Weekly Reading Round-Up

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Tempt Me at Twilight, Lisa Kleypas.

Third in her new Hathaway series. My all-time Kleypas favorite is still Secrets of a Summer Night, the first of the Wallflower books.

The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton.

I desperately wanted this to end differently when I first read it in high school. But the writing– and the characterizations– are so good that I keep re-reading it anyway.

The Pirates! In an Adventure with Napoleon, Gideon Defoe.

Two of my favorite things, Napoleon and pirates, in one wonderfully ridiculous package. Think Blackadder meets The Pirates of Penzance. Strap on your peg leg and prepare for fun.

Written on Your Skin, Meredith Duran.

Meredith Duran is one of my new auto-buy writers. (My favorite so far is Bound by Your Touch). When my little sister asked me to describe her books, the best I could come up with was to call them a cross between Laura Lee Guhrke and Laura Kinsale– clever, dark, beautifully written Victorian romances.

What have you been reading?

p.s. I have a special request this week. A friend is nearly finished reading M.M. Kaye’s The Ordinary Princess to her daughter and wanted ideas for similar books. I recommended Robin McKinley’s Beauty and Patricia C. Wrede’s Dealing With Dragons. What would you suggest for an incredibly clever five year old with a strong affinity for once upon a time?


  1. SandyH on October 2, 2009 at 9:02 am

    I love Beauty such a beautiful book. McKinley also wrote Rose Cottage along the same theme.

  2. Rebecca on October 2, 2009 at 9:38 am

    I love “The Pirates! I An Adventure With Napoleon”! Have you read the others in the series? They’re all great!

    As for me, I’m finishing up Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series with “Fourth Comings” and “Perfect Fifths.” Once I’m done with those, as it shouldn’t take too long, I’ll probably start “The Bronte Project,” by Jennifer Vandever.

  3. Kendra on October 2, 2009 at 11:06 am

    I loved The Ordinary Princess! Shannon Hale’s young adult books are great as well – Book of a Thousand Days, Princess Academy. Ella Enchanted is another good one along the same theme.

    I’m reading Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn right now. I actually picked it up because my Visual Bookshelf on Facebook kept recommending it every time I added another Pink Carnation book to my collection 🙂

  4. Alison on October 2, 2009 at 11:25 am

    OMG, The Ordinary Princess is one of my most favoritest books EVER!!!


    Gail Carson Levine has a slew of great fairy books for kids of various ages. Ella Enchated is my favorite, but I think it really skews toward tweens and teens, so some of the titles for younger readers might be better choices for a five-year-old.

    As for me, I am currently reading Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked and enjoying it very much.

  5. Lauren on October 2, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’ve been meaning to get the others, Rebecca– which of them would you read next? Communists or Scientists?

  6. Angie on October 2, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    I definitely agree that almost any Gail Carson Levine book would be great – my particular favorites are Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre…I definitely intend to read them to my daughters! Shannon Hale’s books are also good suggestions – Princess Academy is a good choice because it is aimed at slightly younger kids than the others – my favorite is The Goose Girl.
    Sorry I have no original suggestions but these (along with The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricial Wrede that you mentioned) would all be my top choices for wholesome fairy-tale reading 🙂
    Oh, and any of the Chronicles of Narnia would be a great choice, too.

  7. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on October 2, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Yeah, I’d also say Princess Academy, for the younger Hale fans, also Goose Girl would be ok, there’s some darker stuff in the later books. OMG How about Edward Eager, they are like magic and fairy tales in modern times, my favorite being The Thyme Garden, they go and meet a young Louisa May Alcott, I couldn’t get enough of these when I was little. Also the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, so much better than anything out there.

    As for my personal reading, I’m reading Soulless by Gail Carriger, too too funny, Werewolves and Vampires in a very proper Victorian England setting. I also read Odd and the Frost Giants this week and loved it so much.

  8. E on October 2, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    If your friend is reading the books aloud…William Goldman’s THE PRINCESS BRIDE would be perfect!!!! (It seems like some others are on the tip of my tongue, but I’m drawing a blank at the moment.)

    And I’m in the process of finishing up The Mortdecai Trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli. It is a veddy British comedy-caper. I was going to read The Prisoner of Wool House by Stephanie Barron (of the Jane Austen Mysteries), but I didn’t get around to it and have to return it to the library. Boo!

  9. Rebecca on October 2, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    I’d recommend all of them, but I’d start with reading the one with Scientists and the one with Ahab first. The edition I have has both in the same book — you read one, then you flip it over and you have another book! They’re hilarious, aren’t they?


  10. Whitney Daly on October 3, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I absolutely LOVED Patricia Wrede’s books when I was younger, but they can be a bit difficult to find sometimes. I would recommend the American Girl Doll Books. They have great characters and teach a lot of lessons about American History.

  11. Ivy on October 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    What about Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess or The Secret Garden? Those are wonderful read aloud books!

  12. Candice on October 3, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    The Chronicles of Prydain are amazing! Lloyd Alexander has many other books geared towards children, like Time Cat, and the Vesper Holly series.
    I have come across a series called “Once Upon a Time” fairy tales are re-told in different settings. “Snow” by Tracy Lynn is my favorite, they are believable and appropriate for a younger audience.
    I’m a huge fan of classics, and “Peter Pan” is a wonderful story.

  13. Camille la Flamme on October 4, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I LOVE BEAUTY. It is my favorite book!

  14. Nicky Schauder on October 4, 2009 at 1:57 am

    Geraldine Brook’s “March”

  15. Alexis on October 4, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Bruce Coville’s Into the Land of the Unicorns. It doesn’t have much to do with princesses, but it has lots of once upon a time!

  16. alexandria on October 4, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    i have to say it….. lol Twilight stephanie meyer

  17. Camille la Flamme on October 4, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    I am not so sure as Alexandria is, that Twilight is a good read for a five-year-old, let alone for the rest of us. ><

  18. Susan on October 4, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed Tempted at Twilight (Lisa Kleypas is on my auto-buy list and would have a hard time picking a favorite). If you are looking for something a bit different, though, I would recommend any of the Spellman Files books by Lisa Lutz. They were a recent discovery for me (isn’t that the best – to trip upon a series where there are books to read, not books to wait for?). They are zany, wicked but with a soft underbelly.

  19. Ashley on October 5, 2009 at 3:45 am

    For your friend’s child I would try Howl’s Moving Castle by Dianna Wynne Jones. It’s SO phenomenal and has great fairy tale jokes!

  20. Debra Callaway on October 5, 2009 at 9:37 am

    I just finished “Doomed Queens” by Kris Waldherr. It’s a little bit of a tongue in cheek historical overview of Queens throughout the ages who have lost their crowns (and most times their lives) for power. She has 14 categories of how they lost that includes divorce, poison, childbirth and beheading but the most unusual was Princess Diana (the Queen of Hearts) whose category was “death by paparazzi”. The final chapter is a Quiz “Are You a Doomed Queen?” I thought this was fun,silly and tragic all at the same time. It is a fairly quick read and I really enjoyed it.

  21. Linda Taylor on October 5, 2009 at 11:51 am

    I just finished “Pride and Prejudiced and Zombies” and LOVED IT!! Still the same story we all know and love, orginal Jane Austin text, but the author has done a great job of inserting all kinds of zombie chaos and mayhem, and it really makes the book fun! I’m on to “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” next!!!

  22. Rachel on October 5, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    I love Wrede and think her Enchanted Forest Chronicles are great read-aloud books. Wrede also has a pair of books, Sorcery and Cecilia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot and its sequel, The Grand Tour. The heroines are spunky and the plots are light-hearted.

    One book I didn’t see mentioned yet is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It is once-upon-a-time-ish and an easy-fun read for kids, but I also found that as I got older I found more in the book than just a story about a little boy named Milo who winds up in a charming world of make-believe.

    I am also this >< close to getting all of A. A. Milne’s classics for myself just because I can. There are no kids in my house to read them to, but Winnie-the-Pooh will always have a special thinking-spot in my heart and it has been ages since I read Milne’s stories, I have not read them through grown-up eyes yet.

  23. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on October 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    It’s not just a pair of books, it’s Sorcery and Cecilia, The Grand Tour and The Mislaid Magician, or Ten Years Later, plus her co-writer, Caroline Stevermer, is working on a companion book, Magic Below Stairs that’s supposed to be out this year.

    Susan so glad you found the Spellmans! I just adore them. I literally can not wait for their new book in March.

  24. Rachel on October 5, 2009 at 6:30 pm


    I totally walked in to my fave bookstore and found Kleypas’ latest on the shelves 3 days early … completely gobbled it up and was finished before its announced official release date! 🙂 Cute story …

    The first book I read of hers was the Wallflower Christmas book. It totally got me hooked and looking for the Wallflowers. I loved Summer Night … but I’m thinking that Evie’s book (The Devil in Winter) was my favorite.

  25. Lora on October 8, 2009 at 9:30 am

    For your friend’s little one, I find that Ballet Shoes is sure-fire and though I love The Princess Bride I would not read it aloud to a 5year old. And I have to make a shout-out for the Little House books…not “once upon a time” but long ago and far away.

    I’m reading “Frederica” by Georgette Heyer which is cute but keeps dropping me into unexpected naps and Fudge-a-mania is my read-aloud to the 2nd graders this week.

  26. Kate on October 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess series will be absolutely PERFECT for your friends 5-year old! The Frog Princess is the first and I believe there are 6 altogether. Fun read for both children and adults 🙂

  27. Kate on October 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess series will be absolutely PERFECT for your friend’s 5-year old! The Frog Princess is the first and I believe there are 6 altogether. Fun read for both children and adults 🙂

  28. Liz on October 12, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I just read Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas too! Be sure to sign up for the Winn & Kev’s Wedding short story to be sent to you, it has great Beatrice mischief. Finished The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer and then reread it right away:) I agree that Princess Bride is a great read aloud book for your friend’s daughter

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