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Also reading A Promised Land right now. Really glad my library loans books out for 3 weeks instead of 2 since it's such a long read.

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I am in deep re-read mode and have been doing Suzanne Brockmann's SEAL team/Troubleshooters series -- again.  This time I am listening on audio.  I have started from the beginning with  Unsung Hero and went onto the second book Defiant Hero.  And now I am almost done with my hands down favorite of the series, the third one,  Over The Edge. 

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I really like the Troubleshooters series. The books have a very good sense of humor, though Izzy drives me nuts when he's more than just a supporting player.

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21 hours ago, Luckylyn said:

I just started A Promised Land by Barack Obama today.  I’m really looking forward to reading about his perspective.

I received this as a gift for Christmas but I have a stack of library books I have to finish first.

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I bought A Promised Land for me and the audible version for husband who travels.  He has been so excited to listen to Barack — calling me from his car to try to play a section or two, putting it on speaker when he is home — that I have put the book away and am just waiting to start the audible when he is done.  As good as the book is, hearing Barack tell it is even better!

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2 hours ago, Crs97 said:

I bought A Promised Land for me and the audible version for husband who travels.  He has been so excited to listen to Barack — calling me from his car to try to play a section or two, putting it on speaker when he is home — that I have put the book away and am just waiting to start the audible when he is done.  As good as the book is, hearing Barack tell it is even better!

I listened to it on audiobook (at 1.1 speed) and I think that is definitely the way to go.  I only did 1-2 chapters a day, which was perfect to not get bogged down in all the policy.

57 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

Read A Promised Land and I loved how Obama doesn’t mince words about some people. I already can’t wait for the second volume!

This is one of the best parts of the book.  It's done in such a way that it is not an outright accusation, but anyone can read between the lines and know EXACTLY what he's saying.

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3 hours ago, Crs97 said:

I bought A Promised Land for me and the audible version for husband who travels.  He has been so excited to listen to Barack — calling me from his car to try to play a section or two, putting it on speaker when he is home — that I have put the book away and am just waiting to start the audible when he is done.  As good as the book is, hearing Barack tell it is even better!

Since I wanted the audio as well, I’m totally getting it now! Especially since I’ve heard excerpts.

2 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Read A Promised Land and I loved how Obama doesn’t mince words about some people. I already can’t wait for the second volume!

@GHScorpiosRule have you started it yet?

Not yet! Tomorrow is the day and New Year’s! 700 + pages I can get done in three days, if I don’t eat or sleep!😂😂😂

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Currently reading Kristin Harmel's The Room on Rue Amelie.  WWII Parisians dodging German soldiers while helping downed pilots escape through the Pyrenees. 
Very similar to The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  Curiously similar author names.  Also curiously similar story lines (downed pilots being stealthily escorted through the Pyrenees back to Allied lines).  Also touches on Escape from Paris by Stephen Harding (more downed flyers). 

Edited by grommit2 · Reason: edit opening
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I'm currently reading The Duke and I, which is what the show Bridgerton is based on.  I like to read books before I watch shows, but right now without the interesting casting, it's just a romance novel as far as I can tell.  It's entertaining enough, but I hate ANY trope that places value on a woman's virginity and being the only man whose ever been with her.  Even if it's accurate for the time period, I just find it gross.  I think that's why when I do read romance novels, which admittedly isn't often, I like the "second chance at love" type better, because your heroines aren't young naïve virgins who must be taught the ways of romance by a more experienced man who will "give" her an orgasm on the very first try.

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I read the Bridgerton books years ago and enjoyed them. However, after watching the series this week, I tried rereading one and it just fell flat for me. Not sure if it is just my tastes changing or that her books haven't aged so well.

You need to be able to suspend your belief a bit to enjoy a Regency of course, but there are some good ones out there. I think Marion Chesney's books are still entertaining to read, and the characters can be a bit more three dimensional. Jude Morgan (a male author, believe it or not) has written a couple of good ones, closer to the Jane Austen type than a bodice ripper kind.

Edited by Starleigh
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5 hours ago, lasu said:

I'm currently reading The Duke and I, which is what the show Bridgerton is based on.  I like to read books before I watch shows, but right now without the interesting casting, it's just a romance novel as far as I can tell.  

That's exactly what this book, and all of Julia Quinn's books are: romances. If anyone who picks these up after watching the series is expecting more, they'll be disappointed. I love them for what they are. And while what some of what the characters do may irk me, or when Julia, (along with other authors from other genres also do) keeps changing the backstory of supporting characters, sometimes main characters, so they fit in that current book, it IRKS me to NO END, I love the stories! Julia is our modern day Jane Austen. At least for me and my other group up of friends I met through our love for Nora Roberts. @DearEvette can attest!

4 hours ago, Starleigh said:

I read the Bridgerton books years ago and enjoyed them. However, after watching the series this week, I tried rereading one and it just fell flat for me. Not sure if it is just my tastes changing or that her books haven't aged so well.

You need to be able to suspend your belief a bit to enjoy a Regency of course, but there are some good ones out there. I think Marion Chesney's books are still entertaining to read, and the characters can be a bit more three dimensional. Jude Morgan (a male author, believe it or not) has written a couple of good ones, closer to the Jane Austen type than a bodice ripper kind.

I can re-read the original 8 Bridgerton books over and over again. I love them. But she has really scraped the bottom of the barrel with the prequels and different branches of this family. Just like Johanna Lindsay did with the Malorys.

I've stated it before, and then disappeared because it seemed I was in the minority, but I LOVE romances--category, historical, romantic suspense/fantasy. I'm not ashamed of it. It's a great way for me to escape into different worlds. And I have no problem setting aside my modern viewpoint/sensibilities when I'm reading period pieces.

(Going back to my den)

 

Edited by GHScorpiosRule
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3 hours ago, Starleigh said:

I tried rereading one and it just fell flat for me. Not sure if it is just my tastes changing or that her books haven't aged so well.

It's funny how tastes change. I used to read romance in high school.  Then I stopped when I went to college. I thought about returning but I'd start books, put them down and then just not want to pick them up again. 

But I did read the first two Bridgerton books when I heard this series was happening.  After reading The Duke and I, I wondered why the heck it was chosen.  It felt so bland.  The second book was better, though.  The characters were better and had a lot of humor.  It could be Julia Quinn but it could also just be the book you picked up.

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11 minutes ago, Irlandesa said:

It's funny how tastes change. I used to read romance in high school.  Then I stopped when I went to college. I thought about returning but I'd start books, put them down and then just not want to pick them up again. 

But I did read the first two Bridgerton books when I heard this series was happening.  After reading The Duke and I, I wondered why the heck it was chosen.  It felt so bland.  The second book was better, though.  The characters were better and had a lot of humor.  It could be Julia Quinn but it could also just be the book you picked up.

I think it probably is my tastes changing. A few months ago, I reread a couple of the Simply series by Mary Balogh that I used to love and was disappointed not to enjoy them anymore.

Don't get me wrong, I still love a good romance, but I don't have patience anymore for most of those written by prolific writers that just churn them out. Maybe it's just that I've become a pickier reader, in general. 

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2 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I've stated it before, and then disappeared because it seemed I was in the minority, but I LOVE romances--category, historical, romantic suspense/fantasy. I'm not ashamed of it.

I call them my palate cleansers.  If life is stressful, then a good romance novel is tte perfect escape.  I’ve read my share this year.

I like Julia because I think she writes fun banter between her characters.  I used to love Nora Roberts for the same reason, though her characters swear a little too much for my taste, but then I read a few in which she wore a rape/murder from the POV of the villain, and it was too unsettling.  I haven’t read her stuff in years.

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3 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

I love the stories! Julia is our modern day Jane Austen. At least for me and my other group up of friends I met through our love for Nora Roberts. @DearEvette can attest!

LOL @GHScorpiosRule your love for Nora is a fearsome thing!

I adore romance novels.  Actually I love genre fiction: mysteries, Sci-fi, fantasy,  and romance.  I have a deep, deep background in romance especially.

Funnily this year I went back and did a re-read of a lot of old skool romances.  New stuff just could not keep my invested.  Really old skool romances for all their problematic content (and trust me some are extremely problematic) are much meatier and were much more grounded in actual historical events.  At some point history became nothing but wallpaper and you could tell that the writers were learning their history form each other, not doing their own primary research.

For me, Georgette Heyer and Mary Balogh are probably what I would consider the best in atmosphere, plotting and characterization in Regency romances.  Some of Balogh's series are better than others, but I did a re-read of Indiscreet this year.  It was written in 1997 and yet it is probably one of the most progressive romances of its time especially when it comes to issues of explicit sexual consent the effects on women as brought forward with #MeToo.  It is one of my very favorite of hers.

II had a fond reminiscence of the Bridgerton series but I could not re-read it.  And I do believe it is a matter of tastes changing I read much more critically now and demand a bit more depth than I used to.  And honestly, The Bridgerton series but it is wallpaper history and super tropey to boot (you can see every plot development coming a mile away).  The only one that really holds up for me, is If He Was Wicked, which is Francesca's book. 

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4 minutes ago, DearEvette said:

LOL @GHScorpiosRule your love for Nora is a fearsome thing!

Whaaaat??😄😄😄

Old Skool is right! I also went back to Nora’s MacGregors, MacKades,  Stanislaskis, O’Hurleys, as well as her early romantic suspenses as we had discussed up thread. So many of Nora’s stories are “comfort reads” something I desperately craved and needed this year. 
 

Not only because she has writes men so well (grew up with five brothers and she likes men), but her characters talk like real people, who I have to remind myself are fictional.

Sure there are some clunkers, but the majority, for me are great. She set the bar for me, and so I expect her to maintain it and admit to being disappointed when she doesn’t.

There was only one time she caved to readers’ demand for a story, and despite what she said (she had his story in her head or the bones of it), it felt rushed and didn’t need to be written. That was Seth Quinn’s story from the Chesapeake Bay Trilogy (Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor). Well, his story was the fourth book. They kept asking “when you gonna write Seth’s story?” “What happens with Seth?” Blah, blah, blah.

So we got Chesapeake Blue, along with a dedication from Nora: To all the Readers who asked “When will you write Seth’s story” or something like that. I hated Priscilla. Seth deserved better. And never have I hated a character as I hated Gloria. Oh wait, she’s up there with Maeve Concannon and Grandma Byden. 

If she always listened to her readers’ begging pleas, she woulda written the last three MacGregor/Campbell grandchildren’s stories! Right, @scarynikki12?😉😄

Okay, I’ll shut up now.😄😄😄

 

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17 minutes ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Oh wait, she’s up there with Maeve Concannon and Grandma Byden. 

Maeve Concannon is one of the worst characters ever created, and I am still outraged that Maggie was expected to care about and forgive the mother who abused her.

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2 minutes ago, Crs97 said:

Maeve Concannon is one of the worst characters ever created, and I am still outraged that Maggie was expected to care about and forgive the mother who abused her.

EXACTLY!! Not to mention she told Brianna’s fiancé that she was a whore, who had cheated on him with Murphy. Just so her bitter ass would have someone to wait on her hand and foot.🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤯🤯🤯

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So why did Nora keep having Brianna guilt Maggie into spending time with the witch?  And why didn’t their husbands cut her off?  Nora seemingly tried to redeem a woman without ever making her have remorse.

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24 minutes ago, Crs97 said:

So why did Nora keep having Brianna guilt Maggie into spending time with the witch?  And why didn’t their husbands cut her off?  Nora seemingly tried to redeem a woman without ever making her have remorse.

Well Brianna didn’t know what Maeve had said and done to cause her broken engagement until about halfway in her own story. After she found out

it made her decision to become lovers with Grayson without guilt and she told her harridan of a mother she owed her duty to take care of her because Maeve had raised her.


 

Maggie tried to make overtures when she learned why Maeve was so bitter, but of course Maeve refused to bend. Plus Maggie had promised their father she would take care of Maeve.

And well, no need to cut her off when that “money” came in and she got her own little cottage.

That all said, I totally agree that they should have cut her off. And don’t know if it was a cultural thing/the times, or what. 

But neither I, or any of us who read and talked about this trilogy on the now defunct message board believed she deserved any kind of redemption and there was a special place in hell for her.

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My son bought me Bruce Springsteen ‘s Book Born to Run for Christmas. He is my favorite musician of all time and his writing is as lyrical as his songs. The Book is long though so probably just for fans.

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1 hour ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

There was only one time she caved to readers’ demand for a story, and despite what she said (she had his story in her head or the bones of it), it felt rushed and didn’t need to be written. That was Seth Quinn’s story from the Chesapeake Bay Trilogy (Sea Swept, Rising Tides, Inner Harbor). Well, his story was the fourth book. They kept asking “when you gonna write Seth’s story?” “What happens with Seth?” Blah, blah, blah.

THAT'S how we got Chesapeake Blue??? It all makes sense. I only ever really read the very beginning when Seth comes home and we get the character updates through the reunions since it's such a pain to get through. I bet everyone who harassed her into writing the book expected to see Seth paired with Aubrey so I now enjoy the obvious petty that fueled her choices. The half second glimpse we got into Aubrey's relationship with...Will? caught my interest more than anything about Seth and Priscilla.

3 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

If she always listened to her readers’ begging pleas, she woulda written the last three MacGregor/Campbell grandchildren’s stories! Right, @scarynikki12?😉😄

I hope so! Since she clearly intended to get to Matthew, Adria, and Amelia I suspect they would be well done stories rather than what we got with Chesapeake Blue.

3 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Oh wait, she’s up there with Maeve Concannon and Grandma Byden

She hated Naomi so much that she paid a man to try and rape her. If Naomi hadn't insisted that Kelsey be told she was dead I think Grandma Byden would have had her murdered in prison. That woman was nasty.

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35 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

THAT'S how we got Chesapeake Blue??? It all makes sense. I only ever really read the very beginning when Seth comes home and we get the character updates through the reunions since it's such a pain to get through. I bet everyone who harassed her into writing the book expected to see Seth paired with Aubrey so I now enjoy the obvious petty that fueled her choices. The half second glimpse we got into Aubrey's relationship with...Will? caught my interest more than anything about Seth and Priscilla.

Yes, that’s how we ended up with Chesapeake Blue.

Yep, those nagging idiots did expect him to be with Aubry. And yes, she was dating Will, the cutie patootie who was now a resident.

And of COURSE they asked “what about Will and Aubry??” since Nora didn’t have them engaged by the end! Nora, to her credit, shut that shit down. That they were dating and in a good place and that was that.

The only thing I enjoyed was the smack down the brothers gave Seth when they learned that Seth continued to pay and kept it from them.

42 minutes ago, scarynikki12 said:

 

I hope so! Since she clearly intended to get to Matthew, Adria, and Amelia I suspect they would be well done stories rather than what we got with Chesapeake Blue.

She hated Naomi so much that she paid a man to try and rape her. If Naomi hadn't insisted that Kelsey be told she was dead I think Grandma Byden would have had her murdered in prison. That woman was nasty.

Seriously. I’m still bitter.

Grandma Byden was beyond vile! And she wasn’t even a Byden by blood!

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5 hours ago, GHScorpiosRule said:

Well Brianna didn’t know what Maeve had said and done to cause her broken engagement

But she did know that Maeve beat Maggie.  That should have been enough IMO.

Back to thread, I started listening to Barack’s book, and it is wonderful!  Happy New Year, everyone!

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18 hours ago, DearEvette said:

Really old skool romances for all their problematic content (and trust me some are extremely problematic) are much meatier and were much more grounded in actual historical events.  At some point history became nothing but wallpaper and you could tell that the writers were learning their history form each other, not doing their own primary research.

Yeah.  Romance novels get a lot of grief for their problematic content but I do remember some of the stuff written in the 80s as being more gripping than some of the more contemporary things.  Of course, that could also be due to tastes.  I really do wonder what I'd think of Kathleen Woodiwiss now.  I remember being very engaged with her books when I read them at a much much younger age.

And I have been meaning to go back and read some Judith McNaught.  I seem to recall thinking one or two of the books I read by her as being some of my favorite books in any genre--period.  I seem to think I have done so but honestly, I don't think I did.  It's kind of funny for people to bring up rape and abuse because I sometimes don't remember that part and wonder why the hell didn't it?  I know I picked up on it in one of Kathleen's books. 

Edited by Irlandesa

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I still love M.M. Kaye books, including Trade Wind. But I feel guilty for liking it which takes away from my enjoyment of the romance in it.

Maybe because it was written so long ago makes it ok? If I'd read a brand new book with the same problematic kind of scene, I'd probably be squicked out by it.

Edited by Starleigh
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2 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Yeah.  Romance novels get a lot of grief for their problematic content but I do remember some of the stuff written in the 80s as being more gripping than some of the more contemporary things.  Of course, that could also be due to tastes.  I really do wonder what I'd think of Kathleen Woodiwiss now.  I remember being very engaged with her books when I read them at a much much younger age.

And I have been meaning to go back and read some Judith McNaught.  I seem to recall thinking one or two of the books I read by her as being some of my favorite books in any genre--period.  I seem to think I have done so but honestly, I don't think I did.  It's kind of funny for people to bring up rape and abuse because I sometimes don't remember that part and wonder why the hell didn't it?  I know I picked up on it in one of Kathleen's books. 

I did a lot of old skool re-reading this year including some Kathleen Woodiwiss and honestly my reaction to the content changed from book to book depending on how I feel the author handled it and how it worked in the story and yeah, some of my own personal lines in the sand or personal triggers.  For instance, I know that I will never go back and re-read The Flame and The Flower because, well, the happy slaves.  Also the rape in that one, not completely a deal breaker because of the circumstances and she manages to redeem him but still there is just an unpleasant flavor to that whole book.  But I did enjoy a Wolf and The Dove (also includes a rape) but it felt textually explainable with her being a member of a conquered nation and a spoil of war.    Also, the story was so rich and the heroine was really the MVP.  And A Rose In Winter also stood up very well.

One author whose old skool romances I revisited was Rebecca Brandewyne and this woman writes books that are like five course meals.  She does a bibliography of her research in the back of her books.  One of her romances, The Rose of Rapture, is set during the Wars of the Roses and her take on Richard the Third was much more sympathetic that what we had grown used to from Shakespeare and more historically accurate.  Also I read her Desire In Disguise which is fun take off of the Scarlet Pimpernel.  It takes place during the reign of terror and there is a marriage of convenience where both the husband and wife don't like each other and play mousy milquetoasts, but they both have derring-do alter egos that rescue people from the guillotine in clever ways.  Their alter egos fall in love with each other, not really knowing they are married to each other (... I know... just go with it, it works... in a Clark Kent v. Superman kind of way) but in a surprise twist, their married selves begin to like each other and then start to feel guilty for what they believe is their adulterous love of someone else.  And Finally I read Forever My Love which is one of those really epic romances that includes an ancient prophecy, warring Highland clans, a Romeo and Juliet-esque  romance, they risk everything for love, it spans many years.

Edited by DearEvette
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4 hours ago, Irlandesa said:

Yeah.  Romance novels get a lot of grief for their problematic content but I do remember some of the stuff written in the 80s as being more gripping than some of the more contemporary things.  Of course, that could also be due to tastes.  I really do wonder what I'd think of Kathleen Woodiwiss now.  I remember being very engaged with her books when I read them at a much much younger age.

And I have been meaning to go back and read some Judith McNaught.  I seem to recall thinking one or two of the books I read by her as being some of my favorite books in any genre--period.  I seem to think I have done so but honestly, I don't think I did.  It's kind of funny for people to bring up rape and abuse because I sometimes don't remember that part and wonder why the hell didn't it?  I know I picked up on it in one of Kathleen's books. 

The only thing I read that could be considered Romance is Victoria Holt but that's mainly for the houses. I just ordered The Great Gatsby. I can't believe I made it this far in life without reading it.

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1 hour ago, DearEvette said:

Also I read her Desire In Disguise which is fun take off of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

That book sounds amazing.  I should track it down, start it---and then I'll probably stop it.  I should have clarified too, it's not just romance that I have a hard time finishing.  That happens with other books too. 

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I loved historical romances as a teen. There was one I tried to re-read a few years ago, I don’t remember the name and it was so full of dubious consent I had to put it down and wash my brain.

Historical romances get so problematic when they try for historical accuracy because women’s consent just didn’t matter. 

I’ve read the Julia Quinn novels and enjoyed them, mostly because of the humor. Those musicales and the dramatic readings of romance novels are a delight, but I sometimes find myself just skipping the sex scenes all together. I’d rather read fanfic for erotica, because it’s generally much more respectful of modern sensibilities and the characters than a lot of original authors/TV&Movie writers. Which is a sad statement on professional writers. 

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I just finished Elton John's memoir, Me. It's terrific. He's very honest about his faults, and he spills some tea, but he's never mean.

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Just finished: Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger. The basic plot summary (two women meet on a train and exchange secrets, then shit gets real) doesn't really cover how twisty the whole thing gets, but any more details would be too spoilery. I thought I had the big twist all figured out at the beginning and was about to get annoyed at how obvious it was, but there was much more to it than there seemed to be at first.

A couple things bugged, but not enough to put me off recommending it. The first was that there was this recurring theme of how people curate their lives for consumption on social media even when things are really falling apart. It doesn't tie into any of the plot points and seems like more of an author tract than anything that adds substantially to the story.

The other was how the book dealt with time.

Spoiler

I couldn't get a handle on how old any of the characters were supposed to be or how much time had passed between the current story and the flashbacks. When Pearl is a teenager there are plenty of mentions of modern technology (smartphones, social media, dating apps), but I assumed she would be in her early 30s at the youngest, so it wouldn't make sense for those things to exist when she was 15. I realize we are now getting to a point where these things will be more commonplace even in narratives that occur 10+ years ago, but it still felt a little disjointed and confusing.

Next up: The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

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On 1/1/2021 at 2:54 PM, Starleigh said:

I still love M.M. Kaye books, including Trade Wind. But I feel guilty for liking it which takes away from my enjoyment of the romance in it.

The only M.M. Kaye books I've read are her mysteries.  It's been a few years but I remember them as being quite good and, if dated, dated in a not "oh my god what the hell am I reading" way.  I'd recommend them.

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Just completed Sadie by Courtney Summers. I enjoyed it but was a little confused by all the reviews talking about this big shocking ending that will leave the readers stunned. I mean I don't know about anyone else but I kind of figured out fairly early into the book that 

Spoiler

Sadie likely crossed paths with the guy she was hunting and got killed by him. I mean girl was brave but much of the book I kept thinking she probably would have done better to plan out a lot of what she was going to do, maybe just a little better. A lot of her actions were in the moment, fly by the seat of her pants. I didn't see how she'd be able to kill a fully grown man like that. But even if he murdered her, she still got justice for her sister and all his victims by inadvertently killing him. 

 

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Due to a recommendation from someone upthread (a ways ago!), I just finished "Six Wakes" by Mur Lafferty, which is sort of Agatha Christie's "Ten Little Indians" in far future space, with clones. Most excellent world building and very good characterizations so if you like murder mysteries and you like science fiction, you will like this book!

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5 hours ago, WinnieWinkle said:

The only M.M. Kaye books I've read are her mysteries.  It's been a few years but I remember them as being quite good and, if dated, dated in a not "oh my god what the hell am I reading" way.  I'd recommend them.

If you like big epic historical novels, you should give her others a try! They were reprinted a few years ago, so I got nice new copies to replace my old secondhand copies. My favorite is Shadow of the Moon.

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2 hours ago, Starleigh said:

If you like big epic historical novels, you should give her others a try! They were reprinted a few years ago, so I got nice new copies to replace my old secondhand copies. My favorite is Shadow of the Moon.

I read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it, more than Far Pavilions. MM Kaye also wrote a children's book called The Ordinary Princess which I loved.

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I loved The Ordinary Princess so much when I was a kid! Fun fact, M.M. Kaye did the illustrations. She was a talented artist and sold paintings before she started writing, as I recall. 

 

 

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Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane, a new entry in the domestic suspense-thriller category. I liked this one, enjoyable debut by this author. The narrator was one of those "unlikable" characters but to me she became likable. To me the best part of the book was the push and pull between the main character, Lila, and the lead investigator, Ginny. They had a great dynamic.

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I read a number of books over Christmas. One that definitely didn't live up to its title was The People We Hate at the Wedding, by Grant Ginder. Just about every character is awful, and not in a love-to-hate way. The people at the wedding are fine; the main characters are not. They all complain about how terrible their lives are without doing anything about it, so no sympathy from me.

Something I was meh on was Ninth House, by Leigh Verdugo. It's a dark fantasy about secret societies at Yale, and I should have enjoyed it more than I did. I think I wanted it to be something else, and that's on me.

On a more enjoyable note, I'm working my though the Chronicles of St. Mary's, by Jodi Taylor, and they're so much fun. Historians observing events in contemporary times (i.e., they're watching Thomas Becket get murdered in Canterbury Cathedral) and getting into trouble. 

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On ‎12‎/‎31‎/‎2020 at 8:21 PM, DearEvette said:

Really old skool romances for all their problematic content (and trust me some are extremely problematic) are much meatier and were much more grounded in actual historical events.  At some point history became nothing but wallpaper and you could tell that the writers were learning their history form each other, not doing their own primary research.

I loved trashy historical romances when I was a teenager, for the sex, primarily.  As I got older, I learned to appreciate those which were more historically accurate.  Now I absolutely detest period romances which twist the mores of the time to fit modern sensibilities.  Georgians thought very differently about sex, among other things, and a good Regency romance should reflect the attitudes of that period, not ours, imo.

Edited to note: I feel the same way about any historical novel, not just romances.  If a writer is setting a story in a particularly period of history, the mores and attitudes should be those of that period, not of ours.  You want to write a novel about a feminist superwoman, don't set it in 16th century England and try to pretend she's one of Henry VIII's wives.  (I say that as a feminist.)

Edited by proserpina65
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I hope I didn't sound dismissive of anyone who enjoys Romance.  I don't mind that by page 2 I know which couple is my end game.  That's totally fine with me, but it's hard for me as a sexually active woman in 2021 to not be completely squeeved out by the Holy Grail Virgin.

And then with the Duke and I you had the female protagonist 

Spoiler

rape her husband in order to force him to have a child with her!  And even though it didn't take, it made her husband realize he DOES want kids!  Rape solves everything!

I do like historical romances, but I can't help be grossed out by certain tropes, even if they truly were the norm back then.

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Today, yes in one day, I read The Reluctant Tuscan by Phil Doran.
It’s a nice lighthearted look at a couple learning to live the Italian life. 

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I read American Dirt. Meh. I don’t know...maybe it was just not my kind of novel. I read Lines and Shadows by Joseph Wambaugh years ago about border crossings, although I don’t remember too much about it, but I felt like AD was ...somehow similar. 

I suppose that after 2020, I want to read to escape into something not so angsty. I want less misery in my life.

 

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Reading The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins. It’s a Gone Girl version of Jane Eyre, and everybody who thought Mr. Rochester was trash will be pleased...

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Just finished Playing Nice by JP Delaney and it was a pretty good story about finding out your child was switched at birth and the birth parents don’t play nice. Now I’m reading The Magpies by Mark Edwards. His books are all creepy and well written.

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Finally getting to read Shadows in Death By J.D. Robb. I had to wait until it came out in paperback.

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Only a week in and I've had a pretty productive 2021 in terms of reading.  So, far I've finished The Mothers by Brit Bennett (excellent, but I preferred The Vanishing Half), A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas (#2 in the Lady Sherlock series--which is a fun one), and Our Darkest Night by Jennifer Robson (very typical, very predictable WWII novel.  I'm sure I won't even remember it next week).

I'm about to start The Sound of Gravel by Ruth Wariner, which has been sitting on my TBR bookshelf for 5 years now.  However, I've heard a lot of people lately mention that they really liked it, so I thought it might be time to give it a try.  I have The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi going on my kindle and really enjoying it so far.  Finally, I have the audiobook of Sex and Vanity by Kevin Kwan going.  It's...okay.  I enjoyed the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, but I was pretty much done with that whole schtick by the end of the 3rd book.  I thought S&V would be different, but it is basically another CRA book.  But, the narrator is good and it is enough of a diversion to occupy me when I'm out walking.

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I just finished Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell.  There is a very good chance it will be the best book I read this year. Absolutely fantastic!

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