Weekly Reading Round-Up

To make up for last week’s reading slump, this week has been a book bonanza, in multiple genres. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

— Juliana Gray, A Gentleman Never Tells.

This is the second in a series based on Love’s Labor’s Lost, set in the late nineteenth century in a villa in Tuscany. Like the first in the series, A Lady Never Lies, this one is beautifully written. Even better? A Scarlet Pimpernel-esque hero whose speech patterns remind me a great deal of our own Turnip Fitzhugh.

— Stephanie Lehman, Astor Place Vintage.

One of the perks of authordom is getting sent advance copies of upcoming books (this one comes out in June). Astor Place Vintage zigzags back and forth between a thirty-something vintage clothing store owner in present day New York and a young woman determined to make her way in the world at the turn of the century. It was rather fascinating seeing the city through that dual lens.

— Lori Wilde, The Welcome Home Garden Club.

Moving from historical to contemporary, this book is a small town romance set in the fictional town of Twilight, Texas. I enjoyed The First Love Cookie Club last year (definitely recommended if you’re looking for something Christmas-y to read), so I decided to pick this one up, and enjoyed the story of a wounded veteran’s readjustment to life in his home town with the woman he had left behind and the son he hadn’t known existed.

— Deborah Harkness, A Discovery of Witches.

I know, I know, I’m the last person on this website to read this! I’m only about halfway through, but I can definitely see why so many find it so compelling. It brings back memories of my grad school days slogging through seventeenth century manuscripts in Duke Humphrey’s Library– although I have to confess, I never noticed any vampires while I was there. Maybe they hadn’t shown up yet?

What have you been reading?


  1. Céline on November 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I am finally making my way through The House at Riverton and loving it. There are so many aspects that remind me of Downton Abbey (although it is actually the other way round… does anybody else think that Julian Fellows must have read this book before writing the script of DA?)!
    I was lucky enough to win a sign copy of A Gentleman never tells from Juliana Gray herself, it’s going to be my next read! Can’t wait!

  2. Jeffrey on November 16, 2012 at 10:38 am

    A Discover of Witches, eh? With all of the positive reviews on this one, I guess I’ll have to read it for myself to see what all of the excitement is about.

    I’m currently on Ch 12 of The Bad Miss Bennet by Jean Burnett. It is a sequel of the widowed Lydia Bennet and her wild adventures 3-4 years after her marriage to the fated Wickham. Yes, Lydia is still a mess. I’ll be publishing a review of this on http://www.austenprose.com, Dec 5th.

    I also finished A Season For the Heart by the late author Elizabeth Chater. She wrote in the style of the incomparable Georgette Heyer and there were 3 romances emerging: One that was a forgone conclusion, one that was a surprise and one that came clear from deep center field. One of the BEST regency romances I have read in years.

  3. Julie on November 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

    I’m almost finished with the sequel to A Discovery of Witches – Shadow of Night – and it hasn’t been as good as I hoped. I think the pacing is just off or something.

    Otherwise, I haven’t read much this week. I’m just starting Julia Quinn’s Just Like Heaven, which already promises to be funny and sweet, just like most of her books.

  4. Georgia on November 16, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I just finished a discovery of witches and really, really enjoyed it. Can’t wait to start on the sequel. I also just finished Rhys Bowen’s Twelve Clues of Christmas. It was fun and witty and very christmas-y, although there were, perhaps, a few too many dead bodies.

  5. AngelB on November 16, 2012 at 11:40 am

    I got thru about 1/3 of Pride & Prejudice and cheated and flipped on the movie. haha

    I am now re-reading Garden Intrigue. I think it is pulling me out of my slump.

    I have the next 10 days off so, besides housecleaning and tday cooking, hopefully I will be able to just relax and read again. 6 weeks of 60+ hours has zapped my brain.

  6. Pam on November 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

    A Discovery of Witches is indeed most excellent! I should probably report that I have not spotted any vampires while slogging through sixteenth/seventeenth century manuscripts in Milan, either, which is disappointing. Perhaps they are all on strike?

    I finished A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick and ended up liking a lot more than I thought I would. It’s a teeny bit overwritten but the prose is lovely and the plot sneaks up on you. It’s definitely a slow-burning but compelling read for a late night. Then I read Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell on a long train ride. Cute, predictable, but entertaining and certainly not demanding in the least. Now I’ve just started my first Susanna Kearsley (Marianna) and so far am loving it!

  7. Sherri on November 16, 2012 at 11:53 am

    You aren’t alone, Lauren. I bought “A Discovery of Witches” shortly after it came out, and I have yet to read it (and I want to buy the sequel). 😛

  8. Kristen A. on November 16, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I read A Little F’d Up: Why Feminism is Not a Dirty Word by Julie Zellinger, and now I’m rereading A Tale of Two Cities.

  9. Jacki on November 16, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    I read PJ Tracy’s newest Monkeewrench novel, Off the Grid- and it was pretty good. The author is a mother-daughter writing team and the first couple of books in the series were firecrackers but for the last few books, the pace has certainly slowed down. Still, pretty good thriller with some snappy dialogue. Now I am reading Tasha Alexander’s Death in a Floating City- set in Venice- and pretty good so far. I plan to finish this over the weekend and then I am going read Instruments of Darkness, which I have heard some really good things about!

    Thanks for letting a former bookseller get a chance to share some reading! 🙂

  10. Christine on November 16, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Haven’t had a chance to read anything this week, but BFF and I exchanged Christmas gifts (we like to do it early) and she got me a bunch of books that have been on the TBR list for a while – The Orchid House, The House of the Wind, The Winter Sea and The Anatomist’s Wife. Very excited to start on those!

  11. Ashley on November 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    I’m about 100 pages into “Discovery of Witches” myself! I’m also reading “The Haunting of Maddy St. Clare,” which is great so far.

  12. Farin on November 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    I adore A Discovery of Witches and highly recommend keeping Shadow of Night close by, because you’ll want to continue on.

    And I equally adore A Gentleman Never Tells. It was so fun to see events from A Lady Never Lies from a different point of view, and I may be a little in love with Roland.

    I’ve got the fabulous Tasha Alexander’s new book on deck. So excited!

  13. Nessa on November 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    This week I finished “How to Be an American Housewife.” by Margaret Dilloway, “The Soldier’s Wife” by Margaret Leroy and another great 1920’s flick “Flapper. A Madcap Story Of Sex, Celebrity, And The Women Who Made America Modern”. I just started Lucinda Riley’s “The girl on the Cliff” and it’s pretty good so far.

    I loved both Deborah Harkness All Souls books and can’t wait for the third one.

    Jackie, You won’t be disappointed in “Instruments of Darkness.” – it’s just perfect Georgian mystery.

  14. Vanessa on November 16, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I just finished reading A vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff and it was wonderful! I’ m now starting the Lost Book of Fragrances, I’ m barely in chapter 4 but it looks like I’ m in for a treat!

  15. Joanne M. on November 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm

    Adored Tasha Alexander’s Death in the Floating City — and Kate Morton’s The Secret Keeper was very good.

  16. Valerie on November 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I’m almost finished with The House at Riverton and I’m loving it!! I also read The Twelve by Justin Cronin. Not a romance, but very good.

  17. Andrea on November 16, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Well, when you don’t have any power for 11 days, listening to NPR (thankfully, we had one battery operated radio!) and reading were the only things that got me through. Read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova and tried, but failed to make it through Tha Gabriel Hounds by Mary Stewart — the first Stewart book I have disliked!

    Enjoyed the new Kate Morton book, but not as much as some of her earlier books. Enjoyed The Swan Thieves overall but found it to be a bit plodding and longer than it needed to be — felt the same way about The Historian.

    Had we not gotten our power back I was tempted to read A Discovery of Witches for the 4th time! As for the sequel, Shadow of Night, the first time I read it, it was tough getting through the first 100 pages — but the pace picked up after that. Personally, I think Deborah Harkness got too caught up with weaving real personages into the plot which, for me, distracted from the main plot. And, unlike Lauren, Harkness has not mastered the art of the sequel with respect to refreshing the reader’s memory of information imparted in the first book — which I think affected the pacing at times. With that said, when I read the sequel again, it felt like it flowed better for some reason — perhaps simply because I already knew what happened and wasn’t overly eager to find out

  18. Am7 on November 16, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I was also in a slump from which I am also recovering from.Slowly.
    I read Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady. Soooooo good…. I did think the ending was a little too dark, but otherwise brilliant.
    Also I read all of Lori Wilde’s Twilight Texas series. I didn’t like the last one much (Garden Club), but in general I liked the series. My favorite was the first one but if you like the last two you should read the first two. The first two books are called The Sweetheart’s Knitting Club, and The True Love Quilting Club.

  19. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on November 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    So jealous of people with time to read! With the school semester barrelling to the end I only had time to read Terry Pratchett’s Where’s My Cow. Yes, it’s a kids book, yes, it took 8 minutes to read, but at least I got some reading in! Oh wait, I guess I also finished Gail Carriger’s new YA kind of prequel to the Parasol Protectorate… anyone looking forward to that, really really really lower you expectations. I did not like it at all.

    • leslie on November 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      I am so sorry to hear that!

  20. SusanN on November 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

    You know how sometimes you need comfort food? Well I sometimes need comfort reads. In those instances, I often turn to those old trad Regencies. So, I’ve read quite a few of Barbara Metzger’s old titles in the past week. Now I’m in the middle of Loretta Chase’s Knaves’ Wager and I’m enjoying it immensely.

    Unfortunately, I’ve told myself that as soon as I’ve finished with Ms. Chase I’m going to lock my Kindle in the car for at least a week so I won’t be tempted to start anything new. After several months of “triage” at work, the much-anticipated lull has not materialized and my upcoming holiday leave has been cancelled. ::sob::

    • leslie on November 17, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      Did you by chance read The Hour Glass? It’s my favorite Metzger book.
      I just finished Knaves Wager. Really good, I guess I’m going to have to download the rest of her backlist.

      • SusanN on November 18, 2012 at 6:24 pm

        No, I haven’t read The Hour Glass yet, but it’s on the list now! Thanks.

  21. AmyN on November 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    Hang in there, SusanN. Hope springs eternal for a holiday surprise.

    I haven’t checked in for awhile, like SusanN, worked like a mad person for months before going on the family vacation and ended up having to come back to work to get a vacation from the vacation. Now the holidays are just around the corner! 🙁 Some interesting books listed above. I’ve completed the first Ethan Gage book and am chipping away at the second in the series “The Rosetta Stone”. Captures my interest enough to look forward to more in the series. Hoping for some nice weather tomorrow for some porch reading time.

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