This is a Good Book Thursday, June 20, 2024

Nora Ephron’s Heartburn is on sale for $1.99, so I had to read it again, for the umpteenth time. I love that book.

What did you read that you loved (or didn’t) this week?

167 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, June 20, 2024

  1. I read a couple of samples, got some more ebooks on sale (thanks, pride month), stressed out over hockey, less so about football (soccer), spent time with my mom (therefore hardly any reading possible) and only finished one book, The Dating Disaster, which I really, really liked although it’s that fluffy that it will likely not make it onto the re-read-often-list. I very very much liked that one protag is demisexual which prevented the insta-lust so often featured but didn’t hinder the book having some hot scenes.

    Now I’m 3/4 into A Stealthy Situation – kind of the follow up of TDD. What I like: the Dalton twins from James/Finley’s CU series get their own stories. I like both Ben and Em, yet I kind of liked Bowser/Harrison a bit more in TDD.

    I guess I’ll stick around reading up on the Franklin University series (dipping into series 1 and reading up on 2) because it’s nice summer reading, nothing deep, but also nothing annoying (keeping my fingers crossed).
    The next one is due to come out tomorrow, featuring a baseball guy (?) and a fashion guy. Not eager to read on immediately, but I’ll don’t have much time, with the CSD pride parade in Munich on Saturday. An important date for meeting up with friends for kids and us parents.
    With tons of football fans in the city it’ll be an interesting experience…

  2. I have read Patricia Briggs’ latest Mercy book that came out very recently. I really like the first few books in the series as well as the Charles and Anna books and she has been an autobuy for a long time but the last few books have been very dark. This one isn’t but it doesn’t feel very necessary. I also realised while reading it that I couldn’t remember very much what happened in the previous book. There were references to it but that didn’t jog my memory.
    I am still going to buy her books because I want to know what is going to happen to all these characters I love but it won’t be with as much anticipation as before 🙁

    1. I’m on the wait list for that one at the library. I feel much the same. I’m not liking her latest books as much as the earlier ones, but I’ll keep reading them.

    2. Patricia Briggs used to be an auto-buy for me but I gave up a few years ago even though I love the world and characters because the plots were becoming so dark. I’m glad that Mercy, Adam, Charles and Anna are still going strong, even though I’m too squeamish to read the later books.

      1. Same. I feel like sexual assault is just part of her core story, and having come to that conclusion, I stopped reading her a number of books back.

    3. The last Alpha and Omega book was very dark and she hasn’t gone back to them yet. I really liked Burn Bright though, the previous book in that series. I’m thinking that hopefully she is working through the grief of loosing her husband suddenly.

      I’m thinking that Mercy and Adam have pretty much reached emotional stability and there isn’t much more to be done with them as a couple, so that series is pretty much tying up loose ends. I hope she can let the series go gracefully, instead of pulling a Janet Evanovich and beating her story to death.

      1. You are making very good points. I really really liked the Mercy books up to and including the honeymoon one.

        In the Alpha and Omega series, the very last one, Wild signs, was very very dark though.

        I would like a collection of Asil’s dates though, as I have only read the first two.

        1. Oh, Asil’s dates are fabulous, especially the last one, and I think there is definitely room there for a book or novella.

        2. I found the last few Mercy books very dark and I can’t re-read them. The same with the last Anna and Charles book, which was super dark and horrific. But I would love to read the Asil stories. I wish they came in a bundle. As it is, I have no interest in buying them in their current anthologies. But I would gobble them up if they were sold separately.

          1. I went to her signing at Houston’ Murder by the Book and she did some Q&A. She said she gets bored easily and doesn’t want to keep writing the same book over and over again. She will write more as long as she isn’t bored. Charles and Anna are up next.

          2. I have been piecemeal reading Asil when the anthologies become available at the library. I will not be buying until they are all available together because I don’t read the rest of the shorts in the bundle. They really are fabulous stories, short and sharp and funny, and the last one feels like the opening of a larger story. I am hopeful.

  3. I had a disappointing DNF. I only made it about 220 pages out of 400+ in Mary Kay Andrews’ new book, Summers at the Saint. I’ve liked some of her previous books, but this one made me crazy. I don’t mind multiple POVs–two, maybe three, on rare occasions four. This book must have had around TEN. Everyone had their own POV. It was annoying and slowed down reading a lot, as I tried to switch back and forth. I also simply didn’t like the story. So when it was due back at the library with no renewals because it had a wait list, I just brought it back. I have higher hopes for the book I’m starting this morning.

    1. I read this book recently and agree with you. The storyline was a bit chaotic and with a few exceptions, the characters weren’t fully developed. I have always enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews’ books, but this one was not my favourite.

  4. Ooh, Heartburn! I haven’t read it in years but can still remember huge chunks almost verbatim. Painfully funny and so sharply written. Off to buy and re-read right now, thank you.

    1. I love Heartburn too. I listened on audio a few years ago (Meryl Streep reads it). It is so funny and sad, my favourite combination. I’ve given copies as presents to friends too, but I have never been able to track down the film. I must look again. It is probably available now on some streaming service or I could pay to watch as I don’t want to subscribe.

  5. Coming to you from the East Coast as I wait my turn for the shower before plunging back out into another day of vacation. Of several unimpressive reads this week, I’ll mention a book I finished only so that I could complain about it with full information.

    ‘How To End A Love Story’ by Yulin Kuang – an irritating trauma romance, F/M, featuring a thirtysomething YA novelist whose books are being turned into a TV show (limited series) and who gets to work in the writers room while the series is being developed. Also in the room: a person the FMC considers her mortal enemy who was, at 18, the person driving a car in front of which FMC’s 16-yr-old sister jumped with the successful intent of suicide. Needless to say, the driver was *deeply* traumatized and has gotten therapy but he is still haunted by the experience. The MC meanwhile has a million other issues, including manipulative traditional Chinese immigrant parents and unresolved grief / guilt because her last words to & from sister were unkind, but has focused on the MMC as source of it. There might be a good & satisfying romance to be written about this scenario, but for me this wasn’t it. I thought the FMC was a complete asshole for pretty much the entire book. MMC was almost too good to be true. They are shown working together well, after FMC has a cannabis-assisted mental shift away from ‘I refuse to work with him.’ The relationship development is shown almost entirely through sex. Which is well-written sex, but this woman is not ready for an adult relationship and treats MMC poorly in all other ways. I didn’t think he should like her, let alone fall so forgivingly in love with her.

    Anyway, I then read a good book. ‘If You Change Your Mind’ by Robby Weber is a YA M/M set in Florida during the summer before POV character’s senior year in high school and features many relationship entanglements orbiting the kid’s anxious obsession with getting into USC via a screenwriting contest. Liked this a lot and promptly bought the author’s next title.

    Now it’s time to get my day moving. Happy reading, y’all!

    1. Thanks for the review of How To End a Love Story. I was on the fence about buying that one. I think I’ll skip it or get it from the library.

    2. Thank you for that review of ‘How to End a Love Story’ — I have in on my possibly-to-buy list, but you’ve described everything I dislike in a story so I will definitely give this one a miss!

  6. Just discovered Lucy Score’s Riley Thorn and am having a blast reading these books. Picked up the first one because it was a day where I needed some humor and the reviews were appealing. And I got hooked. Am on book 3 and extremely grateful book 4 is due in July.

  7. Despite reservations about procedure (lack of) in the Valor & Doyle series (Nicky James, guys fighting crime and falling in love) I read a few more. As the fans here know the characters are good, they have kept me with the series, I am just starting no.4 now.

    I enjoyed Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James ‘Unrivalled Off Season’ a novella in the Hockey Ever After series. It finally made it to KU. This was sweet and fun, even though I couldn’t really remember ‘Unrivalled’ very well.

    On audio, decided to cancel my annual audible sub as I had way too many credits (and also Spotify and library options) so I had a mad buying spree (inclidign a few over 60 hours… which should keep me going). As I could listen to the ‘included’ books before the end date I was pleased to find a new Cara Bastone ‘Maybe This Time’. Sweet and funny story (MF) with time travel and a really good cast. I’ve liked all the other Audible Cara Bastone, they are short, funny and nicely done.

    I’ve started Alexis Hall ’10 Things That Never Happened’ which is really funny, with agreat reader.

  8. Blue Blooded by Emma Jameson Continuing with series. Reading the middle bits as I read the end while in the throes of head cold pain. It is a bit of a slower start but picking up now.

    Think I have Nora Ephron’s book on the shelf. Will look when I get up.

  9. I have not had time to read, but I did do my 40 minutes of stair climbing yesterday so I was able to listen to more of The Three Musketeers! D’Artagnon is actually the smart one right now, and they all make me giggle with their ridiculousness.

  10. I read the first two Texas Justice books by Christie Craig, Don’t Breathe a Word and Don’t Close Your Eyes, and just starting the third, Don’t Look Back. As I was reading the first, I was on the fence how I felt about it but enjoyed it enough to read the second and to buy the third. So I guess that says something. I also reread a couple of older Brenda Novak books. This Heart of Mine, A Family of Own, and A Home of Her Own. She used to be an auto buy for me but not so much lately.

    I’m also reading my own ms after traveling, being sick, and having company. I need to get back into the characters since it’s due in September and needs to be finished.

  11. Just a short notification: today is Stuff Your Ereader Day. Got the e-mail a few minutes ago.

    See this link: https://www.romancebookworms.com

    I’m not sure if you’ve got to subscribe to their newsletter though.
    Of all the books I’d stuffed around xmas, I’ve hardly touched any, so I will try to stay as sensible as possible.

    1. Thanks! I’m the same way. I grab them and then they just sit on my Kindle and I end up subscribed to a bunch of newsletters. Much more discerning now.

      1. Carrie: after posting the link, I searched through the very long list of titles in a very restrained manner. I only recognized a couple of authors but not a single blurb grabbed my interest (even though there were hockey books), so I didn’t get a single title.
        I guess this is more to get not-so-known-authors a wider readership, so I’m all for it.
        But for once, I kept sensible.

  12. I finally and tentatively jumped on the bandwagon and listened to Rivers of London. I’m here to remain firmly on the bandwagon now that I know what all the fuss is about – aided and abetted by a great narrator who effortlessly switched up all the accents. Looking forward to the next one.

    I dnf’d three more new hockey authors – wow I hate exposition so much. Why oh why can’t authors slowly reveal backstory and context rather than dump it all on you in the first chapter? It’s boring and overwhelming.

    I also dnf’d The Bee Sting for entirely different reasons. I made it 30% through and realized as well written as it was, I am not up for tragic Irish family suffering as each member makes continuously worse decisions. I keep shouting at them to be sensible and find a good therapist. But no one listens.

    I consoled myself with a bunch of short works by Josh Lanyon, recommended by Christina, and all of which were good. My faves were The Dickens with Love, Slay Ride, Everything I Know and Lone Star.

    I also read Alexandra Rowland’s Running Close to the Wind. If you loved A Taste of Iron and Gold don’t expect anything like that. This is a rollicking farce about pirates in a fantasy world where the underdog captain and their truly annoying ex boyfriend are trying to discover the secret to subduing the dangerous sea serpents that prevent water crossings during their six week mating season. I went on a real journey with this book. I started out sceptical and suspicious, gradually moved into enjoyment punctuated by snorts of laughter, then moved into saggy middle where I grew a little bored with the whole thing, but then it stopped being all farce and deepened a bit into something more nuanced and interesting, and went full throttle into thoroughly enjoying myself but the ending was an HEA but somewhat abrupt. Since I do change management for a living, I might turn this into a model of some kind.

    1. Agree with you about The Bee Sting. I find it hard to believe it was on the Booker shortlist. I soldiered through as it was for my book club and then we had the fun of ripping it to pieces (though some did like it).

      The rural Ireland depictions are quite good, though the author is from Dublin and sometimes that showed. I’m being picky there, it probably wouldn’t bother anyone who didn’t live in rural ireland.

      Lucky you, having all the Rivers of London to look forward to. I’ve only one left, and I’m saving it.

      1. Not really interested in tragic suffering right now, but would “from Dublin and sometimes that showed” bother someone who lives in rural elsewhere and has been to Ireland?

        1. No, it wouldn’t show, it was just me being picky. Despite my other reservations I think he caputured rural Ireland pretty well.

          1. Be picky! I spend a lot of time saying “nobody who actually lives in the country/cooks/works with dogs/works on cars would actually do/say/think that”.

          2. Mary+Anne, there aren’t so many books with people working with cars, are there?
            I found it very refreshing that Jenny had a love interest in the gem of a book with Quinn… but since I only came across the car mechanics in KM Neuhold’s books and she’s not so much my author.
            Any recs? It’d be much appreciated…

    2. Ha! I too DNF’d The Bee Sting. Thought it was just me. I got so so irritated at the dumb decisions.

      1. I mean, I’m a big fan of character-driven plot…but must all the characters have only ONE characteristic, i.e., bad decision-making? I dnf’d the Sopranos after season four for the same reason and that was because of only one character, Tony, consistently making bad decisions. All of them doing it is really too much. It just seems like a really simplistic form of characterization and I ultimately become fatigued with it. These writers should read Bujold to read true character-driven plot with some plotty-stuff thrown in to create some interesting barriers for them to overcome.

        1. Liz & I started watching something – can’t remember what – & we didn’t finish for the same reasons. Stupid decisions AND big misunderstanding BS that could have been solved with a sentence or 2 said to the right person.

          So irritating.

        2. Well, Bujold is a great role model for any author but Miles certainly makes his share of bad decisions….

          1. Oh for sure. Like when he hides his new disability from everyone including Gregor. But the entire plot is not driven by nothing except his bad decisions.

      2. Replying to Dodo above because there is no reply button there: Nora Roberts has several that I can’t think of the titles of where the mechanics’ work seems easier and their businesses run more smoothly than what I hear in real life. (I like the books even though I can’t remember what they’re called.)

    3. I’m tempted to ask which new hockey authors to stay away from… clumsy exposition, bah.
      I kind of not like it too much that hockey by now has become soooo popular that it’s very easy to get mediocre books.
      At least only about a month until the new Ari Baran comes out that has the extra plus that the MCs are retired players and coaches, so middle aged.
      And Rachel Reid announced that her next book is with her publishers – The Shots You Take. Out not until Spring next year, sigh.

      Another annoying story telling tool would be the hinting at something tragic in one MCs past that overshadows everything. When done properly, that’s thrilling but not when you get it almost every single scene. Cannot remember now which sample had that since I was quick to delete the sample after dnf-ing even the sample.

      1. Jodi Oliver, Carly Marie, Kimberly Knight & Rachel Lyn Adams, Charity Parkerson, Kallie Frost & Harper B Cole, Ryan Taylor & Joshua Hardwood, Loren Leigh

        1. Wow, that’s a lot of dnf authors!!
          Had a short look at the blurbs – will definitely keep reading other books instead.

          Thanks a lot!

        2. Thanks Tammy! This is going to save me a lot of time. I have actually DNF’d a couple of these already and now will steer clear of the others.

          1. I ploughed through the Loren Leigh hockey book a couple of weeks ago. The hockey seemed tacked on.
            Does anyone know who writes the blurbs ? If zje authors tjemselves, some of the texts would make me not want to read it because of style, others because of included kinks. Daddy/little one – I really don’t want to learn.

          2. Some of those authors I even tried two books by them, so desperate am I for more good hockey reading but…no. Twice no.

            Not to mention the authors where I’ve read entire series and now, done.

          3. Tammy, I guess it’s an advantage that I came late to this topic AND that I’m reading at such a snail pace: there’re still good books for me to read (published already or to be published in the near future).
            Not to mention the many pdfs saved from AO3

        3. I liked Ryan Taylor & Joshua Harwood’s 2-book legal romance (‘No Brief Affair’ and ‘Legally Bound’), read a few more after that, but the hockey books lost me.

          1. Maybe they should have stuck to a context they know well? You’re the legal beagle so you would spot any fakeries there.

      2. Dodo – Emma Jameson does the overshadowing thing in the Dr Bones series but in her case it is okay. You don’t learn the whole story of Dr Bones or the whole story of Lady Juliet for a while but there is enough going on that you don’t care.

        I have read other books that employ that technique & it is very annoying.

        1. Yes, it’s a fine line between working well or even working to suck you in as a reader and quite the opposite, being annoying.

  13. I finished “Finlay Donovan is Killing It”. As I expressed last week, I was unsure about my feelings toward it. I am no longer unsure. The MC has things happen to her – she doesn’t have agency in her own storyline. The difference is made apparent by the secondary MC, who does things like quit her job, buy a car, move in, all while thinking about what those actions would mean. There is a reason behind it all – and while some of the reasoning is flawed, she is an excellent character. Meanwhile, MC just reacts. In the last chapter, the author sets up the next book and my only reaction was “I don’t care.”

    Anyway. that’s my take on it.

  14. Two weeks ago, I said, “Last week Chachal mentioned reading Boucher’s The Case of the Baker Street Irregulars (copyright 1940 but set in July 1939,  just before the Hitler-Stalin pact of 23 August, which timing may be relevant).  I ran across it on my bookshelf and was hooked into starting to reread it, but I’m still reading.”  I finished my reread.  Not, in my opinion, Boucher’s strongest mystery,  but still worth reading. Some of the characterization is well done.  I think Maureen O’Breen deserves a better novel than she gets here.  (She does reappear in The Solid Key, which I have read but don’t remember well.  Her brother Fergus shows up in many Boucher novels and short stories. )  Boucher depicts the informal real Sherlockian fan organization the Baker Street Irregulars, representing what we would now call the cosy school, in conflict with a character based at least in part on Dashiell Hammett, representing the hard-boiled school.  Endless complications, including a murder, ensue.  (We also see a time when LA had fairly decent public transportation.)

    Boucher also plays up the Nazi menace in still-neutral America, and downplays the Communist threat.  This is what makes the novel’s setting in time important.  Before it was published, Stalin had allied himself with Hitler, and I would not be surprised if the specific dates were arranged before publication to make the already-written story predate that turn of events.  The unholy alliance did not come unstuck until after the book was out.  I find Boucher fascinating and am tempted to go on about his written work and biography, but I won’t.

    I’ll post this much, but I’ll likely get to reporting more reading later today.

    1. I need to reread that. Somehow, the mention of it last week has, by convoluted mental byways, made me start Asimov’s Murder at the ABA, which I haven’t read in at least twenty years. Probably more.

  15. This week I read Venetia – inspired by JaneB’s photo of the York assembly room. I’ve been rereading this Heyer since I was 13 years old and it still never fails to be a wonderful read.

    I finally read You Should Be So Lucky by Cat Sebastien. What a lovely lovely book. M/M Baseball player and grieving sports reporter. Great MCs, real problems, good historical atmosphere (1960) and a slow burn story. Wonderful. This one is a reread for sure. I’m glad I read it vs listened to it — I loved it so much I sampled the audio version for a possible audio reread; I very strongly did not like the narration. If you’re going for the audio be sure to sample first!

    I also read LA Witt’s ‘Name from a Hat Trick’ – M/M romance between the father of a girl with crippling migraines and the hockey star she idolizes. This one was a nice story, complete with realistic handling of problems that could come up in such a pairing. Not much angst and not much happens. As always with LA Witt, it could have been shorter — too much repetition. The search for great hockey romance continues.

    One morning at 3 am I decided to pull a random book from my Kindle tbr pile and ended up reading Tessa Bailey’s “It Happened One Summer.” F/M romance between an L.A. Influencer and a King Crab fisherman in a small village in Washington State. This one was a freebie at some point on Amazon and had been on my TBR pile for quite a while. I had put off reading it because FMC is a social media influencer — not my jam. Anyway, the first half was pretty good but then a too improbable sex scene spoiled the whole thing for me (I might be too fussy but must-have-sex in an empty hospital room when you’re there to visit an injured person…nope.) After that scene the whole middle just slumped and I skimmed to the end. Glad it was a freebie.

    And this week’s hockey documentary find is a lovely series on YouTube: Hockey: A People’s History. 10 Episodes. I’ve only watched the first 4 so far and each one has new and interesting information. I’m really enjoying it!

    1. Your remark about the hospital sex scene made me laugh. That is extremely odd.

    2. Christina, I sooo agree about the narration of the Cat Sebastian book. I’m aware that most authors adore Joel Leslie and he does have a knack for accents – be it British, American, Australian and probably anything else which is amazing.

      Risking to come across as rude, he sounds too camp to my ears in this book. For characters who have to stay in the closet, this sounds just not quite right. But then, I’ve not yet read the book, so it might fit.
      Leslie definitely has a wide range and some books narrated by him I would love to continue to listen to, but in general, I’m a bit hesitant and have to sample first. Unlike with a couple of other narrators that make me long for the audiobook on principle.

      1. My objection was that this narration made Eddy sound like a dumb ox to my ear. Not good! In fact all the baseball player parts sounded a bit brutish.
        I have to admit I can’t remember the names of many of the narrators/actors — only those I’d steer clear of. I’m afraid Leslie is one of them now.

    3. My first thought was On it happened one summer was – wait. King crab is caught off Alaska and I think maybe northern waters. Dungeness crab is Washington and Oregon and California, probably Canada too. Then I remembered that my BIL over wintered his fishing boat in Seattle. But it still seemed weird. So I would have had my doubts at that point.

      1. To be fair to the author, the King Crab fisherman MMC does go to Alaska for the crab…

        1. Mine hasn’t lost any pages because it is held together with a rubber band.

    4. Christina, should I give LA Witt another try? I’ve tried a couple of theirs and didn’t love but this one sounds good…where would you put then in the hockey authors pantheon or who would you most closely compare them to?

      1. I’ve now tried a few of LA Witt’s and didn’t love any of them and would classify some of them as maybe level 3 at most, maybe not quite up to level 3? They are pretty bland, even when dealing with serious topics. The writing is often a bit annoying cause of too much repetition. For example, “Scoreless Game” became intolerable because in every single chapter the reader is subjected to the MC’s internal whining about unrequited love. I DNF’d that one at 30%.

        I honestly can’t think of which author to compare her to. Maybe Tierney Rose?

        “Name from a Hat Trick” was the best one I’ve read and you might like it. Its innocuous. Just don’t expect a level 1 read. Oh and while there is a little bit of hockey in this one, its a book I would probably classify as hockey adjacent.

        1. I like LA Witt, not all of them, but these were my faves: Burner account (sweet), and Brick Walls (angsty and cocaine addiction), and Aftermath (VERY angsty) but I think it is great. I liked a few others too. These are all hockey related.

        2. Yes I’ve tried some LA Witt before and never loved them so stopped reading but this sounds better so will put it on the list.

    5. Another one that never works for me: we are on the run for our lives but let’s take 5 minutes to have hot sex in a completely inappropriate location.

      1. See, that always works for me because I think I would totally do that. What else is the point of running for our lives??

        1. Well in fiction world, if you’re going to die anyway, might as well make time for some wild lovemaking, after all you’re already living on the edge anyway

        2. I enjoy the farcical aspect of it, I think. The whole adventure is usually so far fetched that stopping for a quickie just adds to the romp. Of course, I also like tentacles, so obviously I have a loose definition of reality.

      2. There was one book where the MCs had to stay hidden for a day, and they had to be quiet, otherwise they’d get caught. I thought that was a good solution to get the intensity from the danger with out the headdesk why-are-you-risking-your-lives-for-sex. Plus one got the feeling that the FMC basically wanted to have something good before she died.
        I think maybe it was Brockmann?

        1. Linda Howard I think – one of the Mackenzie books – the daughter’s story.

        2. I was thinking Touch of Fire? She is kidnapped by a drug lord and he is a commando sent to save her in the jungle and they have to shelter in an old church or other abandoned building during the day? Also Linda Howard.

          1. I think that’s the plot but I think “Touch of Fire” is the one with the woman doctor in the Old West? It has been ages since I read any Howard.

          2. Midnight Rainbow then? She has two “Fire” books, Heart of Fire also being set in the jungle. I get confused. Plots stick better for me than titles and character names.

      3. I’m with LN on this. If I was running for my life think I’d be too distracted/terrified to start thinking about hot sex in in appropriate places.

        Likewise I get concerned when the characters stop in the middle of something dangerous to exchange witty banter as time runs out….

  16. HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE/LITHA TO YOU ALL! Summer is definitely here.

    I read one book, and it was a reread of Tell Me Lies, by Jenny. I got my quota of snark in the first chapter, but kept on reading for more. I was really low on snark. I laughed at the brownie remark, yet again. I will not bore you again with my description of it.

    There are delightful new books on my TBR list I hope to get to when it’s so hot, going outside is prohibitive.

  17. I’m reading J.C. Kenney’s Panic in the Panhandle, the first release in his Elmo Simpson cozy mystery series. It’s definitely a fun read, partly because Florida’s Panhandle is one of my favorite places to visit and because I like J.C.’s voice a lot.

  18. Overall a good reading week. I read the Dr. Bones mysteries and mostly really enjoyed them. However, since the first two are billed as cozies, I was unprepared for the violent antisemitism in the fourth book. That was a lot more than I signed up for and I will have a careful look at the next book before reading.

  19. I’ve been wandering from one Loretta Chase to another, to get me through a bad cold & take my mind off C18 horrors. They’re all fun; currently on Last Night’s Scandal, following on from Lord Perfect, which always makes me laugh out loud.

  20. First up, a reread of EVERY SINGLE LIE by Rachel Vincent, “the author of this book, NO ONE IS ALONE, and several bestselling, pulse-pounding series for teens and adults. A former English teacher and a champion of the serial comma, Rachel has written more than thirty novels and remains convinced that writing about the things that scare her is the cheapest form of therapy. Rachel shares her home in Oklahoma with three cats, two grown children, and her husband, who’s been her number one fan from the start.”
    Third reread. It isn’t a romance, more of a mystery that starts with a stillborn baby in a high school locker room. Not everyone’s cup of tea.

    I finished A NEW CLAN by David Weber and Jane Lindskold. I started it last week but finished Tuesday. Treecats are one of my favorite alien races.

    I simultaneously read and listened to FIELD NOTES ON LOVE by the other Jennifer Smith. It was as good as Jenny suggested it might be. I will admit that the audiobook wasn’t the best narration to which I’ve listened.

    THE CARTHAGINIAN CRISIS (Queen of the Sea Book 4) by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett. I see that the name of the series has changed from “The Alexander Inheritance series” to “Queen of the Sea series.” Of the four spin-off series from 1632, this is my favorite, usually. I’ve only just started book 4.

    Finally. just sharing:

    “Death of the Author” is a literary theory that says “readers’ interpretation supersedes authors’ intent.”- Elizabeth Wheatley

    Sounds familiar, like something Jenny has said? Lois Bujold says it all the time.

  21. In the past few weeks, I enjoyed reading/listening to Abbi Waxman’s The Garden of Small Beginnings which navigated grief without being more emotional than I prefer. And I loved the gardening aspect despite the inaccuracies of the length of time from planting to harvesting.

    I thoroughly enjoyed Clare Pooley’s How to Age Disgracefully. It has a satisfying, low angst story of found family, elderly folks who are still viable and contributing to society.

    Currently, I’m listening to The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center and am reading the latest Lord Julian mystery by Grace Burrowes. So far, so good.

  22. I continue to DNF a lot of books with promising starts when I get to the middle and realize I just don’t care about the characters, and their lives are boring. I DNFd Angeline Boulley’s Firekeeper’s Daughter for completely different reasons: at about 25% I didn’t think I could stand to watch these people suffer as much as I suspected they were going to, and I read the end, and I think I was right. Really well written; really believable characters; too much pain.
    I did enjoy Nghi Vo’s The Brides of Hill House. I’m never sure whether I will like hers or not, but this was a win.
    I’m almost finished re-reading Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series from beginning to end. I’m not sure where I will go from there. Her Elemental Blessing books? Murderbot?

    1. Those two series are my favourite Sharon Shinn series. I have reread them countless times already!

      1. True. Basically, any series apart from the Echoes series which was very odd.
        There’s also a standalone with blood which makes me squeamish.

        1. I think I might be the only one who liked the Echoes books. Deeply odd I agree but I found them intriguing, and I liked the politics. Definitely some nasty bits though.

          Now I’m curious about the stand-alone. Was that “Heart of Gold”?

          1. Oh no, I love Heart of Gold. I have reread it several times.

            No, I am talking about The Shuddering City.

            Saying that, there is also one book in the Elemental Blessings where blood is used in a disgusting way but the heroine is great so I still reread it.

          2. Aah – they’re the two of the five Shinns I haven’t read (I think!) so didn’t pick it. “Shuddering City” is on my tbr shelf so I’m duly warned 🙂

  23. Somehow, back in 2008, I totally missed that Terry Pratchett published a non-Discworld book called Nation. So I’m reading it now.

    1. My son, he who says that Pratchett formed most of his personality for highschool college, firmly believes it’s Pratchett’s best book.
      It is very different from his other books but I do like it a lot.

      1. I liked it a lot too, and I recommended it to my older son who is also a huge Pratchett fan.

  24. I discovered a gem of a book in Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons. Set in the early 1800s, this reads like a Jane Austen novel of manners, but the complicating twist for Miss Percy, an unassuming fortyish spinster living like an unpaid servant in her married sister’s home, is that she inherits her eccentric great uncle’s personal belongings, among which is a rather large egg-shaped rock. Of course, it’s not a rock, and what ensues is a series of comedic mishaps as Miss Percy rediscovers her youthful gumption.

    1. Helen, that sounds like a fascinating book. Do you know the author? I can search for it, I guess.

  25. I read, and really liked, The Rom-Commers by Katherine Center. It’s about a female screenwriter who helps a well known male writer figure out how to fix the disastrously awful rom-com script he wrote. There are certain things I am not crazy about, which I won’t mention because spoilers, but I enjoyed the repartee between the MCs. I also took pleasure in reading a new mystery novel, Death in the Details by Katie Tietjen. It’s a post WWII story about a woman that makes dollhouses and miniatures, and uses her skills to create a diorama of a crime scene in order to figure out how, and by whom, the victim was murdered. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this is based on a real life woman who created miniature crime scene dioramas for training police investigators.

  26. I had thought the Boucher book that I mentioned earlier was going to be my only completely read novel for today, but late in the week I got sucked into a very readable, if flawed, two-book series:

    Laurence Dahners, The Warp and the Weft and sequel Germ Theory (ebooks, both 2024, available in KU).  These are ingenious alternate-history fantasies.  (I have a theory involving superscience nanotechnology that could turn the series into science fiction if borne out later.)  Ryn, a young woman surgeon, somehow escapes a sexual assault by porting into an alternate world, and eventually discovers that she has the innate power to port between the two realities at will. On our timeline there really was an outbreak of bubonic plague known as the Third Plague starting in 1855 that, over several decades, killed at least 12 million people in China and India and smaller numbers elsewhere in the world.  The alternate reality shared a history with ours evidently until after the American Civil War, but then the bacterium mutated into a more virulent form that subsided only after killing three quarters of the human race and freezing technological and social development at a level that looks to me like mostly the early 19th century (minus chattel slavery), although the characters and the blurbs characterize it as the late 19th.  Of particular concern to Ryn (and her roommate and best friend, Kelly, whom Ryn is later able to take along), is the absence of rights for women and the sorry state of medicine on the alternate.  Meanwhile, back on our timeline, the men who attempted to rape Ryn and Kelly, and succeeded with others before them, are still free and anxious to eliminate witnesses.  Many complications ensue, and a halfway satisfactory ending on both timelines is reached only in the sequel, with plenty of room left for continuations. The author is a retired orthopedic surgeon who includes a lot of fascinating medical detail.  I found this a gripping read, although one involving a lot of handwaving and some questionable extrapolation.   As I understand it, rights for the lower classes actually increased after the Black Plague in Europe, since labor was scarcer and had more leverage.  Similarly, in the real late-19th century US, women had more rights in the new states in the West than farther East, in part because they had more leverage where labor was scarce.  And given that bubonic plague normally depends on spreading through fleas or very close person to person contact, preferably when people have stressed immune systems, it would have to be quite a mutation for it to kill 75% of post-1865 Americans. Also, the novels’ characterization started off functional and improved only a little over the course of action, and the same could be said of other story elements. But for me, the virtues overbalanced the flaws, and I’ll read any sequels.

  27. I read The Spare Man by Kowal and Spindle’s End by McKinley. I liked the Spare Man which was a relatively comon-plot murder mystery but with an interesting setting and MC. I’d like to see a sequel that would develop the character more deeply with less reliance on world building, but it doesn’t look like that will be happening.

    Spindle’s End was charming if a bit long. It’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling with an interesting ‘Beauty’. The ending bit, after the finger prick, seemed a bit out of sync with the rest and at a different pace, but IMO still well done. No surprises really, but enjoyable.

    1. I definitely think The Spare Man was written with the intention of sequel: the heroine’s pre-story lab accident might not have really been an accident, for one thing. The novel might not have been commercially successful enough to justify one, or Kowal’s interest might just have turned elsewhere. (Kowal does answer fan mail; you could write her and ask about the sequel prospects. )

  28. I started the week with a re-read Collision Course by Susan Donovan – because I loved the story. It is about a woman on the run (with amnesia) and the journalist who knocks her of her bike (giving her amnesia). A good story unfolds slowly as her memory returns. Back on the keeper shelf.

    Then Homes, Margaret & Poe by James Patterson & Brian Sitts which I got out of the library and enjoyed. The three are PI’s who have a background we still have to discover so I am guessing it is going to have follow ups.

    The Heiresses Daughter by Anne Gracie was delivered and I did enjoy it, though I was a bit anxious as someone last week didn’t. The main character is quiet and cautious and afraid of being pursued for her fortune (she thinks she is plain and fat and has nothing to recommend her other than her fortune). It has been done before but I thought it was well done. I also loved meeting old friends from this series and previous ones. I have only even not liked an Anne Gracie and I stuck a post it note in the preceding book (it was a series) telling myself that I hated the next book and not to by or borrow it again because the heroine was too stupid to live. I have never done that before, left myself a note saying not to bother, before or since, so it must have been particularly bad.

    Then Crazy for You by Jenny Crusie – such a great book, and the stalking was well written and believable. Loved the snark, the adorable dog and all the family and shinanigins.

    Hidden by Laura Griffen was next and it was a really good story about a policeman and a journalist putting together clues to a murder. Their relationship was believable and the story a good one.

    I got a surprise book in the mail this week too Ten Poems about Knitting sent by a friend. Who knew there were even ten poems about knitting. It made me laugh. It is produced by Candlestick Press for Knit for Peace. I will definitely be sending them some of my knitting that is complete but I do not have a home for. I am not a huge fan of poetry (though I love Hollie McNish), and these don’t really do it for me but the fact that the book exists is enough for me.

    Just finished People in Glass Houses by Jayne Ann Krentz and it was another hit for me. This book kinda picked up the story from a previous one. An injured man and a woman to the rescue. What is not to love plus, dust bunnies!

    The weather here has been pretty awful cold and very wet, a lovely excuse to stay inside and read 🙂

    1. It’s Holmes Marple & Poe, right? I am leery of James Patterson collaboration books in general but, if you think it’s good, I will look for it at the lib. Thanks!

  29. I’m training another youngling, so I won’t be here much for the next couple of weeks and between that and the heat, my brain is pretty fried.

    I dnfed the Saxon James that I tried. I was annoyed that the main character was getting back into making furniture after a divorce and was going out to harvest wood for it. Excuse me, but without a kiln, you have to age wood for a year or so before you use it. That annoyed me a d then the character really annoyed me, so I gave up and have been listening to safe, comforting things. I tried CM Nascota’s Summer Berries again and liked it better this time. It wasn’t a favorite, but not bad.

    The new Patricia Briggs is download in Kindle, but I am not brave enough to start it yet. The last Mercy book was almost lighthearted, so I feel sure that this one is going to rip my still beating heart out and tramp on it. Or maybe not. I just worry.

    We have been watching Trying, a TV show about a British couple who can’t have kids and decide to adopt. It’s much better than the trailer led me to expect. Comforting, funny, found family and real life balanced with softness. It is also sparkling some good conversations with my husband, who was adopted at age 4.

    1. Lupe – my daughter is enjoying the new Mercy Thompson. She is a different reader than me, though.

      I know what you mean about not wanting your heart ripped out. I feel the same way about Diana Gabaldon.

      I love the characters in the Outlander series but I refuse to read the books anymore. I understand needing to put your characters through stuff but she is ridiculous. How much longer can you call these romance novels when no one ever has an HEA?

      And it makes me angry when she is confronted with this & says – it’s not a romance & yet she accepted RWA award for Outlander. Make up your mind Diana.

      1. I never read Outlander, mostly because I hate time travel to my core. Now I am doubly glad I never tried.

  30. I just read the first book in the Crone Wars series by Lydia M. Hawke and loved it.

    The story opens on the protagonist’s 60th birthday and when she blows out her candles she wishes for “purpose.”

    Talking about being careful what you wish for…

    Even though I brought about 20 books back from a writer’s con I attended in April and have barely made a dent, I’ve already gotten the second in the series and I’m rubbing my hands together in anticipation.

  31. Am reading too many books and not absorbing any of them, but they are all good!
    1. The Bee Sting – set in rural Ireland, really good family saga told from several different PoV. Am stuck 60% of way through…
    2. Feeling and knowing: making minds conscious by Antonio Damasio – really interesting and clear exploration of the frontiers of neurobiology and psychology – and that makes it sound impenetrable, but he has a gift with metaphor. Stuck 40% of the way through
    3. The Three Graces, Amanda Craig – loved the opening, but it is a holiday book and I am not on holiday for another 8 days. About 3 women in their 80s, their friendships, families, set in gorgeous Italian countryside. Can’t wait to restart.
    4. Written: How to keep writing and build a habit….since I finished podcast in March, writing habits have disintegrated…suspect that won’t change until we’ve finished our move and we are firmly settled in Luxembourg. But this is keeping me in the zone, highly recommended.

    But I have been suffering from sleep interruptions – waking up with start at 2:30 or 3:00am and then waiting for alarm to ring at 4:55, am too tired to concentrate so am currently rereading for gazillionth time Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. And after that, Heyer awaits. I think for another month or so, it will be comforting re-reads.

  32. Emma Jameson’s Blue Blooded was #5 in the series. It was also my least favorite installment so far. Too bloody and graphic for me, especially the ending, where both protagonists Kate and Tony are badly hurt. The next book in the series, #6, Blue Christmas was much more light-hearted. Kate and Tony have recovered their health, more or less, but Kate is suffering from PTSD after the events of book #5. Her friends are rallying around her. The mystery is less convoluted, and the villain not nearly as frightening. And there are jolly Christmas references all over the text. Overall, very nice, almost restful, as mysteries go. Kate and Tony and their readers needed this holiday-themed respite from the grim intensity of the previous book.
    Books & Broadswords by Jessie Mihalik was nothing like her sci-fi novels. It was short and sweet. One short story and one novelette, both happening in the same fantasy world. Dragons, knights, swords, love, and many gentle smiles, this book reminded me of Travis Baldree’s charming novels. I enjoyed those too. Did you know that a dragon’s hoard doesn’t have to be gold. It could be books. Or rocks and crystals. It’s really up to the individual dragon to choose their treasures.
    The short format of the stories didn’t allow for extensive world building, but what there was of it was interesting and ripe for further exploration. The author obviously had fun writing these tales. Consequently, I had fun reading them. As this book is subtitled Volume One, I hope for a Volume Two set in the same world. Soon, please.

    1. Books and Broadswords is on sale for 2.99 on Kindle. Always looking for someting fun to read and I usually enjoy Mihalik.

  33. I’m still working my way through the Blandings Castle books by PG Wodehouse. I just love the way he plays with language to promote maximum silliness.

    Also, THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE by Mary Roberts Rinehart, the American Agatha Christie. I’m doubtful of that moniker since I find the story fairly convoluted, but perhaps I’ll be surprised by the end. It would be nice to find another source of delightful cozy mysteries.

    I’m gearing up to reread TRUE GRIT in July, which I remember as being a corker!

  34. Too exhausted to try new things, so read Sleep No More by JAK. New book for me, but still in a way nice comfort read. I can always read her books, when I am in a not reading mood.

  35. I’ve at the end of a week long writing retreat with my wonderful crit group – five of us in a big old house in the hinterland behind Byron Bay, NSW. Lots of birds, sub tropical rainforest, amazing food and wonderful conversation.

    In the evenings I’ve been rereading the Linesman trilogy and adoring it all over again. The characters are SO GOOD, and the stakes are so high.

    I have also just been told that hardly anyone knew (in her lifetime) that Georgette Heyer (Mrs Ronald Rougier) was Georgette Heyer, and that she never gave an interview. I had no idea.

    1. I recommended the Linesman trilogy to Lupe – thought it would be up her competence porn way.

      1. The first audiobook was on sale! It’s moved up the queue of my TBR, but my hold on Bride came in, so I have to listen to that first.

      1. Her book got released during “Interesting Times” so it got no publicity and still managed to sell really well. So after that she would point this out every time they tried to make her do any

    2. I’m really hoping the SK Dunstall duo continue to write in the same world as the Linesman – I enjoyed their other two books, but the Linesman trilogy is so good! I heard they were writing a new book but don’t know the whether it’s a continuation or entirely different from the others.

      1. Sarah, I would so love more books set in that world. I heard they were writing a fantasy, so maybe they’re branching out a bit. I don’t know if it’s true or not, though.

  36. Read Catherine Mack’s Every Time I Go on Vacation Someone Dies – did not care for it.

    I’m also new to the Rivers of London series. It took me a while to get into Midnight Riot but once I did, I enjoyed it. Moon over Soho felt more like reading for pleasure, perhaps because of all the world building in Midnight Riot.

    Reread Sharon Shinn’s The Shuddering City – I always enjoy her work.

    1. We can journey through Rivers of London together, Sue, while everyone else stands on teh shore and cheers for us to catch up to them.

      1. About time, you two!!!

        But you’ve got some good reading ahead of you!

        I have a collection of the paperbacks, and I love the ones with different street diagrams of London. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  37. Happy Solstice!! I took myself out for a long (lovely!) hike and forgot it was GBTh until just now. Now here to update on my Discworld reading.

    This week, I started with Raising Steam, the last Discworld novel published during Terry Pratchett’s lifetime. In brief: Moist von Lipwig is building a railroad to Überwald, with help from Harry King, Vetinari, and a few others. The book has the feel of a farewell tour, with many gratuitous allusions to previous Discworld books/characters. To name a few: Dick Simnel, inventor of the titular steam engine here, is the son of Ned Simnel, the blacksmith who invented the combine harvester in Reaper Man; Queen Kelli (from Mort) appears briefly; Rincewind gets a couple of footnotes; and Lu Tze stops by to have tea with Ridcully for no discernible reason. It’s understandable, just a bit clunky.

    Like Snuff, I just didn’t have that much fun reading Raising Steam, and I would put both books in the category of ‘worth reading only for the sake of completion.’ Instead of thinking about the book very hard, I spent most of my time thinking about just how good a writer Pratchett was. For the vast majority of the Discworld books, he wrote with an inimitable authorial voice, one that was smart, funny, humane, complex, complicated and powerful.

    That voice is mostly missing in Raising Steam, although there are little reminders throughout. I’m so glad I get to go back and visit it again, as I step back into the Tiffany Aching books.

    I’d already read Wee Free Men and A Hat Made of Sky. Both of which I probably gave short shrift to, since I was struggling a bit at the time. But I enjoyed them both, and I picked up Wintersmith with a real sense of anticipation, pleased to be returning to Tiffany and the Chalk. As it happens, I love teenage Tiffany, and this is probably my favorite of her books.

    This is a book about Tiffany growing up, and struggling with finding a balance between her role as an incredibly capable witch and her role as a young person who occasionally wants to set some of that responsibility aside. Which she does when she joins the winter solstice dance and attracts the notice of the Wintersmith. He subsequently tries to woo her with snowflakes, ice roses, icebergs, and eventually, a deadly snowstorm.

    I haven’t always loved Pratchett’s writing of teenage girls (e.g. Ysabell in Mort), but I really do enjoy the nuance & layers he gives Tiffany here. Because there’s a part of her that’s just thrilled with the attention, and I totally understand why. It’s just kind of cool…until it isn’t, of course.

    There are other witches and other important parts of the book, but in the end it comes down to Tiffany, who does what needs to be done. I’m glad I saved this one.

    1. Lynn, I enjoy your rereads of the Discworld books. I agree entirely with you concerning Raising Steam and about Tiffany Aching as a teenage girl. Thanks very much!

  38. I started Nora Roberts Mind Games today. Definitely not a summer beach read. Grim!

  39. Currently enjoying Alix Harrow’s STARLING HOUSE. Discovered it when I voted for the Library if Virginia’s People’s Choice Awards. The finalists are the Virginia-born or Virginia-based authors who achieve the most check-outs in Virginia libraries over the course of a calendar year. STARLING HOUSE was the only genre novel on the list. It’s a little bit Beauty and the Beast, a little bit Persephone and Hades, a touch of Heathcliff (assuming you stop WUTHERING HEIGHTS when he returns home, before he turns into a brutish, necrophiliac a-hole), and most importantly a whole lot of HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE. Talk about catnip. I was scared off by the descriptions of THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY. Timey-wimey alternate universes are not my jam. But having read STARLING HOUSE, it’s definitely worth checking out of the library.

    1. Harrow has also written a lot of good short fiction, a lot of it free online. My favorites include “Mr. Death” (Apex), “Do Not Look Back, My Lion” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies), and “The Long Way Up” (thedeadlands). “A Spindle Splintered” is a charming novella, a twist on Sleeping Beauty.

  40. DNF the Jem Jago series by Emma Jameson. I had great hopes but it seems to be turning into a love triangle & NO. I can tell I’m not going to like her other series either by things that have been said.

    I read all the Dr Bones series out so far. Loved it & will continue to read it.

    Read a novella by a new to me author Beverly Jenkins called Rare Danger. It was really good.

    Somehow wound up back into Amanda Quick standalones reread. So far Rendezvous, Mischief, Garden of Lies, Scandal & Reckless. Currently reading Dangerous.

    She has a way of winding a laugh throughout her books that is so understated funny. For example – in Garden of Lies tabloids accuse hero Slater of all kinds of atrocities. When he reunites with his former partner Brice:
    B:”You were never interested in society. Do you think you’ll become bored?”
    S: “I worried about that for a time. But no longer. I have a hobby.”
    B: “Hobby?”
    S: “Haven’t you heard? I practice exotic sexual rites on unsuspecting ladies in my basement.”
    Brice laughed.
    That phrase – practice exotic sexual rites… is woven throughout the book. Of course, what is actually in the basement is a meditation labyrinth that Slater walks.
    Classic Amanda Quick – I love it.

    1. I always go back to my classic Amanda Quick. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the newer books, too, but I’ve read and re-read the older titles and am immensely fond of them.

    2. Haven’t read classic Amanda Quick for ages, is this one of the ones where to complete the circle he ends up making love to someone in a basement.

    3. Love the classic Amanda Quicks! I remember the “exotic sexual rites” thread. And I loved that the tabloid reporter appeared in more than one book.

  41. It’s been an unusually light reading week for me. Despite AC in the house, the heat has been dragging me down by and every time I started to read, I’d fall asleep. I finished 2 books by Rebecca Zanetti – in different series. Habeus Corpus is the latest in the Anna Albertini series and Frost Bitten is part of the Deep Ops group. I haven’t finished most of the previous Anna Albertini books and have enjoyed the Deep Ops titles. This time, it was the opposite. The romance/sexual liaison between the two MCs in Deep Frost is overwrought to the point of being silly at times. The motive for the central crime is vague and its resolution is unsatisfactory. The Anna Albertini book, by comparison, is a pretty standard mystery novel. Good pacing and the ending works. In my view, the Laurel Snow books is the best of Zanetti’s various series. The fourth book is coming out later this year.

  42. First, I love Beverly Jenkins. She’s one of my six favorite authors. And somebody thanked her on the Tony awards. It made me so happy.
    Someone also thanked my agent, Barrett Bischoff, which was another very happy moment
    I started the week with Roald Dahl, Matilda, which was on sale on Amazon. I’ve read it of course before but it wasn’t in my Kindle library. That was a fun short read.
    Then I went onto It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber which I definitely enjoyed. And now I’m reading Deb Blake’s Bobby Yaga book Wickedly Wonderful and loving it.
    I flew to Vancouver today with my son Christopher. And I’m sitting in the hotel room.
    I sent him out to get some food. He’s vegan in the hotel doesn’t have that.
    We asked housekeeping for a step because the beds are too high for me to get in, but they did put a shower chair in the shower, which is awesome I’m looking forward to working tomorrow.

  43. I’m always super late to these things. Oh well!

    I was really enjoying the Portlock Paranormal Detective urban fantasy/mystery series by Heather G. Harris & Jilleen Dolbeare… and was fairly disappointed that, after racing through the first few books, I found out that they’re still writing the next one!

    That was OK, because the new Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson book was released, which means that once again I will re-read the entire series from the beginning. Which is what I do every time she releases a new book in the series (which, luckily, is only about every 18-24 months).

    On audio, I’m listening to Sarah Lyons Fleming again. It had been a year since I last listened. Her books are SO good on audio. Her first series was read by Julia Whelan earlier in her career, and she’s one of the best. Her second series was read by Luke Thompson and Therese Plummer, again before they became more famous (and is my favorite). Her current series has FOUR narrators and they’re all great.

    1. I have also been enjoying the Portlock Paranormal Detective urban fantasy mysteries. They’re not great, but they are fun. The main character is a British woman who was attacked by a vampire, and is now a vampire herself, but moves to a paranormal town in Alaska to escape being enslaved by the vampire master of Europe. She’s placed as an administrative assistant at the local police department, but ends up doing a lot of the grunt work since they are extremely short-handed. Hijinks ensue.

  44. I loved parts of “Something Spectacular” by Alexis Hall and enjoyed it overall. There was a secondary character I couldn’t stand and unfortunately she introduces the book, but there were plenty of times I laughed out, and it’s a lovely fantasy of a historical nb/nb romance.

    Then back to medievals, with the third of Ann Swinfen’s Oxford mysteries “The Huntsman’s tale”. Thanks to the various Arghers recc’d this series as I’m thoroughly enjoying them. I particularly liked all the details of the harvest in this one – so evocative.

    The other notable book of the week was “Unraveller” by Frances Hardinge – YA secondary world fantasy. I rather liked that this was a book about the curse unraveller and the ex-cursed who sticks to him like glue realising that they’re friends. Plus excellent world-building.

    Also been reading some Chinese science-fiction shorts in translation, the best of which so far has been the fascinating “Tasting the Future Delicacy Three Times” by Baoshu. I also liked “Seeds of Mercury” by Wang Jinkang.

  45. I went to an actual bookstore Thursday night for Patricia Briggs signing of Winter Lost at Murder by the Book in Houston. I’m not a huge mystery reader unless it’s part of a fantasy or romance, but I felt like supporting the store and buying some physical books. I realized I am way behind on CS Harris’ St Cyr mysteries so I picked up a few.
    They didn’t have The Ministry of Time in stock so I’ll stay on the library waitlist.
    I’m still working on The Three Body Problem (which is dense but readable) but I’ve started a reread of Brigg’s Soul Taken and then I’ll go right into Winter Lost.
    It’s so hot rn, I could stand to read a wintery book.

Comments are closed.