Weekly Reading Round-Up

I started off the week with two books from my college roommate’s care package, both by an author unfamiliar to me, Anna Barrie. They were very different from each other– and I loved them both. They were:

The Linden Tree, a thoughtful modern romance between an emotionally damaged woman and a physically damaged man who jointly inherit a famous garden and must learn to work together, healing themselves in the process;

— and Briar Rose, a sweeping, multi-generational tale about the tangled lives of two families between the two World Wars in rural England.

Once I’d finished those, it was on to my Tucson Book Festival finds:

Napoleon’s Pyramids, by William Dietrich.

I had the great privilege to be on a panel with William Dietrich at the Tucson Festival of Books, where we discovered that we liked to hang out with the same quirky cast of Napoleonic characters (the device that Augustus finds in The Garden Intrigue? Also shows up in one of the Ethan Gage novels). Napoleon’s Pyramids is the first in the Ethan Gage series, about an American in Napoleonic Europe. It’s a little bit Flashmanand a little Rafael Sabtini, From the moment Ethan Gage, Dietrich’s rascally, roguish hero, bumps into English adventurer Sir Sidney Smith, I was hooked.

The Orchid House, by Lucinda Riley.

As Deborah Crombie said in yesterday’s Jungle Red Writers post, when Barbara Peters of the Poisoned Pen tells you to read something, you read it. So when Barbara handed me The Orchid House, it went straight to the top of the To Read pile (as in the book sticking out of my bag on the flight home). It goes back and forth between modern England and the hectic days of World War II, tracing the complicated relationships between the members of the Great House and the gardener’s granddaughter. Thematically, it’s very similar to my Kenya book– something in the air, perhaps?

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Christine on March 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    I finally got around to “A Discovery of Witches.” I’m not that far into yet but I’m loving it so far.

    I need to add “The Orchid House” and “Briar Rose” to my list of books to read. Those sound right up my alley!

  2. Caroline on March 16, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Oh, I read Briar Rose it was a very interesting read.

    Alas it sounds like you are reading something better than me (or is it I?). I’ve been trudging through the Dreamhunter Series, I am only about 100 pages into book 2 and it has really slowed down. Sci/Fi is one of my weeknesses, but I normally read them with a romance line and there is no romance here, perhaps that is my issue, because the story is actually quite original.

  3. Monica C. on March 16, 2012 at 10:06 am

    I just finished “Temptation of the Night Jasmine.” 😉 I’ve been reading Pink books non-stop for a while now.

  4. Sharon on March 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Loved The Garden Intrigue. Also finished Cat’s Claw by Susan Wittig Albert.

  5. leslie on March 16, 2012 at 10:20 am

    I just finished “Heartless” by Gail Carriger. Crazy!

    I have Sophie Kinsella’s new one and the latest J.D Robb for the weekend.

    I also read Jo Beverley’s “Scandalous Countess”, it was okay.

  6. Laura on March 16, 2012 at 10:36 am

    A Red Herring Without Mustard – Alan Bradley’s third book in the charming Flavia de Luce series. There’s something enchanting about the eleven-year-old protagonist. Some of the chemistry references make my eyes cross, but overall I’m enjoying the ride.

    Looking forward to starting Charles Mann’s 1491. I’ve heard great things about it.

  7. Jessica Mac on March 16, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Started Tears of Pearl. Absolutely loving Tasha Alexander’s books!! I need to order the remaining books of the series.
    After that I’m looking forward to starting Deanna Raybourne Silent in the Grave.

  8. Susan on March 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. I love this series. The newest one does not disappoint!

  9. Virginia on March 16, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    I just started Vienna Waltz. After a year on my to be read pile it finally made it to the top. Loving it! 🙂

  10. Pam on March 16, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    I have been drowning my dissertating sorrows in chick-lit (about all my brain can handle right now). This week is my first foray into Katie Fforde. I read Restoring Grace and am now working on Wild Designs. They’re both enjoyable and cute, if predictable. Interesting that these both feature heroines who are divorced and discovering their “second” shot at love, which might account for the slightly more jaded tone.

    Briar Rose and The Linden Tree sound like I’ll need to give them a whirl.

  11. carolyn on March 16, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    I just finished Midnight In Austenland and now I’m reading Jane Austen Made Me Do It- it’s good!

  12. Vicki on March 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Just finished an ARC of Kathy Hepinstall’s new title, The Blue Asylum. Mostly loved the setting, an asylum in Sanibel Island in FL during the Civil War. It was intense and tragic and I’m going to need something light next.

  13. Céline on March 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    After finishing Timeless, the latest (and last) in the Alexia Tarabotti series (loooved it), I read Princess of the Midnight Ball, by Jessica Day Ball, a retelling of the 12 dancing princesses tale, which was really really good!
    And now, I’m half way through The Scarlet Pimpernel and I have to admit, Lauren, that I love recognizing where you took your inspiration for some of our beloved characters! 🙂

  14. Chartreuse on March 16, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Shows what I know: I read Dietrich’s “The Dakota Cipher” a couple of months ago, but, in spite of the fireworks at Malmaison, I thought no one here would be interested in Ethan Gage. So, I didn’t mention it.

    That forces mention of Stephen Hunter’s “Soft Target”, and Lee Child’s “The Affair”. Have been re-reading the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L. Sayers.

  15. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on March 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Yeah for Flavia/Spellman/Alexia fans! I finished my re-read of A Feast for Crows, and now I’ve been reading the newest GRRM, A Dance with Dragons.

    I also read the Soulless Manga, which was really fun, far better than I thought it would be.

    Also for school, I swear it’s actually for school… or I finagled it so I could read it for school, Agatha Christie’s Sparkling Cyanide.

  16. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm on March 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I FINALLY finished Elizabeth the Queen by Sally Bedell Smith on audiobook (it’s 21 hours long!), and read The Auslander by Paul Dowswell (YA set in Nazi Germany).

    Yesterday I read The Little House on the Prairie and today I plan to start Farmer Boy. (I needed some light, quick reads after Elizabeth!)

  17. Kristen A. on March 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    >8 I heard Lisa Lutz speak on a mystery panel at the Public Library Association conference this morning? She shared some very entertaining e-mail from fans who don’t love the series as much as you do.

    I’ve been reading The Heights of the Depths by Peter David, at long last. Then I started on the ARCs from the conference with The Shape of Desire by Sharon Shinn. I’ve read all her Samaria books and Heart of Gold, but I think I’m going to have to read her other shape shifter stories now.

  18. SusanN on March 16, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Read Rob Thurman and Kim Harrison’s latest paranormals, plus CS Harris’s latest Sebastian St. Cyr.

    I just bought The Orchid House on someone else’s reccie this past week. My TBR pile is outrageous right now, tho, so I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. Hope you’ll tell us what you think about it.

  19. jeffrey on March 17, 2012 at 5:50 am

    I promised my grand daughter I would read Little Women and I have just finished. It is not too difficult to realize the widespread appeal of this novel. It is NOT just for girls and young women! It is indeed a story for the ages that anyone would love. One of my best reads ever.

  20. Georgia on March 19, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I am working my way through the Horatio Hornblower series. Rather addictive.

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