Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week’s reading round up is a tale of the bad and the good.

The bad? One of the Elsie Lees from the roommate care package, Star of Danger.

I’ve noticed in the past that when Elsie Lee is good, she’s very very good. Then there are the other books. My college roommate and I just call those “the bad Elsie Lees”. They’re their own special category. We’ve noticed that there are structural distinctions. The good Elsie Lees, as a rule, tend to be written in the first person; the bad Elsie Lees (Roommates, The Passions of Medora Graeme) tend to be in the third. They also tend to involve sexually domineering heroes and heroines who are far more push over than the usual run of spunky Elsie Lee girls. They’re fascinating as cultural artifacts, but abrasive to modern sensibilities.

Now I understand why the book came with a sticky on it saying “You can keep this one”. (In contrast to Ivorstone Manor and Mistress of Mount Fair, which came with stickies on them saying “I want this one back”.)

So that was the bad. Now for the good: Joanna Bourne’s The Black Hawk.

I’m on a panel with Joanna Bourne tomorrow, so it seemed time to catch up on her books. Why did I wait so long? Run, do not walk, to get a copy of this book. She weaves the relationship of a French and an English spy, going back from 1818 to trace the trajectory of their relationship through the terrifying days at the end of the Terror, the relative calm of the Consulate, and Napoleon’s imperial wars. It’s beautifully done. Now I have to go back and read her The Forbidden Rose, which I have, shamefully, also let languish on my shelf.

What have you been reading?


  1. Jessica C on March 23, 2012 at 9:11 am

    I’ve been dipping back in to the world of Westeros and re-read Game of Thrones this week and started on A Clash of Kings. I’m about half-way through and am determined to finish CoK before the second series of the TV adaptation starts in April.

  2. Ashley on March 23, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Lauren- thank you so much for recommending “The Far Pavilions.” I just finished it, and I could not believe how vivid Kaye’s writing was. I think “Shadow of the Moon” will be next.

  3. Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm on March 23, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I’m still reading through the Little House series, plus a few books for review. Next up I think I’m going to re-read the first of Elswyth Thane’s Williamsburg series because I love them so much, and it’s been a few years.

  4. Pam on March 23, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I read the Hunger Games trilogy…for 48 straight hours because I could not put them down.

  5. Jessica S. on March 23, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I picked up a few Eloisa Jameses from the library — I had gotten a free download of one of her novellas for my Kindle and so I thought I’d give the rest of her work a try. Starting with “Desperate Duchesses.”

  6. AngelB on March 23, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Past couple of weeks I’ve read a couple of series -and more Candice Hern.

    Hollywood Headlines Mysteries – Gemma Holiday
    Scandal Sheet (aka Hollywood Scandals)
    The Perfect Shot (aka Hollywood Secrets)
    Hollywood Confessions

    Once again this was just a silly read of TMZ life. Have to admit I really didn’t like the 3rd book. The heroine was made to be not likeable in the first two books, and didn’t improve much in the 3rd. Plus, I really like Felix (carried over from the Fearless Series) and hated to see him with her. blah

    Cynster Sisters Trilogy from Stephanie Laurens
    Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue
    In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster
    The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae

    I just found Stephanie Laurens let alone the whole Cynster clan. Fun series, but not sure I’m going to go back and start from the beginning. I found this series a bit redundant and old with the whole overprotective male thing. Character wise, the heroines are very strong and unique, but almost to a fault. Why can’t a heroine just be normal sometimes?

    Country House Party Due by Candice Hern
    A Garden Folly
    The Best Intentions

    I found the first book interesting that the heroine was a younger sister but the responsible one. But for a change, she fell onto her immature ways of thinking. It was a nice turn having the heroine be “different” but still normal. No one is ever strong 24-7 and this was a good demonstration of showing a heroine as not being perfect but being more like the rest of us.

    The 2nd book the heroine was a little bit of the opposite. Very very young in her actions and thoughts and maybe matured a littled too quickly. The ending of the book had me laughing out loud. It was a good crazy fun conclusion. 🙂

    Overall, I’m really liking Candice Hern after reading the ‘clean’ regency books. Now onto the sexy ones. 🙂

  7. Denise on March 23, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I just finished “When Maidens Mourn,” the new book by C.S. Harris. Very good entry into the Sebastian St. Cyr series.

  8. Jennie on March 23, 2012 at 11:13 am

    Reading Emma Brown, a novel from Charlotte Bronte’s unfinished manuscript. Which the mystery so far.

  9. Vicki on March 23, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I can’t completely dislike Star of Danger, because there is a cat in that one. Right? Goodness knows, I could be confusing it with another Elsie Lee, but I distinctly remember a pretty cool cat in that one. Still, bad Elsie Lee. Ugh.

    I’m agreeing with the person upthread who read When Maidens Mourn. I loved it.

    Also trying to give Into the Wilderness another shot. I’ve picked this up and put it down several times now, so who knows if I’ll stick.

  10. Linda on March 23, 2012 at 11:42 am

    I am on the second book in a four book series about the history of NYC and two rival families (related). City of Dreams is the first book, and City of God is the one I am on. By Beverly Swerling. Pardon the bad sentence structure—I am about out the door!

    Oh, I loved the first book. It covered 130 years and moved right along. The second book is slow and will only cover TEN DAYS. A bit too much detail but I am still enjoying it.

  11. Tracie on March 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I was so excited to finally read Everneath by Brodi Ashton, which appealed to me because it was a YA novel based on the Persephone myth (I love myth-based stories!) Sadly, this book was a disappointment to me. It had a very clever premise and some great world-building in the first few chapters, but I just didn’t feel like the story ever caught fire. The heroine was too morose and passive for me (I could make a Bella Swan comparison here, but I’ll refrain.) And neither one of the heroine’s love interests sparked my interest (not even the bad boy and I’m usually a sucker for those characters.)

    Oh well, I tried. Now it’s back to my TBR pile to find something that will bring me out of my reading funk.

  12. Sharon on March 23, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I finished Another Piece of My Heart by Jane Green and am reading The Orchid House now.

  13. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on March 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This week I re-read Coraline by Neil Gaiman, I hate that there are people out there who judge the book by the stupid movie. Such an amazing book!

    Still reading A Dance with Dragons too, about half way done…

  14. Céline on March 23, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I finally came around to reading The Spellman files, wich I thought was quite original!
    Then I grabbed Nine rules to break when romancing a rake, by Sarah MacLean, and I loved it!! A great Regency romance, even with the few clichés it contains! 🙂
    Started this morning Can’t Stand the Heat, a contemporary romance by Louisa Edwards…
    Miss Eliza, I’m still saving A Dance With Dragons, because then we will have to wait a long time. But I’ve reached the longest I can wait and will read it soon! Do you like the book?

  15. Andrea on March 23, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I’ve been re-reading Tana French’s The Likeness. Wonderful book.

  16. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on March 23, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I am enjoying it very much Celine. It’s filling in the gaps from book four nicely so far.

  17. jeffrey on March 24, 2012 at 5:56 am

    I just finished Mr Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly, the final offering in her Austen Addicts Trilogy which featured A Weekend With Mr Darcy and Dreaming of Mr Darcy. The 330 pages just seemed to evaporate in my hands it was soooo engrossing. One of the sister heroines had OCC (obsessive compulsive disorder) which only made it that much more fascinating. A truly entertaining, satisfying contemporary read that took place in Bath and Barton Cottage. Now I must read the other two!

  18. Rachel on March 25, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I also read The Hunger Games trilogy this week. But sadly I had to go to work too, so it took me 72 hrs to get through them all. Loved them. It has been a very long time since I’d been so wrapped up in and riveted by a story that could. not. put. it. down.

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