How we cope: An accurate picture of my to-read list

I’m bad at emotion regulation and the only way I’m coping is with books.

This blog has been (and is) a supporter of Hillary Clinton.  These books are on my to-be-read list, my amazon wishlist, or my library hold list RIGHT NOW:

Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, by Lindy West

The Diary of Alice James

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren

The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales

Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch (preorder) (see what I did there)

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl by Issa Rae

How to Ruin Everything: Essays by Watsky

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, by Roxane Gay (preorder)

Writings on the Wall: Searching for a New Equality Beyond Black and White, by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Notes from a Feminist Killjoy by Erin Wunker

The latest volume of Lazarus by Greg Rucka

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman (preorder)

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What books help you cope?

What are we reading?

Fortune Hunter by Diane Farr– no sex scenes (not quite clean either) but still quite charming.  Not a perfect book, but I had given up hope of finding any more regencies worth reading, and this one has restored my faith a bit.

Three Men on a Bummel by Jerome K. Jerome (free from Gutenberg).  This is an example of the “potentially great work forgotten because of casual racism” problem.  This book would be perfectly lovely were it not for some pointless anecdote early on that uses the n-word and is probably even more racist than the n-word itself, but because it’s written in “dialect” it’s unreadable.  That entire bit could be cut out without any negative effect on the book and the rest of the book is clean.  Oh 19/20th century authors, why you gotta be so racist?  You will probably find some of the scenes familiar because they’ve been repurposed for comedy without attribution in later media.  (Similar to how you’ve probably seen the pineapple tin bit from Three men in a boat in cartoons.)  The first couple of chapters (before the n-word anecdote) were literally laugh out loud funny.

Falling for Chloe by Diane Farr isn’t as good as Fortune Hunter (main characters are silly and don’t talk to each other, though that may be part of the joke), but omg, it is such a love letter to Georgette Heyer.  Keep an eye out for your favorite Heyer characters from her Regency novels being mentioned throughout.  One of the scenes, for example, is set in the come-out ball for Frederica’s sister.

Duel of Hearts by Diane Farr was an interesting one.  Neither the hero nor the heroine is particularly likable.  They are self-centered, obnoxious, and ridiculous.  And yet, the story is very readable and pretty funny.  The book would have been better if the likable secondary characters had been more well-developed.  A quick library check-out read.

None of the rest of Diane Farr’s books have really been worth it.  Not bad, but more skimming than actual reading.  Reasonable library material if you’ve got extra time.

Tried Diary of an Accidental Wallflower by Jennifer McQuiston.  It started out promising but then lost believably and added an ick factor when the son-of-a-gypsy-horse-trader doctor forced an unexpected and unwanted kiss on the society miss who was unable to move because of the twisted ankle her family was employing him to treat… that would be their fourth short meeting, btw.  Huge Squick.  The rest of the book just kind of goes downhill from there.

Loved the second in Leonora Bell’s Disgraceful Dukes series, If Only I Had a Duke, even more than the first.  Again, she’s in the style of Sarah MacLean, not 100% historically accurate, but a lot of fun.  This one has more likable characters, a better plot, and is a bit more believable than the first.

At the library I found a fun little novella by a woman named Marguerite Butler.  It’s called Compromising Prudence.  I liked it enough to want to buy a copy but they cannot be had for love or money.  Nor do the remaining books in the “Mad Hatterly” series appear to be available anywhere.  The publishing company has disappeared and neither used nor electronic copies seem to exist in exchange for money.  If your library has a copy, it’s a fun (albeit too short) read.

What are you reading?

What are we reading

do not recommend sweetest scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt.  What could be a fun story is ruined by graphic details of sexual abuse when the heroine was a child.  Very 1980s and destroys the fun.  Also lazy on the part of the author. :(

Also do not recommend Only Beloved, Mary Balogh’s odd end to the otherwise cozy Survivor’s series.  Really she should have just made it a novella or have it run through the rest of the series with the hero and heroine as secondary characters.  Then she could have cut down the boring repetition of the cozy middle aged folks falling in love and removed the stupid sordid back story (which she telegraphed early on) and the stupidity of the heroine’s life being put unnecessarily in danger by the icky villain.  The part that fits with the rest of the series drags.  The “excitement” part doesn’t fit with the rest of the series given its ickiness.  At least Balogh seems to have given up rape in the past decade.

how the duke was won by Lenora bell was fun ($1.99 on kindle!).  Recommended only if you’re good at suspending disbelief and don’t get caught up on historical accuracy.  It is a bit of The Bachelor Regency Edition.  Her voice is similar to Sarah MacLean’s.

one night in London by Caroline linden dragged and was just kind of boring.  A good editor would have cut it down by at least a third.

christmas revels four regency novellas by Kate Parker, Louisa Cornell, Anna Allen, and Hannah Meredith was fun.

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas was great until the last couple/few chapters.  She just did not stick the ending.  The book would have been a lot better if she hadn’t decided to do the Elizabeth Hoyt thing and drag out the secondary story into the second book.  Or maybe she could have handled that better without putting unnecessary drama in.  Ugh.  C’mon, stick the landing.   Still, I guess I’ll be reading the second in the series even if I no longer plan to buy the first.  At least our red state library seems pretty stocked with romances even if it has pretty much nothing else in adult fiction so I’ll still be able to try before I buy even though I won’t get off the wait list in time in Paradise.

The first Ribbon Ridge book by Darcy Burke, also not worth it.  This is a modern romance (free on kindle).  Without spoilering too much, the hero has issues and really needs a therapist before he can be in a relationship and it’s bizarre that the heroine doesn’t get creeped out about him acting like a creep most of the times they meet (really only the first meeting is him not acting creepy).

Read the first three Shelly Adina books.  The first one is free for kindle, but it’s really like the first part of the second book, and has some boring bits to skip through plus you have to suspend a lot of disbelief.  The second book is excellent and well worth having read the first.  The third book is just not very good (thankfully it was a library book).  I’m wondering if the fourth book is as good as the second or if it’s boring with bad stuff happening like the third…

Ugh.  Got any recommendations for books that are light and don’t have super creepy heroes?  Also please no rape, incest, child molestation, etc.  *SIGH*

Ima reread To Say Nothing of the Dog now.

Revenge of What-are-we-reading

… a partial list.

Half-Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older.  I like this kind of book, and I liked this one.  I’ll read more by him.

Kage Baker’s early The Hotel Under the Sand.  A delight!  #2 should read it.  #2 owns it, but it is an oversized paperback or maybe even hardback and is back at home.  Definitely when we get back!

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers.  The third in a trilogy something about girl assassins in the Middle Ages.  I liked the love interest in this one.

Taking a (possibly permanent) break from Ngaio Marsh, I reread Tommy and Tuppance (first one available free from Gutenberg).  The second and third were delightful as I remembered, but I did get a pricking of my thumbs when picking up By the Pricking of My Thumbs and had a bad feeling about it– and indeed, my subconscious correctly remembered that it was pretty sordid (also I had flashbacks to Miss Marple playing the Tuppence role in one of the video adaptations).  I’m feeling leery about the last one.  Though looking at wikipedia, that’s where I got the Gates of Damascus poem that I liked so much I memorized it.  “Pass not beneath oh caravan, or pass not singing.  Have you not heard the silence where the birds are dead, yet something pipeth like a bird?”

Romancing the Earl by Darcy Burke.  Fun in the style of The Toll-Gate but with sex.  :). To Seduce a Scoundrel was also good.  After that it kind of started going downhill.

Super You by Emily V. Gordon.  I heard about this nerdy self-esteem book and wanted to see if it’s good.  It’s pretty ok.  Give it a try if you’d like to be nicer to yourself.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi.  A strange and interesting novel about a girl who is kind of haunted.  I think I have Oyeyemi’s Boy, Snow, Bird on my to-read list, and I’ll get to it relatively soon.

What’s on your To-be-read list?

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What should we listen to during a long upcoming road trip?

So far our best listening experience has been To Say Nothing of the Dog.  It’s unlikely we’ll find something else as amazing as that.  We also enjoy Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me and The Splendid Table, but in short doses.  DH listened to Lincoln: Team of Rivals during one trip, but I found it mildly annoying.  DC1 liked Alcatraz books by Brandon Sanderson, and they’re ok, but not that compelling.  The first Iron Druid was pretty interesting, but they’re getting too dark for me and also there’s way too much sex for comfortable listening with the kids in the back.

Rules:

  1. It doesn’t have to be interesting to children, but it does have to be appropriate for children listening (age 4 and age 9).
  2. We don’t really want tragedy or senseless violence etc.  Something upbeat or uplifting or funny would be better.

Any recommendations?  What do you listen to on long drives?

What are we reeeading

When previously we discussed books, #2 had recommended Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School.  #1 now vehemently recommends this book as well.  Sooooo good.  DC1 also loved it.

Speaking of DC1 and books about magical schools, both DC1 and I have really enjoyed the The Ever Afters Series by Shelby Bach, about a fairytale after school program.  I couldn’t put the second book down, though I had to put the third book down from time to time because, like with Harry Potter, that’s when stuff gets real.  We have the final book on hold at the library.  (Currently reading!)

I’ve started reading Elizabeth Hoyt.  Her books are fine, but it is true they are a bit repetitive.  Probably best not to read all of them in a row, but to just pick out the best or to take long breaks between.  Check out, don’t buy.  Think late 18th century batman complete with revenge motives.  Lots of batmans with lots of different revenge motives (including the standard dead parents) and different Arthurs and different aristocratic super villains.  Also, for some reason, dogs.  Duke of midnight was going fine until an attempted rape of a minor character whose sole purpose was as a macguffin and to show the good character of a male character, and shortly after the hero roughly shakes the heroine until it hurts her.  Ugh.  The next book in the series has a minor female character beaten to death (in the past) as another macguffin (also as character development for the heroine and another villain).  And after that Dearest Rogue has rape of a minor female character (in the past) as macguffin and character development for the hero!  Also attempted rape of the heroine.  Good grief, can’t she come up with any other way to drive the plot or develop character?  But if you don’t mind the violence-against-women-as-macguffin-and-character-development trope…

This Rake of Mine by Elizabeth Boyle was great fun if you can completely suspend your disbelief and ignore historical accuracy (the main complaints in low star reviews).  If you think of it as a farce it’s fun!  Though about 3/4 of the way through there’s a couple of spots where the author obviously ran out of time (and the editor didn’t fix it) and told rather than showed.  Not great literature, but no sexual violence against women!  Along came a duke though was super boring and I skipped most of the middle.  That could have used less writing.  Her highest rated, the viscount who lived down the lane was fine but could have used editing.  I think I will not seek out the rest of her stuff.

Tried a Lisa Kleypas, specifically Dreaming of You, but she is REALLY into attempted rape as a trope.  I mean seriously, lady.  Also so much gratuitous stupidity.  I can buy the matchmaking lady inviting the hero and the heroine to a house party without them knowing about the other, but inviting the woman who sent the goons who scarred the hero’s face (that the heroine shot in the first chapter) to the same house party when you’re trying to set the hero and heroine up and you know that the villain will try to kill the heroine if she knows that the hero loves her…  That’s just causing drama for drama’s sake.  There was a better way to arrange that (and one that wouldn’t, you know, involve yet another attempted rape on the heroine).  *Sigh*

Meanwhile, back in #2 land, I finished Tam Lin by Pamela Dean.  This book is for you if you liked The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  It’s good, but long, and there’s quite a lot of the main characters talking about poetry and analyzing plays and quoting things at each other.  I’m on Volume 2 of Gotham Academy.  I’ve been catching up on Maria V. Snyder and some very naughty books and stories that can’t go on this blog.  I’ve also  caught up (almost?) on Ilona Andrews, and read a bit of nonfiction.  My current read, which I love so far, is Nevada, by Imogene Binnie.  At the start of the book, the main character works in a huge used bookstore and her life is kinda bad.  I sense that big changes are coming.

What are YOU reading, Grumpeteers?

In which I DGAF

This post contains swearing.  It’s behind the cut.

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