More books!

I ran out of books, so while waiting to get off library lists (I’m trying to reread the Arcane Society books by Quick/Krentz/Castle in order  update:  also the Harmony series and Eclipse Bay and Copper Beach— these are all the same world and SO SOOTHING), I pulled up another (free!) E. F. Benson, this time Queen Lucia.  This review says it so much better than I could, as does the google books description, “There’s many things in this world that will depress you, and make you good for nothing, if you take them seriously, and that cheer you up if you don’t.”  As with Miss Mapp, I am astonished how enjoyable a book can be in which not a single character is sympathetic… and yet Benson’s sly humor had me reading aloud little bon mots to DH because they’re just so delicious and horrible.  This one may have concerning racism against Indians, and yet… it seems like the joke is on the upper crust British much more than the Indian Yogi… definitely in a grey area, but consider yourself warned.  Update:  Does use the n-word, but the person who uses it is the worst of all the unsympathetic characters in the book.

I pretty much finished rereading all the modern Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick/Jayne Castle books in order by series.  (I did not reread/read earlier works that aren’t library available, though I have read some of them… there’s also a lot of klunkers with rapey heroes which no thank you, and thank you one star reviews for warning me.)  Reading them in order, the copied bits aren’t as noticeable.

Read the second to latest ABCs of spellcraft novella.  It was ok.  They’re not *really* worth $2.99 given how short they are, but… at least this one is an actual novella instead of a quarter of a full book.  Don’t walk the boardwalk by Jordan Castillo Price (the latest) was a bit annoying in that it was only half a book and the second half isn’t out yet.  Ugh.  I much prefer actual novellas for my $2.99 compared to a novel that’s been split in 2 (or 4 as with the first four pieces in the series).

A match made for Thanksgiving by Jackie Lau was a decent little novella.  A bit more short-story-esque than novel-ish in terms of depth or character development, but not unenjoyable.  I will likely pick up the next one should it be novella-priced.  Update:  A second chance roadtrip was even closer to a short story, but also nice.  Perhaps not worth the $2.99, but if you’re rich, why not?  Although A fake girlfriend for Chinese New Year is the lowest rated of the four, I think it’s the one with the most believable romance.  A big surprise for valentines day was pretty much a repeat of the first book with the girlfriend already aware of her sexuality rather than discovering it, and even a bit more explicit (also I think the author must read the same internets that I do).

Son of the Mob by Gordon Korman was not very good.  Certainly no Losing Joe’s Place (though it’s from that part of his oeuvre– hormonal teen boys in farcical circumstances, though I prefer his farcical not-hormonal teens in farcical circumstances genre, but he sadly seems to have outgrown that since becoming a parent).  I guess there’s a reason I don’t own it.

LOVED the Innkeeper Chronicles by Ilona Andrews so hard I bought all of them that are out and really want more.  #2 and #3 are the best, IMO.  I also made DH start the series and he really liked #1 (he hasn’t gotten to 2 and 3 yet, but he will, oh he will), which is good, but 2 and 3 are even BETTER.  #4 is good too but with a different heroine and #5 is light and short.  OMG, you can get the first 3 on kindle for 99 cents as a covid deal.  DO THIS if you can.

I think  the Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas was ok but not great?  I don’t quite remember.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t get into His at Night by Sherry Thomas and I also gave up on What the Groom Wants by Jade Lee.  And I gave up on My Lady Quicksilver by Bec McMaster.

I tried to read Underdog by Laurien Berenson because I was told it was a cozy mystery, but you get to know and like the murder victim, which is not cozy.  :(  It also needed a little editing.  I think I’m going to try one of the author’s more recent books since this one was from the mid-90s.

I think I didn’t finish Just a hint clint by Lori Foster.

I liked XENI: A Marriage of Inconvenience by Rebekah Weatherspoon and look forward to reading more in this series!  (This is a nice job of a silly “married because of a will” trope, but they do a good job… my one complaint is the amount of time the heroes spend apart from each other.)

I did not like The Counterfeit Lady by Kate Parker even though I like her later series.

There’s a new KJ Charles!   Slippery Creatures is not from my favorite genre (post WW1, pre WWII British spy … which is odd since I love the Bright Young Things British mysteries from the same Golden Age time period… the difference I think is brightness.  Early Ngaio Marsh vs. Early Christie (I mean technically the first Tommy and Tuppence is a spy thriller…but I digress) or even Wodehouse.  KJ Charles is such a master of nailing whatever genre she tries and her books are always fantastic on top of it, even if it’s not my favorite genre.  Anyway, this is a good book, though not as fun for me as some of her different genres, and I’m almost finished with it.)  If you’re like us, you’ll want to read (and maybe own!) all of her stuff.

What is getting you through the After Times?  Are you reading more or less?  Are you leaning fluffier or deep diving into Pandemic dystopias?

 

28 Responses to “More books!”

  1. gwinne Says:

    I’m reading! A combo of literary fiction (not of the pandemic/dystopian variety), essay collections, memoirs, books of poetry. We have REALLY different taste in books. :) The literary fiction is my “fluff”: the rest is the stuff that might end up in my classes.

  2. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    I’m reading light British fiction from the mid-20th century; just discovered the works of Elizabeth Fair (2.99 each on Kindle, 6 volumes), reminiscent of Barbara Pym but a little more romance. Usually a young woman, or her elders on her behalf, is determined to match her with the wrong man; eventually the right couple gets together. Many set-pieces of village life, such as the Church Fete. I find these enormously soothing. I also like D. E. Stevenson, who wrote a lot. The Mrs Tim and Provincial Lady books are the best-known, but she has a lot of other novels that hit my sweet spot. (I don’t recommend the cheap omnibus of early novels; they’re rather depressing. I think she was working out the trauma of a Victorian childhood in those.)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oooh I could use more light mid century British fiction…

      • FF Says:

        I’m probably reading less–I started Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman in March (actually bought it a few years ago–I have a bad habit of acquiring new books and then deciding to read something else) and have been reading a chapter or two before going to sleep if I’m not too tired. It’s sort of like a TV movie–heartwarming, kind of obvious psychology for the main character. Jigsaw puzzles, which I hadn’t done since elementary school, are filling the void and keeping me from the computer. I am specializing primarily in cat puzzles.
        But Elizabeth Fair looks right up my alley–thanks for the recommendation Dame Eleanor. While looking up her and her books, I came across a blog devoted to mid-century fiction by women: http://furrowedmiddlebrow.blogspot.com. Lots of interesting possibilities there.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        ooh nice! Thanks for the link!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        What a wonderful blog!

    • Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

      That is a great blog, thank you! My apologies for mixing up Stevenson with E. M. Delafield. Delafield is responsible for the Provincial Lady and the gloomy early omnibus. Stevenson is Mrs Tim, Miss Buncle, and a batch of other delightful heroines.

      This blog seems no longer to be kept up, but might suggest some possibilities:
      https://outofprintbookreviews.blogspot.com/ The link sounds more general, but the title on the page is “Yesterday’s young adult novels.”

  3. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Have you read Bringing Down the Duke yet? I think you would really like it. I thought it was SO good.

    My library also had quite a lot of old MC Beaton/Marion Chesney romances (all PG rated at most)- School for Manners, House for the Season, etc., and I read and enjoyed all of them. Wouldn’t buy them bit they were fun.

    I shall immediately buy the latest KJ Charles!!!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I do not think I have! On the hold list it goes!

      I wonder if I want to reread the MC Beaton books… my mom used to get those. I’ve probably forgotten them all. I think I still remember most of the Agatha Raisins (though I stopped reading the series at some point so I haven’t read them all) but not the other stuff. I should see what the library has electronically…

      And YES on KJ Charles! I saw it, I bought it. I didn’t even look at the description, just the publication date. It gets pretty intense near the end and I couldn’t really put it down after somewhere between the last 50-75% mark.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    I should probably also be upfront and mention I have been reading a LOT of Phoebe and Unicorn. Because it is available on Epic! And… I like fun comics. (Epic! has a LOT of fun comics… though it’s really weird reading Big Nates from the 1990s with Bill Clinton jokes. DC2 doesn’t get them and I’m like… uh… it’s just old. Also, Nate is STALKING Jenny and it is NOT COOL. He needs to take no for an answer. It isn’t funny.)

  5. teresa Says:

    I’ve been re-reading lighter things. I read the Anne of Green Gables series for the first time since high school after bingeing Anne with an E on netflix- I was a little worried it wouldn’t hold up but was generally pleasantly surprised. Then I re-read all the Temeraire books because they feel very cozy to me and also, dragons. But today I came home and bought a bunch of NK Jemisin (the Broken Earth trilogy and The City We Became) so I guess I’m moving on to post-apocalyptic dystopian scenarios.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I was pleasantly surprised that the Anne books are even better as an adult because there’s all this humor that goes over kids’ heads. (Be careful with Montgomery’s short stories though because man she is racist against native Canadians.)

  6. Debbie M Says:

    I’ve been reading about the same amount (a lot). I’ve moved my focus from mostly library books to mostly books I already own but don’t remember how much I like them (or that haven’t even read or don’t remember reading them) as part of an effort to declutter. So this has included serious dystopia (“Alas, Babylon,” “Fahrenheit 451”), but also fluffier stuff.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I keep thinking I should do that but then I look at all the old sci fi and fantasy books in my bookcases and get depressed because I’m nearly certain that the suck fairy has visited most of them.

      On the other hand, getting rid of some of the losers would make room for me to complete sets of series that I like and have withstood the tests of time, like Disc World.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Yeah, hate that suck fairy. I first noticed it with the “Scooby Doo” cartoon. How could I possibly have liked that? (“Speed Racer” survived for me, though.)

        I wonder if you could google those books and find out the easy a bunch of the ones you don’t want anymore without having to stab yourself with them by reading them.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        It’s still depressing to think about!

  7. CG Says:

    I’ve gone fluffy. I recently discovered the Aunt Dimity series and they are a bit formulaic but totally absorbing and charming. The mysteries are less about solving crimes than about putting things right, which feels great right about now. There’s usually some light romance as well. I’ve also been re-reading the Jane Whitefield novels by Thomas Perry. Those are tense, not charming, but star a super tough, interesting heroine. Not sure they’d be your thing, but I can’t put them down.

  8. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    1000% recommend the Innkeeper Chronicles and I want lots more of them.

    I usually love the real world-building SFF type books but I can’t handle it right now. I’m doing more comfort reading like Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters or Seanan McGuire’s Incryptid series. I also tried Jeanne Birdsall’s Penderwicks series and they’re fun and light.

    A friend just recommended Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries and I’m hoping they will become available soon.


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