108 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, May 2, 2024

  1. First, I wanted to thank everyone for the lovely comments yesterday!

    Reading wise, I did a bit of DNFing before using a credit for the first CS Poe Memento Mori audio book. I really enjoyed it! Some surprises and I liked both characters.

    And it’s May, so my hoopla borrows are back! Which means I have Josh Lanyon back! So I downloaded the second cozy book. Something something Skull House.

    1. Very excited that you liked the Memento Mori book! Lian likes them too. And I don’t think I realized you were reading the Josh Lanyon cozy series – so you like it?

      1. It’s not my favorite, but they are ok so far. I started the first one just to see. Hoopla has the second, but nothing past that. I can’t guarantee that I will pay for the privilege of listening to the rest of them, but once I blow through what is available to me, I may cave. Lanyon has a great rhythm for me to listen to and work to. Kristen Ashley and Trisha Ashley do that for me too.

    2. I had to go back to yesterday’s post to see what the lovely comments were, and then I followed your link and I agree, your work is just gorgeous, Lupe. I’m not sure that I could pick a favourite.

      Glad you enjoyed the first Memento Mori – the characters are lovely.

      1. Thank you! And yes, I really really enjoyed the way Larkin handled his husband’s behavior.

  2. Oh gosh, Jenny, I so get this feeling of a being overwhelmed!
    The work load at the day job sucks, I racked up more overtime hours than I’m allowed to document, just keeping the head up above water. Tired all the time.

    Positives: the weather was nice enough to do some garden furniture assembly on the terrace. The negative: the table is assembled but all 4 of us didn’t manage to assemble the chairs. We’re usually not that clueless.
    It was nice though sitting on the ground on the cardboard the furniture (I’d really expected it to be pre-assembled when I ordered it, blame on me) was packaged in. Warm and nice, with the birds singing and the chocolate lab of our neighbor’s checking on us from time to time.

    Readingwise nothing really to recommend:

    I finally, finally finished Starter Home.
    I dearly tried to love it but I only managed to like it.
    It has many small details that made it less than great. I guess those accumulated:
    The writing style was too “brittle”. Cannot pinpoint what exactly caused this feeling for me. I didn’t get sucked into the story. Paused while doing other stuff.
    I liked both MCs, I guess some missing info (the lovely bi-awakened MC’s lack of back story e.g.) kept me emotionally unconnected.

    The MCs bonded over working together on Hunter’s (the main MC) newly moved-in house and got to know each other better. I guess I missed the moments where it clicked between them – in becoming friends and then more
    Also, usually I’m a real sucker for such topics – I LOVE shows like Bargain Block even though/becuae I lack the talent to achieve much myself. But here, I didn’t even got a sense for the floor plan for Hunter’s house. Are duplex floor plans in Minnesota much different from anywhere else? Does his house have two storeys? Am I really that clueless?

    Strangely enough, I got far more sense for the house and the renovation project (in both books it was really more a re-decorating project) in Sarina Bowen’s I’m your Guy where the two MCs kind of bond over a similar issue even though only the interior pro did the work.

    So no book rec, but a Netflix rec:
    I’ve loved the trailer, so I tried to start watchin the brilliant new Netflix series in Dead Boy Detectives, based on a Neil Gaiman comic. Loving it.
    And I’m thrilled that Kid ‘2 and I bond over not only books by now but by Netflix. She now also picks up what I’m watching…
    We both want the series to be continued. So I made dh and ds watch the series too (by hijacking their accounts) in order to raise numbers of watchers so we get a second season!
    Funnily enough, the series has been shot where Kid #2 might spend her next school year (near Vancouver). We progressed further in the planning stage. Next step is a trip to Berlin (across country, she cries) for the biometrics. Who knows, she might be around when/if the the Dead Boys are on set again?

    Has anyone noticed that many authors by now do not only have playlists for the writing process but upload them to spotify?

    I tried those consciously for the last Puckboy installment and discovered that I seem to like the more modern versions of Country. And I never just stop with one discovery. Spotify and Insta this time didn’t make me by a book or a new pair of trousers but made me discover Orville Peck. Listened to his back catalogue on constant loop while working on my overdue report into the late/or early hours. Earworm material. Wonderful timbre. Great voice. Melodies that managed to stop me from hating my work.

    Sorry for rambling yet again…

    1. Oh disappointing about Starter Home! Hannah Henry definitely has an economical style.

      1. I will try the next one – a novella about one of the Griffin brothers although I guess there won’t be much about one of the MCs of SH (I liked both MCs in Starter Home, wanted to know more about Jonathan, the silent mysterious one and why he ticked like he did). But since SH is meant to be book 1 in a closely knit series, I take it we meet them again and hopefully get to know more.
        Only, as I said last week in response to Chacha1’s not overly enthusiastic review, any book in a series should also be able to stand alone.

      2. I think Starter Home does have an HEA and is a stand alone – but her non dramatic writing style and abrupt endings can leave the reader uncertain of what actually happened.

        1. I def wanted more story in Starter Home. And more home improvement. And more ‘why we’re really falling.’ Enjoyed it, but vaguely disappointed.

          1. Chacha1, you needed just 3 short sentences to distill why it didn’t work for me as it could have. While I rambled.

    2. Dodo!! I’m so glad someone here has mentioned “Bargain Block”! It’s my favorite ever thing on television. Here in the US it’s on one of the Home & Garden TV channels, but I wish it was on all channels, all the time. The jokes! The amazing art details! The crazy-but-controlled partner squabbling! The themes they pick for each house, and the two builders’ increasing interaction with their realtor, and her affable husband, and her opinionated toddler son — it just gets more priceless with every episode.

      I have little to report on reading this week, since my reading time has dwindled from an hour before sleep to maybe half an hour. Frequently waking up with one finger in a book I was apparently trying to read when I fell asleep.

      Loved the DWynneJones story in her Collected Stories about the enchanted walking stick Carruthers — moody, sometimes-talking, chocolate-loving walking stick with hidden strengths and strange abilities. And another inside the mind of an evil wizard’s cat, who discovers that she’s good at having kittens, and at saving the day. And that’s about the sum total of my literary week. 🙁

      1. Jinx, I guess after your rec some months or even years ago I searched for videos of Bargain Block. We don’t get it here, but I caught some shortened videos on youtube. And those two are sooo adorable and the creativity and attention to detail is incredible, especially the mix of art and practicality. Since I get so few of the videos themselves, I follow emuralit on Instag, to at least get some input. And yes, it feels like a big community with the realtor and her familiy 🙂

    3. I wasn’t crazy about Starter Home. It was fine, but I wouldn’t be racing to read No. 2… but I might!

      I had to look up what a Duplex was in America, it seems to be different to what we’d call it over here.

      I’ve checked out Rachel Reids Spotify playlists for the gamechanger series. Good way of getting to know new music.

    4. I don’t have any good books to recommend either, but wanted to say it’s good to hear the recommendation for Dead Boy Detectives. I have a complicated relationship with Neil Gaiman’s writing (love Good Omens, love the Sandman tv series, other stuff not so much, just not my cuppa’), so I wasn’t really expecting to like DBD, but I happened to see the first scene when Gaiman posted it on social media, and I was immediately hooked. Enough that I’m going to subscribe to a month’s worth of Netflix this weekend so I can binge the series! It looks like so much fun.

      1. Gin, I haven’t read any Neil Gaiman yet nor seen the other shows. And I don’t know if I’d call the DBD fun exactly, but it’s very, very fine. Dd and I had an ethical talk about it even. I watched a comparison between the comics and the adaptation and just from the artwork I wouldn’t have read ghe comics, I’m sure. But all the changes for the series seem to have made the story stronger. All the actors are superb, the two “boys” brilliant, esp so the lead for Edwin (as he has a very complex journey and starts out as the more prickly one) is fabulous. Fresh out of drama school and so far “only” with theatre background: he manages to make his face into a very subtle and expressive canvas. Sorry, raving.

  3. I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, which has hit many best seller lists. My husband and stepdaughter read it and encouraged me to so I did despite my wariness about mainstream romantasy books. It it starts out with a beauty and the beast trope and morphs into the feats of Hercules combined with a little LOTR riddling. The sex was boring is probably my only complaint. I’m interested enough to read the next book which my husband assures me is even better, says the first book is only the stage setter for the series.

    I also read a short story collection by Iris Foxglove, based on their various series (is there a plural of series??) and enjoyed that.

    And to keep my inner puck bunny happy, I’ve been re-reading Hannah Henry’s Delay of the Game series; her sleepy-smutty-sweetness is totally my jam. But as Dodo points out, her writing style may be too plain for some.

      1. Lol! Are you trying to make it up to me for not loving one of my recommendations by enthusiastically espousing another?

        1. LOL, I didn’t know Starter Home was your rec 😉 I got HH’s newsletter after I loved Draft Bust and I usually like her understated style a lot. Yet I don’t have to love every book lol.

          Also, it’s far easier to win me over if I don’t have expectations for a book to be great. That was the case with Ari Baran. You all loved her books iirc, but when I sampled Game Misconduct, it was just too different from e.g. the Puckboys (yeah, what a comparison, I know). On one hand very realistic (a lot of research went into it, I LOVE the bibliography section on her website) and the fantasy element (the female player on the Philly team. It’d be super if this were reality, but I guess not likely to be implemented in my lifetime).
          So when eventually I tried the softer book – no 2 – I didn’t expect it to suck me in as much as it did. So much that I really fell in love. And the flood gates are open 🙂

          1. BTW, I’m bad with pronouns. I guess I f*cked them up for Ari. Should probalby read they/them.

          2. You know, I have found that people who have changed their pronouns are usually very forgiving of people making honest mistakes. I am sure Ari won’t mind.

    1. I liked Throne of Glass by Maas, thought it was very good and engaging, but too bloody for me to commit to the whole series. I find YA less than soothing most of the time.

    2. I just had someone recommend the Maas series to me this morning. I’m taking this as a sign. 🙂

  4. Read & enjoyed “Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos” by Donna Andrews – cosy, fun mystery but not oblivious to the problems of 18th century re-enactments. Neither victim nor murderer are sympathetic, so guilt-free enjoyment and I love the way Meg deals with the Anachronism police.

    “Bea Wolf” by Zach Weinersmith, art by Boulet is a fabulous kid-focused (partial) retelling of Beowulf. I have no idea what children would think of it but I loved it. Although as I’ve been reading “Ultra-Processed People”, the hero-kid diet was a bit nightmarish.

    Plus queer short story “Anything with a Void at the Center” by Lee Mandelo. Adorable and romantic, very surprising as the last thing I read by Mandelo was good but grim. Free at https://www.uncannymagazine.com/article/anything-with-a-void-at-the-center/

    Plus continuing my re-read of October Daye, which is great so far – and comforting in that I’ve already read these so I know everyone survives – at least until I get to the new books 🙂

  5. I also can only do rereads at the moment. I reread the Book of Firsts and Four Kings. Am I weird that I like Four Kings more than the Book of Firsts.

    There is something about all these grandiose buildings plans they become emmeshed in that I find deeply soothing :).

    1. Ooooh. I thought about those again last week. I am trying to hold off to reread until November, because that is when my life gets really crazy and I think of Four Kings as somewhat of a Christmas book. But they are so, so soothing. I love those books. My dearest wish would be audiobook versions.

      1. My second dearest wish is a bunch of short stories or outtakes of these characters. I know that their story is done, but I would love more windows into their everyday relationships, maybe POV for each of the kings, even scenes already written but from a flipped POV… Sigh. I can dream.

        Gary, did you read the short story under the Anders name? I was really impressed with how much emotional punch she packed into a short format. Lots of steam too.

        1. Well, under her other (real) name – Andrea Höst, she did a novel length gratuitous epilogue for her Touchstone trilogy (plenty of building and garden design in that one too), then another book about the main character’s mum giving her a lovely romance of her own, then capped that with an excellent short story about two new characters interacting with the original cast so this is definitely within the realm of possibility.

    2. I need to try re-reading Four Kings without the expectations that I went into my first reading of it with, to see if it hits better for me now. My first reading, it felt to me like someone filming themselves waxing enthusiastic about their specialist subject, while in the background and just out of shot there are intriguing glimpses of drama going on that the camera never focuses on.

      1. I definitely wanted more interactions between the main characters and the arc of the relationship is super subtle and understated. It grew on me with time and multiple rereads.

  6. I will post later, but right now, I want to celebrate that the United Methodist Church General Conference finally affirmed that LGBTQ people are worthy, and may be ordained clergy, and that their clergy may hold marriage ceremonies for same sex people! There wasn’t even any debate on the floor. This has been an issue at every GC for decades. It helped that the most conservative congregations left to form their own denomination. At last! “Love your neighbor” is finally in practice.

    1. So glad to hear this!! I worked as a church secretary at a UMC church for 14 years and that congregation was divided. I’ve been gone nearly 7 years so not sure what’s happened since then.

    2. Another successful sf “prediction.” A major character in one of James S.A. Corey’s the Expanse series is a lesbian U.M. minister. When my book club discussed it, I pointed out that it was not presently permitted, but might easily be by the time the story was set. (I haven’t seen the TV series made from the books and don’t know if she made it into those.)

    3. I rejoiced, because in 1986 I was sitting in a restaurant overhearing what seemed to be a committee meeting of a local UMC church discussing both ordaining and “blessing unions” (before legal marriage was available) for LGBTQ people. Everyone in the discussion was in favor, but they knew many of the congregation were opposed, and were unsure of how to persuade them.

  7. I read two disturbing books about controlling, abusive men this week. I’m not sure how that happened. The first one was The Newcomer: A Novel, by Mary Kay Andrews. I read the sample, and got hooked, so I paid $1.99 for it. A woman’s sister is killed, so she takes her niece and a stash of cash her sister left, just in case, and runs. The people she meets, and the beachside motel she ends up in are charming, once she gets settled in. But the shadow of the murdering ex never goes away. I will not be rereading this, since it really was very suspenseful and upsetting. It did end well.

    Then I reread Crazy for You, since it is about Quinn, who adopts a darling little black dog, and calls her Katie. Katie is persistent, brave, and very protective, which turns out to be a good thing, since Quinn decides to move out from the apartment her boyfriend chose, with his ugly furniture, and a no-dog rule. There are very interesting characters in this book, including a Bi woman, a woman who only dates married men, two clueless brothers when it comes to women, and a man who thinks he owns Quinn and knows what is best for her. But there are a lot of scary shenanigans and threatening behavior going on. Jenny paints the portrait of the abuser and his thought processes so accurately! Katie is a force, and Quinn stops being passive, which saves the book from being too frightening.

    1. I read The Newcomer as an ARC and enjoyed it but don’t remember the details. I assume the abuse was not as triggering for me. I also loved Crazy For You and thought the abuser’s POV was so well done.

    2. As I mentioned a while back, I read most of The Newcomer but thought the book was really resolved before the last business of entrapping the ex. I did borrow the book a second time, intending to finish it, but discovered I was not motivated to finish. Andrews often adds one last plot twist, so I may have missed that, as well as the Confrontation with the Killer that seems to be near-obligatory in mystery fiction or even a hybrid mystery romance like this one. That part I don’t regret missing.

    3. You know Jan, what made the scary bits bearable in Crazy for You was that Quinn had such lovely underwear. I could concentrate on that detail, and the lovely dog, and the very lovel car mechanic MMC. Since then I’m quite aware of the power of underwear for oneself and still there’s a distinct lack thereof in my undies drawer. Big Sigh.

      1. Yes! I should have mentioned the underwear! It’s a character in itself.

      2. It sounds like you have your work (or shopping) cut out for you once you get more time. Making friends with the owner of a lingerie store has certainly brightened up my life.

      3. If we are talking about fancy underthings (Tammy, cover your ears/eyes), I highly recommend Thistle and Spire. A women owned company out of NYC that is very good about size inclusivity, lots of adjustability within their sizes and really really fun themes. I have snakes, tigers, dragons and octopi from them (Look away Tammy) and they are sexy, fun and pretty darn comfortable without being stereotypical. Spendy though…

        1. If they’re not made of leather with soles in them, I’m not interested.

          1. I am with you Jane, but in my case, I have gone back to my childhood and wear Petit Bateau. I buy them at big Monoprix when I am in Paris because they are cheaper there than in the boutiques.
            Cotton all the way 😀

    4. Oh, Jan, I wish I had read your review before purchasing The Newcomer!
      The tension seems more than I like. My return window ended on April 28.

  8. This is actually 2 week’s worth since I was away last week on a girl’s trip/writing retreat/research trip.
    I want to thank whoever recommended The Blonde Identity by Ally Carter. I absolutely loved it!! Thank you so much!! I don’t normally read YA but bought some of hers to try.
    I also read The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts by Annie Darling that was mentioned here. I enjoyed it too. I read Storm Warning by Nora Roberts and hated the hero so that’s a will not read again. After the disappointing Nora book, I re-read Trust Me on This and What the Lady Wants as palate cleansers. That last one had me watching The Maltese Falcon. LOL!
    I had picked up Notorious by Diana Palmer at a library book sale on our way to the Oregon coast. I didn’t make it past few chapters before skipping to the end to see if it improved. It didn’t. I left it behind when the trip was over but now feel guilty that someone else might pick it up to read. It read like a Barbara Cartland. The 24-year-old heroine didn’t watch TV and read only books by Greek philosophers. She was super rich but the dark moment was because the hero called her a gold digger. Instead of laughing her *ss off, she cried and moved out. This was after having moved into his apartment upon meeting him only once despite her harrowing experiences being attacked as a teenager putting her off men. She was hired as an assistant and part of the job was living in his apartment.
    After a bit of recovery time, I read Riley Thorn and the Dead Guy Next Door by Lucy Score. Loved it and have moved on to Riley Thorn and the Corpse in the Closet. Loving it too.

    1. Wow I haven’t read a Diana Palmer for a decade. I always laugh at the whole gold digger thing in books when they blatantly aren’t. I remember a youtuber handled it the best. She was accused of having a sugar daddy as she could afford to travel to establish her channel. She pointed out she saved and worked several jobs for 3 years and then travelled on a shoestring. She said if she was a golddigger, she’d be queening it in a penthouse with a lamborgini and travelling 5 stars

    2. I’m glad you liked The Blonde Identity, which I think I recommended. I wondered afterward if I was being so enthusiastic about it because I loved the snappy pace and European locations. The ending was a teensy bit unbelievable, I recall, but I’m looking forward to the sister’s story.

  9. In hope the Irish trip is going to happen, I reread Norah Roberts’ (under the pseudonym Sarah Hardesty) Born in Ice and Born in Sin (the first, Born in Fire, was borrowed by a friend a couple of years ago, and I don’t think I’m going to get it back), set in Clare, which we plan to explore. They’re my favourite kind of stories by her: lots of interesting characters, fun, creativity and cosiness. I’m now rereading K. J. Charles’ Sins of the Cities, and have just started the second one. The first is my favourite, because I love Clem and Rowley.

    1. There is a Russian verb (зачитать, zachitat’) that means specifically “to acquire (a book) by borrowing it and failing to return it.”

    2. That is one of my favorite trilogies by Roberts. The women are believable, and the men are great guys.

  10. As I can’t get to the library yet (though it is a goal for next week) I am doing a lot of re-reads too.

    The Rake’s Daughter by Anne Gracie – never read an AG I did not love. Part of a quartet of books about different residents who share an internal garden in London.

    Wish You Were Here by Lani Diane Rich – I loved this story about a woman who is burning out and not aware of it being rescued by a very cute young girl and her Dad, while solving a decades old crime.

    The Lights of Sugarberry Cove by Heather Webber – set in a run down B&B on a lake with a cast of memorable characters. A place I could visit for a mini vacation from my sofa bed.

    The last two Blackbird Sisters novels – Little Black Book of Murder and A Little Night Murder by Nancy Martin. Which were not re-reads and I enjoyed but felt a little let down that the story didn’t really conclude for me.

    The Man Must Marry (1.) and Tempt Me if You Can (2.) by Janet Chapman – about three brothers (not re-read the third yet) and the resourceful women they meet and fall for.

    Plus a couple of others that will never make it to the keeper shelves so are not worth the mention. Something to be said for a well stacked bookcase when you are stuck at home recovering. 🙂

  11. Good reading week this week.

    First, I read The Lemon Drop Kid, Josh Lanyon. I enjoyed this, its crime, basic premise is that MC1 has spent 11 months in jail on a murder charge, put there by his boyfriend cop, but has been released as someone else has confessed. I like the MC and the setting (snowy, Christmassy, lots of cakes and biscuits, and very sweet martinis unlike the ones I drink).
    This was originally to be a short story but grew into a novella. I think it could have grown into a novel as the last section a lot had to be resolved and it got a bit rushed. I liked it a lot though, will re read. I love the cover too.

    Then I read Diamond Ring, KD Casey, the final book in the Unwritten Rules trilogy (MM baseball). I really liked it. This is a great series, for me it’s up there with the best hockey. Each time I got to read one I think it can’t match the others, but it does. Very strong MCs (I got completely involved with them in each book), and different scenarios in each. Not really angsty but there are definitely issues. Would recommend.

    I am currently half way through both ‘Sunshine’, Robin McKinnon, recommended here a few weeks ago, and ‘The miles are just an afterthought’, Catherine Cloud (thesameoldstreets on AO3). Really enjoying both, but will report back when I have finished them.

  12. I enjoyed Grace Draven’s Phoenix Unbound, and Grace Burrowes’ A Gentleman in Pursuit of Truth, (I am enjoying that series tremendously) and I started a Burrowes Lady Violet in the middle of the series after a break of about a year, to see why I find them less interesting than A Gentleman… because it certainly isn’t a difference in writing style. But what made my reading week great was concluding my Katherine Addison re-read with Grief of Stones.

    1. “Phoenix Unbound” was really good, almost as good as “Radiance”. Have you read the Fallen Empire sequels?

      I didn’t feel the romance was as strong in “Dragon Unleashed” and I haven’t read the third one yet …

  13. A new book by Anne Stuart, Return to Mariposa, popped up on my kindle this morning.

    That is going in the TBR for me, after I finish the last short in The Irregulars and then Hex naught by CM Nascosta. Summer reading is gearing up!

  14. I’ve been revisiting Agatha Christie this week.
    Five Little Pigs is one of her more emotionally resonant books and it’s cleverly structured, building a picture of what happened through reports written by the suspects and their interviews with Poirot.
    Cat Among the Pigeons is a romp of a Poirot book set in a girls’ school. It begins with international intrigue, and ends with mothers and daughters, and teachers.

  15. I’m reading the 4th Blackbird Sisters mystery by Nancy Martin. The series is satisfying my Donna Andrews cravings until the next Meg release in August.

    Listening to Bruce Springsteen’s memoir which is both excellent and long. Not Streisand long, but … long.

    So, I’m breaking it up with the latest French and Saunders podcast on Audible and have spent much time really laughing out loud. So good for the soul to laugh heartily! I don’t know why I’m finding these more recent episodes so much more hilarious than others, but it’s working for me.

  16. I’m listening to TO FIRE CALLED (A Seeker’s Tale From The Golden Age Of The Solar Clipper Book 2) the audiobook. Still enjoyable.

    SORCERY & CECILIA is still in progress.

    I finished RISING TIDES (Capes Book 1) by M. Harmon. It takes place in the same universe as the “Wearing the Cape” series, but main characters are all new. I had mixed feelings about a book that didn’t have Hope/Astra as the lead, but it worked out very well.

    1. There was another one that didn’t have Hope/Astra as the lead, it took place in New Orleans I believe. I liked Rising Tides better than that one, I liked the main character better.

      1. That would be BITE ME, and the main character was Hope/Astra’s BFF Jackie (Jacqueline Bouchard) AKA Artemis. fiend of the night. It’s a “side book” but still part of the Wearing the Cape series, in my opinion.

  17. In addition to Rising Tides I read a book someone here recommended, Christa Comes Out of Her Shell, by Abbi Waxman, which I enjoyed. A scientist studying snails on an island off of Africa has to fly back home when her father, who hosted a nature television show and was semi-famous, and has been missing since she was a baby suddenly reappears after 25 years.

    I also read Bride, by Ali Hazelwood, where a vampyre gets married off to the werewolf alpha as a kind of hostage exchange program. But she has ulterior motives that most vampyres wouldn’t have because this is actually her second stint as a hostage, as a child she was raised while part of a hostage exchange with the humans. It was pretty good, and there’s werewolf/vampire sex if you’re into that sort of thing.

  18. I also read a post on IG by Richard Osman that casting is in progress for The Thursday Murder Club movie. Steven Spielberg bought the rights a while back.

    Thank heavens they cast Helen Mirren as Elizabeth as it just couldn’t be anyone else.

    Ben Kingsley as Ibrahim which is a lovely choice.

    And Pierce Brosnan, of all people, as RON.

    Still contracting someone for Joyce. Perhaps Dame Judi or Lesley Manville? Wishin’ and hopin’.

    1. I haven’t read Thursday Murder Club but … Pierce Brosnan has done some very interesting work in his maturity! Will def see this movie!

      1. I love this series. Great heart, humor and mature characters.

        Richard Osman is starting a new series in September called We Solve Murders which I expect will have at least the heart and humor. He says he will continue TMC in the future.

      1. Helen Mirren is pretty much who I was picturing when I first read The Thursday Murder Club, so I’m very happy with the casting for the upcoming movie.

  19. Due to Life, I missed posting last week. But for similar reasons, haven’t really been reading much these last couple of weeks, so not too much catching up to do. Just three Discworld novels for me.

    I decided to continue with the chronological reading order for now, so dove into Tiffany Aching’s story with The Wee Free Men. This is another “for younger readers” book, but not nearly as dark or macabre as previous Pratchett fairy tales. Part of this might be that Tiffany is just too pragmatic to sucked into too much creepiness, of course. She is a wonderful character, from her sturdy boots to her cheese-making prowess to her frying pan.

    It is also another story about grief, and I think the parts about/with Granny Aching are my absolute favorites. They have a depth that is somewhat lacking from the rest of the story, and genuinely tugged at my heart. I also like Tiffany’s grappling with right vs. wrong (and the way that we understand that her insistence on doing so is precisely what makes her a witch. Or hag, as the case may be).

    Monstrous Regiment is a book I always want to be better than it is. When I was young, I loved stories about girls dressing up as boys to subvert a patriarchal system (Tamora Pierce’s Lioness quartet, for instance). But this isn’t really that. Still, I like hanging out with Polly & her regiment, and there are some strong parts. It just doesn’t go anywhere particularly interesting, and I find the ending disappointingly flat.

    A Hatful of Sky sees Tiffany growing up a bit. I liked her as a foot-stomping kid, but will say that aging her up does make her more fun to spend time with overall. The book has some spooky bits (and also a murder, which Tiffany sort of commits, so I guess the darkness factor really is present), and a frank discussion about death & why someone might choose it. Most of this is offset by the silliness of the Feegles, who are slightly less central to this book than WFM, but no less insistent on being part of things.

    Overall, I think I just had a pleasantly positive reaction to the feeling of seeing a character learning about witchery from the beginning. There is something hopeful & charming about it, and I can imagine that Pratchett felt something similar. Or maybe I just like hanging out with Granny Weatherwax. Anyway, like WFM, this book didn’t seem particularly deep to me, but it flowed well and was enjoyable throughout.

    1. I tend to think of the Tiffany Aching books as being more layered than the rest of the Discworld books. But actually, I think it may just be that the layers feel more centered around Tiffany than the world itself? They go deeper internally, but don’t spin quite as far out away from her as the other series, maybe? Hmm.

      I’ll have to try to remember to look at that next time I reread some.

    2. Granny Aching was great – really loved that dynamic.

      Emmet Asher-Perrin at tor.com had some interesting reflections on the gender aspects of “Monstrous Regiment”. It worked better for me than for you I think, but then I like books on religion and war. Favorite quote: “A god that burned painted birds would not save a mother. A god like that was not worth a prayer.”

      1. It was for many years my gay son’s favorite along with Small Gods. I really should ask him why.

        (This is the kid who at his sister’s wedding described Terry Pratchett sd having made his personality for high school and college. I should really ask him how…)

  20. I am listening to Rest In Pink, soon to be followed by One in Vermillion. I read them all when they came out and loved them! As far as reading, I am now reading an ARC for Rosalind James – Catch-a-Kiwi. Then I’ll go back to rereading either you or Georgette Heyer.

  21. I have nothing to report on the new books front, but I have been re-reading Jayne Ann Krentz / Jayne Castle for a while. Even her mediocre titles like Copper Beach or Dream Eyes are better than many new romance novels. And her Harmony futuristic flicks are just wonderful. They make me happy.

    1. Me, too, Olga. I start to say I love her protagonists & I think – wait – I love her male interests, too. I love the Harmony series but I also love her standalone Amanda Quick books.

      I am looking forward to the new book!

    2. JAK is a great comfort read when you don’t feel like reading new books. I usually use her new books to start reading again

  22. Jane’s new book is coming out, I think at the end of this week. Until I started the Thursday murder club I was rereading Jennie. I reread Bet Me and Crazy for You. Today I’m on set working on sex lives of college girls. And I didn’t bring a book so I am rereading sweet liar by Jude Devereaux on my phone.
    I’ll go back To Thursday murder club tonight

    1. Susan, I know when you tell us you’re going to be in a show I try to catch it (The Conners, I saw it) but then you popped up in an Allstate commercial with Dean Winters (Mayhem) and his equally zany brother. My boys wrestled from one end of the house to the other up into their early teen years. I don’t miss those days.

  23. One of the things I love about my Kindle is that anytime I want to know how many unread books I have, it will show me. And thus when I decide not to read a book, I can simply un-download it and know I can find it later. Of course, I really do need to assemble some collections because the inventory is getting CHONKY.

    1. ‘The Gargoyle and the Romance Writer’ by Chloe Archer, recvd an ARC for review; not as polished as the other 3 in the series and hit some off notes for me, but still funny & sexy.

    2. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque, with a blistering afterword by G.J. Meyer. I can see why this is The WWI Novel.

    3. ‘The Orc and the Manny’ by Chloe Archer, which I decided to read before I reviewed Gargoyle, and which answered many world-building questions, but … I shouldn’t have had those questions in what’s meant to stand alone, should I? Anyway, this one was a lot of fun and the human protagonist is shown right from the start being great at his job. He never does anything stupid. He is so self-affirming, so hard-working, and so lovable that I was totally invested in the romance.

    3.5 ‘Love Language’ by Jax Calder. A very sweet workplace romance novelette.

    4. ‘Subscribe to Me’ by Scott Tracey, YA novel with M/M romance thread – romance is not the primary focus. The POV character has been in a downward spiral of anxiety & depression since his influencer-wannabe sister outed him; she continues to manipulate and silence him, while his father is mostly absent. A tough read, actually, with some editing issues, but the protagonist’s state of mind throughout is communicated much, much better than we usually see in mental health-themed romance-adjacent stuff. Hopeful HFN with the father finally stepping up.

    5. ‘Into Deep Waters’ by Kaje Harper, which I LOVED. M/M multi-decade romance beginning in 1942 on a US Navy ship. Y’all, I had tears.

    6. [re-read] my own novel ‘One Enchanted Evening,’ the multi-decade one featuring a ballroom professional and an accountant.

    7. ‘Avocado Protection’ by Kaje Harper, short novel feat. a millionaire inventor and his bodyguard, includes a scary kidnapping scenario and some mayhem. Nonetheless sweet and a bit funny with credible Falling For You.

    7.5 ‘Flawless’ by J. Scott Coatsworth, recvd an ARC for review, this is a SF short story about an asteroid miner – secretly a drag-queen superstar – and the unexpected son (result of a youthful drunken encounter) he rescues. I liked this.

    8. ‘The Invention of Wings’ by Robin Knight, M/M set in rural Wisconsin and (wince) I like this guy but he really needs a dialect-alert American proofreader to catch the Australianisms. It’s a second-chance romance with a backstory that’s a little hard to swallow, namely that the whole world would turn on an Olympic figure skater just because he fell disastrously in the medal-clinching round. Y’all, they ALL fall sometime.

    9. a thing I will not identify because I can’t really forgive the many, many editing fails in this pedestrian book by a self-identified professional editor but don’t want to call her out.

    10. [re-read] ‘Odds Against’ by Dick Francis, had forgotten how much mayhem is in this one. O.O A great character study.

  24. Continuing on with Age of Revolutions. I’ve got to pick up the pace to finish before JAK’s next comes out.

  25. I read a “Viscount in Love” by Eloisa James. It was an arc on netgalley. I need to write up a review for them too. I really loved it. The Viscount is engaged to Torie’s sister but after he becomes the guardian of his sister’s kids, who are brilliant and odd and not proper, Torie’s sister elopes and the Viscount goes for Torie instead, for many reasons. Torie can’t read and it is noted only in the author’s note at the end that she has dyslexia. She doesn’t magically learn to read either because someone understands her and has a magical way to help her see. So, that was realistic and nice. The banter was great fun and possibly why I liked it so much.

    1. Was there sexual harassment ? I stopped reading her when her heroes wouldn’t stop touching when asked …

      1. OMG that bugs me so badly. I am reading a series where in one book the author really pushed the line with that and it almost too much.

  26. I got about half way through The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal and had to put it down. It was very well written, but the pacing is slow – I wanted her to get to the moon! Also the slights and descrimination based on sex, race, and religion, paired with the worsening climate change in the story’s world was too disturbing for me knowing how true to life they are. That said, it was really well done; I just couldn’t stick with it.

    I had to take a break so reread The Warriors Apprentice, always entertaining, and topped it off with the audio version of Paladin of Souls – a perennial favorite. I love Kate Reading’s voice for Ista.

  27. I listened to KJ Charles Death in the Spires. Although I could see some of the conclusion coming I didn’t see the rest. I enjoyed the setting and the descriptions of the relationships.

    I read Emily Henry’s Funny Story and I was relieved to really like it after finding her last book kinda meh.

  28. I finished my reread of the Harmony series – 16 book version – by Jayne Castle. Oh so ready for the new book!

    I spent time with Rachel Gibson rereading her Chinook hockey series. I didn’t actually read every page of the books. Just kind of skimmed through remembering things.

    I started a sample of one book & another book I had purchased & did not finish them.

    I’ve been watching tv. Poker Face was wonderful. I hope there is a second season.

    Orlando Bloom’s series To The Edge was good with one reservation. It has 3 episodes so far. I really enjoyed episode 1 & 3. I refused to watch episode 2 because it was about free diving & I watched a documentary about that in which there was a heart-breaking death which happened IMO because it is a selfish sport that risks the life of people other than the one person doing it.

    I am excited because there is going to be another season of The Diplomat & Penelope’s season of Bridgerton is starting soon.

    I watched a bittersweet / sweet movie Frybread Face and Me.

    I rewatched Jane Austen’s Persuasion which I like as much as Pride & Predjudice. And we are rewatching Scrubs which holds up well.

  29. Rereading Jayne Castle ready for the new one out on the 7th. All her books are rereads for me, whichever name she writes under.

  30. This is practically off topic as far as a group of people who love romance novels and romantasy, but I put aside my Diana Wynne Jones short stories to start Liz Cheney’s autobiographical story of her time on the US Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Riots, “Oath and Honor.”

    It was amazing. It really illuminates the amazing effort it took to get testimony from the many people and groups who were conned into assisting Donald Trump in his attempt to bypass the guidance in the US constitution on how elections of US officials were supposed to be conducted. Cheney’s prose style was clear and concise, and it illuminated so much for me on how Trump’s staff and members of his conspiracy were manipulated into blocking the truth about his many many shady dealings with dangerous groups and individuals.

    Two days of nearly nonstop reading and 371 pages later, I’m still marveling at Cheney’s honesty and concern for other people, and how strongly it contrasts with the individual who pushed these schemes into nearly destroying the government once, and how close we are now to having it happen all over again. Highly recommended, but don’t be surprised if it consumes all your time until you finish it.

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