books!

Sadly the Patricia Wentworth Miss Silver Book 18 has the n-word in it, completely unnecessarily, using a phrase that is one of Christie’s favorites, though oddly attributing it as an American phrase (maybe it is? but I’ve never read it in literature written by Americans and I have seen it in several Agatha Christie novels set in England… Wikipedia suggests it is from the US, and based on the use of woodpiles to smuggle enslaved people out of the South, as if that is a bad thing).  It seems to have been an aberration though– I only have the last three two Miss Silvers left to read and so far no slurs.  Lots of rich people not being careful about their wills and lots of stupid people trying to blackmail murderers though.  [Update:  Have finished all the Miss Silvers– the last one wasn’t that great, but the second to last one was pretty Gothic.]

A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall was tight and funny and just lovely– until near the end where I think he couldn’t figure out how to end it and put in a completely unnecessary kidnapping.  At least it wasn’t a carriage accident, I guess.  But I do think he could have come up with a better way for the Duke to realize the solution to their problem.  There’s plenty of crimes that aren’t kidnapping, which is such a cheap trope.  (I particularly dislike it because it takes away a woman’s agency and usually is treated like no big deal when in reality it’s probably pretty traumatic for most random people.  I’m fine when it’s like a spy or detective being kidnapped– that’s part of what they signed up for and they’ve had training to deal with it.  Debutantes, not so much.)

I enjoyed the latest Jayne Castle, Sweetwater and the Witch though I wish it could have been longer.  No new ground here– all the Harmony tropes plus a fake boyfriend plot.

Dealing with People You Can’t Stand started out really useless seeming but actually turns out to have some decent advice in it.  Lots and lots of extra words though.  Tons of stuff you can skip.  I’d like a pamphlet version!

DNF By Any Other Name.  Just couldn’t get into it.

Skipped big chunks of The Romantic Agenda by Claire Kann.  If you’re going to read it, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but the end turns out to have one of my least favorite tropes where if people had just talked to each other the book wouldn’t have existed.

Men are Frogs by Saranna DeWylde was light and fun.  I will have to get the first and third books!  Not 100% sold on the morals, mind you (the lesson the hero/heroine learn about love doesn’t seem like it would be that great IRL), but I can let that go.

Really enjoyed the Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennett and rewatching the Lizzie Bennett Diaries with the book as background material.  I think I found even more linked content than I did last time though some of the pictures and tumbler posts are no longer accessible a decadish later.  Also I still wear a couple of the tops Lizzie must have gotten from Loft (hers in green, mine in magenta) which concerns me a bit given how outdated Lydia’s slang has become…

Enjoyed Husband Material by Alexis Hall.  Not as good as Boyfriend Material, but that’s just regression to the mean.  Still an excellent book.  Definitely disappointed that Oliver’s friends didn’t really show up, and there was too much angst and miscommunication.  The author talks in the back about the decisions he made that I didn’t like and why he made those choices, so he was aware.  I think it would have been a better book if he hadn’t been going for a message and a metaphor and a bow and if he’d just not been so confined by the 4 Weddings and a Funeral backdrop.  Definitely worth reading and I hope we get to spend more time with Oliver’s friends at some book in the future.

There were a couple of parts of the last schoolmance book, The Golden Enclaves, by Naomi Novak that I didn’t like, and there were a couple parts where the editing could have been tighter. BUT otherwise a very satisfying book and very satisfying end to the trilogy.  I don’t think it would hold up very well as a solo book– it really is the end of a trilogy.  Also it resolves the cliffhangers from the first TWO books in the first chapter.

Now that I’m done with all the Miss Silver series, maybe there will be some more variety!

13 Responses to “books!”

  1. Sneakers Says:

    When I finished the Miss Silvers available at my library – I stumbled across G. G. Vandagriff’s “Catherine Tregowyn mysteries” – and since the library only had one of them, have been buying the Kindle ones as they’ve been on sale. Also British, between the wars.

  2. Turia Says:

    I really enjoyed The Golden Enclaves, and the trilogy as a whole was brilliant. Probably my second favourite read of the past two years (first was Becky Chambers’ Wayfarer Series)

  3. FF Says:

    I’ve now completed the published works of Ali Hazelwood, having read the last two of her novellas (“Stuck With You” and “Under One Roof”), as well as her new novel, “Love on the Brain.” I enjoyed all of them, but there is a sameness to them. I do enjoy female scientist protagonists, though.

    I also read and enjoyed Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy (“The Bear and the Nightingale,” “The Girl in the Tower,” and “The Winter of the Witch.” These are historical fantasies set in medieval Russia, and included a number of Russian folkloric creatures that were new to me.

    I also read “The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue” by V.E. Schwab after reading about it here. I definitely found it compelling reading, but ultimately didn’t love it and felt that it didn’t quite work.

    Sophie Kinsella’s “Love Your Life” is about a woman who goes to an anonymous writer’s retreat (everyone uses fake names), falls in love with another attendee, and then they have to deal with the realities of their lives when they try to have a real relationship after it ends.

    I also read A.J. Jacob’s new book, “The Puzzler,” which is essentially about different kinds of puzzles. As someone who has long enjoyed crosswords and got into jigsaw puzzles during the pandemic, I found those chapters the most interesting, but it covers many types of puzzles that I hadn’t really known anything about. This is not a great book to read on a Kindle (as I did) because many of the illustrations and puzzles were reproduced in such small print that they were difficult to read, and I ended up skipping over a lot of them.

    The latest in the Countess of Harleigh mystery series by Dianne Freeman, “A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder,” was fun. George and Francis finally get married, but wouldn’t you know that something happens at the wedding reception and they can’t leave for their honeymoon.

  4. Steph Says:

    I’ve been reading again! I finished TWO romance novels by Olivia Dade this week! I’ve been slowly making my way through “All the Feels” for like months, but finally finished it. Like Spoiler Alert, it’s cheesy fandom wish fulfillment but very fun if you’re already familiar with fanfic/that kind of fandom. I also read “Teach Me” in one day, it’s about 250 pages about two high school history teachers. It’s not quite “enemies to lovers”, more like “I wish I could hate you but I just can’t”. Dade does include third-act breakups in all three of her books I’ve read so far, but these two at least were very short lived and did make some sense within the plot.

    I also finished “Vagina Obscura: An Anatomical Voyage” by Rachel Gross. Very enjoyable, highly recommend! It’s a combination of history and biology, discussing what we do/don’t know about vaginal and related anatomy, how we know it, and why some knowledge has been so limited. And also discussions of cultural issues surrounding vaginas etc. The book is also trans inclusive – trans women and nonbinary folks are mentioned throughout and the last chapter is about gender confirmation surgery.

    Finally, I listened to “The Sirens of Mars” by Sarah Steward Johnson. It’s a cross between pop science and a memoir. I enjoyed it a lot until the last two chapters. The beginning focused more on the history of mars exploration, with glimpses of her scientific career along the way, and how it fit in. The last two chapters focused on the last decade and especially the curiosity rover, but went much heavier on the memoir part. It felt jarring.

    After someone mentioned “The Love Hypothesis” on the last one of these, I finally gave it a try. And I didn’t even make it two chapters. So many red flags! And I say that as someone who likes forbidden romances. Also, it turns out TLH is a Rey/Kylo Ren alternate universe fanfiction with the serial numbers scratched off, so I’m not surprised I disliked it. Had I known about that history I probably wouldn’t have picked it up.

  5. revanchegs Says:

    I can’t believe my library still only has The Golden Enclaves in audiobook and that I forgot to ask them to get it in ebook. I need to close out the trilogy!

    I started reading Tade Thompson’s Rosewater trilogy but got sick and my brain could no longer handle it, I’m hoping I can get back to reading before my loan is up.

    Added Alexis Hall’s other books to my holds, I need lighter reading material right now.

    Reread Rin Chupeco’s Bone Witch trilogy because the third book is now available and I’d forgotten much of the first two books. The format of the last was really hard for me to keep hold of, mentally, though.

  6. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    I just read Victoria Goddard’s “The Hands of the Emperor” and it was one of the best books I’ve read this year. I enjoyed her Greenwing and Dart mystery series as well, but not quite as much.

  7. xykademiqz Says:

    I’ve just discovered Darynda Jones and I am going through her Charley Davidson series.
    A little bit of spice, but it’s mostly paranormal detective comedy (Charley is a PI) with lots of hilarity and heart. The mysteries get better from book to book, which I love.

    There’s always space for some Tessa Bailey, the Michelangelo of dirty talk LOL. Most recently read “My Killer Vacation” by her. It’s quite decent, even if not her best.

    As for sci-fi, I read “Children of Time” by Adrian Adrian Tchaikovsky. It was OK. I wouldn’t have finished it if it hadn’t been for the sci-fi book club. It was an undeserved 600 pages and suffers from that ailment of a lot of hard sci-fi in that it’s so very concerned with the lofty goals of rigor in the science that it completely neglects character work. I didn’t care about a single character in the whole book, but the main sci-fi idea (it’s evolutionary sci-fi) and species and postapocalyptic world are amazing.

    Another sci-fi was “To be Taught, If Fortunate” by Becky Chambers. I love how she writes. I adored the Wayfarer series, and this novella didn’t disappoint. The sci-fi is rigorous, the prose rich and elegant and smooth, and there’s always a great depth to all her characters that immerses you in their world and helps you root for them. Wonderful writer.

    Finally, I highly recommend a baseball horror novella “Effectively Wild” by Aeryn Rudel, hot off the presses. You don’t need to know much about baseball (I don’t) to appreciate the great story and compelling characterization.


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