176 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 6, 2023

  1. I love the cover!!!
    But with that vibe going on, I now expect it to be set in the 60s (a cooool time, would LOVE to read it).

    Didn’t manage to read a whole lot with thr move, but had to spend a couple of hours on trains, so reading it was.
    Finished “The lucky one” by S. Bowen, a novella about a Finnish rookie on the Bruisers team. I liked it: the rookie falling for the waitress in his fav Italian restaurant. My usual problem with novellas: I want more than the max 100 pages.

    Now reading the novella by Ari Baran that Tammy recommended last week and it’s soooooo good! Their debut Game Misconduct started out too gritty for my taste (only read the sample), but after Brandon and Isak’s story I’ll definitely give their longer books a try!

    1. Finished “Hearts upon the hill”, the Ari Baran novella. Clear 5 stars for me:what a gem!!
      Thank you, Tammy!!!!

      1. You’re welcome although I think it was Christina a few weeks back who alerted me to the existence of this novella so she deserves the credit.

        1. No you get the credit! I have been looking for it but can’t locate it. Where does one find it? I want to read it!

          1. I subscribed to Baran’s newsletter and got two novellas. The vampire one I’ve yet to read.

        2. It was Cristie who recommended the novella – it’s all coming back to me now. Thank you from all of us.

        1. I have subscribed, so shall wait and see if I get the extras. But I must say their website is one of the most minimal I have encountered. To the point where it feels offputting.

          1. If it’s a problem send me an email at tammy at hrtransformations dot com and I’ll forward you the short stories. PS the vampire one is not so great.

          2. True, but the link section is great: the background reading makes it understandable for me why Game Misconduct is that bleak (at least the first pages that I’ve read so far – I only read the sample).
            Hockey, the fighting and the concussions, the heavy drinking that seemed to be common (I cannot imagine the young ones like Bedard indulge in this honestly) – all this took a heavy toll.

            The novella I mentioned is totally different, much sweeter. Really lovely.

          3. Dodo, the second Ari Baran book is much less angsty although still not as sweet as the novella.

  2. Excellent cover!

    Completed my Rachel Reid glom with “The Long Game” and “Time to Shine”, both of which I really liked. Shane & Ilya’s story felt like a development, rather than breaking the HEA and then a re-do which so often authors do with a continuing couple. It felt like very natural progression and made me love Ilya already more than I already did. Thanks to Tammy, Dodo, Frozen Pond and everyone else for recommending these books!

    For contrast, I also read “The Terraformers” by AnnaLee Newitz which was excellent. A century spanning sci-fi novel about people developing another world from bare rock to habitable, the story was defiantly hopeful despite the horrible corporate overlords. Plus talking moose and flying trains! Also surprisingly compact given the themes.

    Then finished up with an f/f Christmas book, “Kiss Her Once for Me” by Alison Cochrun with a love trapezoid, fake dating and a very appealing family Christmas.

      1. Olivia Waite’s “The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics” would be my favorite f/f romance historical. “The Care & Feeding of Waspish Widows” is good too. I really like that her heroines have vocations and passions.

        “One Last Stop” by Casey McQuiston, a time loop romance set in New York was very good.

        “Far from Home” by Lorelie Brown is a sweet cross-cultural f/f romance.

        KJ Charles’ “Proper English” is a good f/f prequel to her m/m historical “Think of England”, which is one of my favorite romances of all time.

        Cat Sebastian has an f/f novella “A Little Light Mischief” in her queer historical Turner series, and I really liked that it was below stairs.

        Another historical novella “Mrs Martin’s Incomparable Adventure” by Courtney Milan. I know some people have gone off Milan but I still really enjoy her work and this is a 2019 story and I love that this is a truly older couple.

        And then there are a whole bunch of sci-fi fantasy books ranging from cosy (Legends & Latters by Travis Baldtree) to gritty (Micaiah Johnson’s excellent “The Space Between Worlds”) and in between (Zen Cho’s “Black, Water Sister), with strong romantic storylines.

        1. I agree about Think of England. I remember being left breathless by that story. Her best to date in my view.

  3. Currently reading Judi Dench’s book – Shakespeare, the Man Who Pays the Rent. I’m loving it. It’s a very conversational book where she talks about the Shakespearean roles she’s played, and a lot of the choices she made with the characters. There’s also a lot of chatty insight into her life around the performances.

    Also reading The Impossible Secret of Lillian Velvet by Jaclyn Moriarty. Fabulous kids series, and this is living up to the other books in the series.

    1. I love Jaclyn Moriarty’s books but haven’t read any of her newer ones. I must remedy this immediately! I have such a soft spot for Becoming Bindy McKenzie, I’ve read it multiple times and enjoyed it on every occasion.

  4. Free the Tipple
    “kickass cocktails inspired by iconic women”
    made me wish I knew some great people who might enjoy it. Not many cocktail drinkers in my circles.
    Maybe someone here will find it inspiring

    1. My son and daughter-in-law love a good cocktail. Son makes cocktails before dinner when we are together. Great gift. Cheers!

      1. Found one copy while out for lunch today. Who would like a Bette Davis or a Frida Kahlo , or a Beyoncé, how about a Zadie Smith or a Rihanna? A Jane Goodall? Some very delicious cocktails. Thanks.

        1. I’m more of a craft beer guy than a cocktail guy, and lately just more of a soft drink guy anyhow, but I’ll mention that another recent book with many cocktail recipes is Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Spare Man (murder mystery on a spaceliner with echoes of The Thin Man and a heroine with long-lasting physical and psychological injuries).

  5. I finished Scalzi’s “Starter Villain”. I did enjoy it, and it was a very quick read. I enjoyed the characters, especially the intelligent cats.

    Now I’m moving on to the last of the Janitors of the Apocalypse series. I’m hoping the concluding volume does justice to the previous excellent books.

    1. I enjoyed Starter Villain as well, but read some eh reviews beforehand so didn’t know what to expect. If I weren’t familiar with his work, I might have missed out.

      Also, Janitors books 2 and 3 are in my TBR pile which, unfortunately, continues to grow. I know, not only first world problems, but a good problem to have. 😉

  6. I am on a reread of Thea Harrison’s elder series. I started which the novellas, True Colours and Natural Evil which I like because they are about the little people. I went back to Pia’s book and I can’t help see Cuelebre’s tower as Trump tower which really doesn’t work for me… Still I like Pia, she is a kickass herbivore 🙂

  7. Right now, I’m reading Rebecca Yarros second book in her series, Iron Flame. It’s very good and I was glad I put it on hold at my library before it hit the best seller lists. [She had THREE on the top ten this past week!]

    A minor rant – it’s over 600 pages of very heavy stock and difficult to hold. In fact, I couldn’t read the latest Galbraith novel because at just under 1000 pages it was just too heavy. I know I have the option of Kindle, and I don’t know what the solution is, other than shorter books, but I would truly appreciate a solution of some kind. Rant over.

    1. Cutting the book in sections, except you can only do that if you own it 🙂
      One of those cookbook stands?
      An ereader is probably the way to go… it doesn’t have to be a kindle…

    2. I ranted about this recently: most books are over-inflated in size nowadays. If publishers cared about the reading experience – and if they employed decent typographers – both hardbacks and paperbacks could be made much more pleasant to read. With bestselling authors like Galbraith, there may also be a reluctance to go through a proper structural editing process, since they know her books will sell regardless. (NB I’ve not read any of them, so this may not apply to her; but it’s pretty common.)

      1. In the era of the Big Box stores, paperbacks started being displayed spine out rather than cover out, and I think there was an incentive to make them thicker than necessary in order to display art on the spine. Then came the era of the word processor, followed quickly by the computer with word processing software, both of which made it easy to write long novels, which came into fashion. Now on the contrary, novelettes and novellas are getting a lot of attention and often are published as standalones, especially in e-format, so I think the commercial rationale may have disappeared, but things have not fully adjusted.

    3. For too heavy books, I can really recommend this kind of book beanbag.
      I have one of these, a bookseat:

      It supports the book, whether you’re reading on the couch, in bed, or at a table. You adjust the angle by how you pose the beanbag. If I’m reading in my comfy chair I often put an extra pillow on my lap underneath, as I’m quite shortsighted, so I can read without my glasses – but that works fine too.

      The little strip of plexiglass holds the book open while you can still read the lowest lines on the page. With the elastic clip you adjust it for how thick your book is, so it’s never too loose or too tight.

    4. I was reading Cryptonomicon, lent by a fried, after hip surgery. It was heavy and hard to hold, so I self-indulgently bought on kindle. Liked it so much i reread it a couple years later after the second hip surgery. A great absorbing book to recover to. Thank goodness for my kindle!

    5. Currently reading a book that is way too big for what it is – thick paper, inch wide margins, large fonts. I think maybe its a marketing ploy so people think its value-for-money?

      It used to be the other extreme with tiny fonts, margins and really thin paper to squeeze 100,000 words plus into mass-market paperback size that you could fit in your pocket.

      I am tempted to get an old lectern so I can stand up reading which is apparently much healthier than my usual sitting curled on the couch. Sometimes I do walk up and down with my kindle to get up my steps, but I prefer reading physical books. Maybe I need a walking desk!? 🙂

    6. Years ago I bought a book stand for my mother-in-law, and I took it back when she died: it’s a very heavy-based adjustable-height black stand with an incredibly flexible holder, with both arms that hold your pages and straps that would allow you to, if necessary, position it above your head so you could read lying on your back. It’s currently holding my annotated one-volume Faerie Queene, so you know it can take weight. It allows me to read a big book and knit at the same time, but just swing it away when I want to get up. I think I got it from Amazon.

  8. Love the cover. What a statement! It’s a mood and a half.

    With all of my events over, I finally allowed myself to start Murderbot. I’m not very far yet and struggling a bit with all the companies that tried to own that planet, probably because I didn’t pay very much attention to them in the last book. I will get the audio book when I am done and give it another go.

    I also listened to Time to Shine by Rachel Reid. I finished it last night and it was very sweet. After that I started Scandal Wears Satin by Loretta Chase. Not very far there yet either, but I enjoy the fact that everyone thinks that the hero is stupid, including himself. I see interesting developments on the horizon.

    1. Have fun reading! I love the Loretta Chase books, such characters in each book and going from event to event while developing each character-whee! Taf

  9. I finished Josh Lanyon’s Adrien English series and am happy to report that yes, the other MC did redeem himself and the entire romantic arc was very satisfying. I’ve now read the first in the All’s Fair series and started the second – also good. I still think the stand-alone Come Unto the Yellow Sands has been my favourite of her books so far – a lovely and intelligent whodunit.

    The last in the Vixen War Bride series is out – yea! Am sinking into that now, plus listening to When Women Were Dragons – definitely not fantasy, more serious speculative fiction.

    1. I skip the middle Adrien English books on re-reading because that part of the arc is painful, but it does wrap up in a satisfying way. The Lanyon books I most enjoy going back to are the newer Pirate Cove books and Murder Takes the High Road. Oh, and Someone Killed His Editor. Lighter fare!

      1. That’s why Lanyon is so awesome: something for everyone. I love the angsty ones especially but love that she can go lighter too.

  10. Great cover! Can’t wait to read the book. I read Alice’s Hoffman’s The Invisible Hour. Like all her books, it’s beautifully written. Contains a plot twist in the middle of the book which significantly changes its narrative.

    I also read The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeleine Martin. The protagonist is a young woman living in Warsaw during the German occupation of Poland during WWII and plays a key role in protecting the national book collection from destruction by the Nazi regime. It’s also about friendship and standing up for your beliefs under unbearable circumstances.

    Final read of the past week was Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon. A good read (and much lighter than my other books). MCs are a ghostwriter working with an actor from a cancelled Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show on his memoir. Both character have mental health issues which the author treats sensitively.

  11. I read three great books this week, all from Argh Ink recommendations:

    Cup of Silver Linings by Karen Hawkins – second in the Dove Pond series and I love this small town. A book about secrets, mistakes, forgiveness and love.

    Crazy in Love by Lani Diane Rich – what a great story about another small town, a deceased Aunt, a hotel and love.

    Heavenly Pleasures by Kerry Greenwood – second in the Corinna Chapman books and just as great as the first. Loving the residents of Insula ( a building in Melbourne that should really exist, ‘ cos I might like to live in it) and the stories woven around them.

    Many thanks to whoever it was recommended these books, I’m sorry I didn’t log your name at the time but will try and do better.

    Less successful was Towards the Road Home by Corinne Demas. For me this was more women’s literature and not really where I wanted to go. Did not get the recommendation here. Thought I would enjoy a book about love in a retirement community, but not so much.

    Also Christmas Charms by Teri Wilson – so saccharine it hurt my teeth (okay that could have been the sinus infections, but still…). Don’t know what I was thinking when I ordered it (head-slap).

    Just about to start a Jenny Colgan so I know I will be in safe hands there.

    Also finished a fun scarf project for a friends Christmas gift, with enough yarn over to make another one (eyelash yarn, sequin yarn, kinda a fluffy yarn, a metallic yarn and a plain yarn. I knitted length-ways with tails left for a fringe, and randomly selected which yarn to use each row. It is a fun knit and looks really sparkly and fluffy, and the blue one I did last year got rave reviews). A bit technology challenged so no photos.

    1. I got several books into the Corinna Chapman but I don’t remember a thing about this one. Now the question is whether I should reread it or read the ones I never got to. I suppose I can safely dispose of my To Be Read queue before deciding.

    2. What is it about sparkly yarn? I ordered a lot of blue yarn with sparkles in it and I am not a sparkly person. Don’t know what I was thinking. But I also have some glass crystal beads, so I’m thinking of making a beaded scarf. Don’t know what I’m going to do with the other ten thousand yards of it. I have no self-control when it comes to yarn.

    3. If you know any belly dancers, the sequin yarn and the metallic yarn could be made into fringe for belts and tops. As long as the fringe moves it can be great for costumes…

      I originally took classes for a form of exercise that would be enjoyable (it was and is fun), and ended up getting hooked on it to the point of making costumes, teaching classes myself, and even performing (quite a stretch for a formerly shy bookworm). The trickiest bit was getting my ears trained for the rhythms (there are some non-standard time signatures), and learning to move while playing finger cymbals (multi-tasking is real).
      When I was in my forties, taking and teaching classes, performing a few times each week, and going to college on a campus that only had a few level spots was an excellent way to stay in shape! Taf

        1. I was lucky enough in the 1980’s and early 1990’s to perform to live music at a little local coffee shop called Claire de Lune. There was an extremely accomplished Oud player named John Bilezikjian who also sang very well (in nine different languages)! I think he died young (in his sixties?), but I bet his music is still available. It was such a privilege for the San Diego dancers to have him around. Taf

  12. I’m about halfway through Book 4 of a Mary Balogh series I’ve been putting off reading because I found the titles unsettling. The family examined in this series is the Huxtable family — 3 sisters and a brother, in that order, and the first four books are in the same order.

    Okay, the titles start with “First Comes Marriage” and “Then Comes Seduction” followed by “At Long Last Love” and “Seducing an Angel.” there’s apparently a fifth, looking at the illegitimate brother of the husband in the first book, but the family part of the series is one of the things that I found interesting here.

    For a Mary Balogh series, I found it oddly interesting that each book in its own way kind of examines the themes of honesty and sexuality, neither one of which was part of the social norms of the Regency period that so many romance authors write about.

    And the central Huxtable family is eminently likable, and united in their fondness for one another and their history together as a rural village pastor’s children. A titled aristocrat shows up in their town one day, and the next day they learn that in fact their young brother is the sole heir to a title and the wealth & position it brings, which is what this frightening gentleman is doing in their village. So as a result, they are all bound for the capital city they’ve never been to, and all the challenges of adapting to it in a way that won’t lose them their values or their regard for one another.

    I’ve been drawn into the series by that sense of family and the way it transforms the lives of the people they meet and connect with in that big city. I’m glad I finally gave in to the lure of an untouched Balogh series and started to read it.

  13. I finished Bookstores & Bonedust and loved, loved, loved it. I was worried it wouldn’t be as good as the first book, but it was.

    Now I’m reading Alexis Hall’s 10 Things That Never Happened, and really enjoying it.

    I hate to say it, but I don’t really love that cover. *ducks* I don’t think it fits with the others you’ve done. As someone said, it has a very old-fashioned look to it. Like, 50’s, even. *ducks and runs away*

    1. I know, that’s one of the things I like about it. It’s very Saul Bass.

      These are weird books, so we didn’t want them to look like the Liz/Vince books.They had to telegraph the violence but still look tongue-in-cheek. Bob keeps saying we have to go over the top, and I keep saying we have to not hit the thriller look too hard (these aren’t thrillers, they’re black comedies), and I love Saul Bass, so . . .

      I do wish we were setting them earlier just because I think it would be fun, but Bob likes the whole “it’s our world, there is no time period” and that has its attractions, too.

      You never have to duck when disagreeing with me, Blake. I do not throw things. This is a violence free blog. Aside from Bob.

    2. I’m afraid the cover would put me off if I was browsing and didn’t know Jenny’s books. It suggests gritty and violent, with maybe a Bond-style romance, which isn’t my bag. Of course, I’m going to buy it anyway; and part of my reaction could be down to not being American, since covers rarely work well for both markets.

      1. Actually, this is grittier and more violent, one of the reasons we wanted to definitely not remind people of the Liz/Vince books. It’s much more black comedy romance mystery . . . . The second book in the series has a serial killer and Bob is going for all these gruesome deaths, and I keep saying, Romantic Comedy Mystery . . . I think the covers are accurate as far as mood, but what do I know? (Everything, Bob, I know EVERYTHING.)

  14. I love that cover! The bright red is a real eye-catcher. Must be a tribute to R.E.D.? Especially with a red rose, instead of red blood, paired with the gun. Nobody bleeds of their injuries in those movies, which makes them palatable to me.

    I reread Jenny’s Hot Toy and enjoyed it just as much as the first time. So much snark! Plus, it’s soulful in a way that doesn’t drag it down.

    I’m also rereading A Promising Man (And About Time, Too) by Elizabeth Young. I enjoy the Britishisms for things. There are so many plots and twists in this book! Widdles, the cat, is a howl! The crazy aunt going walkabout just before Christmas dinner is actually charming. The teen girls keep it interesting. The villainous “friend” ups the suspense. The Karma-filled HEA just adds to the fun. I could go on.

    I also read the fine print on my driver’s license renewal reminder. I already have a Real ID, but according to the reminder, I must not have one, and I must desperately want one, which would require taking in all the legal stuff I gathered the first time to get one. I looked at the site online, and it said it was renewable. Whew!

    1. When my time came to get Real ID, I collected all that stuff, and then it turned out the examiner already had it all online. I’m not sure that she actually needed any of the paper I was required to bring. Very odd, but at least it went fast.

      1. I legally changed my name in the 80’s, and I’ve been married and divorced twice. I had to prove all that when I went to apply for pre-check for flights. Some of it was required for the Real ID, too.

    2. You will not be surprised to learn that Bob coached me on “Hot Toy.” He didn’t write any of it, but the Chinese spies and the guns? Bob’s ideas.

  15. I reread the 2nd book in Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick series – Rock Chick Redemption. I love that series along with several other of KA’s series. Haven’t read much of her new stuff.

    I watched something I really enjoyed. It’s weirdly specific, though. It’s 147 short videos that are all the scenes with Sarah and Hank from Parenthood. It goes through their relationship from meeting to marrying and finale of the show. It’s exactly what I wanted.


    It somehow informs the romcom I’m writing even though MC or love interest are nothing like either of them.

    1. This compilation made my day. Somehow, I never watched Parenthood and so cannot believe I missed out on the sharp writing, acting etc. Thank you!

  16. I’m slowly reading Sorcery and Cecelia after all the stellar recommendations from here, and thanks to the mega-sale on Audible last week. I really enjoy it, just took a little getting used to to read a book in letter-form. Also taking it slow because chaos-brain.
    Forced my way through the October- and November-lists of new books from the Swedish talking-book library, but I feel more and more impatient every month. It’s 90 % crime and 5 procent non-fiction, usually about war history, and the rest is just… I don’t know. And it seems like all the good narrators have taken their leave as well. Very frustrating and discouraging. Sigh.

    1. Have you told them about your frustration? I know a lot of women enjoy crime fiction, but it does strike me as a male-oriented selection.

      1. I haven’t, but I suspect they would motivate it with that it’s the most popular genre. I don’t mind a good mystery or even a good crime-novel or thriller, but the amounts they produce is overwhelming, especially considering all other genres that don’t get nearly as much attention.
        I guess I should send them an email about it.
        Narrators, however, is such a matter of preference that that’s a pointless subject to begin with. I suppose the amount of people preferring monotone reading is the majority right now, and that’s why most books are recorded that way.

        1. Sorry for a belated comment. I did not have time for research earlier. I take it that as in the US in Sweden, “talking books,” refers specifically to books for people with vision difficulty, not to audiobooks in general. Your description seems contrary to a description of the program at the link below, “as described at MTM’s referral comments on the report Boken i Tiden (The Book Today) (SOU 1997:141) include: “What is unique about the Swedish talking book model is the range of production. No request is too odd. Thanks to the ability to distribute free of charge, the loan can often be sent the same day.”


          But if they’re serious, perhaps if you put in some specific requests you would see results. I don’t want to go to moderation jail by including a second link, but when I googled “Swedish talking books,” one result was a reddit link where a Canadian user told another Canadian that he or she had had success in downloading books in Swedish from a Finnish library. The user had to use Translate to navigate in Finnish to the right page, but the reddit article includes a link.

          1. The Swedish Braille & Talking Book-library is generally very accommodating. You can put in a request for a book to be produced, and they’ll see in how high demand that book is and, hopefully, produce it. I think last I did, they produced 3 of the 6 books I requested.
            So to connect it with my previous post: Either crime is in very high demand generally speaking, or they just see that it’s a popular genre and that’s why most new books are from that genre. Again, I don’t really have anything against crime fiction, I just wish there was a bit more diversity. I bet the horror-lovers are even more frustrated than I, for that is a genre that doesn’t get much representation, as far as I have seen.

            In contrast, the Dutch talking-book library is funded by donations and also depends a lot on volunteers to narrate their books and do some of the work as far as I’ve understood, so their production scale is much, much smaller than the Swedish one. I don’t think they’re able to produce the 10th of the amount of books the Swedish can do every year. Yes, with that comparison, we’re awfully spoiled in Sweden.

            I think my ideal dream-library situation would be that there’d be an international library hub where you could borrow books from other countries’ libraries as well. Bookshare, which is an e-book library for people with print-disabilities (blindness, dyslexia etc) does this, albeit not flawlessly for which books you can access are still dependant on which country you’re from, but it’s a start.

            Very sweet of you to look things up! Appreciate it! <3

  17. I like the cover. I already know that Rocky Start is the name of a (fairly) isolated town where former cons (maybe not the right word) have gathered, so the color red, the gun, and the rose fit in and suggest more. Also, my husband tells me that there’s a story by Dashiell Hammett called “Nightmare Town” which has a similar setting. So the 1930s noir aspect of the cover could compliment that history. (If Jenny and Bob know the Hammett story; actually, I’m sure they do.)

    1. My Hammett reading is The Thin Man and Red Wind and The Maltese Falcon. Will have to look that one up. Thank your husband for me, please.

    2. I remember reading a book by, I think, Jim Thompson, about a town billed as a paradise for criminals on the lam. But once they arrive, they find themselves trapped and killing one another for scarce resources. Very dark.

      1. The Getaway, I looked it up because of the movies, it was a remake. There were 2 films one had Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger & one with Steve McQueen

  18. I’m just starting book 2 of the Sacred Hunt Duology by Michelle West, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s high fantasy with a lot of effort put into the worldbuilding and a medium-large cast of characters, so if you enjoy that sort of thing I’d definitely recommend it.

  19. I’m in the middle of multiple books and even finished one or two, but they don’t seem recommendable. Instead, I’ll recommend the feature animation, The Secret of Kells (2009), a fictional and somewhat fantasy version of the Book of Kells’s illumination and survival, nominated for an Oscar. I very belatedly saw this thanks to a recommendation. The art is striking and I also got a lot out of the commentary track on the DVD. I still find it more than slightly odd that it can be set mostly in an Irish monastery, and deal with a book collecting the four Gospels plus supplementary material, without once mentioning Christianity. There are references to prayer and asking for a miracle, without specifying praying to whom or asking from whom. It was partly funded by France, and maybe this is what you have to do, considering their severe secularism laws. That or the makers had hopes of getting the film to make lots of money in China.

    1. I have not written anything so far, and since 70 will be my next birthday, the odds are not looking good. Has it ever helped to jump start things with a short story? Does seeing how many fans you have on this site and other sites help you? Taf

  20. Paladin’s Faith by T. Kingfisher: went places I didn’t expect (as usual), really enjoyed it (also as usual!) I absolutely love her worldbuilding and it was great to finally meet some of the other paladins. (And if anyone can tell me why Lady Silver seems familiar, I’d be grateful – I can’t remember!)

    Grave Expectations by Alice Bell: also loved, thanks to all who mentioned this!

    Tried a different magic small town read, but it wasn’t what I wanted right now, so I’m rereading the Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper again instead. Such a great vibe.

      1. Can’t be because I haven’t read that one and Lady Silver seemed familiar to me, too.

        Paladin’s Faith was the only thing I finished this week. I DNFd two that I started out liking but didn’t want to trudge through to the end. I’m in the middle of rereading several favorites.

  21. I thought I should take a break from MM hockey, but instead I decided to check out Sarina Bowen’s back catalogue in the genre.
    First up, Understatement of the Year, college Hockey MM romance (Ivy league series no. 3). I enjoyed it, interesting to read about american college hockey, MCs and their issues were believable, some angst but not too much.
    Then having definitely decided to give up on contemporary MF instead I read the next in the Ivy League series The Shameless Hour. I also enjoyed this (no hockey though). Interesting serious issue for a MF romance (Slut Shaming) and nice characters. Maybe cos they were students it didn’t have the usual boring tropes and good to see proper issue consdiered in MF. If there are more of this kind/authors addressing different issues in MF let me know!
    Back to Sarina Bowen and Goodbye Paradise (MM romance). The premise (two boys escape a cult) didn’t appeal to me but once I started, I was hooked. Nice characters, different situation. Enjoyed it a lot.
    Then for a change, after a rec here last week (sorry can’t remember who suggested it, but thanks!) I read Script by R J Scott & V L Locey (MM hockey adjacent) which was very funny. Action hero actor and Hockey player. Very light, but it had me giggling on the train. As usual, once you get to the more conventional romance bit the humour was less, but certainly and entertaining read.
    And now I am back to Sarina Bowen MM, Hello Forever, which is nice so far, if not madly original.

    Finally, on audio, nearly finished Check & Mate, Ali Hazelwood. Still enjoying it. Like all the chess references even if most are over my head.

    1. Glad you enjoyed Script. Mostly those two write dead-on hockey romance, not as light but not angsty.

    2. So glad you liked the Bowen books so far. I like her Ivy League series a lot, UotY included 🙂
      I also read Script this past weekend. It was a fun read! Strangely enough I kept picturing a nerdy slim small guy when reading Finn’s voice instead of a tall, buff action hero guy. It was easy picturing Cam, the hockey player – loved both.
      Today, Brandon and Isak pushed them from my memory 😉

  22. Finally reading something good on Kindle Unlimited: The Fantastic Fluke by Sam Burns, which was recommended here. I have a nasty feeling whoever recommended it said the series went downhill though, which would be a shame.

        1. Replying to Lian and JaneB – I impulsively downloaded Fluke 3 and read it yesterday. Verdict: If you liked Fluke 1 but haven’t yet read Fluke 2, I think you could skip directly to Fluke 3.

          All the bad things that happened in 2 are referenced, but 3 (while it has a dramatic, perilous climax) is a much less stressful book than 2. It carries forward all the good things about 1: found family, discovered family, friends & allies, a fairly contained central mystery / problem which is almost entirely solved, and it even has a nice romantic scene between the romance MCs. 🙂

    1. I mentioned that Fluke Book 2 is very Mayhem, much Angst, so while it still has all the fun elements of Book 1, you’d want to approach it when in the mood for angsty mayhem. 🙂 Book 3 is on my reading list for January.

  23. I read The Benevolent Society of Ill-Mannered Ladies by Alison Goodman which I enjoyed very much. Recommended here, thank you. I particularly liked the dedication; “..to all the women out there who no longer have the patience or desire to put up with any nonsense.” Well said.

    The novel is in three parts or cases of Lady Augustus and her sister, Lady Julia, (both unmarried, on the shelf with the requisite pissy brother), helping other women. Meet a Marquess who was transported, back in England and a wanted man on their first case. They promised to help a friend’s sister escape a very bad marriage, thus the adventures begin. Definitely a reread. Well developed characters with several story threads, one well researched breast cancer operation. Third case involves an asylum for women. Well written. Hoping there is another book to follow up.

    Reading The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins. Purchased The Keeper of Hidden Books by Madeline Martin.

  24. I’m reading Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson, a YA contemporary set at a summer camp for geniuses. So far, so enjoyable.

    Before that, I read Mr Malcolm’s List by Suzanne Allain, but I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy it. There was no spark, I disliked both the main characters, and although I can’t think of any specific examples there were definitely anachronisms in the characters’ speech which pulled me out of the story at the time. Has anyone watched the film adaptation and, if so, is it any better?

    I also finished The Takedown by Carlie Walker and that was lots of fun. I do like a funny book that has spies in it.

    1. I thought the fun was just as flat as the book Mr. Malcolm’s List. I wanted to like both more than I did.

  25. I’m listening to a cozy series, The Christmas Tree Farm mysteries. There’s a lot of good stuff in the books–good writing, good characterization. I like the town setting more than I thought I would, given I have an aversion to Christmas-based stories. I keep almost quitting, though, because the FMC won’t stop sleuthing even though she’s almost been killed three times now and her family and fiancé, the sheriff, are BEGGING her to stop. I mean, that’s par for the course in cozies, but somehow really unpalatable when the characters and relationships are well-developed. I keep telling myself she must be an absolute delight to her loved ones and great in bed during the 11 months of the year when she’s not being a selfish lunatic. Cozies require such a delicate balancing act.

  26. I am actually doing this on a Thursday! And I read new books lately!

    I actually liked “The Spare” which some people here found disappointing. Unrealistic, but that was what I was reading it for.

    I finally got around to “10 things that never happened” because dear sister told me it got better. Once I got over my intense dislike of the amnesia premise, I liked it quite a bit. Some really funny lines.

    Reading a Kristen Higgins “A Little Ray of Sunshine” which is mildly amusing. A couple of hers I LOVED and a couple I DNFed, so I always approach with caution. Dear sister purchased, which took alot of the question about trying it out of the equation.

    Waiting for

    1. Yes! Finished “10 things” this week myself. Started slowly and I really resist some of the obtuse characters, but as always so far in my experience of Alexis Hall, he came through again and I LOVED it by the end.

      (It’s me, Dear sister)

  27. The cover is very retro with a definite noir crime fiction feel to it. I’d check it out if I were browsing in a bookstore but of course I’d buy it automatically once I saw the authors’ names!

    This week I read the 3rd in the Nicky James Valor and Doyle series (Tammy, thank you again for the recommendation — am loving these guys.)

    I then read “My Husband Next Door” by Catherine Alliott. I love her books and don’t know how this one slipped my notice. Her books are usually about slightly older (late 30s?early 40s?) married or divorced women with kids in the country in England. This one is about a woman who paints and is struggling to raise hostile teenagers and keep things afloat financially and whose ex, a once-famous painter, is living in a cottage on the property. I loved this book and will surely read it again. I think it is my favorite of hers.
    My short reread for the week was Josh Lanyon’s Cards on the Table — MCs are a writer/journalist and an FBI agent. Short and tightly written with all the feels.

    Finally I read A Bitter Legacy by Dal Maclean. British M/M. I really enjoyed it and will definitely read more by this author. The MC is a Detective Sargeant with Metropolitan Police and it is definitely a story that pulled on the heartstrings. On the angsty level I would say it’s a 6 at least. There are more in the series and I will definitely try them.

  28. Love the cover. It has a pulp fiction vibe to it with all the red and black. Would definitely grab attention.

    I am working on Paladins Faith, the new T Kingfisher book.

  29. Lots of reading this week.
    Grace Burrowes’s How to Catch a Duke was a mediocre historical romance, very mediocre. I finished it, but it was a struggle.
    Sharon Lee & Steve Miller’s Plan B was too dark for me: too much fighting, too much danger, too much pain. I got no joy from reading this book.
    The same authors’ I Dare was the next book in the series after Plan B. It was a solid sci-fi opera. I liked it … somewhat. I haven’t read all the books in this series, but of the ones I have read, this was one of the best.
    Now, I’m reading Paladin’s Faith by T. Kingfisher and unashamedly enjoying it. The author’s irreverence in the face of serious issues is so refreshing, especially after the Liaden novels. Those take themselves too seriously. I want to re-read the whole Paladin series.
    I also have a question about it. The female protagonist of Paladin’s Faith is Marguerite, the spy. And it is mentioned a couple times that she played a key role in saving all the paladins of the Saint of Steel, that they owe her their lives. But I don’t remember how she did it. And when? Does anyone remembers in which book it happened?

    1. Re: Marguerite: End of Paladin’s Grace, the first book, ch 44 — the very unexpected character was sent by Marguerite, thus avoiding the impending conflict. (Trying not to spoil!)

    2. In the liaden universe, my favourite book is Scout’s progress. I also really like Conflict of honors. In both the heroines are great, even they do go through the grinder.
      Have you read those?

      1. For me, too, in the Liaden universe the more romantic comedy of manners books work best.
        I also really like the Trading trilogy with Jethri Gobelin as the main character, set a few centuries earlier than what you’re reading now.
        The secret agent trilogy that starts with Plan B is my least favourite.

        Then you get the coming of age duology of Fledgling & Saltation, another very different flavor; and after that the storylines start weaving in and out again and thereby get more complex, but less dark. Neogenesis explores a single side trail in the later time period, and can give you a taste to try out if you’ld like those later books.

        1. I totally agree. I nearly mentionned Jethri’s trilogy and Theo’sbecause they are great too.
          Even in the more tedious books there’s good stuff. That’s what keeps me reading those books.

  30. I need to reread also. I don’t think she was a major character until the third book but she might still have played a part.

    1. Is this about Marguerite? She played a major role in book 1 and wasn’t in 2 or 3 at all (using the search function) so maybe you read them out of order?

      1. I think it’s just been a while and I am remembering them out of order. Stephan knitting socks looms large in my memory so it feels more recent. But now that I’m thinking about it, yes I remember now that the one with the nuns and the one with the doctor came after, so you are right.

  31. Omg Arghers, I read Prophet Song (this year’s recently announced Man Booker winner). This is not a good book recommendation, it’s a therapy post.

    It was intense and compelling and everyone who described it as ‘claustrophobic’ is bang on, and it rolls on, and part way through I was on a news site that had a picture of the Christmas lights in Galway and I was all WTH? With everything that’s going on there? And it took a minute to remember that the book isn’t real life, but only for many people in the world and history, it is true, has been true, it could be true. And i’d much rather not immerse myself in that thanks.

    It is a contemporary dystopic novel set in Ireland, where the political regime goes (believably) bananas and the country descends into civil war, told from the perspective of a mother of 4 (a baby and three teenagers) whose husband is arrested and detained near the beginning of the book for being a trade unionist supporting a teachers’ fair pay protest march. Imagine everything that could go badly here. I do not recommend it (unless feeling terrible for days is your idea of a good time).

    I am now on a steady diet of comfort reads, it might take a while.

    1. I hadn’t heard of it and just now looked up author Paul Lynch. At least he’s Irish. One of my pet peeves is writers who set antiutopias in somebody else’s country and generally get things wrong. As an American, I think first of Margaret Atwood and Charles Stross. Or John Brunner farther back in time. If you must write dystopias, set them in your own confounded country! (I recently read an antiutopia by an American set in Thailand. Americans aren’t always on the receiving end here.)

      1. I think that’s one of the things that makes it so disturbing. We look at e.g. Syria or Gaza and it’s terrible, really terrible, but it’s not _here_. And we maybe kind of think ‘that c/wouldn’t happen here’, but of course Syrians probably thought that too. It’s very immediate when it’s your backyard*. We see snippets of that in the book, the world reacting in international news and trade sanctions…

        * The author’s and Booker’s audiences backyard, not mine. I’m in New Zealand (although I hold Irish citizenship too) but it could be here.

      2. It’s not just dystopias. When a writer sets their book in a country they don’t know, they almost always get it wrong. Case in point: American writers writing about Russia (historical or contemporary). In my experience, such books are always full of bloopers that make we wince. (I lived in Russia, although I thank all the gods daily I don’t live there anymore.)

        1. Well, I think I have already said this here many times… don’t get me started on French characters and/or settings…
          And British ones too, since I have lived in the UK for 30 years now…
          I think that’s a reason why I like fantasy worlds that are wholly original.

      3. Very annoying! Although sometimes I find when I have that instinctive reaction, of that’s wrong, that’s not my country, that when I do some research that actually that has happened in another bit of the country / history / community that I don’t know about. Most countries are big and diverse, and sometimes outsiders see us more accurately than we see ourselves.


    SYSTEM COLLAPSE (The Murderbot Diaries Book 7) by Wells, Martha. I finished listening in Audible. It then went to my re-read list. As someone else observed, it might go best with a NETWORK EFFECT reread as well.

    VARIATION ON A THEME, BOOK 5 by Grey Wolf. As I said last week, this serially published story will be in every one of my GBT posts for the next year. Up to Chapter 5.

    RONIN GAMES by Marion G. Harmon. This is one of my top ten Superhero stories. Quoting last week, “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.” George wrote most of the entries in my top ten.

    WEARING THE CAPE: TEAM-UPS AND CROSSOVERS also by Marion G. Harmon, followed in the re-read queue. “Book 6.” Hope has to do the “Twelve Days of Christmas” thing, wandering through a dozen extra-realities with Santa’s snow globe. Only half of her stops get stories of their own.

    I still have THE DARK ONES open. Paused.

    Michael Dalton’s SHIFTER GIRLS: URBAN FANTASY HAREM series. So far I’ve read book 1 and part of book 2. Turns out I still idolize MichaelD38@aol.com.

    I’m still binging on Star Trek: Lower Decks (into season 4) and Daria (Paramount Network).

    In the wee hours Tuesday, I watched INTO THE WOODS, so very good (Netflix). I suspect a rewatch is inevitable. Also a reread of Rachel Vincent’s NO ONE IS ALONE.

    I’m rewatching THE ORVILLE, season 1 (Hulu). With commercials. I only ever watched season 1 back when. I plan to watch it all.

    With all that video, I assume I needn’t mention SUPERGIRL, FLASH, ARROW, GILMORE GIRLS, JUSTICE LEAGUE, and so on, on Netflix. Heck, I watched SHAZAM! there and rewatched WONDER WOMAN 1984.

    1. My recent video binge was catching a few James Bond movies I missed earlier. (I think I saw a few movies when they came out in a drive-in like “From Russia With Love”.)
      I wanted to see what it was like when Timothy Dalton played Bond-Wow! The two movies were quite good, his acting was admirable, and my formerly MIA libido woke up abruptly. (I am not seventy yet, and have not dated for more than a decade.)

      I thought Sean Connery was great in the role, Daniel Craig did very well also, I didn’t see Roger Moore’s work, and only saw Pierce Brosnan in one. There is something about Brosnan that gives me the creeps, not sure what it is, but I even found him repulsive in Momma Mia. Anyone have any ideas what makes a star seem repulsive to a few folks? Taf

      1. My least favourite Bond was George Lazenby, avoid his one film. Roger Moore is more jokey. Favourite is Sean Connery of course. Timothy Dalton grew on me, when I was young he was too serious. As an adult, I saw he was a very competent Bond and was sorry he only did a couple of films

        1. If you want to see where Mike Myers got his Austin Powers inspiration, watch the Casino Royale (1967) by David Niven a somewhat silly parody with an all star cast.

        2. Oh but On His Majesty’s Secret Service is (technically) a Christmas film and has the marvelous Diana Rigg. Although I agree Lazenby is not the best.

      2. Sean Connery is forever ruined for me because of his stance that it is okay to slap a woman: “Describing an “openhanded slap” as “justified,” Connery also said it could be used “if all other alternatives fail and there has been plenty of warning,” adding, “If a woman is a bitch, or hysterical, or bloody-minded continually, then I’d do it.”

        He said it on several occasions years apart on several different venues. An article about them is here: https://people.com/movies/sean-connerys-romantic-past-his-troubled-first-marriage-and-comments-on-domestic-violence/

    2. I really liked The Orville. At some point it loses its spoof quality and becomes the real thing. It has an excellent combination of big stories with lots of drama and little people-focused tales of life on a ship.

  33. Great news, a new Penric (no 12!) is in the works with the intriguing title Demon daughter. It’s a bit like Jenny and Bob, there’s a cover but publication is not quite on the horizon yet…

    1. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/24302731-new-penric-impending—demon-daughter

      The vendor-page copy dropped into my head this morning, from wherever these things come. First (and possibly final) draft goes thus:

      “A six-year-old shiplost girl draws the kin Jurald family of Vilnoc into complex dilemmas, and sorcerer Learned Penric and his Temple demon Desdemona into conflict — with each other. It will take all of Penric’s wits, his wife Nikys’s wisdom, and the hand of the fifth god’s strangest saint to untangle the threads of their future.”

      Always a hard balance to find between too many spoilers, and so vague no one can decide whether to buy a story or not…

      (Not a problem for this crowd, I suppose, but there’s always the hope of new readers.)

      Ta, L.

      Looking forward to it!

        1. Actually, it was in the comments which I didn’t read… I should know from this blog that you should always read the comments 🙂

          1. Lois also participates in the “Miles to Go” conference of Baen’s Bar, where she announces things like this. I’m hoping that with this latest Penric & Desdemona, Baen will contract to put out a fourth trilogy.

  34. After Janitors of the Apocalypse, I need something different. Off to the TBR pile. Lots of Argh recommendations so I can’t go wrong.

  35. My good books: I also devoured the new Saint of Steel, Paladin’s Faith, by T Kingfisher/Ursula Vernon. No spoilers but WOW, this series keeps getting better and the last two endings have had some big twists. Moar please.

    Also Mimi Matthews’ Belle of Belgrave Square, a bookbub deal this week featuring a hero who needs to marry money and an heiress who wants his library, it’s adorable.

  36. I read Laurie Frankel’s This Is How It Always Is, the story of a family who have a transgender daughter after four sons, and how they deal with it. The family is delightful and it was a good read.

    I’m rereading The Far Pavilions, which is such a hefty book that I feel the need to intersperse it with shorter things. I tried Space Carrier Avalon, which Patrick recommended, but it was a bit too techy for me. So now I’m rereading Paladin’s Hope in preparation for Paladin’s Faith. I don’t like T Kingfisher’s horror novels at all, but her non-horror books are wonderful.

    1. I loved This is How it Always Is. Totally lovely book. And The Far Pavilions! Wow that takes me back. Did you ever see the mini series with an utterly miscast Amy Irving and a delicious Ben Cross?

      1. I agree, Tammy, a lovely book. And no, I haven’t seen the miniseries. A friend was rereading it recently and mentioned it, so I thought I’d do the same.

      2. Oh I remember both! The book was fabulous iirc (God, that’s decades ago, I’d been a teen back then).

      3. I loved the far pavillions back in the day but the MM Kaye’s books I have reread more recently are her mysteries, Death in… add various exotic places where she lived.
        Her heroes are always quite delicious.

  37. Thumbs up for the cover. 🙂

    Fair warning, most of my list is Christmas romances, so if you’re already sick of those, scroll away!

    1. ‘Last Night With the Earl’ by Kelly Bowen, F/M Regency that could have been a 5-star but right when the MCs should’ve been settling in to Do Great Things and finish fixing their shit, we got an ‘all this happened, HEA, ta-daahh’ epilogue and then the last 20% of book length was someone else’s novella that IDGAF about. Grrr.

    2-3. Four shorts, all Xmas. ‘The Christmas Tart’ by Mary Jo Putney, F/M Regency, slight & predictable but harmless & pleasant, plus a rescued cat. ‘Regifted’ by Kim Fielding, M/M fantasy in which a dryad living in Murphys, California (up in the Sierra foothills, one of my favorite places) meets a farm worker, they bond over a derelict motorcycle, have meals together, tell secrets, fall in love. My Fielding fangirling may never end. ‘Ink & Paper’ by Megan Derr, M/M alt-historical with secret identities, lost heir, not a whole lot to show why these two fall in love. ‘Dreidels & Do-Overs’ by Kim Fielding, which is full of Big Feels. Former high school classmates meet by chance; they weren’t friends before, but life changes = new ways of looking at each other. A whole lot of baggage is unpacked and there’s a lovely Hanukkah dinner with one character’s parents.

    4. ‘A Very Genre Christmas’ by Kim Fielding, M/M fantasy romance in which a 1954 ex-Army P.I. in Portland, tasked with helping random literary characters get back to their own realities, can’t seem to return an elf to the North Pole, and before long he doesn’t want to. This sounds ridiculous but it’s got that hard-boiled flavor to it and the world of the story is grittily realistic. A sweet and clever novella in which the falling in love is totally believable.

    5. ‘The Christmas Veto’ by Keira Andrews. M/M, rich heir to a luxury hotel empire who would rather be developing affordable housing makes a fake-boyfriends deal with his brother’s best friend in an attempt to get work and image fixated grandma off his back. Not deep but enjoyable.

    6. 1st, a re-read of ‘The Most Wonderful Time of the Year’ by Joanna Chambers, an England-set short story featuring a young coder and a slightly older co-worker addressing months of misunderstanding each other over the course of the last workday before holidays. Then, a review read, ‘The Demon and the Librarian’ by Chloe Archer, which I unexpectedly liked quite a lot. Billed as ‘cozy M/M monster romance’ and ‘cozy’ here means ‘small town that’s a safe place for monsters, sweet & comforting, but plenty of sex.’

    7. ‘The Solstice Cabin’ by Arden Powell. Liked this novella a lot, too. Set in early 20th-century Canada with magic, all about longtime friends who didn’t think they could be lovers so never tried, but when one guy vanishes the other treks into the northern wilderness to find him.

    8. Two novellas from Con Riley. First a re-read of ‘His Last Christmas in London,’ an age-gap romance; then its new follow-up ‘We Only Kiss at Christmas’ featuring student roommates. The obstacles feel big because of backstory and being young, but once people start opening up, everything’s surmountable.

    9. ‘Catered All the Way’ by Annabeth Albert, feat. a gaming streamer and a Navy chief who’s the first guy’s big brother’s best friend. Most of the action takes place over the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the progress of the bi-awakening romance holds no surprises, but – refreshingly and charmingly – when the MCs are parted by deployment, they independently decide they want to make it work *and* take steps accordingly, so that when Navy guy returns to the US, the other guy is waiting for him with a plan.

    10. ‘Shelter in Garnet Run’ by Roan Parrish, M/NB in which a cat shelter manager meets a taxidermist but they’re perfect for each other.

    11. ‘Crazy Together’ by Marie Sexton, M/M. A whirlwind getaway romance feat. a recently widowed (but not super grieved because reasons) bar owner and a closeted retired baseball pro who meet at the airport. I liked this a lot.

    12. ‘A Gift-Wrapped Holiday’ by Amy Aislin. M/M, also enjoyable, not as likely to be re-read; it’s part of a series and there are a few too many call-outs to other books’ characters, plus a few dangling threads. Harmless entertainment.

    This looks like a lot more reading than it actually is. Several of these books had the ‘average reading time 3 hours and change’ note which for me is more like 2 hours and change. The recs of the week are the Roan Parrish and any of the Fielding.

    1. Chacha1 – I meant to mention in my post that I specifically thought you would like Josh Lanyon’s Come Unto the Yellow Sands.

      1. I’ve been reading all the Peter Shandy mysteries by Charlotte MacLeod in order. She has a lovely turn of phrase sprinkled here and there that makes reading special. My favorite from the 2nd book, The Luck Runs Out: “Stott came up the front steps like a slow roll of thunder” and “Iduna in a confection of pink and yellow ruffles…it was like playing host to the aurora borealis.”

      2. The literature aspect appeals, the mystery / thriller aspect not so much – one day I’ll probably tilt more toward mystery again!

        I had $4 in digital credits and decided to use them on getting Fluke 3 for cheap because I’m curious what direction the series will go. 🙂

    2. Chachal, it’s always dangerous to read your book lists… now I have at least half a dozen new samples to read!
      Christmas novellas might just be the way to get into a xmas mood while unpacking boxes and trying to get rid of soooo much stuff. Not finished with clearing out the former flat yet. ARGH!!
      E-books are sooo much lighter than the hundreds of books that were cursed by our movers, I’m pretty sure.

  38. Salt and Broom, a variation on Jane Eyre. Very well done. Not finished reading it yet.

  39. I read “The Burnout” by Sophie Kinsella which had some hilarious scenes, and several eye-rolling misunderstood conversations where a LOT of heartburn could have been avoided with some open communication. The story features a overworked director of marketing who works at the current most downloaded app and who just snaps one day, leading to, my mind, the most hilarious scene in the book.

    I also read “Liberty’s Daughter” by Naomi Kritzer which is the story about a teenage girl who lives in a libertarian sea-stead. For people who don’t know, sea-steads are the fevered dream of libertarian billionaires who dream of controlling their own country, so the plan is to build a big platform offshore of a country and declare an independent nation. In this book, 50 years after their creation, most of the people populating these sea-steads turn out to be criminals fleeing prison and their families who are dragged along in their wake. I think Kritzer is more optimistic than me about what would happen in this situation.

    I am now reading “Whispering Wood”, the latest Elemental Blessing novel by Sharon Shinn.

    1. Paladin’s Strength when I have the focus to appreciate the delicious bits.

      When I don’t, Trisha Ashley. Question —is there a book where we meet the Dolly Mops cleaning folks or the Cotton Common TV show that keep popping up in her other books?

      Likely next book, if only because DD recommended it, Doppelgänger, Naomi Klein’s book about being persistently confused with Naomi Wolf, the “ American feminist author, journalist, and conspiracy theorist” who has been persistently criticized for being inaccurate in ways that dramatize her political point. My favorite story about Wolf is about her book Outrage:Sex, Censorship, and the Criminalization of Love based on her Oxford PhD thesis which was about the repression of homosexuality in relation to attitudes toward divorce and prostitution, and also in relation to the censorship of books.

      In a 2019 BBC radio interview, broadcaster and author Matthew Sweet identified an error in a central tenet of the book: a misunderstanding of the legal term “death recorded”, which Wolf had taken to mean that the convict had been executed but in fact means that the convict was pardoned or the sentence was commuted. He cited a website for the Old Bailey Criminal Court, which Wolf had referred to in the interview as one of her sources.

      As a result the day after it had been named on Oprah’s The 32 Best Books by Women of Summer 2019″ list , the U.S. publisher recalled all copies from U.S. stores. She claimed to have corrected it but historians have continued to identify problems.

      You can see why another progressive public intellectual would become obsessed by being confused with her. And why my DD who aspires to being a public intellectual would find the book about such confusion fascinating.

        1. Hmm. I think there are only two I haven’t read and I just got set up with Hoopla to read one of those. Neither of them sounds like the Dolly Mops one but we will see—I may have to resort to alibris for the other.

    2. Ha Nguyễn, a sea-stead sounds fascinating. I’m not a billionaire but could I create one of my own? One where we’d all read books, drink tea and be kind to each other?

    3. Sea Stead …closest they got in the UK was the Principality of Sealand, at that time a seafort just outside of UK territorial waters

  40. A book I have not yet read: Chicks in Tank Tops. I did buy it (as part of a monthly bundle) and I will read it. I read everything in Esther Friesner’s “Chicks in Chainmail” series of anthologies, as well as her other urban fantasy anthologies, like Witch Way to the Mall and Fangs for the Mammaries. Okay, this isn’t hers, but she did write the forward and contribute one of the stories.

    The link goes to a sample – you can read the table of contents and Esther’s forward, at least. 🙂

  41. Late to the party, and I’ve mostly been reading my own book (proofreading before submission next week), nothing new to recommend. When not doing proofreading, I did the annual re-read of Hogfather, which never fails to impress me. And then I finally got my hands (and ears) on the audio version of System Collapse (read the ebook when first released, but didn’t have the audiobook until this week). I do love Kevin R. Free’s performances.

    Okay, back to proofreading, and then next week I get to read and edit the first draft of my secret project in the hope of actually being able to publish it in the spring. Even though what I really want to do is play with a totally bizarre story idea that I’m sure will fall in the same category as my more out-there stuff that has no market. Sigh. But I wanna know what the characters are going to do about their problems, so I need to write it. Maybe it will be my reward for finishing/submitting the current WIP and then finishing the second draft (of three) for the secret project.

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