Weekly Reading Round-Up

I’ve been living in the 1920s for so long now, that I desperately needed to read something that wasn’t a) anywhere near the Twenties, or b) set in England. So this week’s haul was:

— Jo Goodman’s In Want of a Wife. We all have those ridiculous plot tropes we secretly love. One of mine is mail order brides. In this case, a rancher in the 1890s Wild West in want of a wife, and the poor cousin of a well to do New York family who answers his ad. Goodman always does a lovely job crafting sensible and believable characters who you’re rooting for all the way.

— Jennifer Crusie’s Agnes and the Hitman. Joyous absurdity as the wedding of the granddaughter of a mobster on a Southern plantation gets very, very complicated.

Next up? A big pile of research books about Portugal in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries!

What have you been reading this week?


  1. Sharon on September 5, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Ember Island by Kimberley Freeman. It is really good.

  2. Karen R on September 5, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good

  3. Ella on September 5, 2014 at 11:44 am

    Those sound fun!
    Introduced myself to Mary Stewart with This Rough Magic and then to Judith McNaught with Kingdome of Dreams and just started Once and Always. It is quite exciting to read a new author! Have yet to regret any I’ve meet this year!

    • Kristy on September 5, 2014 at 10:42 pm

      Ella: Don’t miss Something Wonderful and Almost Heaven by McNaught. She’s at the top of her form for her historicals there. And her contemporaries Paradise and Perfect are marvelous.

      • Ella on September 8, 2014 at 11:59 am

        Kristy: Thank you! Glad to hear Something Wonderful is good, it is next on my list at home. Will be adding the others shortly. She is a new favorite.

  4. Cate on September 5, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Jayne Ann Krentz, The Hot Zone .. & Sherrilyn Kenyon The Son of No One (goodish, but she mucked up her Welsh hero’s name,speech patterns etc…Now I know why my Scottish mate gets so cross !)

  5. Pat D on September 5, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    I read Raven Black by Ann Cleeves. It is the first book of her Shetland Quartet. I hope it will grow to more than a quartet thought. Very good. Amanda Quick’s Otherwise Engaged: no magic or paranormal in this one, but still entertaining. Ann Charles’ An Ex to Gring: the latest in her Deadwood series. If you haven’t read her, do! Hilarious mysteries with ghosts. I enjoyed the latest Stephanie Plum story, then read The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan. This second book in the Jane/Jake series was very satisfying. Currently I am in the middle of The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan. It is the follow up to A Natural History of Dragons.

  6. Pat D on September 5, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Sorry. My fingers are not hitting the right keys. That is An Ex to Grind. And I’m hoping for the Shetland Quartet to be more, not a thought!

  7. Christina on September 5, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve had very little time to read the last few weeks. I did read Georgette Heyer’s The Grand Sophy in there somewhere and it was delightful.

  8. Jane B on September 5, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Does this mean you’re working on something set in 18th-19th century Portugal? I hope so!

  9. Kam on September 5, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    I read The Pretenders by Joan Wolf and loved it. Now want to read more of her books but can’t decide which ones…Has anyone got any recommendations please?

    • Alice on September 5, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      I really like “The American Heiress” and “The Double Deception.” But you really can’t go wrong with any of her books.

      • Kam on September 5, 2014 at 5:01 pm

        Thanks Alice, just downloaded them both!

  10. Jane on September 5, 2014 at 2:12 pm

    Just finished After You – A Novel by Julie Buxbaum. I really enjoyed her writing style and the storyline. Also read Fiona Valpy for the first time with her book The French For Love. Highly recommend both.

    • mel burns on September 5, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      I loved her first novel-The Opposite of Love.

  11. Alice on September 5, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I finished “Goodnight June” by Sarah Jio. I absolutely adored it! Very well written and a very sweet story about sisters, finding new loves, and putting our lives in a different direction than we had anticipated. Once I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again.

  12. Miss Eliza on September 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve been on a weird Graphic Novel run, which led to me finding an Alan Moore comic I liked! He wrote Watchmen (unreadable), League of Extraordinary Gentleman (creepy) and Top Ten (really good so far!)

    I also finished the first book in the Caster Chronicles, Beautiful Creatures, which was fun an atmospheric, but just a little too, “now you must read the next book” for me.

  13. Am7 on September 5, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    Last week I finished
    Sacred Sins by Nora Roberts
    Very good, but very dark.
    Crazy For Love by Victoria Dahl
    Not her best.
    The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
    Very silly, and fun.
    Next week I’ll share the awesome books I’m reading now.

  14. mel burns on September 5, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Listening to His Dark Materials Book One: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Terrific!!

    Reading Pink I again with the read-a-long at the BB Reader.

  15. Paula Scott on September 5, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    I’m still reading The Black Tulip book in the Pink series. But, I’ve got a JoJo Moyes on loan from the library that I want to read, so I need to hurry. But… planning math lessons and grading math papers for 72 fifth graders cuts into my reading time.

    • Betty S. on September 6, 2014 at 11:33 am

      How well I remember, Paula! Good luck!

  16. Betty S. on September 5, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I finally read an M.M. Kaye book and am thankful to all of those who recommended this author to me. I chose to read Death in Cyprus first because we lived in Cyprus for 28 months, and Kaye’s descriptions were amazing – brought back so many memories. I had visited all of the places,which is so cool. If anyone else has read that one, there is an event that occurs at St. Hillarion Castle. It was in Turkish control when we were there (as is the entire northern half of the island now). We had to go through a Turkish checkpoint to get to the castle, and when a guard said, “passports”, my husband replied “American Embassy” as usual when we went through any of these, but this guard again demanded “passports”.
    My husband held ours up and said, “diplomatic” as we had been told never to give up our passports. Then the guard lowered a machine gun through the window and said “passports” again – my husband handed them over and said “yes sir” – our two babes were in the back of the car. I had had my own adventure at Hillarion Castle. Anyway, I will definitely read more of her books! (Sorry for too much detail)

    Also read Syrie James’s Jane Austen’s First Love, which I am sure all Austen fans will love, and am enjoying the read along of Pink Carnation at BB Reader.

    • Kristy on September 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Great story!

      • Kristy on September 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

        And, M. M. Kaye and her mysteries are some of my favorites. If you can ever find any of them on audio book, they are well worth the listening. I go through them periodically every 4-5 years.

    • SuzanneH on September 6, 2014 at 7:39 am

      I love M M Kaye’s mysteries too. Like you Betty I have a favourite because I have been there. Mine is Death In Berlin because it is just as I remember Berlin and is of course history now. I have been told it very different now. When I was there the cold war was very real and I have memories of “You Are Entering The Russian Zone” signs popping up in your face when you least expect it, Russians in badly fitting uniforms goose stepping on the Brandenburg Gate and a horrible feeling of fear which got right in your brain. It wasn’t a pleasant place but it is a part of my childhood I will never forget.

      • Betty S. on September 6, 2014 at 11:31 am

        Thanks for sharing, Suzanne. I love these stories that bring extra meaning to reading. The cold war – what a scary time! There was a novel I read my student each year which led me to explain to them about air raids when I was a child during this period. And now Putin is posed to bring it all back – sorry for being political.

        It seems like we’ve had similar experiences from various comments you’ve made, but I think you are a bit younger than I. I had ordered several M.M. Kaye books at one time, but not Death in Berlin – will have to get it!

        • SuzanneH on September 7, 2014 at 1:36 am

          Gosh Betty, living through the air raids must have been dreadful. I am too young to have experienced that, thank God. The air raids we had here in Australia were a very long way from Melbourne, but all the same my Dad and his brothers dug an air raid shelter in their backyard. My mother was born in 1939 and as we had a blackout here during WWII she was six years old before she saw street lights. She said the night the lights came back on it was just like fairyland.

          • Betty S. on September 7, 2014 at 4:43 pm

            My brother and I were children in the 50’s, but didn’t feel too frightened. Our city of Richmond, Va. would practice just in case things got too hot with the Russians. Guess it was still too soon after WWII, so people were wary. When the siren went off at night, we had to turn out lights, close our curtains and wait until the all clear siren sounded. If it was at school, we went out into the hallway and kneeled against the wall with heads covered – the same way students today do tornado drills.

            There was lots of discussion about building bomb shelters to withstand a nuclear blast, but I didn’t know anyone who did. A scary movie at that time was “On the Beach” – main setting in Australia.

  17. Kristy on September 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm

    Just finished Please Remember This by Kathleen Gilles Seidel on Lauren’s recommendation, and I kept thinking, “This is all about the Arabia. It’s about the Steamboat Arabia!!” Finally I did what I vow never to do and opened the end of the book to find Seidel’s acknowledgement of the Steamboat Arabia Museum in Kansas City. It is one of the most fascinating museums I have ever visited, and, unlike Ned’s boat, what’s left of the original boat is on display there. I own both books she referenced and got an A on a Master’s degree paper I wrote about the project a few years back. Great history read.

  18. Lynne on September 5, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Sorry, still in the twenties and England. Zipped through Whisper of Jasmine and now well into City of Jasmine. Deanna Raybourn at her best!!

  19. Jeffrey on September 6, 2014 at 6:20 am

    I just finished An Obstinate, Headstrong Girl, by Abigail Bok (who signs the book “by a lady.” It is a modern re-telling of the timeless classic Pride and Prejudice. I’m trying to get this excellent book so more exposure because it deserves it.

    • leslie on September 8, 2014 at 8:26 pm

      I went to Amazon to buy it, but it was only in trade paperback. To bad it isn’t in e-format.

  20. SuzanneH on September 6, 2014 at 7:44 am

    I have been reading Philippa Gregory’s The King’s Curse. It is very good but I am going to put it down for a while. I have had bronchitis for the past 2 weeks and it is not a cheery book to be reading when you are feeling unwell. Margaret Pole, the main character, had such a sad life and after watching The Tudors last year I know it is slowly marching its way towards her execution, for no good reason other than Henry VIII throwing a tantrum. Time for something lighter for a while I think.

    • Betty S. on September 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

      When I was a teen, I read a whole series of books about Henry VIII and his wives – I think by Jean Plaidy. Have also read several by Philippa Gregory, whom I love. Henry was really a despicable character, as many kings could be.

      Feel better!

      • Lynne on September 6, 2014 at 11:28 pm

        I read the Jean Plaidy books, too, Betty…so many years ago it’s embarrassing. But they were part of the reason I fell in love with English history. And yes, Henry really was despicable, and terribly pathetic, as well.

        • SuzanneH on September 7, 2014 at 7:06 am

          I read them too, from the Tudors through to the Queen Victoria books. They were fantastic and I am really in awe of how much research she must have done in the days before the internet. These days so many little things, such as was there a train running between Bombay and Lahore in 1874, can be found in a few minutes, but back in Jean Plaidy’s time it must have taken ages to get that sort of information.

  21. Susan Gorman on September 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Finished Grace Burrowes The Traitor which was fabulous.Enjoyed how she redeemed the main character. Then I read Andre’s and David part of GB’s Lonely Lord series.
    Starting Courtney Milan’s latest book.

  22. Sheila on September 6, 2014 at 11:01 am

    It seems we have a theme of “places we have been”, and I too read a book set in a place where I lived, Saudi Arabia. “Dream Hunter” by Laura Kinsale. Her writing, story, characters, were wonderful, but I was so impressed by her research into the history. If only more people knew more about what happened there long ago, they would be easier to understand. I digress, but I loved it as a historical also.

    “The Bookman’s Tale” by Charlie Lovett was also fabulous, a time slip like Lauren’s, but also a wonderful romance, and I even learned a lot about book-making( not the gambling kind!)

    Last but not least, I am rereading Pink Carnation for the monthly read along, and enjoying it so much. The discussion is lots of fun too.

    • Betty S. on September 6, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Will look into Dream Hunter, Sheila. I just read a fascinating article in Smithsonian Magazine about TE Lawrence and the British and French plans to carve up Arabia during/after WWI. Makes me want to watch Lawrence Of Arabia again as well as possibly reading his book, Seven Pillars – may be too heavy though.

      • Sheila on September 6, 2014 at 7:56 pm

        Betty, I am sure you will enjoy Dream Hunter. I had not read any of Kinsale before , I will now

        • Christina on September 8, 2014 at 12:58 am

          Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale is excellent. It’s one of my all time favorite historical romances.

  23. Céline on September 7, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I read the latest book from Jojo Moyes, One plus one, which had a definitive Little Miss Sunshine feeling to it. It was absolutely wonderful, like all the books I have read by her, and actually made me cry a few times. In the middle of the street.
    I can only recommand it to everyone!!!

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