Weekly Reading Round-Up

The one up side to an eight hour delay at Birmingham airport? (Other than the Starbucks right next to my gate.) Lots of time to read. And I mean lots of time to read. I finally had time to read two very different advance copies of upcoming books:

— Iona Grey, Letters to the Lost.

How much did I love this book? Enough to (almost) not mind spending my Saturday at an airport. It’s the very best sort of time jump novel, going back and forth between a twenty-first century runaway who breaks into an abandoned house and finds a pile of letters– and a mystery– inside, and the story of a young woman during World War II. Both halves of the story made me tear up.

— Kelley Bowen, I’ve Got My Duke to Keep Me Warm.

Definitely recommended for fans of Jennifer McQuiston, Sarah MacLean, and Julia Quinn! It’s a Regency romp with laugh-out loud dialogue, a heroine with a secret, and an eccentric dowager. Don’t tell Sally Fitzhugh, though– the dowager collects chickens. Yes, chickens. Sally’s stoat would be in chicken-chasing heaven….

— Lucy Worsley, The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court at Kensington Palace.

This was not an ARC, but it is a book that I had been meaning to read for quite some time and never quite got around to. It’s a close look at the rival courts of George I and his heir, the future George II. I’ve always been a huge fan of George II’s wife, Caroline of Ansbach (I was the only person in the tenth grade who, when asked her role model, named Caroline of Ansbach– for which I say: thank you, Jean Plaidy!) and this provides an up-close look at Caroline’s world in lively prose, with lots of lovely pictures, architectural plans, and vivid historical details.

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Sue Luce on August 8, 2014 at 7:52 am

    I read “Midnight Manzanlla” and put my regular life on hold…What fun! Loved Sally and her duke. But adored the moonflower excerpt. Jane’s last words…hysterical!.

  2. Sue Gorman on August 8, 2014 at 8:33 am

    I am reading an ARC of Juliana Gray’s How to School Your Scoundrel.
    It’s quite an adventure complete with a corgi!

  3. Céline on August 8, 2014 at 9:04 am

    I am reading The Devil Is Still Laughing (book three of the Blue Bicycle series, by Regine Deforges). I am researching the WWII era for a project, with a focus on the Occupation of Paris, and I thought the series was the perfect place to start on the fiction side!
    That’s why Letters to the lost seems to be perfect for me! I’ll try and get it as soon as it comes out (do you know when that will be?).

    And yesterday, I got my hands on Manzanilla, and I just can’t wait to start reading it!!!! 😀

  4. Kristen Allen-Vogel on August 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

    After finishing The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla, I read The Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan which was amazing and is now my new favorite of hers.

    Now I’m reading an ARC of Playing Big by Tara Mohr.

  5. Christine on August 8, 2014 at 9:45 am

    I finished The Book of Life and it was… meh. I think it would have been ok on its own, but the bar was set so high by the other books. The villain struck me as a little cartoon-y, and, in the words of another reader from last week’s WRR, the book was bizarre. The whole thing could have been done a lot better.

    But yesterday, my copy of Midnight Manzanilla arrived! I’m only a chapter in, but it was a fun chapter. I missed Eloise and Colin.

  6. Christina on August 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

    This week I read The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling. I didn’t guess who done it yet it was entirely plausible so I give the book high marks. I also read The Blonde by Anna Godbernsen. The premise is what if Marilyn Monroe was a Soviet spy. I love alternate history stories and this was no exception. No one in the book is particularly likeable but I suspect that is rather true to life. I finished out the week wrapping up with the Bridgertons – On the Way to the Wedding and I’m about half way through The Bridgertons Happily Ever After. I’ve decided Colin & Hyacinth are my favorite Bridgertons.

  7. Ella on August 8, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Loved Faro’s Daughter! And have a bunch more Heyer on hold at the library.
    Just finished The Winter Sea and am starting The Firebird. I haven’t adequate words to express how I love Kearsley’s books… So thanks everyone on this site for the recommendation!
    Will be buying my copy of Pink XI this weekend.

    • Betty S. on August 8, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      I know what you mean about Kearsley. You will love The Firebird, too. Have you read The Shadowy Horses?

      • Ella on August 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

        I did love the Firebird! The Shadowy Horses was the fist of hers that I read and loved it also!

  8. Joan on August 8, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Just finished Midnight Manzanilla. Wonderful as usual. You just keep getting better and better!

  9. Chloe on August 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I devoured Midnight Manzanilla yesterday–definitely one of my favourites out of the series (although Crimson Rose will always hold first place in my heart). I just sat down in a cosy chair with a mug of tea and read it straight through. That ending!! Ahhh! And I absolutely adored the Jane preview.

    I also just finished a couple absolutely amazing books: The Quick (by Lauren Owen) and The Magus (by John Fowles). They’re both brilliant and highly suspenseful. I definitely recommend them. And today I’m going to start Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness, which came to me highly recommended.

  10. Miss Eliza on August 8, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    I’ve been reading the Holly Black YA trilogy, The Curse Workers, which is interesting. It’s kind of Harry Potter meets X-Men with a lot of Boardwalk Empire. I think it would have worked better as a period piece, but it’s still interesting. Should finish the final volume tomorrow.

  11. Am7 on August 8, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    I read Judgment in Death by J D Robb. It’s not a good starting place in the series and not my favorite of the series. I also read Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck, contemporary Christian romance.

  12. leslie on August 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Midnight Manzanilla was good, though Miss Gwen was a little overbearing! I read the excerpt first…Jack Reid is well, so very interesting! Jane is going to have her hands full.
    Love the direction Eloise and Colin are taking….they are a favorite literary couple of mine. I’ve always thought they would be a great mystery series team on their own.
    I read Magic Breaks and didn’t love it until 3/4 of the way through. It felt recycled.
    I started a couple of regencies, but they were DNF.

  13. Gina on August 9, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Between trying to move and this crazy scavenger hunt thing I had last week, I didn’t get a lot done, but I picked up Midnight Manzanilla (of course), The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, and the Stillmeadow Daybook by Gladys Taber. All good, but I still need to get past the beginnings of all of them!

  14. SuzanneH on August 10, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I finished Midnight Manzanilla last night and it was fantastic!!! Worth every moment of the wait. It was so funny and I loved Sally and Lucien, they are great characters. Are you really sure you want to stop writing the pink books? They are just so delightful.

    The character’s drinking habits always keep me amused too. You know my thoughts about American coffee. I though it couldn’t get much worse than peppermint mochas, but now we have pumpkin spice lattes, and worse, chocolate martinis!! And then when Eloise gave Colin a pumpkin corn candy, that had me rolling on the couch with laughter. Is there really such a thing? I am very much looking forward to what will come next in the culinary chamber of horrors.

      • SuzanneH on August 10, 2014 at 7:33 am

        They really do exist!!! Thanks for the link Eliza. I’m afraid I still can’t get my head around how the combination of pumpkin and sugar can be a good thing. When I was in the US the only meal I tried which I didn’t enjoy was pumpkin pie. And I like pumpkin. But it was sweet and just too horrible. Everything else was delicious and many of things I tried there for the first time are now regulars in my house, such as Cajun chicken and blueberry pancakes.

        • Betty S. on August 10, 2014 at 12:28 pm

          Pumpkin candy corn has the same taste as regular candy corn, Suzanne. It is just a pumpkin shape, not taste. There are many other delish items in the candy corn family, including a candy corn layered with vanilla, orange, and chocolate – the chocolate does have a chocolate taste.

          Also, was wondering if you are the same Suzanne from Australia who usually posts without a last initial?

          • SuzanneH on August 10, 2014 at 11:29 pm

            Thanks Betty, that makes a lot more sense. Is the corn part made from corn syrup? Yes, I am the Suzanne from Australia. I started putting the H after my name when we got another Suzanne chatting as well.

        • Miss Eliza on August 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm

          Oh, Pumpkin Pie is good, IF you get a good one. There are a lot of BAD Pumpkin Pies in the world, A LOT. Also, yeah, the pumpkin just tastes like sugar, with a weird overly chemical dye aftertaste. I can handle maybe one a year.

        • Betty S. on August 12, 2014 at 11:06 am

          So glad to hear you are the same one I have enjoyed chatting with. Candy corn/pumpkins/etc. are listed on the bag as mellow creams – not sure of the exact ingredients and I am away on vacation at the moment, so not in the position to check it out thoroughly. These confections bombard our store counters before the Halloween season and continue through Thanksgiving with little turkeys and haystacks sometimes. I agree with Eliza about pumpkin pie – they can be very different. I don’t like the really spicy ones. Our family loves pumpkin pie as a fall dessert through Christmas. I make my own using a canned pumpkin pie mix (Libby’s brand here).

          Are you participating in the That Summer group read? I was not a Facebook member, but registered just to do this event – thought I might find out some of those questions that were lingering once I finished the book. Am really enjoying the discourse so far.

  15. Betty S. on August 10, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    This week I have been rereading That Summer for the group read event and thoroughly enjoying it.

    Also, am reading The Widow’s Walk by Robert Barclay. I’m only a hundred pages into this one but so far it is intriguing. It begins in 1840 in New Bedford, Mass as the story of Constance Canfield and her husband Adam, a whaleboat captain. They have purchased a home that they call Seaside and Adam is on a long voyage. Fast forward to modern day, the house is in shambles and has been purchased by architect Garrett Richmond who has been drawn to this house and intends to restore it to its former glory. Quite a few surprises await Garrett – don’t want to spoil the story. Yes, this is a “house” book, Lauren – which I find an interesting connection.

    My husband and I are on vacation, and yesterday was a travel day, so wasn’t able to get in as much reading as I would have liked.

  16. jeffrey on August 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    I just finished The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla yesterday and well….just BRAVO!

    I was so captured up in the story of Sally and Lucien that the parallel romance of Eloise and Colin was almost a distraction. Until the conclusion and then…..Wham-O.

    What a leading man you fashioned in Lucien, Duke of Belliston: reclusive, hypnotic and dangerously erotic to a certain Sally Fitzhugh. Only golden- tressed impossibly good Sally could control him. The word “swooping” comes to mind. And, I thought a Christmas pudding was a strange weapon until I met Lady Florence.

    You are so generous with your readers, as always.
    So, thank you for all of the bonus treats in your book: The interview with yourself, Historical notes, questions for group readers and the unexpected surprise of the preview of Pink XII The Lure of the Moonflower, due in 2015.

    I just published 5 star reviews on http://www.goodreads.com and http://www.amazon.com

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