Weekly Reading Round-Up

This week, I re-read three very different books in three different genres:

— Elizabeth Young, A Girl’s Best Friend.

Rounding off my British chick lit fest, I read my second-favorite Liz Young novel, A Girl’s Best Friend, about a woman, her dog, and a rather dishy vet. There are some wonderful supporting characters and an absolutely hysterical murder mystery weekend.

— M.M. Kaye, Trade Wind.

Switching gears and genres, M.M. Kaye’s sweeping epic of mid-nineteenth century Zanzibar, a crusading American heiress, and a rascally British slave trader is one of my all time favorite books. My copy may not have stood the test of time– it’s shedding flakes of paper all over the place– but the story certainly has. The character development is beautifully done, especially the way the hero and heroine grow to love each other despite themselves and their own very disparate characters.

— Elizabeth Peters, The Love Talker.

Once again switching gears, this is one of Elizabeth Peters’s stand alone mysteries from way back when, this one set in a snowy family estate in Maryland as our heroine attempts to figure out just who is trying to convince her great aunt that there are faeries in the woods.

I’m not quite sure what to read next….

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Pam on December 7, 2012 at 8:50 am

    After finishing Beautiful People by Wendy Holden (pretty decent as far as British chick-lit goes, though a little too populated by types rather than more organic characters, I’ll read more of her stuff for sure), I read the novella Lavender Vows by Colleen Gleason, which I really didn’t care for.

    The basic plot: in a Middle Ages far far away, a bored, strapping, chivalric type, under pressure to find a wife, is smitten by a fragile battered wife and resolves to kill her abusive misogynistic husband. Conflict ensues. It was pretty standard Romance fare, but without the diversions of a longer and more complex story that you usually get, I found the characters really shallow and the action predictable and uninspired. Oh well.

    I’ve just started Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers and so far it’s great.

    • Lauren on December 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm

      Now I want to go re-read “Clouds of Witness”….

  2. Laura on December 7, 2012 at 9:14 am

    Following last weeks weekly round up i downloaded Fair Game by Liz Young which i absolutely loved, and will definitely be trying more of Liz’s books.

    I’m about half way through The Love Letter by Fiona Walker (you have started something with the Brit Chick-lit Lauren!) which I’m really enjoying at the moment.

    Also just started Guilty Pleasures by Laura Lee Guhrke, as romance stories with an archaeology/antiquarian element is one of my guilty pleasures 😉

  3. Tiffany on December 7, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Hi Lauren,
    Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye is one of my absolute fav’s, and I liked Trade Wind as well. Have you read Far Pavilions? I have started it, and it is just soooo slow, and I know I should continue, but my perseverence is lacking…have you read it? Does it pick up eventually? I am at the part when Ash realizes the one of the princesses is his old playmate Juli when he was young.

    • Lauren on December 8, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      “Far Pavilions” does definitely pick up! There’s major drama and action just ahead.

      (“Shadow of the Moon” was my introduction to M.M. Kaye back in my teens– what an amazing book.)

      • Lauren on December 8, 2012 at 2:18 pm

        p.s. Have you read “Zemindar” by Valerie Fitzgerald? It’s very “Shadow of the Moon”-esque.

  4. Ashley on December 7, 2012 at 9:42 am

    This week I read “Twelve Days of Christmas” by Tricia Ashley (per your holiday recommendations last week) and also “Minding Frankie” by Maeve Binchy. I thought “Minding Frankie” was wonderful – all about a baby whose mother dies immediately after she is born, and the ways this baby changes the lives of everyone in a small Irish community. My favorite of her books is still “Circle of Friends.”

    Tiffany, hang in there with “The Far Pavilions”! It is such a great book, and YES, it is about to pick up 🙂 I loved “Shadow of the Moon” too. I really need to get around to “Trade Wind”

  5. Alex on December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

    I love those old romantic/historic epics from the past! I keep searching for more, but I think I am running out. Any recommendations? I’ve read all MM Kaye, Olivia and Jai, Zemindar, Gone with the Wind, Katherine, etc. Any recommendations?
    I also just finished “Raven Boys” and it was OK. Brain candy, but at least original, which separates it from many books in the teen genre.

    • Lauren on December 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      Have you tried Karleen Koen’s “Through a Glass Darkly”? It has that same epic feel.

      • Lauren on December 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Oh, and Sara Donati’s “Into the Wilderness”, too!

  6. Sara Ganung on December 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

    I’ve started Gillian Flynn’s: Gone Girl book!! I’ve read her two previous stand alones: sharp objects & dark places. Both were fantastic mystery, psychological thrillers 🙂
    I have high hopes for this one as well 🙂

  7. Julie H on December 7, 2012 at 11:27 am

    This week I finished Kate Morton’s Secret Keeper, which I just LOVED. It was my first experience with her books, and I’ve already ordered all her others. Some aspects (the war, young girl making mistakes) really did remind me of Ian McEwan’s Atonement which is one of my all-time favorites. I highly recommend it if you like Morton’s style.

    I also read Mary Balogh’s A Matter of Class which is a novella-length historical romance. It was really clever. A nice, quick read.

    And, I’ve just started two other romances. One is Susan Wiggs’s Just Breathe. The other is Jennifer Ashley’s The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.

  8. Jeffrey on December 7, 2012 at 11:30 am

    1. I just finished The Crossroad by the queen of Amish romances – Beverly Lewis. Although it got mixed reviews, it was one of my all-time favorite romances which mixed the clash of the Amish with the ‘Englishers,’ conversion disorder in the heroine, the dark healing, arts and spiritual healing. My 12 year old granddaughter also reads Lewis so I have given it to her as an early Christmas gift.
    2. I have also just started A Masquerade In The Moonlight by Kasey Michaels and although I know little about the author, it promises to be a romance/espionage thriller in the vogue of the Pink Carnation series with the heroine and hero entangled up into an intrigue involving America, England, and possibly France. I’ll follow-up on this one when I’m finished because I’ll predict a good many readers here would like it.

  9. Ashley on December 7, 2012 at 12:20 pm

    I’ve just started Consuelo Vanderbilt’s memoirs The Glitter and the Gold.

  10. Gina on December 7, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    I’m in the middle of The Art of Racing in the Rain. It’s intense, but really pretty wonderful. Next on my list are The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and the second Thursday Next book.

  11. Leslie on December 7, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    I read a lot of books this week. Ali Mcnamara’s Notting Hill…..Love Actually was awful and Jill Mansell’s A Walk in the Park was disappointing.
    Juliette Fay’s Short Way Home was good, but not as well crafted as Shelter Me which I loved with all my heart.
    The Chocolate Pot by Patricia Wrede is terrific. There is more to the title and it’s co-written with another author whom I can’t remember. It’s letters written back in forth between two cousins. I can’t wait to read book two. I read
    Maya Rodale’s Knightly book and Julie Anne Long’s latest Pennyroyal Green and started the Vorkosian Saga which is cracktastic.

  12. Sheila on December 7, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews: very funny, and if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line you KNOW these people. (not her best, but still fun).

    A Crimson Warning by Tasha Alexander, back to form, making up for Tears of Pearl, which almost stopped me from reading her ever again, but this one is terrific.

  13. Kristen A. on December 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    I’m reading The Captain’s Surrender, by Alex Beecroft, a gay Age of Sail romance. Before that I reread The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco.

    • AmyN on December 9, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Kristen, I’ve tried to start “In the Name of the Rose” twice and just can’t get past the first couple of pages. It seemed liked I had to fight my way through all the words — is the whole book like that or does it eventually get into a groove? I also didn’t get past the first couple pages of “Gone with the Wind” so maybe it’s just me or I’m just not ready to read it. I am an avid reader and I’d really like to read this book.

  14. Alice on December 7, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    “Recipe for Treason” by Andrea Penrose. Third in her Lady Arianna regency mysteries. Enjoying it thus far. Also, “Under the Black Flag” since it received so many good reviews on this website. Thus far, you all were right!

  15. Nancy Kvorka on December 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Hi, I read Recipe for Treason in just about a day (after work too.) I reall enjoyed it and strongly recommend it. Some new characters and more development on old ones. Looks like there will another sequel which is great news. I also read Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James. Also very good quick read as it is an e-novella. Next up is When Beauty Tamed The Beast also by Eloisa James.

  16. Céline on December 7, 2012 at 6:44 pm

    After a roller-coaster reading last weekend with the second installment of Alex Scarrow’s Time Riders, I’m having a hard time reading The Casual Vacancy. It’s a very good book, but completely different and I have to admit that I’m only reading it because I booked it at the library and it was my turn to get it… It’s good, but not at all the light reading I’m in the mood of. Too bad, I might have to book it again later!

  17. Angela on December 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman, a wonderful storyteller and topnotch historical researcher. It’s going to be a GOOD weekend.

  18. Angela on December 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Hang in there, Celine. The Casual Vacancy is a brutal satire of small town pettiness and bougeois pretensions. It got off to a rather slow start for me, too, but when I remembered a friend describing HP as satire of British public school life, TCV clicked.

  19. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on December 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Finally after much time away from my books (drat you school!) I finally picked up my Book Club selection of the month, a re-read for me of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, always a fun treat.

  20. Susan on December 8, 2012 at 12:03 am

    I thought I would read Beautiful Creatures before the movie comes out. I don’t remember the release date for the movie, though. Hopefully I have a little time. It’s a long book.

  21. Nessa on December 8, 2012 at 12:04 am

    This week I received in Christmas package from my aunt true gem – Charlotte Link’s “Das Haus Der Schwestern” -“The House Of Sisters”. I would love to recommend this book and I hope somebody will translate this over six hundred pages mystery/old love story/family saga into English very soon. The book tells the story of a couple of middle age German attorneys ,Barbara and Ralph, who in attempt to save their marriage decide to rent remote Cornwall cottage for Christmas holidays. Paralyzed by the snowstorm, without electricity and food, Barbara stumbles upon hidden memoir of previous cottage owner – original Suffragette who documented over eight decades and two World Wars.
    Unfortunately, there are people still around who would do anything to keep old secrets buried… Awsome “story inside a story” !

  22. AmyN on December 9, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Just finished “The Buccaneers” by Edith Wharton as completed by Ms. Mainwaring. Cracked open the “Three Musketeers” by Dumas pere which should take me through the holidays since I only read at bedtime. If I finish up before Christmas I will retrieve “Queene’s Christmas” which has been languishing away on the shrinking TBR pile.

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