairvoyance.
            Far Past Far Past Time Travel or Far past setting (earlier than industrial revolution or before 1700)
            Post Apocalypse Post Apocalyptic world
            Robot Humans having relations, sexual or otherwise, with non-biological entities (mechanical robots or full blown androids)
            Space Story set in outer space
            Time Travel Science Fiction, involving travel through time
            Body Swap Mind transfer between two bodies
            Paranormal Ghosts, angels, spirits, poltergeists, etc
            Furry Anthropomorphic animals or ‘taurs’ (animal bodies with anthropomorphic torsos) it also includes other forms such as dragons.
            Genie Djinn or Genie, the magical creature that grants wishes
            Ghost Ghosts
            Magic Contains magic and supernatural phenomenons
            non-anthro Animal in form with human level intelligence. For example Werewolves
            Vampires Vampires in the story
            Were animal A human that can turn into an animal temporarily.
            Zombies Zombies in the story
            Demons Stories with demons in them
            Dolls Statues, love-dolls, or toys that may come to life
            Cheating One party is cheating on their partner
            Cuckold When man is being forced to accept his wife’s cheating against his will.
            Sharing Partner has sex with selected others
            Slut Wife Slutty wife
            Wife Watching Man enjoys watching his wife having sex
            Wimp Husband Husband does not stand up for himself when faced with a cheating wife
            RAAC Reconciliation at any cost. Couple reconciling after one of them cheating
            BTB Burn The Bitch/Bastard. A person gets their revenge on their cheating spouse
            Incest Sex between blood-related members of the same family
            Mother Incest involving mothers
            Son Self Explanatory
            Brother Self Explanatory
            Sister Self Explanatory
            Father Self Explanatory
            Daughter Self Explanatory
            Cousins Self Explanatory
            Uncle Self Explanatory
            Niece Self Explanatory
            Aunt Self Explanatory
            Nephew Self Explanatory
            Grand Parent Self Explanatory
            InLaws Self Explanatory
            BDSM Elements
            BDSM Bondage and/or SadoMasochism
            DomSub Story about domination, being sexual or otherwise
            MaleDom Male Dominant
            FemaleDom Female Dominant
            Humiliation Degradation of somebody in the story and/or humiliating them publicly
            Light Bond Light Bondage, usually consentual and for experimentation at the request of the one of the parties
            Rough Rough sex
            Sadistic Somebody inflicting pain, physical or mental, for the hell of it
            Snuff Killing being done during the act of sex. (Non-sexual murder is in violent)
            Spanking Somebody gets spanked in the story, willingly or unwillingly
            Torture Self Explanatory
            PonyBoy Submissive man who takes the role of a pony; this may include wearing tack such as a bridle and bit
            PonyGirl Submissive woman who takes the role of a pony; this may include wearing tack such as a bridle and bit
            Gang Bang Multiple men fucking same woman
            Group Sex Multiple couples in the same place or a threesome
            Harem There is a harem involved in the story. A traditional old fashion harem, is where an old sultan has a collection of women housed in a palace for his own pleasure. Could apply for newer setting stories where a similar situation exists.
            Orgy Everybody is Fucking everybody in a group
            Polygamy/Polyamory Multiple spouses or partners (multiple men or multiple women)
            Swinging Trading Sexual Partners
            Interracial Elements
            Interracial Sexual partners of different races
            Black Male Self Explanatory
            Black Female Self Explanatory
            White Male Self Explanatory
            White Female Self Explanatory
            Oriental Male Self Explanatory
            Oriental Female Self Explanatory
            Hispanic Male Self Explanatory
            Hispanic Female Self Explanatory
            Indian Male Male from the indian sub-continent
            Indian Female Female from the indian sub-continent
            Black Couple Self Explanatory
            White Couple Self Explanatory
            Sexual Activities
            Anal Sex Self Explanatory
            Analingus The act of licking the anus
            Bestiality Sex with animals
            Cream Pie Somebody licks a pussy full of cum
            Double Penetration Simultaneous Anal and Vaginal Penetration
            Enema Getting an enema as a sexual thing
            Exhibitionism Enjoyment of self exposure
            First One of the parties having sex is a virgin
            Facial Story contains somebody practicing the art of ejaculating on another’s face
            Fisting Hand and arm or foot insertion
            Flatulence Flatulence as a sexual fetish
            Food Sex where food is involved, like doing it to a pie or shoving a carrot
            Lactation Drinking and playing with human milk
            Massage Story contains massaging as part of sexual activity, like foreplay
            Masturbation Self pleasuring, could be alone or while with somebody else but no intercourse
            Necrophilia Sex with a corpse
            Oral Sex Self Explanatory
            Pegging A woman performs anal sex on a man with a strap-on dildo
            Petting Feeling up and such
            Pregnancy Somebody gets pregnant in the story
            Safe Sex Sex with proper protection
            Scatology Playing with feces
            Sex Toys Sex with the help of sex toys, such as dildos and vibrators
            Spitting Spitting as a sexual fetish
            Squirting Female Ejaculation
            Tit-Fucking Getting sexual pleasure from thrusting the penis between a pair of bountiful breasts
            Voyeurism Enjoyment of watching other people without their knowledge
            Water Sports Peeing on each other
            Amputee Sex with an amputee
            Babysitter Sex with babysitters fetish
            BBW Big Beautiful Woman. Loving Big Women
            Big Breasts Women with Big Breasts
            Body Modification Erotic body modification, including piercings and tattoos, play a prominent role.
            Clergy Involving members of the clergy (Priest, Bishops, nuns)
            Doctor/Nurse Medical Fetish, Doctor or Nurse Play a prominent role in the story
            Foot Fetish Foot fetish
            Hairy Fetish with hairy men/women
            Leg Fetish Leg fetish, often with stockings, garters and heels.
            Menstrual Play Sex play with a woman who’s on menstrual cycle
            Needles Includes injections and play or permanent piercings.
            Public Sex Sexual events taking place in public
            Size Where the size of the sex parts (penis, breasts, toys) plays a major role in the story
            Small Breasts Small Breasts fetish. Story where small breasts play an important role.
            Smoking Story features smoking fetish or excessive smoking
            Teacher/Student Teacher/student relations
            2nd POV Story written from the 2nd person POV
            Cannibalism Self explanatory
            Cat-Fighting Women having a cat fight
            Caution Story contains something that can’t be classified but requires caution on the reader’s part
            ENF Embarrassed woman because she has somehow lost her clothes and cannot avoid embarrassing encounters
            Geeks Enthusiast or expert especially in a technological or magical field or activity.
            Halloween Story about halloween
            Indian Erotica Erotica written in Indian Style
            Novel-Classic An old classic novel that is now in the public domain
            Novel-Pocketbook An old published pocketbook novel that is not in circulation any more and the publisher has gone under, so it’s not going to be published again
            Nudism Features scenes set in a naturist/nudist environment
            Politics Stories with political atmosphere or events
            Porn Theatre Story has events in a porn theatre or Adult bookstore
            Prostitution Prostitution elements
            Revenge One party gets revenge for being wronged
            Royalty Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses etc.
            Slow There is a story and plot development before any sex occurs. Not a stroke story.
            Transformation Un-natural physical transformation
            Violence Violence in the story, not necessarily of sexual nature
            Illustrated Stories with illustrations

          3. Um – those things practically give the plot away. My system is way simpler. Especially if it’s just for an Argh audience.

  6. I finished Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. I loved this book. There is love, hardship, tragedy, the building of a circle of friends and family. There were so many things that tied together in the end, some of which I anticipated and some of which I didn’t. I probably rushed through it too quickly to catch all the nuances, but I’ll most likely read this one again. (I did hand my copy to a friend and told her she needed to read it!)

  7. I read Jenny’s Boy by Wayne Johnston, the Newfoundland writer who is best known here in Canada for his award winning The Colony of Unrequited Dreams. This book is very different in tone, an autobiographical accounting of a year in his childhood, plagued with numerous undiagnosed medical issues and an alcoholic father who perpetually spends the rent – this all sounds grim and yes it is, and it’s also laced with humour. His grandmother made me laugh every time: “I told her about the Japanese doctor who said I had pleurisy. “What’s that—a fancy way of saying you can’t stop coughing? I hope he didn’t come all the way from Japan, not that I know where that is, to give you the news. If he was any good, he’d still be Japanese. Newfoundland is full of doctors from somewhere else. Someone must have put out the word that we’ll fall for anything. By the time they get here, they’ve worn out their welcome everywhere else. I wonder where the good ones go. Once you start with doctors it never stops. They pass you around until you come back to the first one, and then it starts all over again.” ” So if you like black humour, this book is for you. A friend of mine actually said if you like Angela’s Ashes without so many dead babies, this book is for you.

    I also finished listening to another Cordelia Kingsbridge book in the Seven of Spades series and another in the Nicky James Valor/Doyle series – going to add both of these to my list of Two Guys Solving Cases and Falling In Love list.

    1. Or TGSCAFIL! Such a large and enjoyable sub-genre – someone cleverer than me needs to come up with a snappy trope tag for it 🙂

  8. I love AND hate this thread! 😉

    You all provide so many new book titles/authors to add to my TBR pile that it is teetering in the corner of my room right now!

  9. I agree with Elinor. By the time I get to some of my TBRs I have forgotten why I chose them. But they are usually good.

    This past week, I read the last two of Grace Burrowes’ Rogues to Riches series. The Truth about Dukes is a favorite because it portrays the triumph of a man who was “put away” for having epilepsy, into a respected leader in society. His wife struggles with trying to find the baby daughter she gave away as a teen with no resources to keep a child. The ending is very satisfying, where a society meanie and her husband get their comeuppance after trying to put the Duke under guardianship.

    How to Catch a Duke is about a woman who is being badgered and threatened by a wealthy man whose son had an affair with her, years ago. The youngest duke in the family, who is also lame from a childhood broken leg that was never set to heal properly, decides to help her evade the bully by taking her as his fiancée. Of course, they fall in love. Of course, there is a surprise ending.

    Then I read Never a Duke, which is about a lesser member of the same family. I did not make a note of who recommended this, but thank you. The tale of what happened to some decent ladies’ maids and companions in the hands of greedy males is terrifying, and how they were rescued with ingenuity, is also almost funny. The MCs are caring, eccentric people who don’t give up.

      1. Yes, all are by GB. The woman in How to Catch a Duke is an inquiry agent, and she figures prominently in The Truth About Dukes, too. She is tall, well-built, beautiful, but keeps it hidden, and carries a sword cane. A fascinating, self-possessed woman.

      2. Grace Burrowes has written many good books so have a blast reading!
        Different eras and great characters from contemporary to Victorian and earlier…

  10. I just read Carlie Walker’s The Takedown. It’s a spy caper where the sister of the MC is getting married to a mob boss at Xmas. Hijinks and romance ensue as the MC, who happens to be a CIA agent, puts her skills to use investigating the fiance and stopping the wedding. Snappy banter is involved, as well as spiked eggnog and a reindeer.

    1. I’d already reserved this at the library and it’s ready for me to collect on Saturday. I’m excited to read it!

  11. I just finished Wrong Place, Wrong Time, by Gillian McAllister. Jen waits up for her son, Todd, to come home. It’s his birthday. She sees him come up the road, but someone else is walking toward the door. Todd turns, pulls a knife from his bag, and stabs the guy.

    After an understandably horrible night, Jen wakes up…and it’s yesterday. Each time she wakes up, she’s further back in the past. She decides she must need to learn something to prevent the tragedy, and every day she looks for some clue, however small.

    Not an easy thing to write, I’m sure, but the best time travel book I’ve read. Listened to. One of the people she speaks to a couple of times is a researcher into time flow and travel, and parts of that are really fascinating. The character development is happening both backwards and forward.

    I enjoyed it greatly and will try more of hers. Just now I’m finishing a silly but enjoyable game world novel by Eric Ugland – the Grim Guys – and next is a Cory Doctorow, who keeps surprising me with how good he is. I loved Walkaway, though it got a bit didactic at times

  12. Oh, and we watched Pokerface, a tv show about a woman who always knows when she is being lied to. She runs afoul of a crime family and goes on the run, solving murders as she goes. It’s a little dark, but still cozy and very, very funny.

    I think that it is on Peacock.

    And Quiz Lady with Awkafina and Sandra Oh is hilarious and very feel good. It’s on Hulu.

      1. Oh yes! It is a long wait from Sunday til Wednesday and Thursday.

        And we just cancelled Hulu, so I need streaming recommendations. Who should I go with next?

        Oh, and we watched Red, White and Royal Blue last night. Not as good as the book, of course, but I think that they caught the spirit. And the sex scenes got me hot and bothered… I got the emotions in there.

        1. I finally got around to watching Wednesday on Netflix. So fun! Or there is a new season of the British baking show out now also on Netflix.

          1. Wednesday is very fun. We had Netflix for a while and will get it again if Stranger Things ever comes out with the last season…

        2. Acorn and Britbox are both very good for police procedurals. I forget which one has Foyle’s War, but that series is just brilliant (if a bit too close for comfort to current world problems at times). I haven’t been as thrilled by some of the two streamers’ newer shows, but if you haven’t seen the older ones, there’s a treasure trove to dive into. They’re both relatively cheap, and you can do one with out the other until you deplete the offerings. I’m lazy so I keep both, and I can’t remember which one has which. I think it’s Acorn that has some NZ/Oz and French shows, for a bit of variety.

          1. I love “Foyles War” – just completed a re-watch a couple of months ago and its just so brilliantly crisp. I keep meaning to pick up one of Horowitz’s crime novels as I think he wrote the show, but so far they haven’t made it to the top of the tbr pile.

            Does Britbox have “Pie in the Sky”? Even though its a much gentler humorous show, Henry Crabbe and and Christopher Foyle both have this bone-deep sense of rightness that appeals to me in a similar way.

  13. I am re-reading Sharon Shinn’s Elemental Blessings series in preparation for the latest one that is coming out next week, Whispering Wood. I also picked up a copy of Bookshops and Bonedust by Travis Baldree but haven’t started it yet. I really liked Legends and Lattes and am a little concerned this might not be as good.

    1. Please report on Baldree’s latest, after you’ve read it! I loved Legends and Lattes and have the same concern.

  14. I read CACKLE by Rachel Harrison and truly enjoyed it! I adored the Sophie character who was neither good nor bad…and had some vulnerability. It was Gilmore Girls meets Witches of Eastwick.

  15. So much else to do, so my reading time is severely limited.

    I finished listening to “I’m your guy” (yes, I’m rather stuck in a time loop it seems). Loved it again.

    I also switched from listening “Time to Shine” by Rachel Reid to reading it. Had been at approx. 60 % and re-read the whole thing. Discovered so much more to love.
    Tammy, I understand why you prefer it to IYG. I love both, but I approach reading TTS differently: usually I would read on the bus, in the tram – wherever.
    TTS is such a gem of a book/story that I cannot stand it when someone is giggling behind me in the tram, or when some other distraction tries to ruin the joy of reading the story of those two precious guys.
    So my progress is slow, but I would also not waste a very fine wine on a crappy meal.
    I might go back and complete listening when I’ve finished the book, just because I don’t want to leave those boys.

    So, when I’m free to listen to an audiobook, I have fun with 10 Things by Alexis Hall.
    It’s a romp, mainly because I LOVE the narrator and his interpretation. I LOVE (esp. UK-) accents and discovered that I seem to love the Sheffield one…
    It helps that it’s something completely different to TTS, and I find it different enough from Boyfriend Material. I love the description of Gollum’s behaviour. For me as a cat-observer and not owner it seems spot on. Is it?
    Now I’m off to my walk home with my earbuds in and Sam in my head.

    1. You are reading all these at the same time?
      I can’t read several books at once. I need to immerse myself in a story one at a time…
      I am intrigued to know how others here do it!

      1. I usually have two books going. A listening book and a reading book. It works as long as they are significantly different. Also, one is usually a reread for me, for all the comfort vibes.

      2. Usually I’m also a one-book-at-a-time person. But with audiobooks, I have to be active while listening – walking, doing chores, lately preparing and doing wall-painting, sewing, knitting, whatever. Otherwise I fall asleep in no time.
        But to wind down, to be off/magicked away into fiction, I need to “read” myself.
        Finishing an audiobook takes time.
        Reading myself, I can get crazy and obsessive and dive deep into the story.
        So I usually prefer reading. One book a time.
        If the books are distinctly different, like 10 Things and TTS, it’s fine to listen/read.

        I’ve never tried to both listen to and read the same book. Should try it some day…

      3. I usually have 3-5 books going. One audio book, 2-3 books for different moods, 1-2 re-reads for comfort/dependability.

      4. I used to be strictly one fiction book at a time but then I got an ereader, which is so much easier on trains. But I still like physical books so now I usually have three – one e-book, one hard copy and one non-fiction. Plus an anthology or two.

        I try to make sure to make sure they’re all different aesthetics, alternating between contemporary, sci-fi, fantasy and historical, so I don’t have paranormal romance going at the same time as a quest fantasy. Or a historical mystery and a historical non-fiction. Helps to keep it clear in my head. Sometimes the timing doesn’t work out so that’s where the anthologies come in as I use the short-stories as a palate cleansers.

        1. I usually have one audiobook for walking/running/housework (I also can’t just sit and listen or I fall asleep), 1 fiction book, and 1 nonfiction book.

      5. I’m a many books at one time reader. Right now I have five library ebooks, one ebook I own, one paper library book, and two paper books I own all in progress. I switch around among them. Usually I read from at least three in one day. On a day off when I don’t have a lot of other things going on I will read from five or six. Even when one of them is Murderbot I will switch off and read something else.

    2. If it’s Sam’s accent, it should be Liverpool/Liverpudlian – he doesn’t come from Sheffield. I guess the grandmother does, though? And I suppose the other protagonist & his father,

      1. Thanky for the info, Jane!
        That’s the bug when listening, I overlook important details.
        And as both accents are foreign to me, I mixed thrm up…

    3. I would say that the cat behavior is accurate.

      I also love the Samwise/ Gollum dynamic and nod to Tolkien because, hey, I am a geek.

      1. You really need to come to our household for the two days after Christmas for the annual Boxing Day(s) LOTR (director’s cut plus extras) Binge Extravaganza.

        1. Oooh. Don’t tempt me. We are planning a trip to Canada sometime in the next year or so as a practice run for a longer belated honeymoon to Japan.

          1. Lovely time to visit our cottage – beautiful views of the snow, walks with the dogs gamboling on the frozen river, snowshoeing in the forest, LOTR marathon in front of the fireplace, our large master suite at your disposal since we use the bedroom on the first floor…how am I doing in tempting you?

          2. You better be serious or I am going to show up on your doorstep with a bag containing all my LOTR t-shirts, my plastic elf ears, and no place to go as you stare at me blankly.

            Mostly kidding. We aren’t ready yet and I need to accrue more vacation time. But we are coming to Canada eventually. We will talk more when I have a plan instead of a distant hope.

          3. See, it’s the elf ears I can’t resist. All right – we will talk anon. But get those hopes organized!

          1. Open to all who are tentacle friends so you definitely count, Lian. Perhaps not everyone at the same time though. Cottage only has four bedrooms and a pull-out couch.

          2. I would think the tentacle hat can help the swimming process. I’ll have some lovely shellfish and seaweed set out in front of the fire for you.

    4. Binge read the last 15 % of TTS last night. Oh well, who needs sleep?

      Solid 5 stars for me, loved it and almost cried at some point, which nowadays hardly any book manages anymore.

  16. I’m still immersed in my big Victoria Goddard reread – revolving round The Hands of the Emperor, but starting with Petty Treasons, then THOTE, Portrait of a Wide Seas Islander, The Return of Fitzroy Angursell, and finally At the Feet of the Sun, which I’m a third of the way through. Really enjoying myself.

    1. I haven’t got into these yet. I know people are very enthusiastic about Hands of the Emperor, but my first and only Victoria Goddard was Stargazy Pie, which was okay but nothing special.

      1. I didn’t like Stargazy Pie and its relations at all. I read The Hands of the Emperor first, and it’s quite different. It’s insanely long, with a lot of repetition – there are all kinds of criticisms I could make – but I find it incredibly moreish. A great comfort read, with wonderful characters and world.

        1. And I loved Stargazy Pie, and the other Greenwing and Dart books, and couldn’t really get into The Hands of the Emperor and it’s related books.

        2. I have a sample of Stargazy Pie from when someone here mentioned it and I was very meh about it. Then when I first heard of Hands of the Emperor (here? elsewhere?) I didn’t even realize it was the same author and read the first few pages and was so completely hooked you might say I was crocheted.

  17. I just stared Naomi Alderman’s new book, The Future. It’s excellent so far and reads like a thoughtful thriller. Lots here about ecological and environment collapse, our billionaire overlords, information and social media, and a potential ark for the rich. It’s beautifully written and very hard to put down. I’m going to try to finish it tonight. It also feels like a post COVID novel although there is nothing specific suggesting that-just the atmosphere.

  18. This past week was fairly usual for me. A couple re-reads. A couple DNFs. And one new book I finished. Curtis Sittenfeld’s Romantic Comedy wasn’t really a romantic comedy (as I hoped), or even a romance. It wasn’t funny either, regardless of the word ‘Comedy’ in the title. The novel is mainstream, with the inbuilt in this category slow action, serious issues, and the inordinate attention to details, most of them unnecessary. It was an OK book but no more. I so hoped for more. I had such high expectations for this book, especially because the wait list for it at my library was over 100 people long. 🙁

      1. DNF for me, too. I thought the writing was very clunky, and I didn’t care about any of the MCs.

    1. I was also disappointed in Romantic Comedy – seemed like the author needed a place to dump way too much research about Saturday Night Live. The email exchanges were fun, though.

  19. It’s been a few weeks since I commented… life has well and truly got in the way. I can’t remember too many standout reads, apart from a re-read of Act Like It by Lucy Parker, and Our Friends In Berlin by Anthony Quinn which made me cry.

    I’m now reading Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson and vaguely enjoying it. Vague because a) I have a cold and am feeling sorry for myself and b) because the passive main character is both infuriating me somewhat and also too close to me for comfort in some respects.

  20. Talking books leads to reading more books so it totally counts!

    This week I read:
    10 Things That Never Happened, Alexis Hall, which somebody rec’d here last week and it was wonderful. Sweet, silly, the holiday office romance extended family train wreck you absolutely need in your life.

    12% of You Only Live Once which told me nothing useful so I stopped reading it for another romance novel (YMMV)

    Mister Fake Fiance by Nadia Lee because fake romance is my catnip and this did not disappoint.

    And I’m currently halfway through Travis Baldree’s Bookshops and Bonedust, a prequel to Legends and Lattes. I would love a sequel but this is good too. Viv in a bookstore! Gnomish pastries! Bakery romance! Plus necromancy and general orcing about. For a good time, read.

  21. I spent most of this week reading an innocuous cozy paranormal mystery series. I got halfway through the first one and I said to myself this isn’t that great but I kind of like the main character, a 21 year old witch from an old local witch family who is apprenticing at a potion/herblism shop when the owner, her mentor, gets murdered and she becomes a suspect. I thought about skipping the rest of it and moving on to something else and 4 hours later I had read the first 4 of them. So they’re short quick reads available via Kindle Unlimited and pleasant but innocuous, which apparently I was in the mood for. And so was my wife because she did the same thing when I mentioned them.

    1. And of course I didn’t even mention which one it is, The Isabella Proctor Cozy Paranormal Mystery series by Lisa Bouchard, starting with Leaf of Faith. I read the last 5 over the next couple of days.

    2. I was like that with CJ Archer’s Glass & Steele series. They were kinda’ meh, but the audio was available on Hoopla, and the next thing I knew, I’d listened to all six or seven of them.

  22. Absolutely nothing in fiction, wrote a poem, read a portion of a non-fiction, NYT, NP, G&M WWW (who what wear), and a bunch of other free news feeds. So much is extremely disheartening. I am addicted to both Canadian & US news. I might look at the Grace Burrowes and the Gillian McAllister novels. Out to rake up the leaves now, hopefully it doesn’t start raining until after dinner.

  23. Requested a book at the library from a recommendation last week, but I’m on a wait list, so I’m back to listening to the 400 hours of epic fantasy. There was one fun scene, where a character is telling a story and suggests skipping part of it because everyone knows it, and another character is shocked, shocked, that any part of a story could go unsaid. Which is, I think, a reference to the fact that these epic fantasies are a million pages long, with all sorts of side stories that have little to nothing (sometimes quite literally nothing) to do with the plot or main characters, and the obviously prolific author is appalled at the thought of leaving out any tiny bit of the story.

    1. LOL!

      Or those Victorian novels, particularly Dickens & Victor Hugo (although can I call him Victorian given he’s French?)

  24. I’ve been rereading the Dalemark quartet still. The Spellcoats is such an amazing book, to me. It’s first person in the voice of a girl who I think it is somewhere around 10, and who slowly comes into her own in the women’s craft of weaving as a major magician who saves her country.

    I also found a biography of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the woman born in slavery who was raised by her great university the chief Justice of England who set England on the road to banning slavery. It’s as much an investigation of those decisions and I found it fascinating. The author is Paula Byrne.

        1. No, it wouldn’t. Everyone would be so wrapped up in trying to prove their pet theory of child development that the poor kid would die of emotional trauma and/or loneliness. But the settings would be lovely.

    1. Despite my own sad familiarity with autocorrect, I hadn’t thought of “uncle,” and decided there were missing words to the effect that her home education had been as good as a white upper-class male would have gotten at university. Unfortunately untrue, per the Wikipedia article on Dido Belle, although she was luckier than many.

  25. The Libby hold was taking forever, so thanks to a Spotify Premium free trial I’m finally listening to Murderbot. I might be hooked…

    1. And the audio version is so extra good! I love, love, love the narrator/performer.

      Also, if your library is part of Hoopla, you can get the audiobooks there with no wait.

      1. Yeah… starting book 2 now… I’ll be headed to Hoopla after about 9 more hours of listening (when the ones on Spotify are no longer “free”) … 🙂

  26. I read the duology by Rachel Gillig “One Dark Window” and “Two Twisted Crowns” which is set in a fantasy land where a magic mist is threatening to take over the kingdom. All magic has costs so that every time someone uses magic, they degrade somehow, either mentally or physically or emotionally. I really liked that people still fought to stay true to themselves, even as they were degrading. And, I definitely liked the happy ending. I liked everyone, including the “supposed” bad guy.

  27. The week’s reading started on a high note.

    1. ‘A Matter of Scale’ by Steve DeGroof, 5 stars for me despite some formatting and minor editing issues. Highly entertaining SF/F caper involving a group of highly intelligent misfits becoming BFFs while figuring out what’s up with the 50 adolescent sentient dragons in the woods and ultimately getting the kids back home. Time drift, teleportation, a space-time bending cat, many non-cis-male characters, funny & goodhearted & fun.

    2. ‘Deadly Engagement’ by Lucinda Brant, a Georgian historical mystery with a whiff of F/M romance that was a bit too Old Skool for me. Well crafted but not much fun.

    3. ‘Corin & The Courtier’ by Eliot Grayson, M/M fantasy romance in which a young noble flees an unwanted marriage and takes refuge with a grouchy dragon knight who used to be engaged to the other guy’s sister. Tons of very graphic sex while getting attached. No surprises in this story but some nice character work.

    4. re-read ‘Deven & The Dragon’ by Eliot Grayson, M/M fantasy romance riff on Beauty & The Beast, in which there’s hardly any sex and a lot of nice character work. Set in the same world as C&TC, this one remains a 5 star for me.

    5. read through polish of my soon-to-be-submitted new novel.

    6. ‘Love, Comment, Subscribe’ by Cathy Yardley, F/M, in which a pair of professional influencers who’ve been frenemies for eons decide to work together and whoops, fall in love. 🙂 Started off a bit rocky but got increasingly good.

    7. ‘At Odds With the Gods’ by EJ Russell, M/M novella crossing her Mythmatched and Purgatory streams. So. Many. Characters. A longer book would have been less frenetic.

    8. ‘Level Up’ by Cathy Yardley, F/M set in Washington, tropey co-worker romance featuring computer game designers.

    8.5 ‘In the Pass of Ghosts’ by K.L. Noone, fantasy M/M novelette adventure featuring a mercenary and his half-fairy lover, solving a problem involving … a haunted mountain pass. Entertaining standalone.

    9. ‘Corsets and Codpieces: A History of Outrageous Fashion from Roman Times to the Modern Era’ by Karen Bowman. A frolicsome survey.

    10. ‘Where Foxes Say Goodnight’ by Sam Burns, rounding off the week with another winner. M/M contemporary featuring a haunted house in coastal North Carolina, purchased by an Oscar-winning screenwriter after his closeted actor boyfriend breaks up with him via lawyer and NDA. I liked everything about this book.

    1. Those are two of my favourite Eliot Grayson’s and I also re-read Corin & the Courtier this week so we must have been on the same channel.

  28. I also read 10 Things That Never Happened by Alexis Hall which I really enjoyed, not always laugh out loud funny but genuinely amusing and heartfelt.
    I read The Nobleman’s Guide to Seducing a Scoundrel by K. J. Charles which I liked but didn’t love.
    And Horse by Geraldine Brooks which was so good but hard. The story of a thoroughbred racehorse from just before the (American) civil war, its enslaved black trainer, and a current day scientist and an art historian who find its skeleton at the Smithsonian and a contemporary oil painting of the horse with its trainer. So good but also sad.

  29. I finally read Uprooted by Naomi Novik which had been recommended. Binge read and quite enjoyed it. About quarter of the way thru Encore in Death by JD Robb. Still enjoying the series overall and the character development she does so well. I also requested my library get the Liz Danger books and the first one came in yay. I already own it but wanted them to support the effort and ensure that my small town book lovers get a chance to enjoy it. So I’ll turn it back in soon for someone else to enjoy.

  30. I’m bingeing the Cormoran Strike books by Robert Galbraith and loving them. Almost finished book 6 – ‘The Ink Black Heart’ which I’ll probably give four stars instead of five like the first books in the series, mainly due to being continually hit over the head by all that chatroom stuff which I’m finding annoying. I already have book 7, ‘The Running Grave’ in my kindle and can’t wait to start reading it 🙂

  31. I had a not very good reading week with lots of DNF and dissatisfaction. I read Alexis Hall’s Mortal Follies, and it wasn’t bad, but definitely not one of his best. The central conceit of Puck/Robin Goodfellow as the narrator got very irritating after a while.

    So now I’m wallowing in Diana Wynne Jones’s The Dark Lord of Derkholm, and enjoying it enormously with all previous failures forgotten.

  32. I had a very working Wednesday. Started at 6:45 AM and finished at 8:15 PM. Working on a commercial. I did not read when I got home today I read. Thank you to who recommended the benevolence Society of ill mannered ladies. I’m enjoying it very much. I am also reading the advice columnist by Janie Emaus.


  33. Listening to Death before Dragons books by Lindsay Buroker. Good narrator. Lots to like, Strong heroine, good support characters, currently insulting dragons and fighting off assassins. The romance is progressing a little abruptly I think, don’t really think it flows with the rest of the plot but currently blazing my way through the books

  34. I just read Delilah Green Doesn’t Care by Ashley Green Blake and I really loved it. I really want to read the book that comes after this now too

  35. Just finished the Benevolent Society for Ill-Mannered Ladies and really enjoyed it but almost put it down several times due to the all too real “women in peril” scenarios – may be triggering for some readers. However, it was a nice twist on traditional regencies and I’ll look forward to more.

    I also finished Vera Wongs Unsolicited Advice to Murderers which was a delight! I really like the audio on this one. Much better reader than Dial A for Aunties, IMO.

    1. Yes, I’m going through I’ll-mannered Ladies very slowly, because I keep putting it down and backing away from the next realistic misogynistic horror. Worth it, though.

  36. I finished Shane and the Hitwoman. It was fun and good to revisit Two Rivers and the crew. I did miss Agnes and Jenny’s humor. Also, it was sad to learn that some of the HEA’s I expected from the ending of Agnes and the Hitman didn’t turn out so happy. Regardless, I expect to start on Phoebe and the Traitor next.

  37. Thank you to those who recommended the Game Changers series. Read the first five and loved all but book 4 which for some reason was only meh. That said, I’m now on book 6 and loving it, though I’m pretty worried about the book hangover which awaits after I get to the last page…

  38. I just today finished One in Vermillion. I had read most of it, then hit a slow spot (for me) and got distracted by books with due dates at the library, new releases, and so forth. When I got back to it, I quickly passed the slow spot and was caught up to the end. I enjoyed Vermillion and the whole trilogy. I won’t say more here since this thread from 9 November is getting long in the tooth. (I’m writing on the 11th.) Besides, it’s getting late. Anyhow, I hope to come back and discuss it later under a later heading. I had hoped that a reader with local knowledge might have chimed it, but when I looked at the spoiler topic that I had been avoiding, it appeared not (from a skim and some keyword searches), and it is now closed for comment. I used to have relatives in Cincinnati plus some other ones farther east on Route 52 than is fictional Burney. My knowledge of the area is far from complete and very outdated, but several points looked questionable and I wondered what someone with better local knowledge thought. I still wish any readers with appropriate local knowledge would comment. But I’ll add more on a later day.

    1. Forgot to add that, in contrast to the few points I questioned, most of the local color seemed spot on. Several of the characters’ surnames are even the same as those of relatives of mine. (But I won’t say which and they don’t resemble the characters!)

      And my “chimed it” above should be “chimed in.” Feh!

    2. If it helps, I lived in the town I based Burney on for ten years. That doesn’t mean I got it all right, but I really was there.

  39. I re-read ordered Murderbit series, because I think the new one is coming out on Tuesday.

    I wonder why Tuesday is the day when most books are published.

  40. Just finished listening to 10 things that never happened by Alexis Hall.
    Absolutely LOVED it.
    Am looking forward to getting more stories in this new series!!
    Wouldn’t have thought I’d love it as much judging from the sample/first chapter, but preordered the audio anyway on the strength of the narrator.
    The story didn’t disappoint, but wow, did Will Watt, the narrator, make it into a GEM!!
    My new fav narrator even surpassing James Joseph.

    And guess what, those two even have collaborated on a few books!!
    So now I’m off to listen to those audios.

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