Weekly Reading Round-Up

Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

— Sherry Thomas, Ravishing the Heiress.

A beautifully written marriage of convenience story about two people growing gradually into each other’s lives. In some ways, it reminds me a great deal of Heyer’s A Civil Contract, in that, in both, the aristocratic hero discovers he has a head– and a liking– for business, and that his high-spirited first love might not have suited him nearly as well as the woman he is forced to marry.

— Carole Nelson Douglas, Chapel Noir.

A comment on Dear Author this week about recent (unsatisfactory) depictions of Irene Adler made me reach for my beloved old Carole Nelson Douglas Irene Adler books. If you haven’t read these before, start with Good Night, Mr. Holmes, which is still my favorite of the lot. Adler’s Watson equivalent, a starchy Englishwoman named Nell, narrates the story a la Watson. So much fun.

— Carla Kelly, “An Object of Charity” in A Homespun Regency Christmas.

How did I not read Carla Kelly before? I have only myself to blame. Both Claudia and Vicki, my best book recommenders/care package senders, made sure I was well-supplied with Carla Kelly novels– which I hadn’t read yet. But I was looking for something short to read while I was waiting for my copy of Kristan Higgins’s The Best Man to arrive, so I opened up “An Object of Charity”. And loved it. A war-weary naval officer returns reluctantly to dry dock to find the wards of his first mate waiting for him. Familial reconciliations and romance ensue.

— Carla Kelly, Mrs. Drew Plays Her Hand.

One Carla Kelly led to another…. A beleaguered but plucky widow meets a scandal-ridden lord, who helps her out of a bit of a sticky wicket (and, for sticky wicket, read Vile Seducer Who Attempts To Take Her Children Away From Her). I loved this one, for both the widow’s valiant attempts to rebuild her life and the truly sweet relationship that develops with the scandalous Lord Winn.

— Carla Kelly, Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career.

I believe this is what is termed a “glom”? A young lady takes her brother’s place in his Oxford lectures and mistaken identities and mayhem ensue. Very, very Heyer-esque side characters and dialogue.

After several days in the Regency, I’ve come to the end of my Carla Kelly run and have just begun Kristan Higgins’s The Best Man.

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Trish on March 8, 2013 at 10:21 am

    I want to say first how much I love your weekly round-ups! I have read so many fabulous books that I probably never would have thought to look for all because they were recommended here, either by you, or other readers. Thank you for for adding to my reading pleasure, beyond your own books of course!
    Hopefully someone else will get a good read out of my reading for the week! I am currently reading Bleeding Heart Square by Andrew Taylor. I had picked up his An American Boy a couple weeks ago and followed it up with An Anatomy of Ghosts, now I’m on to Bleeding Heart. To me, these books are a mixture of history/mystery/psychology – the settings is historical, the plot is a mystery and the main characters need both detective and psychological skills to untangle the ……

    • Lauren on March 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks so much, Trish! I’m so glad these have been useful for you. I’ll have to go look for those Andrew Taylor books….

  2. Kristen A. on March 8, 2013 at 10:24 am

    I read an ARC of Blood of Dragons by Robin Hobb, the last of the Rain Wilds Chronicles coming out next month, which in general I liked very much but there were a couple of things which I would have liked to have seen executed slightly differently.

    Then I read The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke, the second Immortal Empire book. I’m still liking this series, how capable Xandra is, and how much not an alph-hole werewolf alpha Vex is, and if Xandra gets rescued a little bit in this one she still manages to do it in a way where she doesn’t come off as an idiot.

    Now I’m reading an arc of Gulp, Mary Roach’s upcoming book about the digestive tract. Anybody who has read Mary Roach will realize this is more fun than it sounds to those who haven’t.

  3. Julie H on March 8, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I loved Ravishing the Heiress! It was one of my favorites of 2012.

    I think it’s been a few weeks since I caught the reading roundup here, so I’ll just hit the highlights:

    -The Blue Castle, LM Montgomery: You recommended this one several times, Lauren, and I’m so glad I finally read it. It was just perfect. I loved Valancy, and all the quirky side characters.

    -Dangerous, Amanda Quick: I’d never read an Amanda Quick before this one, but I know I’ll have to read more now. I liked the romance with a side of mystery. Sebastian and Prudence, the hero and heroine, were so much fun. They had such great banter.

    -How to Misbehave, Ruthie Knox: This is a contemporary romance novella with a good-girl heroine who gets stuck in a basement with the construction worker she’s been too afraid to talk to during a tornado. I usually don’t like novellas because they just feel so… well, short. But this one was really good, and it didn’t leave me feeling like I missed out on half the story. I thought that this one was really well-written – funny and sexy, too.

    -The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern: I wanted to like this one a lot more than I did. I thought that the writing and the descriptions were really beautiful, but the story wasn’t fantastic. I actually listened to the audiobook of this one with Jim Dale narrating. He was just perfect for it. There’s something about his voice that just added to the magical nature of the book.

    • Lauren on March 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm

      Oooh, if you’re reading Amanda Quick, try “With This Ring”. It’s my favorite.

  4. Katie R. on March 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I read three books this week: One Night in London by Caroline Linden, Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn, and Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter. They were all great! One Night in London and Ravishing in Red were regency romances and they lived up to all my expectations. Silent in the Grave was my first experience with Deanna Raybourn. Her books have been recommended on this site numerous times, for good reason! If you haven’t gotten around to reading this series yet, now is the time to start! I can’t wait to read the next book.

  5. Jeffrey on March 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    I just finished The Widow’s Redeemer by Philippa Jane Keyworth which was just published in Dec 2012. What can I say? How is this author going to top this debut novel? Based on the Biblical book of Ruth, it is one of the finest historical romances I have ever read and I’ve read close to a hundred of them. I’m currently reading Shannon Winslow’s The Darcys Of Pemberley. I’m either dumb-lucky in choosing my stories or the authors plying this rich genre’ are a cut above in the superiority of their writing. I think the latter.

  6. Joni on March 8, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    After reading David Corn and Michael Isikoff’s Iraq War analysis “Hubris”, I was lucky and scored an ARC of Bee Ridgway’s “The River of No Return” from a Dutton contest on Twitter. I just started it last night, but so far it’s fantastic. As soon as I’m done I hope to post a (spoiler-free) review of it on my blog.

    • Lauren on March 8, 2013 at 1:52 pm

      I felt the same way about “River of No Return”, Joni!

  7. Alexis on March 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    Finished the new Kristan Higgins book The Best Man, which was one very good, and on of my new favorites of hers. Now on to The Paris Wife, which was a recommendation from my bestie. She knows me so well, it’s quite fabulous. Tucson’s Festival of Books is this weekend, so looking forward to seeing what new authors/books I can find.

  8. Alexis on March 8, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    I finished the new Kristan Higgins book, The Best Man. May be one of new favorites of her. Now, on to a recommendation from my bestie, The Paris Wife. It’s about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife Hadley in Paris in the 1920s. So far, it’s quite fabulous. Tucson’s Festival of Books is this weekend, so I’m looking forward to seeing what new authors/books I can discover.

  9. Sheila on March 8, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    I am so glad you have discovered Carla Kelly, one of my all time favorites. I especialy like that she often writes about more ordianry people and makes their lives as interesting as lords and ladies. I haven’t much time to actually read lately, but I have discovered an author new to me, Luann Rice, and am devouring her recorded books, currently Firefly Beach. I actually can’t wait to get into the car !

    • leslie on March 8, 2013 at 5:44 pm

      I love Luanne Rice, especially Cloud Nine and True Blue. Enjoy.

      @Lauren: Carla Kelly’s Mrs Drew is one of my favorite romances and isn’t Ellen Grimsby a hoot! I really love those stories, I have them together in one book.

      I am in a reading slump. I didn’t like The Best Man and I also felt bored with everything else I’ve picked up lately. Looking forward to April’s new releases.

  10. Elizabeth (aka Miss Eliza) on March 8, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    This week the 7th book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson Urban Werewolf fantasy came out. Rocky start but turned out very nicely. Really excited to go to her book signing in Chicago tomorrow.

    I’ve also been reading The Bolter by Frances Osbourne in preparation for my blogs Ashford Affair salute for April. I really like the parts in Africa, the rest drags a bit. Also, the author clearly doesn’t know the difference between Communism and Facism (Oswald Mosley was NOT a Communist, he was the founder of The Black Shirts for cryig out loud!)

  11. Christina on March 8, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    This week I’ve read Greater by Steven Furtick a nonfiction Christian book, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, and The Temptation of the Night Jasmine. I’m about 85 pages into The Betrayal of the Bloody Lily. I’ve enjoyed all of the Pink Carnation books but I think you really took your storytelling up a notch after the first three books. Also I loved Tommy in the Night Jasmine…he needs his own love story.

  12. CĂ©line on March 9, 2013 at 10:08 am

    It’s also been a while since I could contribute to your WRR… During the last few weeks, I read – and absolutely loved – The Secret Keeper, by Kate Morton. I was bluffed by how she wrapped things around!
    Then, I read a few books in French (romances and other), before starting on with The Host, by Stefenie Meyer, a gift from my sister, who urged me to read it before seeing the movie…

    I can’t wait for The River of no return! Since you mentioned it a few weeks ago, Lauren, I’ve been eagerly waiting for it! I’m all the more impatient that one of my fellow willig-maniacs is loving it! 🙂

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