Crosstalk by Connie Willis is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. Sooooo good.
A Little Folly I’m not sure what #2 wanted to say about this
Stormy challenge by Jayne Ann Krentz writing as Stephanie James was just bad. It was from 1982 and both clunky and with an abusive stalker “hero”. Not sure if it is the James penname or the 1982 that is the problem. Legacy was another one from the 80s with a crazy abusive stalker as the “hero”. A Coral Kiss from 1987 was pretty decent. I checked it out from the library but I wouldn’t have minded if I’d bought a copy. Grand Passion was pretty good, though not as good as her more recent stuff. I broke down and bought the first Guinevere Jones book and then immediately had to buy the next two. They are novella length and not actually worth $6.99 on Kindle, but I think they are worth the cost of the used (not new) paperback compendiums. (The first two are better than the last two.)
The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham was ok. It started off well, but kind of fell apart in the third quarter.
I discovered that the city library I’ve been getting ebooks from has a lot of babara metzger on kindle. These have been mixed. Lord Heartless started off well, but then became a mess of unnecessary complication in the second half. There was plenty of plot to resolve without adding all the rushed stupidity and drama (though of course having the drama means that we’re not supposed to notice that the main plot from the first half never actually got resolved). A Worthy Wife is pretty dumb with an unlikable hero. An Affair of Interest is one of those where a middle aged grumpy controlling perfect oldest son and heir to a nobleman inexplicably falls in love with a teenager who is always getting into scrapes that he has to rescue her from… I know Heyer did one or two of these successfully (though the woman is never quite such an idiot) but when it’s not Heyer the trope seems a little gross and completely unbelievable (and even when it is Heyer I pretend the woman is older and the man younger!). Ace of Hearts’ hero was grossly slut-shaming so I didn’t get very far. An Angel for the Earl was ok. The Duel was pretty good. The Christmas Carrolls was really terrible– the patriarch date-raped a woman while traveling with his wife and kids sick at home and got her pregnant, a teenager gets married to the father of her boyfriend… and so on. The Luck of the Devil was ok. A Debt to Delia was silly but fine, though it had a slow start. The Primrose Path was pretty funny. A suspicious affair was quite good, though it was written in a different style then most of Metzger’s work– mostly third person perspective from a bow street runner, rather than from the hero/heroine (cw: the corpse that serves as mcguffin beat and possibly raped women, including the heroine, when he was alive). Miss Westlake’s Windfall was slow and boring… it speeds up near the end, but I skipped large chunks of the beginning and middle– a TSTL heroine. The Painted Lady’s hero was so extremely disgusting in the first few pages (talking about how the hero’s mistresses think he’s a generous lover, but in reality he’s just getting to know their bodies so he can paint them nude later without their knowledge… if he were modern he’d be secretly filming them) that I returned the rest unread. Lady Whilton’s Wedding started out really well– a decent take on the engaged childhood friends trope… and then a third of the way through turned into Weekend at Bernies, which… I dunno…
Rich People Problems is better than China Rich Girlfriend.
What have you been reading this summer?
July 17, 2019 at 7:39 am
I have about 100 pages left on the last book in V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, and it’s been delightful. I got the first as a gift a while back, finally read it a few weeks ago, and bought the second and third since then. It’s fast-paced, fantastic world-building, well-written twists.
I’m also in the middle of “Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: a History of Lesbian Life in 20th Century America”, which has been a great look at how society’s views on WLW have changed over time, and how WLW identities and communities have developed against that background.
July 18, 2019 at 4:27 pm
I keep meaning to make headway in Matt baumes defining marriage. But I’ve been reading so much nonfiction for work it’s hard.
July 17, 2019 at 9:29 am
I love Crosstalk! Have you read Willis’ Passages? Also wonderful.
July 17, 2019 at 9:37 am
I haven’t. My DH has read all of her work but only recommends the more up-beat humorous stuff to me. (To say nothing of the dog, bellweather, etc.) I will have to ask him about Passage.
July 18, 2019 at 8:50 am
Passage is ultimately sort of bittersweet, I’d say. Not so much upbeat/humor. Passage is the book that instituted my “do not start a new Connie Willis book after 6 p.m.” rule, though. I ended up staying up past 4 a.m. to finish it.
I find her writing to be such a mixed bag for me: I love To Say Nothing of the Dog, as well as some of her less humorous books, like Passage and Doomsday Book. I tend to find her short stories and novellas (especially the novellas with illustrations) to be too insubstantial or too negative to enjoy. And Blackout and All Clear– which I so looked forward to that I bought them both in hardcover and waited for All Clear to come out before starting Blackout– I found to be disappointments. I think she got so caught up in the stories she was told that she put too much of them in the books and lost what the books could have been.
July 18, 2019 at 9:05 am
I got her compendium of short stories as part of a humble bumble and you’re right that she is all over the place– insubstantial to occasionally giving me nightmares, and a lot of almost Ray Bradburyish anti-technology stuff. I’m only about halfway through and I’m not sure I will finish. It’s one of my kindle plane reads.
July 17, 2019 at 10:22 am
Crosstalk was great! Several of the Connie Willis books I’ve read have been really good. I also particularly liked Doomsday Book. Have either of you read that one?
I’ve been reading a lot lately. Based on your recommendation, I borrowed Not Even Bones. I’m glad to see this is going to be a series and another book should be out in a few months.
I waited for nearly two months to get a copy of Circe from the library’s ebook collection, but it was worth it. So good!
Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone was great, and The Hollow of Fear (Lady Sherlock series book 3) by Sherry Thomas was another one that made me want to play hooky from work and just read. I think I finished both of these books within a matter of two to three days, even while working and/or attending to other responsibilities for a significant portion of those days.
A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell series book 4) was OK. I mean, the attraction between the two main characters is being dragged on just a little too far at this point. Sherry Thomas’s Lady Sherlock series has done a great job of building the tension between the lead and her interest while also making the reader feel the relationship is developing in interesting ways.
I used the $5 Kindle credit offered by Amazon during Prime Days to purchase Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers and am eager to get it started. I have some travel coming up in a couple weeks, and am holding out until I get closer to that date. Airport and airplane time is usually prime reading time for me, and I suspect this is another book where I will want to just immerse myself and not deal with other life things until I’ve finished it.
July 17, 2019 at 10:26 am
DH very much liked the Doomsday book, but thinks it isn’t lighthearted enough for me.
I’m planning on reading the newest Zen Cho on my next airplane trip!
July 18, 2019 at 9:50 am
I love The Doomsday Book, but it regularly makes me cry (even after several readings, and teaching it once), so I agree that if you’re looking for lighthearted, this is NOT it. It does, however, pass the twitch-and-moan test (that is, as a professional medievalist, I don’t twitch, moan, and throw it across the room b/c of historical inaccuracies).
July 18, 2019 at 9:53 am
DH explained to me all the little Easter eggs from the other time historians books I was missing in to say nothing of the dog (which is much much more my speed).
July 19, 2019 at 10:27 pm
I just read the first Guinevere Jones and it was fun but WOW how did we live with all the smoking and landlines, not to mention no internet in our pockets??
July 20, 2019 at 5:53 am
Ha! Yes! The last book has some completely inappropriate workplace discrimination (though legal given it is a one person office) on the part of ms jones because she doesn’t want him to be tempted. That, I think, is a worse part of the 80s.
October 14, 2019 at 5:00 am
[…] Willis Crosstalk – I picked this up after Nicole and Maggie mentioned it and it was really fast-paced which was stressful for me but it was quite well written and worth […]