Weekly Reading Round-Up

I’ve had my head down over my 1920s book this week, so my reading list is rather sparse.

— Barbara Taylor Bradford, A Woman of Substance.

I blame Jessica for reminding me of this! Anyone else remember this from the 80s? It’s a doorstop, epic story of a woman who rises from poverty in Yorkshire to retail magnate, suffering various failed romances and settling old scores along the way. It’s over the top and ridiculously addictive. There are also two sequals, Hold the Dream and To Be the Best, both of which I was also obsessed with circa 1989. And, yes, the knock-off I attempted to write in tenth grade is staying hidden in the Trunk of Old Manuscripts. Trust me. It’s better that way. Only Barbara Taylor Bradford can write Barbara Taylor Bradford.

— Jen Lancaster, Such a Pretty Fat.

You may have seen this book on these round-ups before. That’s because when I’m in hard-core writing mode, Lancaster’s books are fun and easy to read without knocking me out of my own fictional world. Maybe it’s the whole fiction/non-fiction divide. Or just that she’s hysterically funny, even on a thirteenth read. If you haven’t read her before, start with Bitter is the New Black.

What have you been reading?


  1. Alice on December 2, 2011 at 11:13 am

    “In a Treacherous Court” by Michelle Diener. Intrigue and romance in the court of Henry VIII. Pretty much a win win! Also “The Blackstone Key” by Rose Melikan. The first in a trilogy set in the late 1700s in England. Great mystery and a great period feel.

  2. JoAnn on December 2, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Three books into the Virgin River series by Robyn Carr and am really enjoying the story lines and character development. For a complete contrast (!!), in between I am reading J R Wards Black Dagger Brotherhood series (am on book #7).

    FYI: for those of you who have read A Fatal Waltz by Tasha Alexander you may want to listen to the Nov 30th pod cast Stuff You Missed In History Class which provides an interesting account of the life of Princess Sissi.

  3. JoAnn on December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

    P. S. Glad to see author Rose Melikan mentioned. I really enjoyed all three of her novels.

  4. Sharon on December 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I am totally captivated by The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I can’t wait to see how it ends and I am not at fantasy reader at all.

  5. Joanne M. on December 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    So happy to hear that you are in full writing mode on your 1920’s book – can’t wait for it!

    I did a reread of The Orchid Affair. (I’d forgotten how much Jean the Spitting Gatekeeper cracked me up!)

    Every Secret Thing by Susanna Kearsley, her contemporary thriller. Reminded me of Mary Stewart’s Nine Coaches Waiting and This Rough Magic.

    Laura Kinsale’s unique love story, Flowers from the Storm.

    Susan Holloway Scott’s Royal Harlot, the story of the Countess of Castlemaine. (Love the mistresses of Charles II!)

  6. Jessica Mac on December 2, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    Alice-I recently read In a Treacherous Court also and loved it!
    This week I read The Legacy by Katherine Webb. A great read full of twists and turns and tons of different emotions. Two sisters revisit the family manor house after their grandmother dies. The younger sister tries to solve the mystery of their cousins disapperance 23 years earlier. The book also flashes back to their great grandmother and tells her story. Excellent!

  7. Linda on December 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    I have just finished The Queen’s Devotion by Jean Plaidy. Boy, if you ever thought William of Orange was a saint and good coruler with Queen Mary, guess again!!! I am now going to read The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon.

  8. Pam on December 2, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I finished Jane Austen Made Me Do It (and really, really loved it; it’s the literary equivalent of a hot cup of tea and buttered toast on a yucky day) and have moved on, in keeping with the theme, to Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron, the first of the Jane Austen mysteries. So far it’s really fun, she’s got the diction down perfectly.

  9. Farin on December 2, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I’m trying to catch up on all the “popular” books that I’ve refused to read, but am reading now so I can be educated about them. I tackled The Hunger Games earlier this week, and I was surprised by how much I liked it. This weekend, I’m reading The Girl Who Played With Fire.

  10. Jessica S. on December 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    You’re welcome for the BTB reminder 🙂

    I’ve been re-reading Jen Lancaster’s memoirs lately since I needed funny desperately. I also just started reading Emily Giffin’s Baby Proof.

  11. Céline on December 2, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I did read Jane Austen Made Me Do It too (not finished yet) and between two novellas, made my way through Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Julia Quinn always brightens my days. Just as you do, Lauren!

  12. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on December 2, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    Finished off reading the new Algonquin Round Table mystery, You Might as Well Die, so much fun Dorothy Parker and Houdini solving crimes makes more sense then you think! Then read the 5th Oz book… I think it was the 5th, Road to Oz, not the best, but I love Oz. Now I’m finally reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, as people start questioning how I can be a book person and am only now reading it 😛

  13. RosieO on December 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    I’m just about to start reading “Two L” on my e.. It’s Christmas time,,,time to re-read Mistletoe…

  14. Christy on December 2, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Since my last reader’s roundup post, I have read “What Alice Forgot” (awesome), “Gulliver’s Travels” (dreadful), “2L” (very fun!), “The Lord of the Flies” (interesting in an icky sort of way), and Dickens’ “Christmas Carol” (much more charming than the gobs of movie adaptations). I plan to re-read Mistletoe and A Very Selwick Christmas this month. The kids and I just finished reading “Mrs. Piggle Wiggle” and have begun Kipling’s “Just So Stories.” Both of these have been great!

  15. Jessica C on December 2, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Been reading a lot of JA fanfics this week, so not many ‘real’ books on the reading pile this week. Still slowly making my way through Romola – for some reason, this book and I haven’t really ‘clicked’. Yesterday I started on Children of Men by PD James, after watching the movie on TV. Like the book so far, though it is very different to the movie.

    Linda – I almost bought ‘The Scottish Prisoner’ in my bookshop today. Look forward to hearing how you liked it

  16. Am7 on December 3, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Hmmm… I tried to post earlier but it hasn’t show up. I had this problem last week, so again hopefully not repetitive posting.
    1. Unclaimed by Courtney Milan
    Bit of a let down for me: not as good as Unveiled…
    2. Royal Flush by Rhys Bowen #3
    This was my favorite so far in the series. I thought the beginning was slow but it picked up after she left London. It reminded me a little of Crimson Rose and Night Jasmine. I felt like it came together very well. I looove Darcy.
    I have always had an interest with the women’s suffrage movement and so I read sort of a children’s book on the subject(written on a 4th grade level.)I read other books in the past. This was easy and it renewed my interest. It was called With Courage and Cloth: the Fight for a Woman’s Right to Vote by Ann Bausum.
    @Miss Eliza
    The Road to Oz was one of my favorite Oz books, my favorite was Ozma of Oz. I am also reading the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo since a friend gave it to me and I going to see her again.
    Only Barbara Taylor Bradford can write Barbara Taylor Bradford….
    except for Olivia Drake 😉

  17. jeffrey on December 3, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I just got my first taste of Stephanie Barron: The Canterbury Tale. My opinion? she is positively brilliant. Although I prefer a good romance over a mystery, I LOVED her style!

  18. Julie L on December 5, 2011 at 1:02 am

    I read the new Diana Gabaldon book, The Scottish Prisoner, this week, great holdover until her next Outlander book. I’m also listening to the latest Stephen King book on audio, 11/22/63 – love it so far!

  19. Michelle on December 6, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I’m on a Georgette Heyer kick: Venetia and The Toll-Gate. Stephanie Barron’s Jane series is fantastic. There’s a few in that series that left me emotionally drained at the end. Thoroughly enjoyable though!

    Thanks to everyone who posts what they’re reading here! I like come here to get ideas for my next read and the suggestions are so helpful.

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