Weekly Reading Round-Up

Since three a.m. feedings make for lots of reading time, I’ve been on a massive re-read kick this week.

First, I read through all four of Kate Ross’s Julian Kestrel mysteries– Cut to the Quick, A Broken Vessel, Whom the Gods Love, and The Devil in Music— all of which only improve on each successive re-read. If you like Regency set mysteries, Ross is the master of the genre. (And it’s incredibly sad that there will never be more.)

Having run through Julian Kestrel books, I switched to another old favorite, Barbara Michaels (aka Elizabeth Peters). Right now, I’m re-reading some of her older books, first Witch (in which a city dweller buys a haunted cottage in a surprisingly sinister small town) and now Wait for What Will Come, which is set around one of my favorite themes, the practical modern heroine who inherits a crumbling castle on a cliff, complete with strange family legends.

Next? Either Patriot’s Dream, which I haven’t re-read in quite some time, or The Crying Child, which used to be one of my favorites, but somehow fell out of the reading queue for a while.

(Side note: I had just finished re-reading Witch when I heard the sad news about Elizabeth Peters’s/Barbara Michaels’s death on Thursday. RIP to an amazing writer who left her mark on multiple genres. I owe her so much, as both a reader and a writer, and hope that her books will continue to bring joy to others for generations to come.)

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Michelle in Texas on August 9, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Well, I’ve been reading the Purple Plumeria, of course! Then a little Loretta Chase’s Dressmakers series. I think I’ll have to reread some Elizabeth Peters in memory of a writer who has provided many happy hours of entertainment. Thank you, Ms. Mertz!

  2. AngelB on August 9, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Finished off my re-reading of all the Pink books, Plumeria, and now on Two L and will re-read Ashford Affair. From there, I have no idea what is next. 🙂

  3. Diana on August 9, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, of course. Next is The Language of Flowers. Although I may find myself at the used bookstore today and I always buy up any Heyer books.

  4. Laura on August 9, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    I loved the Kate Ross books. I’d stumbled across them at my local library and fell in love. I felt just like we were discovering the real character of Julian when I finished the fourth book and I was so sad when I realized there would never be a fifth. Truly an engaging writer.

    I read Purple Plumeria this weekend and I think it’s my favorite book outside of Pink Carnation. I adored getting a story for an older character. I also read The Cuckoo’s Calling and really liked that one. I love mysteries that allow you to into the detective’s mind without feeding the reader everything.

    I’m reading Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot this weekend. I keep getting the Louis and Henries confused with other Louis and Henries, though.

  5. Dara on August 9, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    Does this mean you’ve had your little one?!?!?!? I finished rereading all the Pinks and read Deanna Raybourn’s Silent in the Grave for the first time and loved it. Now I am reading I Am Legend and anxiously awaiting the arrival of my copy of Plumeria so I can dive into that.

  6. Denise Metcalf on August 9, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I am catching up on Pink Carnation books, and just finished Mischief of the Mistletoe. LOVED it! Turnip was a great hero. Just started reading Betrayal of the Blood Lily last night–should be up to Plumeria in a week or two! Can’t believe I fell so far behind in the Pink series.

  7. Ashley on August 9, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I’ve been reading “Purple Plumeria” and loving it so far 🙂 Also, I’m reading (for the first time) “Naked Once More” by Elizabeth Peters. I read “Crocodile on the Sandbank” a few weeks ago when you posted that Amelia Peabody was one of Gwen’s literary ancestors. Sad to hear that she died, but what a wonderful legacy she’s leaving behind.

  8. Christina on August 9, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I’ve been reading the Dixie Hemingway pet sitter mysteries by Blaize Clement. I’m just waiting for the library to get in the most recent installment which was finished by Blaize’s son after her death. I also read Bad Monkey by Carl Hiaasen. I’m reading the 3rd Harry Potter aloud to my 8 year old. I had Houses of Stone by Barbara Michaels in my library stack and decided to start it next after hearing about her death yesterday. I read the Ashford Affair a week or two ago and I think it is my favorite book of yours.

  9. Patty Vasquez on August 9, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    I’m a neophyte in your Pink Carnation series; I’m reading The Deception of the Emerald Ring right now. While I enjoyed Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia and Emerson characters, I have to admit that I adored Vicky Bliss and John Smythe. Night Train to Memphis is one of my all-time favorite books.

  10. Sheila on August 9, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I have just started The Passion of the Purple Plumeria, so I will be doing nothing else until I am done. I too have just finished the 4th Kestrel book, am grateful we found out more about his past. I have started the Sebastian St Cyr books which are also very good.

  11. Betty S. on August 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I am reading Inferno since I finished Purple Plumeria and will go to Letters From Skye after that. I just bought City of Women set in Berlin (I believe) during WWII. I teach a literature unit built around the Holocaust, so am always looking to expand my knowledge of this period.

  12. Pat D on August 9, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Plumeria should be on my doorstep soon. I’ve been reading Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott series. I’m on book 8 and really enjoying the books. Also have Donna Andrews’ latest, Hen of the Baskervilles. So sorry to hear about Elizabeth Peters. I really liked Emerson and Peabody.

  13. Am7 on August 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    My condolences on the loss of Barbara Michaels/Elizabeth Peters. and Congratulations on the birth of your baby! I believe you mentioned it was a girl earlier so congrats on the birth of your daughter.

    I read Conspiracy in Death by JD Robb the 8th installment following 7 1/2. It was excellent, I love Eve. I also read All He Ever Needed by Shannon Stacey Kowalskis #4, which was very good although low-key and a little bittersweet.

  14. Céline on August 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    While waiting for mu copy of Plumeria to be delivered, I finished Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and then, just because I’m really curious to know what the buzz was… I started 50 shades of Grey.
    As soon as I am done with Mr Grey, I’ll start Plumeria!

  15. SusanN on August 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Congratulations on both the new book and the new baby!

    I was glad to see that the 4th Kate Ross book was finally released as an ebook. My print copy was very sad and battered-looking.

  16. Laura S on August 9, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    I am re-reading all the Pinks of course before reading the new one. Next is the new Rhys Bowen series.

  17. Lynne on August 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Do they call that “Read & Feed” at 3a.? I’m impressed! I’m reading the 4th Imogen Robertson Crowther/Westerman series! Really terrific books (start with “Instruments of Darkness”.) Purple Plumeria is next!!

  18. Alice on August 10, 2013 at 10:32 am

    Finished the third book in the John Parker/Susanna Horenbout series “In Defense of the Queen.” Great series by Michelle Diener! Then read “The Frog Prince” by Elle Lothlorien. This was free on my kindle and I had zero expectations but ended up really loving it.

  19. Veronika on August 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    This was the first I’d heard of Elizabeth Peter’s death, so…I’m feeling rather sad. Like many other beloved authors who are/were significantly older (like Diana Wynne Jones), it’s not unexpected. But certain authors have such a distinctive voice that it’s hard not to feel like you knew a small part of who they are, and really really liked that person. I’m sorry there won’t be any new books, although I do think she had wrapped up all her series to her satisfaction a while ago. At least, unlike with Julian Kestrel, you aren’t left wondering what will happen to beloved characters. (For example, am I the only one who suspects Sally was pregnant with Julian’s child?)

    Also, congratulations on the new baby! I also had my first this year, and it’s overwhelming, wonderful, and the hardest thing ever, all at once. Enjoy the extra reading time while it lasts; I’ve been tracking my reading for the past few years and, since having my son, my reading has slowed to never-before-known levels. I’m reading a quarter of what I used to. That said, this week was Robert Gilbraith’s (or J.K Rowling’s) The Cuckoo’s Calling, which is a delicious noir, with a fun relationship between the hero Cormoran Strike and his temporary secretary Robin. Also working on Speaking from Among the Bones, by Alan Bradley, because Flavia De Luce is my favorite 12 year old, poisoning sleuth. Perhaps after this I will continue this mystery run with an indulgent reread of the Vicky Bliss books, with a side of the “genial beverage” as Amelia would say, in honor of Elizabeth Peters.

  20. Sue G on August 12, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Finished Mischief of the Mistletoe–what great read. Starting Orchard Affair.

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