Weekly Reading Round-Up

Mostly, I’ve been re-reading Elizabeth Peters mysteries, her non-series books, like The Love Talker and Devil May Care.

But one book really did stand out this week: The Charm School, by Susan Wiggs.

I can’t remember who recommended it to me, but, whoever you are, thank you. I adored this book. It was a combination high seas adventure/coming of age/ugly duckling story and it worked, beautifully. We go every step of the heroine’s transformation along with her– and learn a lot about life on ship while we’re at it. There’s something almost a little Blue Castle about it, the shy spinster coming into her own and learning her own strengths.

What have you been reading?


  1. Sharon on June 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I just finished the lastest Cobbled Court by Marie Bostwick-Threading the Needle and am starting Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith. It is a recommendation from my daughter.

  2. Cho on June 17, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I’ve recently finished the first three Her Royal Spyness books, by Rhys Bowen. They came highly recommended from these Weekly Reading Round-Ups, and I must say that I am hooked. Any book which uses the word “spiffing” four pages in is a keeper. They get a little repetitive at times, but that doesn’t stop my enjoyment in the least.

    I’ve also been rereading old Georgette Heyer favourites as well as some of the earlier Bridgerton books.

  3. Sheila on June 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    Fannie Flagg’s I Still Dream of You. I love all her books. I’m not a native, but I have lived in the South for over 30 years, and she has nailed so much of it perfectly. And this one has two characters I could totally identify with, just an absolute great read.

    Meanwhile , I have returned to Morland Place, reading book 10, The Maiden. This is a terrific series, entertaining , yet I am also learning about some history that I thought I was familiar with, so that’s is a benefit also.

  4. Joanne M. on June 17, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Only Mr. Darcy Will Do by Kara Louise….very charming love story.

  5. Céline on June 17, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    After I finished A Discovery of Witches, which has been much talked about already here (loved it), I started reading A Gamt of Thrones… and I’m hooked too! 🙂 I’m halfway through it so it’ll keep me occupied next week also!

  6. Am7 on June 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I read A Royal Pain, the second in the Royal Spyness series. This book was better than the first except there was one nasty scene that threatened to ruin the whole book for me. Seriously I know it shouldn’t bother me but it was really awful.
    The solution was Agatha Christie ish made me think of several of her stories and maybe more than one book….
    I started a bunch of other books I haven’t finished them yet so I’ll leave them for next week.

  7. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on June 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    I finished my Daphne Du Maurier short story book, while it’s getting hype for “The Doll” the other stories are so wonderful. I also read the newest Parasol Protectorate book, Heartless. Must say, I really enjoyed it. While Changeless will always be my favorite, it’s a strong contender. I won’t spoil anything, but it wonderfully ties up many loose ends.

  8. Gina on June 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm

    I finished The Smoke Thief by Shana Abe, but I wouldn’t really recommend it. I couldn’t stand Christoff’s attitude that Rue was his property. His comments sometimes just….ugh.

    But The Charm School sounds great! I may start that tonight, actually.

  9. Shenandoah Strojek on June 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    i’m reading your books right now for the Lauren Willig reading challenge. I also just got the newest C.W.Gortner book and will be reading that after I finish yours

  10. Lucy on June 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Just started A clash of kings by George R R Martin, had to rush out and get it after finishing A Game of Thrones – very addictive. Also started rereading the Harry Potter series, hope to finish before the movie but as only on #2 might be a bit of a challenge.

  11. Doreen on June 18, 2011 at 12:20 am

    I just finished the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen too and I don’t usually read mysteries. It is a fun world to inhabit for a while and I really like Georgie.
    I am currently reacing The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.

  12. Sarah on June 18, 2011 at 12:52 am

    I re-read most of the Bridgerton series before starting on The Knight of Maison Rouge, which has been on my to-read list for ages. It’s wonderful so far – very exciting, romantic, and just classic Dumas storytelling.

  13. Jessica C on June 18, 2011 at 3:26 am

    I just finished my race through the land of Westeros. This week I finished book 3 part 2 and book 4 of the Song of Fire and Ice series (Steel and Gold and Feast for Crows). They were fantastic, though I did miss the characters that were excluded from Book 4 (Jon, Dany and Bran in particular). Can’t wait for book 5, which comes out next month.

  14. Virginia on June 18, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I’ve been reading books completely based on their spine this week. If they have a fairy that takes up a third of the spine and say “A Faerie Tale Romance” on them I know they are a retelling of various world fairy tales.

    This week I read “Someone’s Been Sleeping in My Bed” (aka Goldilocks) by Linda Jones and “The Gentle Beast” (Beauty and the Beast) by Colleen Shannon. SBSiMB was great fun, set in the Wyoming territory and had a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers feeling to it. “The Gentle Beast”, it was okay, but since I have recently read Eloisa James’s “When Beauty Tamed the Beast” I couldn’t keep myself from comparing them and deciding that I enjoyed Eloisa James’s retelling better.

    This coming week I have Rose Red and The Wild Swans. Hurray for more fairy tales.

  15. Gina on June 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    I just wanted to say I started The Charm School last night, and my goodness, it is wonderful. Thanks for bringing it up, Lauren!

  16. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on June 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    Jessica I agree, I missed those characters too. But then, A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons was once one book that got so big he had to divide them up…

  17. Veronika on June 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    I love re-reading the old Elizabeth Peters–they are such wonderful fun, and the mentions of modern music like the Beatles always crack me up (also, I definitely have a thing for her heroes. She got me young). Actually, oddly enough, I spent the week re-reading old Barbara Michaels, when her books were very gothic, but before they got more supernatural. A rose by any other name…

  18. Loramir on June 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Just finished a mad rereading spree of Lisa Kleypas’ Hathaways books. Then I walked by the Ks at the library and they happened to have Devil In Winter, so of course I had to reread that one as well.

    I’ll have to try the Susan Wiggs you mentioned. I haven’t been reading romance very long, and I’m kind of picky. I love Kleypas, Eloisa James, and Mary Balogh so far, but I’m looking to expand 🙂 Somebody mentioned the Bridgerton books above…I read one (Anthony, I think?) and was less than impressed, but I’ve heard good things, so maybe I’ll give some of the others a try.

    And then I’ve been continuing to work my way through Stephen Fry-narrated version of the Harry Potter audio books. I’m up to #5 now. I never thought I’d prefer an audio book to reading on my own (usuually I just tolerate them as something to do on my drive to work), but I now want Stephen to read all my books to me.

  19. Christine on June 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Someone recommended Entwined on here a few weeks ago and I just read the entire book today. The Dancing Princesses was my favorite fairy tale as a kid and this was definitely an interesting take on it.

  20. Ashley on June 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I just finished Dead End Gene Pool by Wendy Burden, a memoir from one of the Vanderbilt clan. Laugh out loud funny with a wicked streak to boot – it was wonderful! Some of the recollections had my mouth hanging open.

    My husband kept looking at me like I was deranged given I was vearing between audible gasps and laughing fits.

    I am not usually one for non-fiction but I would highly recommend this book. I knew it had to be a gem when I looked at the author’s bio and it included taxidermy and being fired from porn for being “too tasteful.”

  21. Lauren on June 20, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Virginia, if you like fairy tale retellings, have you come across “Tam Lin” by Pamela Dean and “Snow White & Rose Red” by Patricia Wrede? They were part of a fabulous fairy-tale remake series published by Tor (I think it was Tor) back in the early 90’s.

  22. Anne on June 20, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Wow! I didn’t know that other people loved the Blue Castle as much as I did. It and Anne of the Island are the only two books I ever reread (intentionally). Although I start after Valancy gets her diagnosis, usually.

    I’m reading Road to Darjeeling by Deanna Raybourn – maybe my favorite Julia Grey so far! But I’m having a problem with getting Lady Julia’s backstory confused with Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily. Silly me.

  23. Trista on June 20, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    I’m a little late to this post, but wanted to mention (just in case you didn’t know) that there are 2 sequels to The Charm School. The Horsemaster’s Daughter is a really sweet, touching story as well. Maybe not quite as good as Charm School, but definitely worth the read. Haven’t read the 3rd one…A Summer Affair, but I’m now wanting to get back to the Calhouns so I probably will. LOVED Charm School too!

  24. Michelle on June 21, 2011 at 7:42 am

    Such great suggestions of books! I’ve had to add a bunch to my “to read” list. I just finished a reread of Thornyhold by Mary Stewart. It’s just a pleasant story, no highs or lows. No one beats her at setting the scene. I also enjoy all the Marion Chesney books. They are all fun, light and amusing! Of course, I LOVE Elizabeth Peters and a reread (for the umpteenth time) is in order!

  25. leslie jordan on June 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Has anyone heard of Katie FForde?
    She is wonderful

  26. Hannah on June 22, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I bought Charm School after the comparison to The Blue Castle and other reviews–can’t wait to read it. I’m slowly making my way through The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon–trying to catch up on the series before the next book is released, though that’s not until 2013.

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