Weekly Reading Round-Up

Between the Poisoned Pen Conference and RWA, I have been surrounded by an embarrass de books. Here’s a sampling:

— Laurie R. King, A Letter of Mary.

I had the great honor of being on a panel with Laurie King at the Poisoned Pen Conference last week. I’d read Beekeeper’s Apprentice back in my teens, but somehow missed the rest of the series– so I’m making up for lost time. King’s Mary Russell is one of the few one can actually imagine making a suitable mate for the enigmatic Mr. Holmes.

— Laurie R. King, O, Jerusalem.

Another Holmes and Russell mystery, this time in the exotic East.

— Elizabeth Peters, The Curse of the Pharaohs.

Reading Laurie King’s books made me homesick for Elizabeth Peters, so I switched over to Amelia Peabody. So good. Nobody wields a parasol like Peabody (although Miss Gwen might take umbrage at that).

— Elizabeth Peters, The Mummy Case.

Two words: young Ramses. This may still be my favorite of the Peabody books. (With some stiff competition from Crocodile on the Sandbank.)

— Beth Kendrick, The Bake-Off.

I met Beth at RWA this week and we swapped books– and I’m so glad we did. Her narrative voice grabbed me from the very first page. (I get very picky about narrative voice.) I loved this tale of two sisters finding common ground over a bake-off. It’s also made me dust off my Tate’s Bakeshop Cookbook. I sense blueberry muffins in my future.

— Elsie Lee, Barrow Sinister.

Once the madness of RWA was over, I escaped to meet up with my college roommate, who gifted me with one of my favorite guilty pleasures: 70’s era Elsie Lee novels (for the covers, think overly made up heroine in underwire nightdress fleeing from a clifftop castle). My favorite is still Mansion of Golden Windows, which I found at a school book fair back in 1989.

What have you been reading?


  1. Tracie on July 8, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Lauren, you’ve reminded me that I need to get back to reading the Amelia Peabody series. Adult Ramses is one of my biggest fictional crushes.

    I finally read Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen and concur with everyone here that it was wonderful. Love the time period and thought that Georgie was a pip! The book was replete with great secondary characters – Georgie’s not-too-bright half-brother Binky and his uptight wife Fig, her old school friend/aspiring fashion designer Belinda, her Cockney ex-cop grandfather, and potential love interest Darcy O’Mara, the penniless son of an Irish lord. My only disappointment with the book was that I finished it too quickly and didn’t have the second one on hand to read right away!

    I, also, read Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach. I generally love books about artists (real and fictional), their lives, their romances, what inspires them, etc. and had hoped that Tulip Fever would be something along the lines of Girl With a Pearl Earring. Sadly, it was not. There was no build-up to the relationship between the painter and his married lover, so I didn’t really care about all of their scheming to be together.

  2. Christine on July 8, 2011 at 10:51 am

    I’m also working my way through the Her Royal Spyness series. I finished Royal Flush and I’m about halfway through Royal Blood. I’m finally going to get my hands on A Royal Pain this weekend!

  3. CĂ©line on July 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

    After finishing A Clash of kings, book 2 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I read the graphic novel Tamara Drewe, by Posy Simmonds, which is very good, and The Man in the Brown Suit (Agatha Christie) which is a must-read, then I finally met the famous brothers of the equally famous Black Dagger Brotherhood! And I think I like them pretty much! 🙂

  4. Sharon on July 8, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan.
    I am really getting wrapped up in the characters and can’t wait to finish it.

  5. Jessica S. on July 8, 2011 at 11:24 am

    I’m still reading Kaye Gibbons, and I’ve got some more Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed) and Madeleine Wickham (The Wedding Girl) from the library.

    Oh, and Focus on Phonological Acquisition but that’s for work 🙂

  6. Martina on July 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

    I just finished THE MAID by Kimberly Cutter. Started Before Versailles by Karleen Koen. My ‘to be read’ pile is an absolute dream right now!

  7. jeffrey on July 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I just finished your Orchid Affair and have now read your entire output. The Orchid Affair, to me, reflects your growing maturity in the development of the characters, plot, and general mood of the story. JUST BRAVO! I’ll now have withdrawl symptoms until the Garden Affair is published. (perhaps a re-read of The Mischief Of The Mistletoe would help alleviate?)
    I’m now reading Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery and will follow that up with Rilla of Ingleside. With that, I’ll have read the entire Anne Of Green Gables series from beginning to end. I’m also doing a careful re-read of Nachtsturm Castle by Emily Snyder since I’ll be writing a review on another website for that one.

  8. Angela on July 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

    Celine, I’m also working on Book 2 in SOIAF in preparation for Books 3 & 4 and as soon as I can get to it, 5. Yippee!!

  9. Georgia on July 8, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I just finished Vienna Waltz by Tracy Grant. Wonderful setting and surprising twist. Now I am enjoying Deanna Raybourn’s new book, A Dark Enquiry. It is VERY good. I so like Brisbane and his shady past.

  10. Farin on July 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I have Deanna Raybourn’s new book on tap as well, which I can’t wait to read! First, though, is The French Gardener by Santa Montefiore, because it belongs to the library. I love her books, particularly because they’re all set in England and Italy.

  11. Joanne M. on July 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Deanna Raybourn’s The Dark Equiry…wonderful!

    The Devil in Music by Kate Ross (sadly, her last).

  12. Christy on July 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    The Help by Kathryn Stockett, The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean, Sacred Hearts by Sarah Dunant,and I *finally* finished Churchill’s Vol. 1 Birth of Britain from his History of the English Speaking People. What a triumph. It only took me about a year and a half, reading a few chapters between novels. Now I’m on chapter 3 of Vol. 2, The New World. Oh yes… I’m also reading Little House on the Prairie to the kids this month. 🙂

  13. Anne K on July 8, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    I just finished Deanna Raybourn’s A Dark Enquiry, too. Lady Julia is one of my favorite heroines and I can’t get enough of Brisbane!

    I stared Lauren Kate’s Torment. I read the first of that series, Fallen, a few weeks ago and was completely taken by the misty qualities of the story. I like how the characters are neither really good or really bad, and how Luce struggles with understanding and accepting that.

    I’m slowly working through The Great Upheaval by Jay Winik; it’s so detailed that when he gets to the gory bits, I can only take a little at a time.

  14. Katie on July 8, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    I just finished reading The Jefferson Key by Steve Berry. It was great! Planning to re-read the entire Harry Potter series in anticipation of the last movie release on July 15th!

  15. Gina on July 8, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I finished Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams (love that guy) and I’m going to start Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer soon.

  16. Bridget on July 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    I just finished Water For Elephants and loved it!

    I’m out of new books to read, but I am reading The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery (its available to read free online), the basis of the old Road to Avonlea series that was on the Disney channel in the 90’s. It’s worth the read.

  17. CĂ©line on July 8, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Angela: Yipee, indeed! I do absolutely intend to buy Book Five as soon as possible… Not sure I’ll have read the whole series by July 12th (4 days!!), but I’ll have it waiting for me !!!

  18. Shenandoah Strojek on July 8, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    I am reading the Orchid Affair right now and when I finish that I am going to read Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Avalon series beginning with the Fall of Atlantis.

  19. Rebecca W. on July 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    I’m currently reading “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” by Jerramy Fine, and it’s awesome!

  20. Jo3 on July 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    I am just giddy over two series I am currently reading: Inspector Keen Dunliffe mysteries by Lee Wood (Kingdom of Lies and Kingdom of Silence). One of the main characters, Jillie, is a historian specializing in English royalty and politics (reminds me of Eloise!). The second series is the Clare Fergusson/Run Van Alstyne mysteries by Julia Spencer-Fleming. Tension, laugh-out-loud humor, romance, mystery…these books have it all!!

  21. Lynn on July 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Am reading “Persuasion” by Austen — I am in charge of the library’s book club and this is our July read.
    For some reason, I have been in a fantasy mood, so am also reading “Hob’s Bargain” by Patricia Briggs & “A Strange to Command” by Sherwood Smith. Am waiting for my reserve to come up on “Dark Enquiry” by Deanna Raybourn.
    Now that you mentioned it, I might have to start a re-read of the Amelia Peabody series and what few Elsie Lee’s I have — I don’t have either one of the ones mention above.

  22. Amy N. on July 8, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Just finished “Montaillou” by LeRoy — a little dry but a very interesting glimpse into the lives of the residents of a small French town during early 1300’s. Information is derived from Inquisition records. Have started “The Kitchen God’s Wife”. ~Love Elizabeth Peters/Barbara Michaels~

  23. Tracy Grant on July 9, 2011 at 12:55 am

    Lauren, I love the Mary Russell books. If you haven’t yet read “A Monstrous Regiment of Women”, I definitely recommend it (and the the rest of the series, but it particularly to bridge between Beekeeper’s Apprentice and A Letter of Mary).

    Georgia, I’m thrilled you enjoyed Vienna Waltz! Did the twist that surprised you involve Malcolm’s relationship with Princess Tatiana or something else?

    I’m making my way through the first Game of Thrones book, which I’m enjoying, but I’ve been slowed by book revisions, and now a new proposal I’m trying to get to my agent…

  24. Jessica C on July 9, 2011 at 3:06 am

    Just finished re-reading Jane Eyre… was drawn back to it after seeing the new movie adaptation. Read the first few chapters of Labyrinth by Kate Mosse, but it didn’t really grab me so I’m now re-reading Mansfield Park.

    Tuesday will see me eagerly waiting for my nearest bookstore to open so I can grab a copy of book 5 in the Song of Fire and Ice series. So very excited – I want to know what Jon, Bran and Daeneyrs have been up to!

  25. Elizabeth aka Miss Eliza on July 9, 2011 at 9:33 am

    A did a fun quick read of the new Louise Rennison, loved her Angus Thongs series, and Withering Tights about a drama school in Yorkshire looks equally fun! The started to re-read the Song of Fire and Ice!

  26. Heather on July 9, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Finished Kiss the Moon by Carla Neggers. I really enjoy her mix of suspence and romance. I hadn’t read one of her books in a long time. I am almost finished with The Butterfly’s Daughter by Mary Alice Monroe. She is one of my favorites.

  27. Libbi on July 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    LOVE when you give book reccs – have read several series now from these suggestions & just wrote down more. Deanna Raybourn is a fav – have purchased and read all of Lauren’s books (so looking forward to Feb’12!!) – read through all Laurie King and can’t praise enough her twist on Sherlock Holmes retirement with his wife – great historical detail on early 1900’s life – the series follows them through great adventures and character development as well – have just finished the C S Harris mystery series about Sebastian St. Cyr which starts with What Angels Fear – has anyone else read them? Some “door open” scenes which really spice up the narrative…. nice contrast between lower class world of London and the upper class drawing rooms as well as interesting political insight into the time (1811 -1812) – thank you all for your suggestions!

  28. Jo3 on July 10, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Libbi: C S Harris has written some fantastic “open door” books under her real name Candice Proctor. I have enjoyed them all – excellent reads!! NOT your typical “romance” book. Check out her web site. Thanks for the tip on the Laurie King novels…will add them to my TBR pile!

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