Weekly Reading Round-Up
With RWA fast approaching, this week has been heavy on the romance, both re-reads and new reads.
— Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Dream a Little Dream.
I came late to SEP, but I’ve made up for it with a lot of re-reading. This one, about a woman at the end of her chance and the end of her rope, desperate to find a way to provide a home for her little boy, is one of my favorites. There’s something about survivors, whether it’s on the prairie a la Little House, or in the modern world, that has always appealed to me.
— Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Ain’t She Sweet.
I didn’t realize until I read this back to back with Dream a Little Dream how much they have in common– town pariah returns home to find missing treasure. But despite those superficial similarities, it’s a very different story. SEP’s Sugar Beth has a little bit in common with our own Mary Alsworthy and her Colin has more than a little Lord Vaughn in him. I also love that she uses Georgette Heyer quotes as chapter headings.
— Jo Beverley, Forbidden.
Once I got over my “not another Regency woman who decides she’s going to be a courtesan!” hissy fit, I very much enjoyed this book. Beverley does a very good job of showing the gradual growth of a woman broken by spousal abuse. The only warning is that for those who haven’t read her prior Rogues books, all the cameos can be a bit confusing.
— Susan Wiggs, Just Breathe.
Make sure you have a box of tissues next to you while reading this. I teared up. A lot. After Charm School last week, I decided to try one of Wiggs’ contemporary romances on the off chance– and I’m so glad I did. She’s a wonderful writer with a knack for creating vivid settings and complex characters.
And now I’m off to the Poisoned Pen Conference to stock up on more books!
What have you been reading?
I started reading the Her Royal Spyness books this week and I love the first one! I’m almost done with it and hoping the library gets the second one in for me before this weekend so I can get it.
I read my first Jude Morgan book, An Accomplished Woman, this week and absolutely LOVED it! I thought the writing was superb; all of the comparisons to Austen and Heyer on Amazon were very apt. The author’s vocabulary, witty dialog, and ability to turn a phrase were all quite remarkable. I found myself going back to reread scenes on more than one occasion because I thought they were so great that I wanted to really savor each word before moving on. I got so invested in the characters (the heroine was a snarkier, more mature Emma Woodhouse and the hero had shades of Darcy, Knightley, and John Thornton) that I actually teared up at the ending!
I found out only after finishing the book that Jude Morgan is a MAN (JM is a pseudonym for Tim Wilson.) Color me shocked! Usually, I can see the hand of a man in a book almost immediately, but I never did with this one. I tip my hat to Mr. Wilson because he thoroughly convinced me that he was the next coming of Jane Austen!
I am in the middle of Semi Sweet by Roisin Meaney. And have Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister up next.
I am reading My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster. It’s been a while since I picked up one of Lancaster’s memoirs but they still have me laughing out loud every time. She wields a wicked pen!
I just got done reading two delightful novellas: There Must Be Murder by Margaret Sullivan and Nachtsturm Castle by Emily Snyder. Although both are Northanger Abbey sequels, they about as different as apples and oranges. Both are a little over 100 pages and those of you attracted to a sophisticated Gothic fantasy will gravitate to Nachtsturm Castle. Those of you who enjoy an Austenesque-style Bath-revisited mystery will appreciate There Must Be Murder. I highly recommend either. Decisions, decisions….. Don’t make one; Buy them both!
I’ve been on a Jennifer Weiner and Kaye Gibbons kick (courtesy of my local library). Making a determined effort to read or re-read all the classic English-language lit I have from college this summer, if I can keep away from the library!
Christine: I love Her Royal Spyness! I highly recommend the Molly Murphy series by the same author.
What I’ve read and loved lately:
1) The Mermaid Garden by Santa Montefiore–great romantic mystery with interesting characters, set in beautiful Tuscany and Devon.
2) The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene–a suspenseful WWII novel with a protagonist who makes an incredible journey.
3) A Trace of Smoke and A Night of Long Knives by Rebecca Cantrell–incredibly written and gritty WWII mystery series featuring crime reporter Hannah Vogel.
4) The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen–Okay, this one isn’t out yet (one of the perks of being a Penguin intern), but it’s excellent and I highly recomend pre-ordering a copy ASAP. A great cold case mystery/thriller.
oh. Sigh. I’m nearly done with Pink Carnation! Eeek!(Not to be outweighed by the super mystery thriller The First Cut by Dianne Emley)
Farin – Thanks! I’ll have to check those out.
Can anyone tell me if it’ll spoil anything if I read the 3rd and 4th Her Royal Spyness before the 2nd? My library got those in first for me.
I finished the new Gail Carriger book, which I don’t know if I finished before I posted on here last Friday. Very fun! Also read the YA graphic novel Anya’s ghost was supposed to be awesome, not really my taste. About a young Russian girl trying to fit in at school with a psycho ghost as her bff. Other than that, still working on The Wise Man’s Fear…
So I have been spending a lot of my reading time in Belgium lately– not sure why. I am home; not in Belgium but for some reason the two books I read this week were both set there. Seriously I picked two random books from my To Be Read pile. Both set in Belgium both involving wars.
The first book was Whisper on the Wind, a WW1 Inspirational romance novel set mostly in occupied Belgium. It was okay the hero and heroine working for the resistance. Very religious but interesting.
The second is Georgette Heyer novel An Infamous Army, which starts before Waterloo and ends afterwards. This book is so long. I wish Heyer had not made the troup discriptions so long. I am too dumb to really picture battle plans in my head.
The plot was interesting. I loved Col. Audley in Regency Buck so I was happy to see him as the hero here. I kinda felt like he got what he deserved in terms of the heroine (not on the battlefield). I liked Barbara and sympathized with her. All in all I liked seeing all of these characters tied together and liked the book in a lot of ways, but it wasn’t my favorite.
Finally a side character in An Infamous Army (lucy) reminded me of Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie. It was the first one I read and featured a love story for Hastings and my favorite Belgian character Hercule Poirot.
I have been reading Whistling’ Dixie in a Nor’easter by Lisa Patton. It is about a southern woman whose husband moves her and their girls to Vermont to run an inn. Very funny. I know I have mett Leelee the main character. This spring I got the pleasure of meeting Ms Patton and listening to her speak at the South Carolina Book Festival. She is very funny. I highly recomend her.
This week I read two books by Holly Black – Tithe and Ironside. They’re easy reads – gritty YA fantasy following a girl (Kaye) who finds out she’s actually a pixie, having been swapped with the real Kaye when she was a baby. Recommended for people who like their faeries and fey folk dark and twisted.
Christine: I don’t think it’s detrimental if you read out of order, but I’d wait for the second if you can!
Farin – Thanks! I decided to just go ahead and pick them up. I really only can go to the library on weekends and I think they were going to charge me if I left a hold sitting there till next weekend. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll enjoy them just the same.
Just read “Sisterhood Everlasting” by Ann Brashares. It’s the 10-years-have-passed-since-we-last-checked-in-with-the-girls novel in the Traveling Pants series. Definately a tear-jerker, but I didn’t really expect anything less from Brashares. I read it on vacation, and spent the good part of the day crying into my margarita! Going to be starting “Heads You Lose” by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward. Lutz and Hayward are former lovers who came up with a crazy way to write a novel together. Sounds very interesting and hilarious!
Heads you Lose will easily give you a laugh factor after the tear factor of Brashares. Their “commentary” between the chapters are almost better than the story… almost.
whoa! i also just started heads you lose! now i am very excited 😉 i just finished the dark enquiry by deanna raybourn and am re-reading the dresden files series by jim butcher in anticipation for the new one coming out in july 🙂
I’ve been reading the first of the trilogy “Rashi’s Daughters” Joheved. It’s pretty good so far, the next ones are Mirriam, and Rachel.